Jacksonville QB Trevor Lawrence struggled in his first two preseason games, but he played well against Dallas his third preseason game, leading to the question, which version will show up when the regular season starts?
Will it be the Lawrence who could not string together a drive and could only convert 5/13 first downs against Cleveland and New Orleans – – or will it be the Lawrence who went 11/12 for 139 yards and two touchdowns in Dallas?
As an evaluator nothing frustrates me or scares me more as a player who flashes ability. Those guys tend to not be dependable, and many of them only play well when they want to. Of course, prior to the draft Lawrence already screamed through megaphone in Sports Illustrated that he does not really give a damn.
This leads me to wonder, was Lawrence really that much better from one week to the next or is Dallas, a team that was 6-10 last season, really that bad?
We will not know for sure until Jacksonville takes on Houston and Lawrence faces a stiff challenge against Texans’ defensive coordinator, Lovie Smith.
I am betting Smith devises a game plan that will leave Lawrence more confused than a grade school kid listening to Einstein’s theory of relativity.
Of course, Lawrence fans will continue to make excuses if he plays poorly against the Texans.
It’s funny, when Lawrence struggled in Jacksonville everyone wanted to use the “Give me a break, it’s only the preseason excuse,” but when he played well nobody was saying it was just the preseason….oh no….Social media and national media alike were all singing his praises. Then the media was saying how “special” he looked, how he “dazzled” Dallas and how he “lit up” the Cowboys. Nobody but me stopped to fact check the game to discover Lawrence’s heroics came against mostly second and third stringers and even guys who did not make the 53-man cut.
Funny how that works.
If Lawrence gets his ass handed to him starting today in Houston, I can hear it now, Lawrence fans will continue to say, “He’s only a rookie,” “Give him some time,” “The offensive line is awful,” “Urban Meyer was the wrong coach for the job,” “He doesn’t have anyone to throw to,” “Eitienne is out for the season,” “The run game didn’t help him,” “The receivers dropped the ball,” Even Peyton Manning threw 28 interceptions his rookie season,” “Give him a couple years,” “His hair was in his eyes,” whatever it is, Lawrence’s fans will undoubtedly continue to wrap him in excuses and talk around the game film.
My personal favorite excuse for Lawrence’s early preseason struggles was the one former Rams All-Pro QB Jim Everett personally sent me in response to an article I wrote about Lawrence, suggesting he is continuing to show signs of looking like a bust:
When I respectfully responded to Everett asking for any substance beyond his “apples and oranges” comparison…crickets.
At any rate, the preseason is now over and the regular season is upon us. I am betting we are going to see the QB I put a 90% bust rate on shows up, which version do you think will show up?
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.