NFL

Meyer 'loves' Lawrence progress as Jags look to end losing start in London

By Sports Desk October 16, 2021

Urban Meyer is increasingly encouraged by Trevor Lawrence's work in the NFL and hopes his rookie quarterback can lead the Jacksonville Jaguars to a much-needed first win of the year.

The Jaguars are 0-5 heading into Sunday's NFL London game, although opponents the Miami Dolphins have also struggled to 1-4.

This was always likely to be another tough season for the Jags, who went 1-15 last year to secure the first overall pick in the draft.

Jacksonville used that first-round selection on outstanding college QB Lawrence, a key step on their path to turning around a franchise with only one winning season since 2007.

Facing NFL opposition on a poor team has represented a steep learning curve for Lawrence, whose debut against the Houston Texans brought an entertaining, erratic three-touchdown, three-interception display.

Week 2 saw only 14 of 33 pass attempts completed for a passer rating of 37.2 – the fifth-lowest of the season through five weeks.

But there has been steady improvement across the past two games, in which Lawrence has thrown one TD pass, been picked once and rushed for two more scores.

In Weeks 1 through 3, Lawrence completed only 57.7 per cent of his passes, tossed an accurate, well-thrown ball with 71.2 per cent and offered up a pickable pass with 6.3 percent. Among QBs with 10 or more attempts, he ranked in the bottom four in all categories.

Across Weeks 4 and 5, however, with 74.1 completion percentage, 83.3 well-thrown percentage and 1.9 per cent pickable pass percentage, Lawrence has operated above the league average in each metric.

"[Quarterbacks coach] Brian Schottenheimer and [offensive coordinator] Darrell Bevell have had experience with young quarterbacks – from Andrew Luck to Russell Wilson – and they've done really a great job," Meyer said ahead of the Dolphins game.

"I love the progress, I love the chemistry between the coaches and Trevor, and you can see it on the field.

"You can see his familiarity now with the offense and the people around him. It's really exciting to watch him grow."

Coach Meyer, who is also in his first year in the NFL, is seeing "steady progress" from the entire team and said: "We have really good leadership on the team, a really good locker room on this team, and they want to win in the worst way."

Meyer needs a win as badly as Lawrence, having come in for criticism this season. He also apologised following the team's Week 4 defeat after a viral video showed him sitting on a bar stool while a woman, who was not his wife, danced close to his lap.

But Lawrence said of the Jags coach: "I think he has done a good job of handling the situation. He has had conversations with the team, one-on-one and with all of us.

"[It is] just him being the same guy and coming to work, you know, a super hard worker.

"[He] really cares about this team and no one can deny that, so we are in a good spot and we all respect him. We are just ready to go win some games."

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