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Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff ‘at odds’ over rookie QB Trevor Lawrence

Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Lawrence entered the 2021 NFL Draft viewed as a consensus generational talent, the unquestioned No. 1 overall pick who could lift the Jacksonville Jaguars franchise. After nine games, it seems there is already some divide in Jacksonville over Lawrence’s rookie struggles.

Entering Week 12, Jackson is essentially out of the NFL Rookie of the Year race. He is far behind New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones in passing yards (2,540), yards per attempt (7.2) and passing touchdowns (14). Meanwhile, Chicago Bears rookie Justin Fields is progressing quickly after a rough start.

But Lawrence, who arrived in a bad situation, is struggling. A costly sack-fumble ended Jackson’s comeback hopes in Week 11 and the overall results from the No. 1 pick thus far aren’t promising.

  • Trevor Lawrence stats: 1,983 passing yards, 58% completion rate, 6.0 ypa, 8-9 TD-INT ratio, 16 sacks, 34.8 QBR

According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, the Jaguars’ coaching staff is at odds regarding Lawrence’s “development and how to best bring him along.” It’s reportedly sparked significant debate inside the building. Among the issues being debated are the system Jacksonville is running and Lawrence’s struggles to diagnose defenses and progress through reads.

“There has been back-and-forth on the staff about how much to rely on the system Lawrence ran during his wildly successful stint at Clemson, with some raising significant concerns about the injury risks that could come with it.”

NFL insider Jason La Canfora on Jaguars’ internal debate regarding QB Trevor Lawrence

The Jaguars brought Lawrence in and simplified the offense for him, trying to create familiarity with the scheme he ran at Clemson. But they have been afraid to allow Lawrence to unleash his athleticism, fearing that using more RPOs would lead to the 6-foot-6 quarterback taking unnecessary hits and putting his long-term health at risk.

But Jacksonville has a much bigger problem. From Week 6-10, Lawrence has the fourth-lowest rate of throws 20-plus yards downfield (10.9%). The Jaguars’ wide receivers, with D.J. Chark on injured reserve, aren’t getting open as The Ringer’s Steven Ruiz highlighted.

While the Jaguars’ coaching staff might see an issue with Lawrence progressing through his reads, the real problem might be the scheme and surrounding talent. Lawrence’s athleticism forces defensive backs to keep a closer eye on him, which should give his wide receivers greater opportunities to create separation.

Ultimately, Lawrence’s issues reflect more on the Jaguars than their rookie quarterback. It highlights why so many rookies drafted with top picks struggle because they are landing on some of the worst rosters in the NFL. Until Jacksonville makes changes, which won’t come until the offseason, Lawrence’s stats and the Jaguars’ record will likely get worse.