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Did the Jacksonville Jaguars ruin Trevor Lawrence for good?

Vincent Frank

When the Jacksonville Jaguars selected generational talent Trevor Lawrence with the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the hope was that he’d be able to turn things around immediately.

For owner Shahid Khan and Co., the idea was for Lawrence to team up with new head coach Urban Meyer to form a dynamic duo in Duval. It was needed with Jacksonville having lost 15 consecutive games to conclude the 2020 season.

Fast forward several months, and the Jaguars are in complete shambles. They just fired Meyer after a mere 13 games due to several off-field incidents, culminating in a former player alleging that Meyer had kicked him. All of this game with the Jags at 2-11 and having lost 26 of their past 28.

With interim head coach Darrell Bevell calling the shots against an equally bad Houston Texans squad on Sunday, Trevor Lawrence and Co. once again struggled big time. The rookie completed 22-of-38 passes for just 210 yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. He was sacked three times and hit a total of four times in the 30-16 loss.

For the Clemson product, this is just the latest example of some major struggles on his part. In fact, Lawrence has thrown just one touchdown over the course of the past seven games. One.

While it might seem to be too early to focus on Lawrence’s future and whether the Jaguars ruined him for good, there’s a lot of indicators pointing in this direction.

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Trevor Lawrence stats (past seven games)

jacksonville jaguars ruin trevor lawrence?
Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
  • Week 9: Buffalo Bills (15-of-26, 118 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions)
  • Week 10: Indianapolis Colts (16-of-35, 162 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions)
  • Week 11: San Francisco 49ers (16-of-25, 158 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions)
  • Week 12: Atlanta Falcons (23-of-42, 228 yards, one touchdown, one interception)
  • Week 13: Los Angeles Rams (16-of-28, 146 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions)
  • Week 14: Tennessee Titans (24-of-40, 221 yards, zero touchdowns, four interceptions)
  • Week 15: Houston Texans (22-of-38, 210 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions)

Thus far this season, Lawrence has tallied a mere nine touchdown passes compared to 14 interceptions in 14 starts. That’s just downright horrible. And in reality, it’s hard to blame the young quarterback for these struggles.

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The Jacksonville Jaguars as a dumpster fire

Syndication: Florida Times-Union
Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK

After announcing the firing of Meyer, Khan noted that Jacksonville would be relying on general manager Trent Baalke and the aforementioned Darrell Bevell to help keep the team competitive.

These are not exactly words Jags fans in Duval wanted to hear. In particular, Baalke has a checkered history dating back to the latter years of his tenure with the San Francisco 49ers. His issues with the NFL Draft being a main culprit. Just look at his first-round picks in Northern California and what they did.

  • 2012: A.J. Jenkins, wide receiver (17 catches, 223 yards)
  • 2016: Josh Garnett, guard (11 career starts)

This doesn’t even take into account other early-round misses in that of LaMichael James, Tank Carradine, Eli Harold and Vance McDonald.

We saw this repeated to an extent in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft with the Jaguars opting to go with running back Travis Etienne. It was an especially interesting risk given that James Robinson was coming off a tremendous rookie season and running back didn’t seem to be a need for a talent-stricken Jaguars squad.

How does this all tie in to Trevor Lawrence? It’s rather clear. Etienne missed his entire rookie season to injury, eliminating one potential weapon in that of a player the No. 1 pick suited up with in college.

The question now becomes whether Jaguars fans can have confidence that Baake will be the man to deliver Lawrence the supporting cast he needs. Of course, there’s also an argument that can be made for replacing Baalke with an outside candidate. Either way, it’s an unsettled question.

Related: Top candidates to replace Urban Meyer with the Jaguars

Trevor Lawrence a victim of the organization

In no way are we going to conclude Lawrence will be a bust. That’s ridiculous. Remember, Peyton Manning threw a league high 28 interceptions as a rookie for the Indianapolis Colts in 1998. He turned out pretty good.

At issue here is history. We’ve seen it with the Jaguars themselves and the quarterback position in recent years. An environment not indicative of success for the signal caller, regardless of how he’s viewed heading into the NFL.

  • Blaine Gabbert, 10th pick in 2011: 5-22 record, 4,357 yards, 22 touchdowns, 24 interceptions
  • Blake Bortles, 3rd pick in 2014: 24-49 record, 17,646 yards, 103 touchdowns, 75 interceptions

It’s all about culture for young quarterbacks. Mac Jones is a great example of this as a rookie for the New England Patriots in 2021. The same can be said about Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow from the 2020 NFL Draft.

On the other end of the spectrum, players like Alex Smith have found themselves in less-than-stellar situations to open their careers. As for Smith, it took a good half-decade for him to turn into a starter-caliber quarterback.

The good news here is that Trevor Lawrence has otherworldly talent. If he can keep his head right during these trying times, the youngster will be just fine. If not, this could just be the latest example of Jacksonville’s disastrous environment and organization ruining a young quarterback.

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