Urban Meyer Encouraged by Trevor Lawrence's 'Steady Progress'
All eyes are on Trevor Lawrence each time he steps onto the football field -- especially in Jacksonville, where he is top dog, the team's first-ever No. 1 overall pick, the face of the franchise, and the city's biggest celebrity.
But for all of the hype around Lawrence and the attention that is brought forth to his feet each day, Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer is able to tune it out and evaluate what truly matters to him when it comes to his quarterback: Whether he is getting better or not.
“I thought he looked great. He had a really good day today. He’s just making steady progress," Meyer said following the Jaguars' voluntary organized team activity practice on Thursday, a practice that was made available to the media.
It is important to note the practice was in shorts and helmets, with Lawrence passing against air and never truly being tested like he will be in September. But the day was still a rousing success for the No. 1 overall pick, who completed big throw after big throw against an energetic Jaguars' defense Thursday.
One week after Lawrence had a practice that Meyer described as "okay" following some struggles to complete passes in the red zone, Lawrence was nearly flawless on Thursday. He completed 15 of 18 passes in the team and seven-on-seven periods that Jaguar Report viewed, showing off his strong arm and pinpoint accuracy throughout the practice.
Deep throws to DJ Chark and James O'Shaughnessy? Check.
Passes made on the move into tight windows? Check.
Completions made under pressure? Check.
Whatever one could ask from a rookie quarterback in a voluntary practice, Lawrence did it on Thursday. He looked like the genuine real deal, something that couldn't have been said with as much ferocity the week before.
"I want to say—I can’t give you percentage of the installation, but we’ve been at it now for three weeks and one of the advantages that we’ve had with Trevor [is] that we’ve kind of made a decision—I can’t remember exactly when—we started working with him a good month before practices started," Meyer said.
"So, he’s been great, his retention has been great, execution has improved. I just like—and so do I, I speak on behalf of [Brian] Schottenheimer and [Darrell] Bevell—his seriousness and his approach to this has been fantastic.”
Lawrence is the team's unquestioned starter entering the season, even if the Jaguars have yet to officially name him the Week 1 quarterback publicly. The offense has banded around him and his coaches have been encouraged by his steady demeanor and his commitment to learning the offense. So far, the Jaguars have gotten exactly what they have hoped to get from the first-ever No. 1 overall pick in franchise history.
"You have Trevor who’s still learning, but the talent is definitely there. He doesn’t mind throwing it, doesn’t mind slinging it, which is something that’s going to help this offense for sure," Chark said following the practice.
Chark has become one of Lawrence's favorite targets and will more likely than not be on Lawrence's radar at a high rate during the former Clemson quarterback's rookie season. How the two work to develop their chemistry will be key for the offense's future, especially as Lawrence improves and progresses at a steady rate.
The Jaguars have seen young quarterbacks flash before. But they have also seen young quarterbacks fail to take advantage of the momentum and become the type of quarterbacks the Jaguars needed. The hope -- and the expectation -- is that Lawrence will be different. And so far, so good.
"I think he did well. If I’m not mistaken, he threw me some pretty good balls today, which is cool. I like catching those. But every day is a step," Chark said.
"Any time that we do complete passes like that today, that’s a credit to the work we’ve been putting in or that he’s been putting in. Once again, it’s just OTA’s right now, so by the time that first game gets here, it’s going to be way more of those type plays being made.”