Teammates, Coaches Praise Lawrence's Dedication, Trip to Clemson With WRs
Trevor Lawrence has done nothing but impress the Jacksonville Jaguars since the first day he walked into TIAA Bank Field.
“He is looking good. I’m really pleased with where he is at in terms of his preparation and then being able to carry that over to the field. We will continue to work each and every day," Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said on Thursday.
In organized team activities and minicamp, in the meeting room, on the practice field during training camp, Lawrence has been exactly as advertised. And away from the facility, the No. 1 overall pick has looked the part just as much as he does inside it.
That is what the Jaguars were hoping for, of course, when they made Lawrence the team's first-ever No. 1 overall pick. That was the expectation when they drafted the most anticipated prospect in football since Andrew Luck.
But expectations don't always become reality, of course. The top-billed prospects don't always pan out. That is why it has been so key for the Jaguars to see Lawrence do the opposite to this point and show the franchise everything they needed to see from their rookie quarterback.
One of the biggest signs the Jaguars have seen to indicate Lawrence is everything he has always been proclaimed to me has been his work to prepare for his rookie season. Lawrence traveled to Clemson with veteran receivers DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault and Marvin Jones during the offseason, spending time on the practice field working on his chemistry and timing with each, while also bonding off the field.
“You love that stuff — for a guy like Trevor, a young guy and then he had some of the more veteran players over there with him and there was other guys as well. You know I don’t think they always put it out there — that’s good stuff," Bevell said on Thursday.
"That’s where the camaraderie starts and that’s where you fine-tune some things and you know there is lines in a book of what we do, but there are the nuances of some of it and each guy has different nuances so when you are able to spend that extra time, you learn that. You can read body language and you know how a guy is going to come out of a break by the way he is going into it and that’s the stuff they’re getting done there.”
For Chark, who has the chance to become of Lawrence's most important weapons early on in his career, the trip to Clemson with his new quarterback was a positive experience for more than a few reasons.
To start, it gave Chark, Jones and Shenault a chance to bond with Lawrence and build a relationship ahead of camp. The receivers and quarterback spent all of OTAs and minicamp together, but a getaway to Clemson was a different experience.
Then there was how much the trip could help on the field. If the Jaguars want to reverse their fortunes a year after going 1-15 and finishing with the worst record in franchise history, they will need Lawrence to quickly get on the same page as his top targets.
"It was a great time. First off, just building a relationship, but also getting used to his passes, him getting used to the way that we run routes, because everybody runs routes differently, working on timing, seeing the routes that we like the best, the passes that he likes the best, seeing what he needs to work on, what we need to work on," Chark said Wednesday.
"So, it’s pretty good. Plus, in the offseason, you need to just run and stay in shape. So, it was good for a lot of different reasons.”
Lawrence has a long way to go to prove the Jaguars made the right decision in drafting him No. 1 overall. He will start with the rest of training camp and then eventually take the field in Houston against the Texans in Week 1 on Sept. 12.
But to this point, Lawrence has done all the right things. And to this point, his coachees and teammates alike have fully bought into what he brings to the franchise on and off the field.
"I said it shows and that’s awesome because it shows how important it is for him. Everybody can say [whatever they want] about Trevor [Lawrence] when he first got drafted. Is he going to be the guy that’s going to let this fame and stuff get to him? It doesn’t matter what it is, this man loves ball, and it shows," Shaquill Griffin said this week.
"That’s the reason he got his receivers out there to work on time. It shows today and that’s something that we have to build off of. We’re putting the team on his back and we’re going to be right there with him and to fully support. So, whatever it is, I know he’s going to continue to work. I know he has the passion, the love for the game and we’re right behind him 110 percent.”