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Summary from the Final Week of Camp
Trevor Lawrence was flawless in the preseason finale against the Cowboys. He completed 11-of-12 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns in three drives as he moved the first-team offense with ease. Coach Urban Meyer got some slight backlash for putting Lawrence on the field, “I made that decision (to play Lawrence), and there was a lot of angst about that, but he has to play.” Lawrence showed some confidence on his end, getting the necessary reps in before the season starts. “I felt good. I thought we had a good game plan. Honestly, it’s all about execution, though. I think we had a good game plan last week too. We just didn’t execute it. It doesn’t matter what you run, if everybody’s on the same page and everybody knows it, you’re going to play well.” With Lawrence locked in as the starter, the team traded away Gardner Minshew for a sixth-round pick. With Minshew gone, C.J. Beathard becomes the No. 2.
Coach Meyer hasn’t said much about Travis Etienne’s season-ending injury, other than characterizing it as a “shot to the jaw.” When asked about how they’ll replace Etienne’s intended role as a dynamic, multi-faceted weapon out of the backfield, Meyer played coy. "He was really coming on in practice, and you saw his big-play ability," Meyer said. "It's a tough injury. How do we fill that? We're still having that conversation right now." The answer likely lies in significantly increasing James Robinson’s touches and playing Carlos Hyde a lot more than he would’ve if both Robinson and Etienne were healthy.
D.J. Chark’s finger injury won’t keep him from playing in Week 1. Marvin Jones sprained his AC joint last week but should also be okay for the start of the season. Laviska Shenault caught all three of his targets against the Cowboys and scored a touchdown. He’ll be one of Trevor Lawrence’s top targets regardless of Chark and Jones’ status. Some beat writers thought the Jaguars could keep up to seven receivers on the initial 53-man roster, but only five made it, with Jamal Agnew and Tavon Austin rounding out the position.
James OShaughnessy made his way back to the field after sitting out the first couple of games. He steadied the position after a rocky camp and had three catches for 27 yards playing with the starters in the finale. Chris Manhertz is in a dead heat with O’Shaughnessy. The two complement each other as O’Shaughnessy serves as the move tight end while Manhertz handles in-line duties.
Defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton is turning into a star in the middle of the 3-4 scheme. He made plays all over the field against the Cowboys. Cornerback C.J. Henderson looks the part and got a vote of confidence from Meyer, “I thought C.J. Henderson really played well.” If Henderson can maintain his momentum, it’ll take some of the pressure off No. 1 cornerback Shaquill Griffin. Edge rusher Josh Allen returned to practice after missing a week on the Reserve/COVID list. He and KLavon Chaisson need to create a consistent pass rush, or the defense could struggle.
Jamal Agnew is atop the depth chart for both kickoff and punt returns.
Summary from Week 3 of Camp
Coach Urban Meyer has yet to name a starting quarterback for Week 1, but all signs unsurprisingly point to Trevor Lawrence winning the job over Gardner Minshew. “It doesn’t bother me,” Lawrence said. “I think that’s the way to run a team, honestly. You have to compete. The best player has to play. You have to compete. As a first-year player coming in, that’s kind of what’s expected. You want to compete for the job.” Lawrence handled himself well in the first preseason game, but plays took too long to develop. Lawrence got an extended look against the Saints as he played the entire first half completing 14-of-23 passes for 113 yards. “I thought he got a little better, and I thought we protected him a little bit better,” head coach Urban Meyer said, with Lawrence adding: “The first two series weren’t great. We have to do a better job of consistently moving the ball. I thought we improved as the game went on, which was good to see. We just have to get better.”
Coach Meyer envisioned Travis Etienne as the offense's centerpiece, but that’s not going to happen this year because Etienne must undergo season-ending surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury he suffered against the Saints. Etienne’s injury completely reshapes the running back rotation. James Robinson was fantastic last year but seemed relegated to a complementary role. He now vaults back into prominence, and the Jaguars will need to use him in all downs and distances. Veteran Carlos Hyde should see regular work, too, with Etienne gone. Expect Hyde and Robinson to share carries on first and second downs, with Robinson commanding most of the pass-catching work on third downs.