It’s finally here.
The Jaguars’ offseason and training camp has all come down to today with the Jaguars set to take on the Cleveland Browns for its first preseason game of the season.
More importantly, though, the No. 1 overall pick, quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be making his NFL debut under the lights, something he’s beyond excited for.
“I’m pumped,” Lawrence told members of the media on Thursday. “First game, obviously. It’s nice we’re playing at home, in front of the home crowd. So, we’re really excited, we’ve been working the past three or four weeks, but really even since the spring. Just trying to get ready for these moments and this will be good.”
It’s not yet known how long Lawrence will play later today, nor if he will get the starting nod over veteran quarterback Gardner Minshew II. But, Lawrence feels ready for whatever amount of time he will be receiving tonight, understanding and believing in the coaches’ plan for tonight.
While understanding there’s a long season ahead, Lawrence has made plenty of strides through training camp, understanding and trusting in his teammates to make a play.
“I know what I’m doing, they know what they’re doing, and I know the spot they’re going to be in, and I think we’re getting more and more comfortable.”
Lawrence hasn’t made very many mistakes during camp, but he’s had a few over the past few weeks, including a three-interception affair early on in camp. The biggest takeaway, however, is the young signal-caller doesn’t seem to make the same mistake twice, something he says is part of his learning curve.
Though he’s the first-overall pick, Lawrence still has to compete for starting reps, often rotating with Minshew over the past few weeks. Lawrence isn’t overly concerned, however, working to simply be the best quarterback for the team he can be — to do his job in order to win games.
“But at the end of the day, that’s not in my hands, the decisions,” he said. “I trust the coaches, we’re all on the same team and we’re just trying to win. So, my mindset is just to win games, to be the best prepared as I can be.”
While the two have been competing, Lawrence taking snaps from a veteran center like Brandon Linder has been crucial to his development. Having a different set of eyes, and someone who’s been around the game for quite some time now cannot be more important to Lawrence.
“Just being a young quarterback that has a lot to learn and has come a long way, but still, having him up front, especially in the run game, is something that I haven’t had to handle much of in college and he’s really smart, he sees stuff as I’m seeing it,” Lawrence said.
“Usually, as a quarterback, you have a really good view that sometimes they can’t see up front, but I mean, Linder is on it. He’s always seeing the rotation, does a great job and just teaching me, too. Like when we see something, what he’s looking at, I think we’re working great together.”
Lawrence’s development will be crucial for the Jaguars over the course of this season, and it’ll start on the field today as the team plays in its first preseason matchup since 2019. Of course, Lawrence will have plenty of family in attendance, as will his wife, Melissa. But, there will also be a slew of fans.
While Lawrence isn’t quite sure how many fans will be there tonight, he does hope it’ll be a full stadium today.
“I don’t know how the preseason works as far as like how many fans actually come. But I know everybody is excited, I know the team is really excited and we’re just ready to show the city, show everybody, what we’ve been working on.”
It may be just a preseason game, but Lawrence and his teammates have one goal in mind tonight — to win.
“A lot of people look at preseason differently, but I think this is where it starts for the Jags this year, is game one, preseason.”