Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence won’t be suiting up in the team’s Hall of Fame contest against the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday. Neither will second-year running back Travis Etienne, head coach Doug Pederson announced to the media on Tuesday.
In Lawrence’s place, backup QB Jake Luton will be the team’s starting QB with C.J. Beathard also slated to miss Thursday’s action due to an injury he is still working his way back from. Pederson made it clear, though, that he hadn’t told the team who will be playing, but it appears the QB room is set.
“Really the decision for that, too, has been Trevor has been getting a lot of great looks here in practice, and we feel like he’s in a good spot,” Pederson said on Tuesday when explaining why Lawrence wouldn’t be suiting up.
Lawrence has taken 100 percent of the first-team reps at practice during camp thus far, an extensive number of reps in preparation for the season ahead. With an extra preseason game added due to the team getting set to induct its first Hall of Famer into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Tony Boselli, there isn’t a reason to see Lawrence play.
Etienne missed practice on Tuesday due to a reported undisclosed illness, but that wasn’t the reason given by Pederson as to why he will miss Thursday’s game.
“Right now, he’s done some great things in practice, and I just want to protect him a little bit, even with the injury, still just making sure that he’s 100% healthy as we get ready for the regular season,” he said.
“He’s going to be a big asset to the young running backs in this game and help those guys out.”
Etienne is nearly a year removed from a devastating Lisfranc injury that cost him his rookie year. Though he has made his way back to full-speed practice time, Pederson wanted to play it safe, making sure the second-year RB is ready for gameday moving forward.
The Jaguars will utilize this game as a way to evaluate the bulk of the roster, particularly young players. Pederson noted that there are still battles playing out and that the exhibition contest against the Raiders will be important as they continue through training camp and the preseason.
“I want to see all the guys in uniform, that dress, get snaps because it’s still evaluation time, right? We’re still evaluating our roster. And, you know, we got a lot of young guys and a lot of battles that we want to really start seeing in game situations.”
Pederson stated that there will be some starters playing, but did not indicate which ones would be.
With rookie center Luke Fortner currently installed as the team’s starting center, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get some reps on Thursday. The same can be said for the No. 1 overall pick, outside linebacker Travon Walker, though it would be surprising to see either player play very long.