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Jaguars Tuesday presser: “I’m not going to put a timetable on Trevor”

Doug Pederson speaks to the media following the loss to the Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images

Ouch.

The Jacksonville Jaguars suffered their fourth loss in five games at EverBank Stadium on Monday, going down 34-31 in overtime to the Cincinnati Bengals. Whilst the result was disappointing, it was the collateral damage that likely has fans concerned for the rest of the season. Four Jaguars suffered injuries during the game - the most alarming of all of them being Trevor Lawrence’s departure to the locker room in the second half. In his Tuesday press conference, head coach Doug Pederson addressed the health status of his team:

“Starting with Trevor [Lawrence], it’s a right high ankle sprain. Everything is stable, everything looks good. We’ll see where he is in a couple of days. Christian [Kirk] has a core muscle injury, he’s going to miss some time, he’ll be out. Walker [Little] has a left hamstring strain, we’ll see where he’s at strength wise and stability in a couple of days on that. Tre [Herndon] will be in the concussion protocol.”

Considering how fragile Lawrence looked when he left the field, Pederson’s assessment of his quarterback seemed relatively positive. That said, high ankle sprains are notoriously difficult to shake off, and missing game time is a real possibility. Pederson chose to see the positives when it came to back QB CJ Beathard’s preparation, should he be needed:

“It’s good. It’s good to get C.J. a full week of preparation. Trevor will stay mentally sharp and see where he’s at. To give C.J. the time this week with the offense and with Luke Fortner and the center-quarterback stuff, working with the running backs, it’ll be good for C.J. Otherwise, I thought last night C.J. filled in nicely.”

Pederson was asked if Lawrence would likely require surgery, to which he was confident that such a measure wasn’t necessary:

“I have not had discussions with the doctors about that. I don’t think that’s a necessary means at this point. I think just because it’s where it is in the ankle that it’s not necessarily something that surgery would be warranted at this time.”

So no surgery. But how optimistic was Pederson about his starting QB’s ability to be ready for the game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday? Not optimistic enough to commit to it:

“I’m not going to put a time table on Trevor, I’m not going to put him in a box like that. We’ll see how he is in a couple of days.”

More injury woes

If Lawrence’s status for this coming Sunday looks bleak, it’s even worse news for Christian Kirk. The wide receiver requires surgery for the core muscle injury he sustained, innocuously catching the ball whilst stumbling backwards in space. A timeframe of eight weeks is common for recovery from such surgery, which would render Kirk’s regular season over. After registering his first touchdown on Monday, Pederson was confident that Parker Washington was more than ready to fill the void:

“Yeah, Parker did a nice job last night. He made some plays, the touchdown was huge. But yes, he’d be the next guy up and then he’ll get a full week of work as well.”

That being said, there were suggestions that Parker didn’t line up correctly on the play where Lawrence got injured. Pederson seemed to confirm as much:

“Yeah, there was just some miscommunication with Parker and the decision he had with his route. There was a defender outside of him, defender inside of him and he was kind of caught in between. It’s just a young player who hasn’t had a lot of time yet or a lot of reps out there. Just an indecisive decision on Parker’s part in that particular case. It’s something that he’ll learn from and get better. Unfortunately, it ended up with Trevor being injured.”

That’s far from the end of the injury concerns; as mentioned, Tre Herndon left the game with a concussion and is in the protocol. He was replaced primarily by Antonio Johnson and Gregory Junior, who will deputize if Herndon misses any game time. Other issues from what was a busy night for the medical staff include Folorunso Fatukasi (heel) and Tyson Campbell (quad), who are both day to day. Running back Travis Etienne was a little sore (ribs), but figures to be fine going forward. And there was better news regarding Andre Cisco (shoulder), who should be fine to practice this week ahead of the trip to Cleveland.

Bengals postmortem

The litany of injuries to the Jaguars dominated the press conference, and it was easy to forget that this team just lost a home game to a team deprived of their own starting quarterback. In one of the games of the season in the NFL to date, the Bengals and Jaguars traded blows all evening. Pederson was asked a variety of questions about his opinion on various aspects of the game, beginning with the performance of the o-line:

“There’s always room for improvement. I thought there were some good things in the run game early, then we got stymied as the game went on. We got to continue to try to push the line of scrimmage, play on their side of the ball. We got stalemated a couple of times, so those are all things that we’ve got to continue to work on. The sacks came when we were in those two-minute modes and trying to push the ball down the field, that’s going to happen. I thought overall, decent, but could definitely improve.”

The bigger surprise was how the Jaguars defense struggled to shut down the Bengals, especially considering the high standards this unit had set so far this season. Jake Browning put up 350 yards through the air, whilst the Cincinnati ground game trundled to 156 yards. Pederson gave his thoughts on the defensive performance:

“I thought the way we started the game, we started extremely well. We were making plays, we were tackling along the perimeter. Then, things just got away from us. I felt like we were not gap-sound as much as the game went on. We missed tackles as the game went on, there were some coverage issues, just some basic things that the guys should know. It’s something that we’ve got to coach this week, we’ve got to show them and continue to improve. Even looking at it again, we were right there at the end with an opportunity to probably win the game with that last kick as opposed to getting it to overtime. Again, there was enough issues to go around in all three phases, but things we can clean up.”

One thing Pederson was pleased with, was how the team rallied in Trevor Lawrence’s absence - particularly stepping up to help when CJ Beathard stepped in:

“I thought last night the guys handled it fine, there’s a lot of confidence in C.J. [Beathard] obviously, he definitely commands the huddle. He’s smart, he knows our offense. I think the guys really handled it well because we were in a close ballgame, opportunity to win the football game. He did a nice job getting us down there for the tying field goal. Really, he did some good things while he was in there. Still a lot of confidence there and I didn’t think the guys waivered one bit.”