Quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be a game-time decision for Sunday’s do-or-die matchup with the Tennessee Titans.
The Jags’ Lawrence practiced Friday, and will continue to rehab and adjust prior to Sunday’s game. As for how he has done so far in the recovery process, head coach Doug Pederson applauded Lawrence’s efforts.
“Handled it great,” Pederson said of Lawrence on Friday. “It is day by day. (Friday) will be a big day for him. He is progressing good. (Friday) will be the first time seeing him throw harder than (Thursday) and the days before.”
Today was the most throwing Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence has done during the open media portion of practice this week. pic.twitter.com/VxtfitB5FI— Michael DiRocco (@ESPNdirocco) January 5, 2024
It likely will be right before kickoff when the world knows if Lawrence is playing or not. Lawrence has not practiced with the team as much as if he was healthy, but has rather focused on the timing and game plan side of things this past week.
“He has been plugged in and engaged all week. Now, it is just the physical part,” Pederson said.
At the end of the day, the choice is essentially up to Lawrence to relay what his body is telling him to the coaching staff.
“If he is good to go, he is good to go,” Pederson said.
The Jags could also be returning key offensive starters in receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones.
Kirk is day to day, and his status for the upcoming game has to be made by Saturday. So far, Kirk has progressed nicely after abdominal surgery.
“He has looked good,” Pederson said of Kirk. “He is hitting some of his old benchmark numbers as far as running is concerned, straight line running. Now it is a matter of cutting and football work. We will ramp him up and see how he feels.”
As for Jones, he is expected to play Sunday after being out since the Ravens game with a hamstring injury.
Offensive linemen Ezra Cleveland and Walker Little are also making positive strides. Pederson described the pair as in “a good spot” prior to Sunday.
The fine line for Pederson and his coaching staff will be weighing the risk of playing guys in order to win or continuing to rest players if the team is to make it to the playoffs.
“It is a fine line,” Pederson said. “This game is obviously a game you have to have and you want everybody available if possible. But at the same time, you never want to jeopardize a player’s future with further injury. We take (injuries) case by case. In Kirk’s case, there is more to it.”
With players returning to the practice fold, Pederson noted the team has had another solid week of preparation. Last week, the team said it was in great shape, and then proceeded to shut out the Carolina Panthers.
“It has been good,” Pederson said of practice. “They understand where we are and the importance of practice. The way you play on Sunday is a direct relation to how you practice during the week. If you practice well, you play well. Last week was an indication of that.”
Everyone on the team knows the Titans are going to empty the playbook in an effort to stifle the Jags’ playoff hopes. This game is always meaningful, and it is even more so this year with a second AFC South title on the line for the Jags.
“(The Titans) continue to play hard and it’s that rivalry game,” Pederson said. “On top of that, there is a lot of pride there. Guys are going to continue to play and play hard. They want to go off into the offseason with a good feeling. They have been talking about it all week. You have to guard against trick stuff, gadget stuff. It takes a heightened sense of urgency and approach.”
One aspect Pederson thinks will play an important role in Sunday’s contest is fan involvement. The Jags are expecting a big crowd in Nashville, and hopefully they will have plenty to celebrate about when the clock strikes 0:00.
“It is huge,” Pederson said of fan travel. “It is exciting to see our fans on the road. Credit to the team. When you have a good product, they want to come and support. The louder it is, the better.”