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Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence gave his team a scare on Monday night with a decision to run followed by a decision not to slide. Lawrence got blasted, and fortunately for him and the Jaguars he got up.
Watch the play again, or look at the attached photo. Watch Lawrence’s right knee. He almost gets it blown apart with what would have been a perfectly clean and legal hit by defensive back Ken Crawley.
“It was third down, that’s the only reason I did it,” Lawerence told reporters after the game. “I thought about it right there. There was a little pocket to slide, but they mark you back from where you start your slide so I wouldn’t have got the first down. Third and fourth down you got to go get it.”
In the Super Bowl, yes. In a playoff game, yes. In a preseason game, no.
“I’d like to see that,” coach Urban Meyer said when asked whether he’d prefer that Lawrence would protect himself. “I didn’t have a chance to talk to him yet. I will. But I know what kind of competitor he is, and he was gonna get that first down. Obviously, you’d like to see him get down.”
Yes, you would. Because if a quarterback doesn’t get down, he eventually doesn’t get up.
We’ve seen it time and again. Long gone are the days of chiding quarterbacks who hit the deck, while running or in the pocket, or head out of bounds. Delivering a hit or trying to buy an extra second for someone to get open or gaining a yard isn’t worth risking the health of the most important player on the team.
The good news is that Lawrence was able to get an idea as to the limits of his physical abilities, and as to the extent of the physical pounding that NFL players can dispense.