Why Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence struggled in his NFL debut

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There is no easy way to say it, the Jacksonville Jaguars had an ugly Week 1 against the Houston Texans. In a 37-21 loss, Trevor Lawrence ended the day with 332 yards paired with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Lawrence wasn’t terrible but wasn’t that great either. At the end of the day he had some concerning overthrown balls, but the coaching, offensive line play and drops certainly didn’t help.

Early in the game the Jaguars defense let Brandin Cooks get over the top putting the Jaguars down 14-0 entering second quarter. After a few drops into the first drive and an illegal formation flag, Lawrence stood tall and threw his first touchdown of his NFL career.

Lawrence was looking poised in the pocket despite the pressure as he was attempting to end the half on a positive note since the game was still in reach at 17-7 but nothing seemed to go right as the the offensive line gets hit with another illegal formation and an offensive hold on the same play. His right tackle was lined up too far into the backfield putting them at second-and-long, it was at that moment when Lawrence threw his first interception.

Lawrence simply let this one get away from him. As he is rolling outside, trying to make a hard throw look easy, he overthrows his receiver. He seemed to be getting outside the pocket pretty often throughout the game and over throwing the ball was a constant theme. (below)

This throw was to DJ Chark and Lawrence actually has a clean pocket, but the ball just gets out of his hand a little too early, causing it to fly as he attempts to drop it in over the weakside linebacker. These are not easy throws, so its good to see him try, but not great when it ends in a turnover.

After a few good plays, it wasn’t long before his coaches put him in another terrible position with a ‘too many men on the field’ penalty, which landed him on his own 8 yard line. Texans Defensive Coordinator, Lovie Smith was doing a great job disguising coverage, as the defense lined up in press, the corner was actually free to make play on the ball.

Second interception (above) comes when Lawrence telegraphs the pass with his eyes to his receiver and cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, who makes a great play on the ball ending up with the interception. It wasn’t long before Lawrence was just doing anything to get out of the quicksand as Urban Meyer forced Lawrence to throw a whopping 51 attempted passes. He usually praises the run game which seemed non-existent against the Texans.

As the game is clearly out of reach Lawrence throws his third interception in what looks like the rookie is overthinking as he throws it right to the other team. There is really nothing to break-down on this one. (below)

After the game, Lawrence admitted that there is no way to win a game giving up three takeaways. He had opportunities to check the ball down more which would have helped in some situations, but honestly, overall his performance wasn’t that bad as the Lawrence and the passing offense still came away with three touchdowns. These are all fixable mistakes, and we cant take anything away from the Texans defense, Lovie Smith called a great game forcing the rookie quarterback to sit and go through his reads as he was playing from behind the entire game.

Lawrence made some amazing throws against the Texans despite the pressures and drops. You cant deny his pocket awareness and arm strength as he throws this deep dart down field in between defenders for a touchdown. (Below)

Lawrence did not use his feet to gain yards the entire game, in fact he ended with negative two rushing yards. If he stuck to what he knows and just threw short passes as they slowly moved up the field, it would have helped. Throwing on 2nd & Short is better than 2nd & Long after an incompletion, no team will win going 3 for 11 on third downs. The rookie quarterback and Meyer have a long way to go and a lot to fix but this is not out of reach. There were a ton of coaching mistakes that did not help Lawrence in his opening game, and they certainly need to clean it up before seeing the Denver Broncos this upcoming week.