As it turns out, the “quarterback competition” that was unfolding for the Jacksonville Jaguars was much ado about nothing.
With one preseason game to play, on the heels of a less than inspiring showing Monday night against the New Orleans Saints, head coach Urban Meyer has announced that the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Trevor Lawrence, will be the Week 1 starter.
“Trevor’s going to be the starter Week 1, and he’ll start this week as well,” Meyer said, according to Jaguars.com.
Urban Meyer had insisted that it was a quarterback competition
When Lawrence was selected first overall, it was widely assumed that he would be the Week 1 starting quarterback and that everything leading up to it was pageantry. Maybe it was orchestrated to put pressure on Lawrence to grow. Maybe Meyer really didn’t know what he would do.
Regardless of the intention, Meyer insisted that it was an open competition for the right to be the Week 1 starting quarterback.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Lawrence said when asked about the competition, according to ESPN. “I think that’s the way to run a team, honestly. The best player has to play and you’ve got to compete. As a first-year player coming in, it’s kind of what’s expected. You want to compete for the job. There’s a right way to do things, and I think they’ve handled it great. We’re in a good spot and we’re just going to keep working, and I’m going to take advantage of every opportunity I get. That’s all I can really do.”
Despite the “competition,” there has been no drama out of Lawrence. He has handled things smoothly. On the field, however, things haven’t been perfect.
Lawrence has been shaky throughout the preseason
Through two preseason games, Lawrence is 20-of-30 (62%) for 184 passing yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 78.1 passer rating.
He’s made some nice throws, but he has largely looked rushed and rattled, has had happy feet in the pocket, and has repetitively double-clutched throws where wide receivers were open.
Lawrence needs more reps.
The ongoing battle between him and Gardner Minshew II has meant splitting snaps at the position instead of committing to the future franchise quarterback out of the gate. Being named the starting quarterback now means the timeline for his growth has to be expedited, as there is only one more preseason game before the regular season kicks off.
What does this mean for Gardner Minshew?
Minshew likely isn’t going anywhere.
Meyer has made it clear throughout camp that he sees a lot of value in what Minshew brings to the team.
“He’s earned my respect. I love that guy. He’s a warrior, a competitor. He’s a fighter. I told him that. I just got great respect for Minshew. He brings it every day, every day,” Meyer said, according to NFL.com.
Even with Lawrence being named the Week 1 starter, you can expect Minshew to stay on the roster as a “break glass in case of emergency” type of option.
As of now, Lawrence and No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson, quarterback for the New York Jets, are the two rookie quarterbacks slated to start as the regular season begins. Trey Lance of the San Francisco 49ers, Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears, and Mac Jones of the New England Patriots are still competing with incumbent veterans.
A new wave of franchise quarterbacks is coming with Lawrence leading the way.