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How Good Can Trevor Lawrence Be in 2023?

Trevor Lawrence

While there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic in Jacksonville this year, reason number one is Trevor Lawrence. In the second half of the 2022 NFL season, the Jacksonville Jaguars starting quarterback came to life. He began to produce as the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft should produce. The team began to win games because of Lawrence’s arm and skill rather than in spite of it.

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Lawrence was good last year, but he was not great. He was right around the middle of the NFL in QBR and overall QB rating. His stats were also good but not great with 4,113 passing yards, 25-8 touchdown/int, and a 66.3% completion percentage. He led the Jaguars to the playoffs and even won a playoff game, but he also threw four interceptions in the first half of that game.  With a couple of new weapons, a good coach, and a good offensive game plan, 2023 should be the year that Lawrence steps into the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks.

There Is Hope in Jacksonville Because of Trevor Lawrence

There has not been this much excitement leading into an NFL season in Jacksonville since 2018. The magical run of 2017, the year that “Myles Jack wasn’t down,” looked like it could turn into something special. It did not. The team went 5-11 in 2018, 6-10 in 2019, and then 1-15 in 2020. The hope of 2018 was replaced by a type of melancholy that only really comes when your team ends up with the number one overall pick in the draft…two years in a row.

At first, 2022 did not look much different than the previous years. They started the year 2-6, but then something happened. The Jaguars ended the season at 9-8 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2017. They even beat the Chargers in the opening round. After a loss to the Chiefs, Jaguar fans were disappointed but immediately began to look to 2023 with hope. It is a different type of hope than what was there in 2018, the hope seems more real.

The reason there is real hope, a different type of hope, is because of QB1 Trevor Lawrence. There is a huge difference between starting the year with Blake Bortles as your starter and starting a year with Trevor Lawrence taking the snaps. The following reasons are why Trevor Lawrence is worthy of the city’s hope and is going to have his best year yet in Jacksonville.

Year 2 of Doug Pederson’s Offense

Lawrence essentially lost his rookie year due to one of the worst coaching hires of all time. Urban Meyer was not mentally fit to lead an NFL team and he was fired after just 11 games and one kicked punter. The team was in shambles, and the support and coaching that a rookie quarterback needs in the NFL was sorely lacking. The 2021 season was a complete disaster for the team and it was not a good start to the promising career of Trevor Lawrence.

Enter head coach Doug Pederson. The coaching search began for the Jaguars in the offseason following the release of Meyer, and it initially appeared that the team had passed on Pederson. They ended up coming back to him and making what, at least so far, seems like a really good decision in bringing in Pederson. He has a good track record of developing quarterbacks, was a good backup in the NFL himself, and seems to have righted the ship in Jacksonville. Having good coaching and the consistency of two years in a row with the same coach and system should be one of the main reasons Lawrence will improve.

He Makes Others Better

Coming into 2022, Evan Engram looked like a potential NFL bust in New York. After being the 23rd pick in the 2017 draft and then playing well in his rookie season, his career started to decline. With Trevor Lawrence throwing him the ball, in 2022 he set career highs in yards and receptions. Christian Kirk was and is primarily a slot receiver. In his four years with the Arizona Cardinals, Kirk averaged just over 725 yards per game. In 2022, his first year with Lawrence, Kirk had a career-high 1,108 yards receiving along with setting career marks in touchdowns and receptions as well. Zay Jones came into his seventh season in the NFL averaging 314 yards and 28.5 receptions per year. In his first year as a Jaguar, he set career highs with 82 receptions and 823 receiving yards.

Doug Pederson is a good offensive coach and the team had good game plans every week. At the same time, statistical jumps like what was seen with all three of Lawrence’s new weapons do not happen just because of good playcalling. The common denominator for the statistically relevant increase for all three new players in Jacksonville was Trevor Lawrence. The thing that should scare opposing defensive coordinators this season is that Lawrence will have a true number-one wide receiver for the first time in his short career in addition to these other weapons.

He Can Make Every Throw

There have been some questions about Lawrence’s accuracy and mechanics during his first two years, but there have never been any questions about his arm. He has great touch on short passes, a cannon strong enough to hit a deep out, can throw on the run, and has the arm strength to connect on the deep ball. He is one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in the NFL. With good coaching and mechanics, he improved in year two, and those mechanics coupled with the natural talent that was already there should make Lawrence a top-five NFL quarterback.

In Jacksonville, pundits and fans are talking about a 5,000-yard season for the third-year quarterback. That number has only been reached 15 times in NFL history, but it is definitely possible with the extra game. No matter if he reaches that mark or not, Lawrence is poised to have a great, not just good, season in Jacksonville, and that is something that the long-suffering Jags fans deserve.

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Main Image: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports


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