The Jaguars have been host to some highly esteemed guests this week. Former Jaguars' running back and current NFL Network analyst Maurice Jones-Drew spoke to the team on Tuesday. Today, it was coaching legend Jimmy Johnson's turn to inspire these Jaguars. Jacksonville head coach Urban Meyer has a strong relationship with Johnson and sought out his counsel prior to taking the step to NFL.
Lawrence's Big Day
After a practice on Tuesday that saw Trevor Lawrence not turn in his best effort — he was still 9/15 with two touchdowns and one interception — the rookie quarterback responded with a tremendous outing. He split time between the first and second offensive unit and was equally impressive with both groups. In all, Lawrence completed 16/20 passes with three drops and one inaccurate pass. In red-zone work, he converted five straight passes into touchdowns, with one going to wide receiver Tavon Austin (more on him later), two to tight end James O'Shaughnessy, another to receiver Jeff Cotton, and one to rookie tight end Luke Farrell, who fought threw a defensive holding to make the grab. Lawrence made good decisions, delivered accurate passes, and didn't turn the ball over.
With Gardner Minshew taking the first reps with the ones for much of the week so far, it looks Lawrence might be in line to come off the bench in the preseason opener against the Browns. Still, I would be shocked if Lawrence doesn't start in week one of the regular season.
Tavon Austin has gone from a street free agent to a training camp star. A familiar story? Yes, another former first-round pick, receiver Laquon Treadwell has also played with consistency and turned in some explosive plays for the Jaguars this summer. But with a rash of injuries at receiver, the Jaguars called upon another veteran receiver, Tavon Austin. Austin has not disappointed, showing off speed, route running ability, and ball skills. Over the last two practices, Austin has found the endzone four times. It doesn't seem to matter who's throwing him the ball, either. He just gets open and makes plays.
Key Pieces Return
Several critical members of the squad returned to the team today. Defensive end Josh Allen (personal) rejoined the team after missing the last two practices. Wide Receiver Laviska Shenault (personal) also participated fully after missing practice Tuesday. Starting left guard Andrew Norwell didn't practice fully, but he did get in more work than he has over the last few outings and wore pads. Wide Receiver Phillip Dorsett also returned in a limited fashion after missing much of the last week. And CJ Henderson, who practiced with the team on Tuesday, also practiced fully on Wednesday. Stacking practices is key for Henderson after missing so much time this offseason and at the start of training camp. The Jaguars are still without receiver DJ Chark, who will likely miss the entire preseason recovering from surgery on a finger.
The Tight Ends
James O'Shaughnessy is the only consistent receiving threat for the Jaguars at tight end right now. He has caught virtually everything thrown to him and has an apparent connection with rookie Trevor Lawrence. But Chris Manhertz, who is known as one of the best blocking tight ends in football, has not impressed in the receiving game. He seems to be fighting the ball a bit. Natural hands? I think not. Tim Tebow has made some plays, but he looks slow and short. He also dropped a would-be first down on fourth down late in practice today. The other guys, Ben Ellefson, Tyler Davis, and Luke Farrell, have all made some plays, but they don't appear ready to make a big impact. At this point, O'Shaughnessy is the only real threat in the passing game.
Thursday will be the Jaguars' final practice before their preseason opener against the Browns on Saturday. That game kicks off at 7 pm at The Bank.
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