Meyer won’t commit to Lawrence as Jags’ starter

  • Covered University of Florida for 13 seasons for and Florida Times-Union
  • Graduate of Jacksonville University
  • Multiple APSE award winner

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — One month shy of the season opener, Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer isn’t publicly ready to commit to Trevor Lawrence as his starting quarterback.

When asked whether there’s still an open competition between Lawrence, this year’s No. 1 pick, and Gardner Minshew to take the first snap against the Houston Texans on Sept. 12, the answer from the first-year head coach was “Yes.”

That came moments after Meyer said he and his staff would determine Thursday night which player would start Saturday’s preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns at TIAA Bank Field.

Lawrence and Minshew have been alternating days with the first team during training camp, with the rookie working with the first team Thursday. After an off-day, Minshew will get first-team reps Saturday.

Per ESPN Stats & Information research, seven of the past nine quarterbacks selected first in the draft have started their team’s season opener. The only two who didn’t are Baker Mayfield (2018) and Jared Goff (2016).

Lawrence has completed 70.4% of his passes with 24 touchdowns and six interceptions in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills through the first 12 practices of training camp. Minshew has completed 70% of his passes with 16 touchdowns and one interception.

Lawrence threw seven touchdown passes during the team’s scrimmage Sunday.

“He’s doing really well,” Meyer said.

Lawrence threw for 10,098 yards and 90 touchdowns with 17 interceptions in three seasons at Clemson. He led the Tigers to three consecutive appearances in the College Football Playoff and the 2018 national title.

Minshew, a sixth-round pick in 2019, replaced injured Nick Foles in the season opener as a rookie and led the Jaguars to a 6-6 record while completing 60.6% of his passes and throwing for 3,271 yards and 21 touchdowns with six interceptions.

The Jaguars traded Foles in March 2020 and gave Minshew the chance to prove he could be the long-term starter. And although he completed 66.1% of his passes and threw 16 touchdowns and five interceptions, the Jaguars went 1-7 in his starts and he was benched for rookie Jake Luton and veteran Mike Glennon after he returned from a thumb injury that he hid from the coaching staff.

“I didn’t know Minshew. I knew his [college] coach very well, Mike Leach,” Meyer said. “I don’t say we got off to a bad start, but I just didn’t see very much of him — but he’s earned my respect. I love that guy. He’s a warrior-competitor. He’s a fighter. I told him that. I’ve just got great respect for Minshew. He brings it every day. Every day.”

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