Even though the Jacksonville Jaguars lost 24-13 to the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL preseason, Trevor Lawrence wasted no time and set the tone on offense. The second-year quarterback looked for wide receiver Zay Jones in his first pass attempt and connected with him for a 32-yard completion.
The catch was one of the game’s highlights and Jones talked about it after the game when he met with the local media. He said that it felt good to get his first cath “under his belt” as a Jaguar but notes that there’s still plenty of work to do.
"Kind of feel the energy from the team and from the crowd, so that was pretty cool. But it’s a long process, so I’m not going to dwell on it too long. I don’t think these guys are doing it too long because we know that ultimately, it’s the preseason. We need to get better."
Jones was then asked if his connection with Lawrence has gotten better, to which he jokingly replied, ‘he invited me to lunch today, so sure, I think so’. He goes on to describe the quarterback as “a very easy person to talk to” and someone who “cares about his players”. In the same manner, Lawrence told the media that it was good to see Jones fight for the catch.
Besides his 32-yard grab, Jones had another reception for 15 yards. He wasn’t the only Jaguar to show promise against the Browns though. Tight end Evan Engram hauled in a nine-yard touchdown reception and running back Travis Etienne picked up more than ten yards in a couple plays. Here’s Jones’ catch in case you miss it or want to watch it again.
Jaguars WR Zay Jones is making the most of his opportunity.
The 2016 second-round pick signed a three-year deal worth $24 million in free agency and is expected to have a big role on offense. Although it’s early to tell whether he will be able to live up to expectations, the early results are encouraging.
Although the Jaguars earned plenty of criticism for giving Christian Kirk a four-year, $72 million contract, Jones’ deal also raised eyebrows. This writer wasn’t on board with the team paying a premium for a player that has topped 600 receiving yards in a season just once over the last five years. However, the team’s brass said at the time that he’s the perfect complement to Kirk due to his 4.4 speed and his ability to line up inside or outside.
So far, the Jaguars are getting a return on their investment. Jones was one of the stars of training camp and his performance carried over against the Browns. As he said, it’s just the preseason and they need to build off of the performance but it’s good to see him develop a rapport with Lawrence.