The Jacksonville Jaguars were riding high heading into Week 13. At 8-3, they had run into a few speed bumps but they still showed enough to be discussed as one of the top teams in the AFC. However, things have changed a bit. Besides losing to the Cincinnati Bengals and dropping to No. 4 in the playoff race, star quarterback Trevor Lawrence suffered an ankle sprain and could miss time.
The good news is that the injury isn't of the season-ending variety, and Lawrence could be back for the playoffs, or maybe even sooner. That said, the Jaguars aren't rushing him back, and would rather hold him out until he gets a bit better.
Make no mistake, if Lawrence could play, he would. He hasn't been ruled out for Week 14 and is doing everything he can to face Cleveland Brown. Then again, there's a good chance he won't suit up. He didn't practice Wednesday, and Jacksonville has a short week to prepare for the game, having played on Monday.
The most likely scenario is that C.J. Beathard will get the starting nod at quarterback, his first ever while donning the Black & Teal. The former Iowa Hawkeye filled in for Lawrence Monday and did enough to give the Jags one last shot at winning the game, going 9-of-10 for 63 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
Ultimately, Jacksonville fell, but the loss shouldn't be pinned on him. After all, the defense couldn't contain Jake Browning, nor stop the Bengals' running game. Moreover, the Jags had a three-point deficit with less than five minutes in regulation when he took over.
Currently, there's no timeline for Lawrence but an ankle sprain can take two to five weeks to heal,
So let's say Beathard gets the start against the Cleveland Browns, the Baltimore Ravens, and maybe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here are three reasons the Jaguars will be fine Lawrence during that stretch.
No. 3 C.J. Beathard if a fine quarterback that knows the offense firsthand
Having joined the Jaguars in 2021, Beathard knows the playbook like the palm of his hand. And like any other backup quarterback, he always prepares as if he were to start any week. He doesn't have to learn the offense on the fly, nor the coaching staff will have to limit the plays they'll call.
While Beathard isn't a starting-caliber quarterback at this stage of his career, he showed against the Bengals that he can keep the offense afloat if called upon. Extrapolate his performance to the next three weeks and the Jags should be able to hold the fort during Lawrence's potential absence.