The Jacksonville Jaguars could be without Trevor Lawrence when they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16. Lawrence entered concussion protocol following the loss to the Baltimore Ravens and still hasn't been cleared. But whether he manages to play or not, backup C.J. Beathard is preparing as if he'll be behind center Sunday. As a matter of fact, he's approach to Game Day hasn't changed one bit.
Beathard met with the local media Wednesday and acknowledged that he's getting extra reps in practice in light of Lawrence's absence but has otherwise stuck to his usual routine.
"It's the same thing, a lot more reps in practice and stuff but preparing the same way you got to prepare as if you're going to be going," Beathard said. "Hopefully, Trev clears concussion protocol by this week for sure."
The Jaguars haven't ruled out Lawrence for Sunday yet but Beathard is getting the bulk of the reps for the time being. Beathard points out that he's gotten more practice than other years but believes that at this point, getting ready for game day is a mindset.
"The mindset is, being my seventh year in the league, it's just a lot of experience even when the starter isn't banged up or whatever, preparing like you might have to go into the game. It's what you have to do, so at this point, it's a mindset," Beathard said.
Beathard continued, "I feel like this year, I've actually gotten to practice a lot more than the years past as far as with the starters when Trevor has missed a couple practices here and there. It's benefited me and helped me in the long run. I'm getting reps with certain guys and that kind of stuff."
A third-round pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 2017, Beathard last started a game in Week 16 of the 2020 season, completing 67.5 percent of his passes for 273 yards with one touchdown. He joined the Jags in 2021 and got a new-year deal this past offseason. Since landing in Jacksonville, the former Iowa Hawkeye has attempted 27 passes and completed 21 for 145 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.
Beathard's most extensive action in Jaguars uniform came in the Week 13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Subbing in for Lawrence, he went 9-of-10 for 63 yards. He threw a nicely placed pass to wide receiver Calvin Ridley that would've put the Jaguars within scoring distance but a holding penalty wiped out the play. Here's Beathard's full exchange with the media.
CJ Beathard is trending toward starting for the Jaguars in Week 16
Trevor Lawrence was questionable to play against the New Orleans Saints and the Cleveland in Weeks 7 and 14, respectively. He ended up suiting up both times but there's a chance he won't play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He could be cleared in time but players tend to miss nine games on average when they're in concussion protocol, so there's no guarantee.
While head coach Doug Pederson would like to have Trevor Lawrence under center, the Jags need to warm up to the idea of going with C.J. Beathard. As Pederson noted when he spoke to the local media Wednesday, Lawrence's health comes first, and Beathard has shown, albeit in a limited sample, that he can keep the team afloat.
Not helping Beathard is that the offensive line has struggled and Zay Jones could sit out this upcoming game. Then again, the Jaguars cannot use injuries as an excuse, especially with the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans lurking behind.
At 8-6, the Jacksonville Jaguars find themselves in a three-way tie for first play in the division. Having lost three games in a row, they cannot afford to lose another one when they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.