Jaguars HC Doug Pederson: Trevor Lawrence proven he can carry the team on his back

Jacksonville Jaguars Offseason Workout
Jacksonville Jaguars Offseason Workout / James Gilbert/GettyImages

Trevor Lawrence showed signs of growth and led the Jacksonville Jaguars to several close wins last year. Heading into the 2023 season, head coach Doug Pederson is excited about what his young quarterback can accomplish.

Pederson made an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show and said that Lawrence proved in 2022 that Lawrence can carry the team on his shoulders but needs to get off to a stronger start next season.

"Going into year three, two with us, I think the way he played the back half of the season, that's the way he needs to start this year", Pederson said. "There was a lot of confidence at the end of the year with him, and that's the next phase, right? It's putting all of that together and we feel or I feel like he's the guy he showed towards the end of the eight games and put the team on his back, we don't want him to throw four picks and then throw four touchdowns."

"We'd rather just go for a touchdown and win a football game, but he can do that. He's capable of putting the team on his back and finishing a football game, and potentially win. He did that against Baltimore. Obviously, the Cowboys was more of a pick-six walk-off there but he did some things late in the season that proved to us that he's our guy and we're excited about that. So for him to take the next step is having that confidence where the end of the season and start this year that way and try to come out with a fast start and finish faster", Pederson said.

Lawrence helped the Jaguars win a couple games early in the 2022 season but also made several costly mistakes. But following the loss to the Denver Broncos in London, he showed huge improvement and was a big reason Jacksonville managed to go 7-1 the rest of the way. Then in the playoffs, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft overcame four early interceptions and threw four touchdown passes to beat the Los Angeles Chargers in Super Wild Card Weekend. Here's the clip of Pederson's exchange with Rich Eisen.

Jaguars HC Doug Pederson sees Trevor Lawrence as a top QB in the AFC South

After playing at a high level in the second half of the 2022 season, Lawrence has been frequently discussed as an ascending quarterback and one of the best in the whole league. Pederson thinks that he's taken the steps towards joining Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, and Josh Allen in the upper echelon of signal-callers in 2023.

"I think he's chasing that. I think he's close to putting himself with that group and he's very capable of putting himself in that group. Those guys have obviously got a couple years of experience on him but he's heading in the right direction and I think the AFC is in good hands overall with the youth at quarterback. We've got one of those guys, we feel really confident in Trevor. He's working with the skill and ability that we've been able to provide him and put around him. That's the next step in getting himself into that conversation. And he started doing that in the last season", Pederson said.

Pederson goes on to say that Lawrence's leadership and growth have been evident and it now needs to carry into the 2023 season.

Depending on whom you ask, Lawrence may or may not already be a top 5 quarterback but he's certainly putting in the work to be brought up when discussing the best players at the position in 2023. And if he's able to pick up where he left off last year, he and the Jacksonville Jaguars will be on everyone's radar.

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