The Jacksonville Jaguars knew they were getting a generational talent when they drafted Trevor Lawrence first overall in 2021. Although he got off to a rocky start to his NFL career, Lawrence made a huge leap in 2022, and offensive coordinator Press Taylor recalls the game when he realized the former Clemson Tiger was legit.
Taylor recently had a sitdown with Peter Schrager of NFL Media and discussed several topics, including his coaching career, his stint with the Philadelphia Eagles, and the rise of Lawrence. From the get-go, Taylor knew he was coaching a special talent because he had been around the likes of Michael Vick and Sam Bradford. However, it was only against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 12 that he got to witness Lawrence's wings were in full display.
"I've been around really good high picks, Michael Vick, Sam Bradford, those types, Carson Wentz", Taylor told Schrager. "You've been around those high picks, and you've seen it, you're like, 'Okay, it's on par with that, it's special'. And getting to be around them through the offseason, you're like, 'This guy's really laid back, nothing seems to bother him'. But you don't know, you haven't been in any fire with him yet".
"Going through the season, we kind of start out with highs and lows. Things are going good, we hit a rough patch but you believe this guy's something special. But the mindset I think really showed up to me particularly was the Baltimore game. That's kind of where we started to hit our stride. We're in the fourth quarterback, we need a drive to win the game, and he looks like he's just playing catch in the backyard. From the press box, you can feel this momentum building in the way this kid's playing, the confidence, the way he's throwing the ball", Taylor said.
"You're just watching him throw it and you know there's a little more conviction in that, you see the passion come out and the way we win the gam and all that, so you start to see, you start to think, 'Okay, this mindset thing with this kid is real'. He is steady, he's even-kneeled. He's composed but he's passionate. He's a fiery fighter, and that's kind of what you wanted to see and I hadn't seen yet", Taylor said.
The Jags were 19-10 early in the fourth quarter of their Week 12 matchup against Baltimore. However, they rallied from behind and beat the Baltimore Ravens 28-27 with a last-minute two-point conversion. Lawrence went 27-of-39 for 321 passing yards with three touchdowns that game. Here's the play that got Jacksonville on top:
Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence had shown flashes but put it all together in 2022
Even though Lawrence had an underwhelming rookie campaign, he consistently displayed flashes of what he was capable of. Not surprisingly, he improved significantly once he got a head coach that knew how to squeeze every ounce of talent out of him.
But as important as Doug Pederson is in Lawrence's development, Taylor's role can't be underlooked. Pederson has to oversee the whole team while Taylor is frequently working with the young passer and asking him for feedback to tweak and improve the offense.
Pederson surely had a robust of candidates eager to work with Lawrence but he knew Taylor from his days as the head coach of the Eagles and knew what he could do first hand. You could argue that Taylor negatively impacted Wentz's growth, but he's shown with the Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Commander that coaching isn't the reason for this fall from grace. In fact, Taylor is one of the many reasons Lawrence is quickly moving up the quarterback ranks after a stellar 2022 season.
The bottom line is that Taylor knows a special talent when he sees it and did his part to ensure Trevor Lawrence succeeded.