New Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley can help Trevor Lawrence improve in this key metric

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) runs the ball during organized team activities.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) runs the ball during organized team activities. / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA

Heading into the 2023 season, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is trying to improve all areas of his game and one key metric in which wide receiver Calvin Ridley could help him get better is his deep passing performance.

Lauren Grey of Pro Football Focus recently ranked all starting quarterbacks from last year by deep passing performance and listed Lawrence at No. 16, noting that he improved in the second half of the 2022 season. Grey adds that the addition of Ridley and the presence of Christian Kirk should help Lawrence get even better.

"Lawrence struggled early on from deep (69.9 passing grade through Week 9) but he got comfortable as the season wore on (92.8 grade from Week 10 on). Jacksonville will be welcoming Calvin Ridley into the fold in 2023. From 2018-2020, Ridley (94.5) ranked top 10 in receiving yards (1,038), touchdowns (10), and first downs (32). If he can return back to this form, he and Christian Kirk (92.4) should have no problem stretching the field. "

In his first season with the Jags, Kirk hauled in 84 receptions for 1,108 yards with eight touchdowns. Although Ridley will eat up some of his targets, he will draw coverage away from him, which should in turn provide him with enticing one-on-one matchups. Similarly, Ridley's presence will allow the coaching staff will be able to deploy Kirk in the slot — where he's at his best.

In a different article, Grey pointed out that Lawrence's sack rate of 5.6 percent was one of the lowest in the league while average throwing time of 2.61 seconds ranked third among quarterbacks. This means that the former Clemson Tiger got rid of the ball quickly not because he was pressured but rather because he processed the field quickly.

If Ridley does stretch the field, Lawrence's average throwing time will go up but so will his yards per attempt and his total tally of passing yards. On the other hand, he needs to take what defenses give him and avoid turnovers when trying to make plays.

Either way, Lawrence might have a realistic shot at eclipsing the 5,000-yard mark if the offensive line holds up and Ridley plays the way he did in 2020, when he caught 90 passes for 1,374 receiving yards with nine touchdowns.

Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence is working on become a better leader too

Trevor Lawrence is rounding out all aspects of his game. After the Jaguars' seventh Organized Team Activities, he met with the local media and said that he's working on the little things of the position and trying to be more consistent.

"But how do I just play in and play out? Be more consistent", Lawrence said. "Take the checkdown on certain plays. When do I trust my instincts? Being smart about all that, I do that well at times, but there's sometimes I could be a little bit more consistent. Make the easy plays, make the routine plays every time and that's where I'm trying to improve on".

Lawrence then said that having known his teammates for a while has helped him be more comfortable in a leadership role.

"You have those relationships with guys that have been here since my rookie year and then guys that came in last year, other than now being a third-year guy with the rookies coming in. You had the experience where you feel more comfortable speaking up and being the leader in the room, leader of the offense", Lawrence said.

Lawrence then added that he didn't know much about Ridley but getting to know him as a person and seeing his work ethic "has been the coolest part of having him here". Here's Lawrence exchange with the media.

Ridley has gotten lots of hype ahead of the regular season and if he lives up to it, the Jaguars' wide receiver corps will be one of the best in the league. Similarly, Lawrence will most likely ascend to the upper echelon of NFL quarterback, and that's why the Jacksonville Jaguars can't probably wait for the 2023 season to begin!

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