The Jacksonville Jaguars entered the 2023 season with high expectations. Unfortunately, they weren't able to meet them, failing to make the playoffs and winning the AFC South one year after accomplishing both feats. Trevor Lawrence, for one, isn't pleased with how things ended but believes it could benefit the Jags in the long run.
During a recent appearance on NFL Network, Lawrence said that not making the playoffs gives the Jaguars the opportunity to calibrate their approach, noting that it increases their sense of urgency and helps them work on areas they might've otherwise ignored.
"Obviously disappointed. I think everybody felt that way in the organization fan, city, all that," Lawrence said. "It's disappointing to finish the way we did, especially where we were at, 8-3 at one point in the season. I think it's an eye-opener for us. It could be a good thing for us in the long run. When you have a season that finishes that way, especially now making the playoffs in the position that we were in. It heightens the sense of urgency for everyone."
"We know we're not where we need to be. We're not where we want to be. You're coming off that instead of maybe we make the playoffs. We found a way to make the playoffs this year and we don't learn the lessons we do because we think we're a little bit better than maybe we are. It could heighten the sense of urgency you could put a little pressure on us in a good way and we need that. We got to get better this offseason."
"I think we got a good core group of guys and I trust the people we have in place. We just have to find ways to individually improve, improve as a team. Then, find a way to handle adversity a little bit better. The ups and downs of the season, we didn't handle as good as we did the year before. Find a way to finish. You've got to play your best ball at the end of the year. We played our best ball beginning/middle of the year instead of the end. That was not what you want when you want to make a run and push to the playoffs."
The Jaguars were 6-2 to start the 2023 season. However, they only managed to win three of their last nine games. After beating the Houston Texans in Week 12, they had a 99 percent chance to qualify the postseason but went on to drop four of their last six games. Despite their struggles, they would've qualified for the postseason if they had defeated the Tennessee Titans in the finale. They didn't and were eliminated from contention. Here's Lawrence's appearance on the NFL Network:
The Jaguars need to do a self-examination in the offseason
All things considered, it's reassuring to know that Trevor Lawrence doesn't operate in absolutes. While he is rightfully disappointed he and the Jaguars didn't do enough to make the playoffs in 2023, he's not banging his head on the wall because of it. He knows that dwelling too much on how the season went isn't overly productive. Instead, he's focused on what he can do to ensure the Jaguars don't fall short in 2024.
In his case, Lawrence must cut down on the turnovers. His interception totals went up last year. Some of it had to do with looking for a big play instead of taking the easy completion. In his defense, he had to overcompensate for the dearth of talent around him. On the other hand, he fumbled the ball 12 times. Fortunately, he's aware that's an area he needs to work on. That said, the team needs to also do its part if they want to bounce back in 2024.
The Jaguars need to reinforce the offensive line in the offseason. More often than not, Lawrence didn't have enough time to throw. Offensive coordinator Press Taylor, for his part, must craft a more creative game plan that doesn't overly rely on screen. Moreover, he needs to get the running game going and incorporate play-action more often.
The bottom line is that everyone on the Jacksonville Jaguars must look back at everything that went wrong last year and fix it. If they do, they'll have a legitimate shot to compete in the AFC South and make the playoffs in 2024.