Trevor Lawrence still in concussion protocol: Jaguars must embrace potential absence

• Trevor Lawrence remains in concussion protocol ahead of Week 16. The Jaguars may need to roll with backup C.J. Beathard.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) runs onto the field before a regular season
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) runs onto the field before a regular season / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence entered concussion protocol after the loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football. While he's making progress, Lawrence hasn't been cleared yet and there's a realistic chance the Jacksonville Jaguars will be without him when they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16. Head coach Doug Pederson met with the local media and shared a few updates regarding the star quarterback.

Pederson says Lawrence is making progress but remains in protocol," We're still in the protocol progressing well, but we have to follow the we follow the steps, so can't skip anything."

The Jaguars head coach later said that he cannot disclose specifics on head injuries, leaving Lawrence's status for Sunday in question but noted that the team will make sure he's 100 percent before he's thrust into action.

"The number one thing is making sure he's 100 percent and he has been cleared by all the specialists. Then you have to make a decision as a team and see where he's at. But it definitely makes it harder," Pederson said.

Later in the exchange, Pederson told the media that C.J. Beathard could benefit from being named the starter and getting extra reps in practice. On the other hand, the Jaguars aren't ruling out Lawrence's getting cleared just yet, pointing out that every team would like for their starter to play.

"I think there's an advantage to C.J. if came out and said he's the guy but you always leave the door open for the chance that Trevor clears. This has nothing to do with C.J. or the backup quarterback but you want your starter to play. Especially at the quarterback position, right? That's a given but at the same time, internally, you prepare and C.J. does a great job of preparation. He knows the situation, it's the life of a backup," Pederson said.

Lawrence played the full game against the Ravens, completing 58.1 percent of his passes for 264 yards with one touchdown, no interceptions, and two lost fumbles. Once the contest ended, he self-reported symptoms to the training staff and promptly landed in protocol. Here's Pederson's full exchange with the media.

Trevor Lawrence gives the Jaguars a better chance, the nod may go to C.J. Beathard

There's no timeline for getting clearance, so Trevor Lawrence could miss anything from a week to the remainder of the season. Fellow quarterback C.J. Stroud missed Week 16 with a concussion and he'll be likely out for Sunday. Now, every case is different, and Lawrence could be available against the Bucs. Maybe that's why Doug Pederson refused to share any updates regarding his status for the game.

As Pederson noted, the Jags would like to have Lawrence, especially when you take into account that they're in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC South with the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts. Simply, Jacksonville cannot afford to drop another game and extend their losing streak to four. Having said that, they have no control over whether Lawrence gets cleared.

This wouldn't probably be an issue if the Jaguars were winning but they were struggling even when Lawrence was behind center. There's no doubt C.J. Beathard is a capable player but there's a dropoff from Lawrence to him. Then again, the best teams adjust to injuries. Precisely, the Texans managed to beat the Tennesee Titans without C.J. Stroud. Similarly, Indianapolis lost starter Anthony Richardson for the season in Week 4. Yet, they've overcome their absence and are currently in the thick of the playoff race.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are entering a pivotal point in the 2023 season. Losing in Week 16 would be a huge blow to their playoff hopes, so they must find a way to win, with or without Trevor Lawrence.

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