In 2021, the Jacksonville Jaguars hired college coaching phenom Urban Meyer then drafted highly-touted Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
A marriage made in heaven, right? One of the most successful coaches in NCAA history and one of the finest NFL QB prospects ever. Surely the two would turn the Jaguars into a Super Bowl contender in short order.
Guess what? Like many college coaches who depend on out-recruiting opponents, Meyer failed miserably, winning just 2 of 13 games before the Jags sent him packing before season’s end. Trevor Lawrence was one of the casualties.
In the NFL, a five-star recruit, who won 41 straight high school games and lost only twice in three years at Clemson, suddenly looked like a first round bust. At one point, he threw just two touchdown passes in nine games, including seven games with none at all. During that stretch, opponents intercepted him 8 times.
Enter Doug Pederson. As a player, Doug backed up Brett Favre in Green Bay for eight years during two separate stints. That put him in the same room with Mike Holmgren and Andy Reid, two of league’s all-time best offensive minds and QB coaches. Pederson apparently was paying attention.
As a head coach, Doug presided over Carson Wentz’s phenomenal rookie season in Philadelphia. When Wentz injured his knee and was lost before Philly’s post season run, Doug fine-tuned his daring Eagles’ game plans for backup QB Nick Foles. In Super Bowl LII (52), Philadelphia outscored New England 41-33.
This season in Jacksonville, Pederson and Lawrence won just two of their first eight games together, a start that featured a five-game losing streak. But since a Week 9 come-from-behind win over the Raiders in Las Vegas, Pederson and Lawrence have been on a roll—seven wins in the Jaguars’ final nine games.
Jacksonville remains one of only four NFL teams to have never played in a Super Bowl. Their 2023 road to a Lombardi trophy begins with a Florida home game against the L-A Chargers, a team featuring another superstar, third year QB Justin Herbert—in my humble opinion, possibly the best pure passer I’ve ever seen.
With all due respect to both Trevor and Doug, chances are this Jags’ season will end before Super Bowl LVII (57). But if the developing QB and his new mentor remain together long enough, I firmly believe they’ll eventually play in one.
“Acutely undercoached” no more, Trevor Lawrence could and should blossom into a Super Bowl champion. It’s just a matter of some quality time.