Three more days and the wait will finally be over for Jaguars regular season football. After a turbulent offseason, productive training camp and preseason action, the next test will come from Washington’s much-loved COs defense.
Ivan Lambert of Commanders Thread noted that the unit ranked 16th in sacks last season, 9th in quarterback knockdowns, 16th in QB rushes and 7th in yards after catch. These ratings indicate that they use an aggressive and very physical style of play to pressure opposing attacking personnel to try and get them out of their game.
The loss of star defensive tackle Matthew Ioannidis to free agency and young phenom Chase Young to injury leaves that defense in a more vulnerable position early in the season, a position that quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars have the advantage of. intention to capitalize with a solid offensive game plan.
“Yes and no, yes because I’m confident in what we’re doing and the plan we’ve got in place so far, and I feel good about it,” Lawrence said when asked. on the defense of commanders. “I think the guys love it. I know we’re really excited. But in the same way, it’s unclear exactly what they are going to do because the first games of the season are always like that.
“You go from last year’s movie and the past, and obviously the same defensive coordinator but you never know what kind of new wrinkles they’re going to have. Obviously this is a team where Coach Pederson and Press (coordinator offensive Press Taylor), a lot of our coaches have played against some of these teams in the same division for a while. They have a history, so I’m sure they’ll have a plan for us, just like we have a plan for them. It’s really about executing that and adjusting as they go, okay, what are they actually doing and making those adjustments in-game. But, yeah, I’m really excited and I think that we have a great plan.
An important factor in the development of the offensive game plan is the establishment of a team identity. For Trevor Lawrence, a full offseason’s work and time to gel with his teammates and the new coaching staff made that identity clear.
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“Offensively, I think we’re a very tough team up front,” Lawrence said. “I think we can run the ball. I think we’re going to create a lot of explosives in the field. It’s something we’re really confident in with the guys we have. We have very good backs, and that goes hand in hand with our offensive commands; protecting football, creating explosives, ball security, all those things. There are others too, which we could talk about. But that’s what we live for and that’s what we try to be.
More importantly, after a losing campaign and surrounded by many distractions, the right frame of mind is essential to have a chance of winning on Sunday. The other side of the coin is not letting a loss deter progress or frustrate hope. For Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars, a victory in the first week is not necessarily necessary to validate everything.
“I wouldn’t phrase it that way, it’s a tricky question, but a win, obviously, that’s the plan, that’s the goal,” Lawrence said.
“We are very happy with our game plan and the way we prepared. But, at the same time, if you lose the first game, you have sixteen more. You can still make the playoffs, you still have everything ahead of you. So we’re going to take it as we go, and honestly, I feel really confident, so there’s no thought of losing, but there’s no thought of “if we lose this game, all the work we did is gone” that’s not how it works either. So it’s just about having that mindset.
A win for the Jaguars would end a 16-game losing streak against NFC opponents and a 1-0 start to the 2022 campaign would greatly improve confidence in the locker room going forward.
“Certainly,” Lawrence said. “I think, at your point though, the confidence that it would bring, to be able to show the work that we’ve done and where I feel like we’re at as tea, how much we’ve improved and to how prepared we are. To be able to win, to start the season 1-0, I think that would be huge for our team, this city, the fanbase, all around. So that’s the plan.