How Doug Pederson is already saving Trevor Lawrence from another disastrous season

Even though the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t come away with a win in their second preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, the starters were up 13-0 shortly after the first quarter began.

The Jaguars accumulated points on each of their first three drives as they finished the first quarter with 42 rushing yards and 86 passing yards while converting a total of eight first downs.

Head coach Doug Pederson was able to exploit the Browns’ defense in several different ways, and more importantly, he remained aggressive when the offense had the ball in their hands.

“Things that I’ve studied over the years is that the teams that score early and build that lead in the first half, tend to win games more than lose games. It’s an aggressive mindset,” said Pederson.

Most importantly, we saw concepts from Pederson and his staff that were far more beneficial to Lawrence than anything Urban Meyer’s crew gave him in the Jaguars’ disastrous 2021 season.

Let’s go to the film and see what concepts and play calls tailored to Lawrence’s strengths!


As Pederson explained in his post-game interview, game planning isn’t something that is done in preseason, but he does follow the same philosophy as years past by having the first couple plays already mapped out. This is why they came out on fire with a 32-yard gain to Zay Jones up the sideline.

On the next snap is where the concepts began. Since the middle of the field was open for over routes, this gave Lawrence a chance to go through his progressions.

In the next clip, the Browns were playing with a two-high safety look with their cornerbacks dropping back into a cover 4/6. This left the underneath open for two-man receiver concepts.

Lawrence seemed more comfortable throwing over the middle than ever before. The underneath in the ‘Hi-Lo’ route concept attracted the defenders leaving the second level/ intermediate part of the field open. And since Lawrence was the NFL’s least-efficient quarterback in 2021 against two-deep coverage (two touchdowns and 10 interceptions, per Sports Info Solutions), the more easy beaters you give him, the better.


On the very next play the offense was in the red zone and Pederson called a ‘smash’ concept, which has the same ‘Hi-Lo’ philosophy.

Laquon Treadwell is running a ‘hitch’ at the bottom of the screen with Evan Engram running a corner route from a three-point stance at the line of scrimmage.

Unfortunately, Lawrence missed Engram in the back of the endzone but spoke about it after the game when asked about red zone efficiency.

“I threw to Laquon down low on the goal line and probably could have hit him (Engram) in the back of the end zone. So, a couple little things I missed, but just clean those up.”


Another successful concept that we saw against the Browns was the ‘dagger’. This is when an inside player runs up the seam and the outside player then cuts right off his back, who will be open in the middle of the field.

At this point in the game, the Jaguars were up 6-0 but had yet to come away with a touchdown. It was a critical third-and-12 where the offense needed to convert this play in order to get some momentum moving before the end of the quarter.

On this play, Engram was running the seam and Treadwell was running off his back and then cutting inside right at the first down marker.

The timing and throw on this play were both perfect. Once Lawrence completed his three-step drop he was able to fire a bullet over the middle finding Treadwell, where he initially missed a similar throw to Jones earlier in the game.

Offensive philosophy

From what we saw in the Jaguars’ second preseason game, Lawrence showed progress, but he still has some work to do when it comes to decision making pre-snap and post-snap. There were a few throws that came out late and some that came out too early, as we saw on the ‘smash’ concept in the red zone.

The bootleg offense seemed to bring Lawrence the most success, as three of his six total completions were bootlegs totaling 56 yards.

In order for the bootleg to work, the run game must be established. This is why Pederson called an even amount of run and pass plays in the first quarter. The offense needed to maintain that balance in order for the bootleg on fourth down to convert into a touchdown.

When Pederson was with the Philadelphia Eagles, he ran similar plays with Carson Wentz that put Wentz outside the pocket to make accurate intermediate throws downfield.

But ultimately it was the run game, and more importantly the poise and accuracy of Nick Foles, that got them to Super Bowl LII.

In order for the Jaguars’ offense to be successful, Lawrence must make quick and accurate reads on those concept routes. These will be the fundamental zone beaters that will help him when the blitzes and pressure become too much in a bootleg offense.

Just as long as Lawrence continues his progression, and the offensive line can win in the run-game, the Jaguars offense has a real shot in competing with the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans for the AFC South.



Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire