Jaguars' Urban Meyer wants more creative play-calling, run-option for Trevor Lawrence

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  • Trevor Lawrence
    Trevor Lawrence
    American football player
  • Urban Meyer
    Urban Meyer
    College football coach
  • Darrell Bevell
    American football player and coach
Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) twists and leaps over San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ambry Thomas (20) during the fourth quarter on Nov. 21.
Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) twists and leaps over San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ambry Thomas (20) during the fourth quarter on Nov. 21.

Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has heard the criticism and the speculation about the staff at odds over quarterback Trevor Lawrence's development.

Bevell says their offensive staff is not having any significant disagreements because Lawrence's development is continuing.

''I am proud of where he is at," Bevell said. "Do we want him to get better? Does everyone else around him need to get better? Absolutely, including myself. We all have to be better to help all of us."

Regardless, staff changes by coach Urban Meyer could be ahead once the season ends.

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Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell talks with quarterback Trevor Lawrence during minicamp.
Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell talks with quarterback Trevor Lawrence during minicamp.

A need for more creativity

Meyer wants to see more creativity until then, whether it is taking advantage of more run-pass option plays for Lawrence or lining up wide receiver Laviska Shenault in the backfield.

Bevell appears more concerned about not overextending Lawrence into harm's way by finding a balance between stepping back to pass and taking advantage of run-pass option plays.

That balance, Meyer admits, continues to be discussed.

However, Meyer didn't shy away from saying that he wants to see more run-option plays for Lawrence saying, "Yeah, we can. Those conversations have been had, do what he does well. Our staff has got to do a little bit of creativity, which I feel we haven't done. And we've got to get the ball in the hands of the guys that score."

At 2-8 and averaging just 15.9 points a game, the third-lowest in the NFL, perhaps it does not hurt to become more creative. Whether Lawrence gets RPO plays or jet sweep plays are called, all depends on the offensive line's ability to block adequately.

Repeated third-down penalties and dropped passes have both been significant factors why the offense has struggled behind Lawrence.

Taking advantage of Lawrence's strengths

Lawrence has thrown one interception in the past five games, but he has yet to complete a pass longer than 24 yards in the past four.

Taking advantage of RPO plays at Clemson, Lawrence rushed for 943 yards in three seasons. After 10 games this season, Lawrence has 192 yards on 40 carries. Most of those runs were out of necessity, not designed plays because the pocket closed quickly due to protection breakdowns by the offensive line.

"We are not asking him to be a runner; we are not asking him to take all these big hits, but then also the bootleg game and all of those things kind of come off of it and keeping the defense off-balance," Bevell said of Lawrence. "Yeah, for me, the biggest [things is]

and this goes back to Russell [Wilson]. We were never trying to put the quarterback in harm's way, and there are different things – I call them the free yards. When you are reading it, you have free yards; go take the free yards."

Lawrence is still having problems picking defensive reads, especially with disguised zone coverages. But there have been other contributing factors limiting his progress, especially the receivers not getting separation. And the unit took another significant injury-hit Monday when Jamal Agnew went on season-ending injured reserve because of a hip injury against the San Francisco 49ers.

Another problem has been running back James Robinson. He remains slowed by heel and knee injury that has limited his effectiveness. On ways to make the offense more creative, Meyer suggested playing wide receiver Laviska Shenault in the backfield more.

All about execution for Lawrence

What does Lawrence think about bringing more creativity to the offensive play-calling?

"I don't think it's all about creativity. I think it's mostly about execution," Lawrence said. "We have to get better. We have to execute. It's the details and the stuff that is in, whatever the install is or whatever our game plan is, we have to know it like the back of our hand and execute that. I think that's the starting point."

The Jaguars do not run a high rate of bunch sets with three receivers lined up near each other on the same side or utilizing motion plays to keep defenses off-balance. Meyer said he loves bunch sets and motion plays, but a lot of it has to do with the preference of the quarterback.

"I have had quarterbacks [who did not want to do it]. I can give you an example; Alex Smith would be that. He would not want to do any of that; he wanted to see exactly where you were at," Meyer said. "Those are the decisions that go into it, but we have done some of it. I can not give you a stat about how many times we have done bunches and motions, but I think that is a part of our [plan]."

Asked Friday how close to what he sees in his offense is what envisioned this past January when the Jaguars hired him, Meyer said the mistakes are not what he anticipated seeing.

"The biggest disappointment are the self-inflicted errors," Meyer said. "Whether it's a penalty, dropped pass or missed assignment, that is obviously not what we envisioned or what we expect. But the style of offense you know, other than the fact that we are not

having great success, I like the direction of combination of spread and then also pro-style. I think that is what the future for Trevor is and I anticipate we will get better."

Griffin ruled out

Jaguars starting cornerback Shaquill Griffin will not Sunday because of a concussion. He did not practice for the entire week and Meyer ruled him out on Friday. Center Brandon Linder and tight end James O'Shaughnessy are expected to make their returns.

Sunday's Game

Falcons vs. Jaguars

Time: 1 p.m.

Where: TIAA Bank Field

TV: FOX

Radio: 1010XL, 92.5 FM

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Jaguars' Urban Meyer wants more play-calling creativity, run-option plays for Trevor Lawrence

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