Lawrence: 'This is more the beginning than it is the end'

Lawrence: 'This is more the beginning than it is the end'

Football

Lawrence: 'This is more the beginning than it is the end'

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Pederson says Jags 'got the right leader in Trevor'

Trevor Lawrence is optimistic about the future of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The former Clemson quarterback spoke to the media on Saturday night following the Jaguars’ 27-20 loss to the No. 1 seed Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Playoffs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

The loss brought the Jags’ playoff run and remarkable season to an end. But Lawrence sees a bright future for the franchise that responded from a 2-6 record at the end of October to win the AFC South for the first time since 2017, and then win a wild-card playoff game before falling to the Chiefs.

“Equal parts crushed that we’re done playing, the road ends for us this year, and equal parts just proud of what we did. It’s hard to feel that part of it right now because you put so much into it,” Lawrence said. “You dedicate everything you have – our whole building, for six months — to get these opportunities, and to come up short, it stings. Like I said, you work so hard to get here, and nobody thought we were going to be here and we had our shot, and that’s what hurts.

“So, we’ll be back. I’m confident in that. This is more the beginning than it is the end of something. This is just getting started for us. So, we got a taste of it. Guys are already hungry to get this opportunity again. But it doesn’t take away from just the sting of, like I said, you put so much into it.”

Lawrence finished Saturday’s game 24-of-39 passing for 217 yards, one touchdown and an interception.

The Jags trailed by just three points early in the fourth quarter, but after Kansas City took a 27-17 lead, Jacksonville was unable to overcome the deficit due in part to two late turnovers and a failed onside kick attempt.

“Even today, I felt like we had our opportunities. The Chiefs, they did more today to win the game, and we just didn’t quite make those plays at the end that we’ve been able to make the last month or two,” Lawrence said. “They made them today and we didn’t. So, that’s kind of how the game went, and they took advantage of those opportunities and we weren’t able to capitalize on them. But it hurts, too, because we’re right there.”

After posting the NFL’s worst record in each of the past two seasons, the Jaguars finished the 2022 campaign with a 10-9 record (including the postseason) and became the first team in NFL history to win a postseason game after having the worst record in the previous season.

Jags head coach Doug Pederson believes his team that exceeded expectations this season is on the cusp of a winning run in Jacksonville, with Lawrence leading the way.

“I feel like we’re close. Obviously we got the right leader in Trevor,” Pederson said. “I feel really good about him obviously, what he’s done, how he’s played this season. It’s a matter of with the youth of the team – now these guys played a lot of football, and they’re going to learn from the good and the bad. It’s something to really lean on as we head into the offseason and as we approach the offseason program in a couple of months, which is kind of crazy to say.

“But we’re going to learn. I’m excited for the future of Jacksonville and working with Trent (Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke), getting the right players in here, whether it’s free agency, whether it’s the draft, and continuing to build our roster.”

–Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

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