Lawrence Named Starter For Jaguars Opener

Written by:
C Costigan
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To almost no one’s surprise, the Jacksonville Jaguars named Trevor Lawrence as their starting quarterback for their Week 1 matchup with the Houston Texans on Wednesday. Lawrence, the No. 1 overall pick out of Clemson in the most recent NFL draft, has been expected to take over the starting job since the Jaguars clinched the top pick.


Head coach Urban Meyer is going to get Lawrence all the experience he can, choosing to start him in the team’s preseason finale against Dallas on Sunday as well as to start the regular season. Many teams don’t play their starting quarterbacks in the final preseason game to avoid injury, but Meyer wants Lawrence to get as many game reps as possible.

“We wanted him to earn it, as we do with every position,” Meyer said of the decision. “We felt he has, after (Monday) night’s performance was -- it was good, obviously not great. We didn’t run the ball very well. I kind of in my mind had that (deadline) after the second preseason (game) that we kind of has to get someone ready to play in three weeks.”

Lawrence has been battling with last year’s starter, Gardner Minshew, for the role throughout training camp. Meyer has had Lawrence as the starter for the Jaguars’ first two preseason games, though, showing the edge he had in the competition.

Jacksonville’s offense has struggled to score in the preseason, with the first-team offense managing just three points in six drives. That’s part of the reason Lawrence will start against Dallas.

“I mean, it’s frustrating but also, we just got to stick together and keep playing,” Lawrence said. “We’re going to figure it out. I’m really confident in that. We got a bunch of guys that are putting the work in, and we’re going to do everything it takes to get on the right track.”

Based on the BetUS Rookie of the Year odds, Lawrence is the favorite to win the honors, holding +225 odds. Next on the list is Chicago quarterback Justin Fields at +450, though the Bears recently named Andy Dalton as their Week 1 starter.

Broncos Go With Bridgewater

Veteran Teddy Bridgewater will be the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback in Week 1 against the New York Giants. Coach Vic Fangio informed the team of the decision to go with Bridgewater over last year’s starter, Drew Lock, on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old Bridgewater will get a start with his third team in three seasons, having replaced Drew Brees for five games, winning all of them, in New Orleans in 2019 and going 4-11 as a starter with Carolina in 2020. Bridgewater is 26-23 in his career as a starter for Minnesota, New Orleans, and Carolina.

The 24-year-old Lock was taken in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Broncos and started 18 games over his first two seasons, going 8-10. He tied for the most interceptions in the NFL in 2020 with 15 and had the lowest completion percentage among the league’s starters.

“The good news of this competition is we’ve got two quarterbacks that we feel we can go win with,” Fangio said.

The Broncos are listed third on the board for AFC West NFL division odds at BetUS with a +650 price. The defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs are the favorites at -325, followed by the Los Angeles Chargers at +450. The Las Vegas Raiders have the longest odds at +1400.

Dak Back In Drills

The Cowboys were happy to see Dak Prescott participate in team drills for the first time since July 27 on Wednesday. Prescott completed 11-of-12 passes in 11-on-11 work, a significant step forward as he tries to return from a latissimus strain in his right shoulder.

Prescott played in just five games in 2020 before suffering a season-ending ankle injury, and he hasn’t played in the preseason. The team still plans on him being the starter for the regular-season opener against Tampa Bay, so coach Mike McCarthy wants him to get as many reps as possible before then, and Prescott is more than ready.

“He’s a caged lion,” McCarthy said. “He’s a competitor. He brings that competitiveness and expertise to knowing the quarterback position. He makes the whole practice better because of the way he approaches it.”

The Cowboys are the favorites to win the NFC East according to BetUS’ NFL sportsbook odds, but not by a lot. Dallas has odds of +125, while the Washington Football Team is at +250. The New York Giants have +375 odds, while the Philadelphia Eagles bring up the rear at +500.

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