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Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Dallas Cowboys

Published: Aug. 14, 2021 at 11:03 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 27, 2021 at 7:19 PM CDT
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Jacksonville Jaguars at Dallas Cowboys from AT&T Stadium
Jacksonville Jaguars at Dallas Cowboys from AT&T Stadium(Source: Jacksonville Jaguars)

JACKSONVILLE (Press Release) – The starters will get a good look Sunday.

That will be true for quarterback Trevor Lawrence – and Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer said it will be true for most starters in the 2021 preseason finale.

Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, officially was named the starter for Week 1 by Meyer on Wednesday. Meyer also on Wednesday said he expects other starters to play extensively against the Dallas Cowboys in Preseason Week 3 Sunday.

“My anticipation is if you’re ready to play, you’ll play,” Meyer said.

Meyer, speaking two days after a loss to the New Orleans Saints in Preseason Week 1, also addressed multiple other issues Wednesday. That included running back Travis Etienne, the No. 25 overall selection in the 2021 Draft who was placed on season-ending injured reserved Tuesday with a Lisfranc injury sustained against the Saints.

Meyer called the loss of Etienne “a shot to the jaw.”

“He was really coming on in practice and you saw his big-play ability,” Meyer said. “It’s a tough injury. How do we fill that? We’re still having that conversation right now.”

Meyer on Monday following the loss to New Orleans expressed concern about the offense’s rhythm, with the first team scoring three points against the Saints and not yet scoring a touchdown in two preseason games.

“We are concerned about that,” Meyer said Wednesday. “After Week 1, I wasn’t [concerned], because we just didn’t show much. In Week 2, the intent was run the ball and have some good play-action off it. We averaged 1.8 yards and had two QB runs. That’s not good enough.

“It was a matter or execution and missed assignments. Some position groups didn’t play very well. We have to get that right.”

Meyer was asked where he wants to see Lawrence make “the next jump.”

“Score points,” he said. “We have to score some damned points. We weren’t very good in the red zone.”

Meyer on Wednesday also discussed:

*Offensive line. While Meyer expressed disappointment in the run offense immediately after Monday’s loss, he said on Wednesday a lot of the issues in that game were “many missed assignments” in perimeter blocking. He said rookie left tackle Walker Little “got walked back” twice in his first start, “but hung in there.” He also praised left guard Ben Bartch, a second-year veteran who has started the first two preseason games for veteran starter Andrew Norwell. “He’s going to be an NFL player,” Meyer said of Bartch. “He’s done a nice job.”

*Rookie cornerback Tyson Campbell. The No. 33 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, Campbell misplayed two passes that led to touchdowns in the first two preseason games. “His effort’s incredible – speed, talent,” Meyer said. “We’re having a conversation about how to practice that (playing the ball with the ball in the air). It’s hard to practice it without blowing your legs out. But you have to put him in a position to be able to make those plays.” Added Meyer: “We’re really high on him. We really think his future is really strong, but obviously you’ve got to make those plays.”

*The defensive line. The Jaguars held the Saints to 63 yards rushing on 21 carries – a week after holding the Browns to 41 yards on 26 carries. Meyer said the defensive line has played well in both games, citing defensive linemen Malcom Brown, DaVon Hamilton, Roy Robertson-Harris, Jihad Ward and Dawuane Smoot as playing well against a good Saints offensive line. Meyer on Wednesday also referred to linebacker Myles Jack, safety Rayshawn Jenkins, center Brandon Linder and wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. as being at or close “game ready.” “Once someone’s game-ready they’re done,” Meyer said. “Other than that, it’s a young team.”

*Linebacker Dakota Allen. Meyer said Allen “graded out a winner” against New Orleans, and that reserve linebacker Shaq Quarterman “has really come on.” He said linebacker Chapelle Russell had his best preseason game against New Orleans including preseason.

*Safety. Meyer praised the position, calling it currently perhaps the team’s most consistent position. He praised second-year veteran Daniel Thomas, rookie Andre Cisco and said veteran Jarrod Wilson probably played his best game of the 2021 preseason.

*Special teams. Meyer also was asked if he was concerned about kicker Josh Lambo, who missed a 43-yard field goal off the upright Monday and who is 0-2 from 40 yards or more in two preseason games. “Yes,” he said. “Make the field goal.” Meyer also said punter Logan Cooke “didn’t punt very well” Monday.

*Wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. Meyer said the veteran sustained an AC sprain against New Orleans and said he should be ready for the September 12 regular-season opener at Houston.