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Doug Pederson: Trevor Lawrence showed you can put the team on his back

Mike Florio and Chris Simms analyze whether the Jaguars or Chargers are most likely to become a serious threat in the AFC, after Jacksonville turned the tables on Los Angeles in the playoffs last season.

The Jaguars finished strong in 2022 and quarterback Trevor Lawrence had a lot to do with that.

After a rough rookie season and an up-and-down start to his second season, Lawrence caught fire during a season-ending five-game winning streak that lifted the Jaguars to the AFC South title. Lawrence then threw four interceptions in the first half of their playoff opener against the Chargers before leading a comeback win and striking some fear into the Chiefs before ultimately losing at Arrowhead Stadium.

During an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said that the Jags are looking for Lawrence to pick up where he left off rather than needing to dig a hole that requires him to play hero under pressure.

“I think going into his year three, year two with us as a staff, I think the way he played the back half of the season is the way he needs to start this year,” Pederson said. “There was a lot of confidence with him at the end of the year. That’s the next phase. It’s putting all of that together. I feel like he’s the guy that, which he showed towards the end of the year, you can put the team on his back.”

The addition of wide receiver Calvin Ridley gives Lawrence another weapon to use in a bid for the kind of consistent production that would allow the Jaguars to avoid playing from behind in a bid for another division title and further playoff success in 2023.