today is Dec 05, 2021

Jaguars coaching staff at odds over Trevor Lawrence's development; changes expected in offseason

The No. 1 overall pick has struggled for most of his rookie season

 Jason La Canfora

Nov 21, 2021 at 7:21 am ET 2 min read

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Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft who has shined at every level since he started playing football, is having a rough rookie season with the Jaguars, with his development and how to best bring him along the subject of strong debate within that organization, sources said.

Things came to a head last week, with Lawrence overwhelmed by the Colts, with Indianapolis's zone-heavy scheme exposing difficulties that have existed in their offense all season. There has been back-and-forth on the staff about how much to rely on the system Lawrence ran during his wildly successful stint at Clemson, with some raising significant concerns about the injury risks that could come with it, sources said.

At a time when Lawrence is struggling to diagnose defenses and read through his progressions, sources said head coach Urban Meyer and others have considered going with more of the simplified RPOs that fueled the Clemson offense. Lawrence rushed for nearly 800 yards and 17 TDs in his final two years in college, but the bigger and faster NFL defenders pose a significant injury risk, and the Bengals' reliance on empty sets and the agility of 2019 first overall pick Joe Burrow is a cautionary tale that has others within that organization pushing back on a collegiate approach.

Suffice to say, Lawrence's development is paramount for the entire organization, which has not had strong quarterback play since their expansion years under Mark Brunell, and Meyer's already controversial rookie year in the NFL would be further marred by any setbacks for the quarterback. At a time when other rookies have taken the league by storm, the Jaguars have yet to unlock Lawrence.

Lawrence was just 3-for-14 for 36 yards in the first half against the Colts, and he finished the game 16 of 35 for just 162 yards. While it's not uncommon for even the highest-regarded rookie QBs to struggle -- such as Peyton Manning -- Lawrence has not been advancing as the season goes on despite getting to benefit from one of the best rushing attacks in football.

He is still working to read defenses and get through his progressions and ranks 29th in the NFL against zone defenses (clustered with Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Fields and Sam Darnold), with two touchdowns, five interceptions and a rating of 77.9. Not surprisingly, he is facing zone looks on 71% of his dropbacks. Making adjustments to the blitz has also been a problem for him and the Jaguars as well (Lawrence ranks 32nd in the NFL when blitzed, completing just 44% of his passes with a rating of 54.9). The scope of the offense is constricting, with Lawrence relying almost exclusively on running backs and tight ends in the passing game lately, with receivers not getting the ball since veteran Marvin Jones went down.

Furthermore, there has been tension and turmoil within this staff since the offseason, with Meyer repeatedly making his displeasure with many position coaches known -- often in front of players. Sources said it is inevitable that changes are coming to this staff next season, with running backs coach Bernie Parmalee and receivers coach Sanjay Lal often on the receiving end of Meyer's diatribes, and any concerns with Lawrence's development could prove problematic for quarterback coach Brian Schottenheimer as well.

Ownership will be closely watching how the rookie fares in the final months of the season.

NFL Week 11 winners and losers, plus grading each team that played Sunday and Giants-Buccaneers picks

Here's everything you need to know about the NFL for Nov. 22

 John Breech

Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

If you haven't checked your calendar lately, it's Thanksgiving week, which means there's a 57% chance that this is going to turn into a food newsletter over the next three days. I'd like to apologize in advance. 

The only thing that has more drama than spending Thanksgiving with your family is the AFC playoff race, which was turned upside down with losses by both the Titans and Bills on Sunday. For the first time all year, we'll be taking an in-depth look at the playoff race. 

As the resident Bengals homer here at CBSSports.com, I had gotten used to them being eliminated from postseason contention before Thanksgiving, so it's a nice twist this year that they're still in the playoff race as we head into Turkey Day. Alright, we've got a huge newsletter, so let's get to the rundown. 

As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the Pick Six newsletter. To get your friends to sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them.

1. Today's show: Week 11 winners and losers, plus full recap

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Getty Images

It's Monday, which can only mean one thing: I stayed up until 3 a.m. last night recording a podcast with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson that touched on everything you need to know about Week 11, and let me just say, it's probably for the best that you listen. We covered all 13 games from Sunday and we spent part of the podcast trying to figure out who's going to win the AFC, which you would think would be easy to do after 11 weeks of action, but it was nearly impossible. 

One thing we do every week is hand out our weekly winners and losers from Sunday's action. For this week's winners, Wilson and Brinson both went with a head coach while I decided to give it to the one guy who absolutely deserved it and that's mainly because he scored five touchdowns.

Ryan Wilson

  • Winner: Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray. Kingsbury is a winner because he's somehow gone 2-1 with Colt McCoy as his starting QB and Murray is a winner because McCoy's success has given the Cardinals starter some extra time to get his ankle healed. If the Cardinals are winning games with McCoy, it stands to reason that they're going to destroy teams once a fully healthy Murray is back.
  • Loser: Matt Nagy and the Bears. Nagy and the Bears got a gift on Sunday with Lamar Jackson being out and then they went and flushed that gift down the toilet. Bears fans definitely don't like when their gifts are flushed down the toilet because they were all chanting for Nagy to be fired during the game. 

Will Brinson

  • Winner: Bill Belichick. The Patriots won on Thursday and then Belichick got to sit in his football cave on Sunday and watch as the AFC crumbled around him with upset losses by both the Titans and Bills. The Bills' loss means that the Patriots are now the first-place team in the AFC East and the Titans' loss means the Patriots could take over the TOP seed in the AFC with a win against Tennessee in Week 12 combined with a Ravens loss to the Browns. 
  • Loser: Saints. Their defensive strength was supposed to be stopping the run, but someone forgot to tell them that, because they got steamrolled by the Eagles for 242 rushing yards. This team is a disaster right now and Sean Payton is paying the price for sticking with Trevor Siemian instead of bringing in a veteran QB like PHILIP RIVERS (Note: Brinson has an unhealthy obsession with Philip Rivers). 

John Breech

  • Winner: Jonathan Taylor. When you don't play quarterback, it's not easy to get yourself inserted into the MVP conversation, but Taylor might have actually done that after what he did in Buffalo on Sunday. Not only is Taylor now the NFL's rushing leader after his 185-yard day, but he also became the first player in Colts history to total five touchdowns. 
  • Loser: Russell Wilson. I'm not sure what rock bottom is for Russell Wilson, but getting outplayed in his own stadium by Colt McCoy has to be close. Wilson has now lost three games in a row for the first time in his career and things don't seem like they're going  to get better anytime soon. Wilson wanted out of Seattle after a 12-4 season in 2020, so I'm guessing he'll be packing his bags this week with the expectation that he won't be returning in 2022. 

Not only did we list our winners and losers, but we also recapped every game from Sunday. To listen to today's episode -- and to subscribe to the best daily NFL podcast out there -- be sure to click here. You can also WATCH today's episode on YouTube by clicking here. 

2. Week 11 grades: Bengals get an 'A' for steamrolling Raiders

Every week I team up with six of my colleagues here at CBSSports.com to hand out grades, and this week, the Bengals got an 'A' for leaving Las Vegas as a winner, which I don't think has ever happened to me in my 12 lifetime trips to the city. 

Here's a look at the grades from two notable games that were played Sunday:

Cincinnati 32-13 over Las Vegas ( Click here for full recap )

  • Bengals takeaway: When you're going up against one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL, it makes sense to run the ball and that's exactly what the Bengals did against Las Vegas. Joe Mixon gashed up the Raiders for 123 yards and two touchdowns on a career-high 30 carries. Those two scores were more than enough for a Bengals defense that absolutely dominated the Raiders, forcing two turnovers and holding them to under 280 yards. Although Joe Burrow only completed 20 passes, 10 of them went for first downs on a day where Cincinnati absolutely dominated the time of possession. The Bengals also got four big field goals from Evan McPherson, including three that came from beyond 50 yards. Not everyone goes home from Vegas as a winner, but the Bengals definitely did and now they're right back in the thick of the AFC playoff race. Grade: A
  • Raiders takeaway: The Raiders lost their third straight game and this time, it was because their offense simply couldn't make any big plays when it mattered. Through the first three-and-a-half quarters, the Raiders didn't convert a single third down, which led to a lot of punts and not a lot of points. The offense also turned the ball over twice in the second half, which led to 10 points for the Bengals. Although the defense slowed down the Bengals' passing game, it had no answer for Joe Mixon. For the third straight year, the Raiders are in the midst of a November collapse that's likely going to leave them on the outside looking in come playoff time. Grade: D

49ers 30-10 over Jacksonville ( Click here for full game stats )

  • 49ers takeaway: The 49ers basically took the game plan they used on Monday against the Rams and used it again on Sunday in Jacksonville. For the second straight game, the 49ers pounded the ball on the ground and for the second straight game they made sure to get the ball in the hands of Deebo Samuel. The receiver carried the ball eight times for 79 yards and a TD, pacing a 49ers rushing attack that ran for 171 yards on 42 carries.  The rushing total marks the first time since 1987 that the 49ers have carried the ball 42 or more times in consecutive games. The 49ers' passing game was also sharp as Jimmy Garoppolo was nearly perfect, completing 16 of 22 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns. The once 2-4 49ers are starting to look like a legit playoff contender. Grade: A+
  • Jaguars takeaway: With nine minutes left in the second quarter, the Jaguars had only run four offensive plays and that was basically the story of their day: Their offense couldn't move the ball and their defense couldn't get off the field. If you can't do those things, you're not going to win in the NFL. The Jags had the ball for just 21:38 in this game and NFL teams are now 0-18 this season when their time of possession is under 22 minutes. . Grade: F

As for the other 22 grades we handed out on Sunday, you can check those out by clicking here. 

3. NFL playoff picture heading into Monday night

With the NFL heading into Thanksgiving week, now seems like a good time to take our first extensive look at the playoff picture. 

Here's a look at the top seven teams from each conference:

AFC 1. Titans (8-3) 2. Ravens (7-3) 3. Patriots (7-4) 4. Chiefs (7-4) 5. Bengals (6-4) 6. Chargers (6-4) 7. Bills (6-4)

The most notable part of the AFC playoff picture is that the Cleveland Browns wouldn't be in the playoffs if the season ended today. Before the season started, everyone jumped on the Browns' bandwagon, but that bandwagon has since crashed, and now Cleveland is trying to put the pieces back together in time for this team to make a playoff run. The most dangerous team in the AFC right now feels like the Patriots. Also, I feel like the Colts are going to sneak in, which means there's at least one team that's currently on this list that's not going to make it. 

NFC  1. Cardinals (9-2) 2.  Packers (8-3) 3. Cowboys (7-3)  4. Buccaneers (6-3) 5. Rams (7-3) 6. Vikings (5-5)  7. Saints (5-5) 

The Monday night game between the Giants and Buccaneers could have a minor impact on the playoff standings. If the Bucs win, they'll jump up to the third seed and the Cowboys will drop to the fourth spot. The most dangerous team in the NFC is a team that's not even listed here and that's the 49ers. At 5-5, the Niners are tied with the Vikings and Saints for the final two wild card spots, but they're currently ranked eighth in the NFC because they're not doing so well in the tiebreaker department. I feel like most NFC teams would prefer not to see the 49ers in the playoffs. 

4. 10 crazy facts from Week 11

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Getty Images

Every Sunday night, I get an email from our research department here at CBS Sports, and every Sunday, that email always includes some amazingly wild facts about the games that were just played. 

With that in mind, here are eight crazy facts about Week 11: 

  • Jonathan Taylor goes off. Taylor's five touchdowns against the Bills set the record for the most scores by a player in Colts history. Also, Taylor now has eight straight games with 100 scrimmage yards and at least one rush TD, making him just the second player to do that in a single season since 1950 (LaDainian Tomlinson). Taylor was also the first NFL player since Jamaal Charles in 2013 to have five touchdowns and 200 scrimmage yards in a single game. 
  • Austin Ekeler almost outshines Jonathan Taylor. The Chargers running back must have been inspired by Taylor's performance, because he scored four touchdowns against the Steelers. Ekeler's performance was notable, because he had two receiving and two rushing touchdowns, making him the first player since 2011 (Maurice Jones-Drew) to have multiple receiving and rushing touchdowns in the same game (Taylor isn't on this list because he only had one receiving TD). 
  • NFL rarity part I: Taylor and Ekeler did the improbable. With both players scoring four or more touchdowns, it marked just the seventh time since 1950 that two players have scored at least four times on the same day. The last time it happened came in 2007 when Randy Moss and Terrell Owens combined to do it. 
  • Justin Herbert make history. Not only did Herbert throw for 382 yards against the Steelers, but the fleet-footed QB also rushed for 90 yards, making him the first QB in NFL history to throw for at least 350 yards and rush for at least 90 yards in the same game. 
  • NFL rarity part II: Worst team in conference beats best team in conference. The Texans win over the Titans was notable because going into the game, Houston had the worst record in the AFC and the Titans had the best. This marked the first time since 1979 that the worst team in a conference beat the best team at any point after Week 6. The Texans won despite putting up just 190 yards of offense, which was the fewest yards by a winning team in an NFL game this year. 
  • Don't bet against backup quarterbacks. Baltimore's Tyler Huntley made his first career start on Sunday against the Bears AND WON. This marks the third time this season that a backup QB has made his first career start and come away with a win. Besides Huntley, we also saw Mike White do it for the Jets and Cooper Rush do it for the Cowboys. 
  • Cardinals are road warriors. Arizona is now 6-0 on the road this season and the crazy part is that the Cards have won all six of those games by double-digits. The Cards are just the third team in NFL history to start a season with six straight road wins AND have all of those wins come by at least 10 points.   
  • Jimmy on fire. With a 16 of 22 performance and two touchdowns, Jimmy Garoppolo has now completed 70% of his passes and thrown multiple TD passes in three straight games, making him just the second QB in 49ers history to pull off that feat. Jimmy joins Joe Montana, who did it during his MVP season in 1989. 
  • High-flying Eagles. It might be time to start paying attention to the Eagles. With their 40-29 win over the Saints, the 5-6 Eagles have now scored at least 21 points in NINE straight games, which is the longest active streak in the NFL. If you were to ask someone who currently has the longest active streak of scoring 21 or more, I'm guessing the Eagles wouldn't be one of their first five guesses. 
  • Colts and Bills make history. The final score of Indy's win over Buffalo was 41-15, which is notable, because it was the first time in NFL history that a game ended in that score. In the internet world, that's known as a Scorigami and you can read more details about what a Scorigami is by clicking here. The 41-15 final was the 1,070th different final score in NFL history. 

5. Monday preview: Prepping you for Giants at Buccaneers

One of the wildest Monday night games of 2020 came between these two teams and there's a chance we could get another wild one tonight. This is a huge game for both teams: If the Giants win, they'll be just one game out of the final wild card spot in the NFC. If the Buccaneers win, they'll stay a comfortable two games ahead of the Saints in the race to win the NFC South. 

My good buddy Jared Dubin wrote our deep-dive preview for this game here at CBSSports.com, and here's how he sees the game playing out:

  • Why the Giants can win: The Buccaneers currently have the best run defense in football, so it's not going to be easy for the Giants to run on them, but you can definitely throw on them. The Bucs are surrendering 254.2 yards per game through the air, which ranks in the bottom fourth of the NFL. Basically, if Daniel Jones can have a big game through the air, then the Giants might have a chance to pull off the upset.   
  • Why the Buccaneers can win: On paper, the Buccaneers are definitely the better team, but being good on paper clearly hasn't mattered over the past few weeks as the Bucs have lost two in a row. With Tampa going up against a Giants defense that's given up the seventh-most yards in the NFL this year, this could easily turn into a get-right game for Tom Brady and the Buccaneers offense and if that happens, the Bucs might win in a blowout. 

You can get a full preview of the game from Dubin by clicking here. The Buccaneers are currently a 11-point favorite. 

Dubin's pick: Buccaneers 33-17 over Giants. My pick: Buccaneers 31-24 over Giants.

If you're thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview. 

  • ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: Tom Brady OVER 2.5 touchdowns (+120):  "Brady is averaging an eye-popping 4.5 touchdowns per game at home this season. Meanwhile, the Giants have allowed elite quarterbacks (Matthew Stafford and Dak Prescott) to throw for more than two touchdowns in games this season. With those figures in mind, I'm leaning Over on Brady's passing touchdown prop, especially at +120."
  • ONE PROP I LIKE: Daniel Jones OVER 20.5 rushing yards (-110): This is usually where I do a kicker prop, but I think I actually like this one more. Not only has Jones gone over this total in five of New York's nine games this season, but he's averaging 28.7 rushing yards per game on the year. Also, the Giants are coming off a bye so I think Jones will be completely refreshed, which means we'll see him take off a few more times than usual.   

You can check out Sullivan's full gambling preview by clicking here.

6. Rapid-fire roundup

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USA TODAY

It was a busy weekend in the NFL and since it's nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you: 

  • Packers lose left tackle for the season. Green Bay is going to be down to its third-string left tackle after Elgton Jenkins tore his ACL on Sunday. Jenkins was playing in place of David Bakhtiari, who tore his ACL last season. The only good news here for the Packers is that Bakhtiari should be able to play soon, which means their third-string left tackle shouldn't have to play more than a game or two, if any at all. 
  • Broncos hand out two big extensions. Courtland Sutton was giving a huge four-year contract extension on Monday that's worth a reported $60.8 million and includes $34.9 million in guaranteed money. The deal comes less than 72 hours after Tim Patrick was given a three-year extension worth up to $34.5 million. 
  • Eagles also hand out two big extensions. Philadelphia has locked up tight end Dallas Goedert for the next four years with an extension that's worth a total of $57 million. Avonte Maddox also landed a new deal over the weekend. The Eagles corner agreed to a three-year extension that will pay him a total of $22.5 million. 
  • Khalil Mack placed on injured reserve. The Bears' defense took a huge hit over the weekend when Mack was placed on IR. Mack is going to have surgery on his injured foot, which is expected to end his season.   
  • Amari Cooper placed on COVID list, will miss Thanksgiving game. The Cowboys receiver missed Sunday's loss to the Chiefs because he was placed on the COVID list over the weekend, and now, it looks like he's also going to miss the Cowboys' Turkey Day game against the Raiders. According to ESPN.com, Cooper is unvaccinated, so there's no way he'll be able to play on Thanksgiving. 
  • Chris Carson out for the season. The Seahawks running back, who hasn't played since Week 4, won't be returning at all this season. Carson has decided to undergo surgery on his injured neck, which means he won't be returning to the field until 2022 at the earliest.