Jaguars’ Trevor Lawrence has high hopes for 2022 under Doug Pederson: ‘Hopefully (we’ll) make a playoff run’

Trevor Lawrence is looking to lead a turnaround on and off the field for the Jaguars in 2022. A year after enduring a 3-14 rookie season under polarizing coach Urban Meyer, the former Clemson quarterback has been proactive in the building and community hoping to grow as an NFL leader.

This includes his work with Gatorade as an ambassador for two different initiatives: Beat the Heat, which emphasizes hydration during the summer; and Fuel Tomorrow, a five-year pledge to provide better and more equitable opportunities in youth sports and education. As part of the partnership, Lawrence on Monday surprised FUEL Youth, a Jacksonville nonprofit that provides K-8 care in everything from sports clinics to tutoring, with a donation to build his team’s community.

The QB then spoke to CBS Sports about his mission, his new Jaguars coaches and the 2022 season:

Note: The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What specifically motivated you to donate to REAL Youth in Jacksonville?

Lawrence: One, giving back to the community is really important to me and my wife, and then combining that with sports — you know, we both played sports growing up, and obviously that’s what I do now, professionally — and being able to team up with Gatorade to really try to inspire the next generation to keep playing sports and make sports as accessible as possible, that’s really what Youth TRUE does.

How exactly does your donation support their cause in Jacksonville?

Lawrence: Me along with Gatorade, we were able to pay for all the equipment and participation fees, all that stuff, for their kids for the next two seasons. We’re just trying to get as many kids as possible to come out and make it as easy as possible. They don’t have to worry about paying for anything, they can just go out and have fun and play soccer and other sports. Just being able to help give that access was really cool.

How much of your community involvement stems from your faith, which you have shared publicly?

Lawrence: Yeah, I think that’s where it comes from. A large part of the motivation comes from this, along with the desire to help people in general. But it is both. I’m really just trying to do my part to give as much as I can and just bless other people. When you’ve been given too much, I think that’s a responsibility we all have.

Has that responsibility to return been even more apparent since entering the NFL?

Lawrence: Yes, of course. Clearly you have more to give. You have a lot more resources, and not just money, but partners like Gatorade and others — it’s a priority for them as well, so it makes it a lot easier for me to team up with a partner like that and we can do great things together. I tried to make some kind of partnership with people who have a passion for this as well. We were pretty strategic in that area, and I think it paid off. And I hope to be able to do more and more as my career builds.

And how much Gatorade is he drinking as their partner? Do they ask for a certain amount?

Lawrence: (Laughs) It’s not a required amount. I’m drinking a little. We were talking about the new ‘G Fit’ Gatorades earlier today, so that’s what I’m drinking right now.

How has Doug Pederson differed from your other coaches, not just compared to last year, but all of your previous coaches?

Lawrence: All the coaches I’ve had, especially from high school on, they’ve all been different. Everyone has their own personality, they do things differently. I would say, personality-wise, we’re very similar just in our mannerisms, the way we handle things, the way we handle things. And his leadership qualities are similar to mine in the way he relates to people. So it was nice to have a front row seat to see it. And the respect guys have for him, not just because of what he’s done — you know, he’s won a Super Bowl as a coach and a player — but also the way he carries himself, the way he treats people. I think it’s a mutual thing, that respect there. So it was good to see that unfold, that trust built between him and the team. And I really think we’re in a great place coming out of OTAs and going into camp.

And how much has Doug’s affinity for ice cream manifested itself during your time together?

Lawrence: Yeah, we actually got some ice cream for him at one of his first press conferences, we had some ice cream waiting for him. And then, I mean, I think I saw him four or five times eating an ice cream bar walking down the hall. So the boy likes ice cream. It’s true.

Besides Pederson, what has new offensive coordinator Press Taylor brought to you and the team?

Lawrence: Everyone on our staff, offensively and defensively, they’re just calm, cool, collected on the field. No one is tight. Press is really smart, a young guy you can relate to and knows how to handle different situations. Obviously, just seeing how he thinks and that scrimmage with coach Pederson and coach (Mike) McCoy, our whole staff, it’s coming together really nicely. Coach McCoy, Press and Coach Pederson now have all been coordinators, and two of them have been head coaches, so that helps me a lot, especially in my shoes, just being a second-year player, just trying absorb all i can.

There has been a lot of buzz about Travis Etienne this offseason. How early should he be drafted in fantasy?

Lawrence: (Laughs) Honestly, I don’t even know how that works. I think he’s going to have a good year. I played with him for three years at Clemson, so I kind of already know what he can do. Seeing how hard he’s worked to get back and healthy for this season, he had a great spring and I know he’ll be ready for camp. I’m excited to be backstage together. He’s going to add an explosive element to our offense that’s really going to help, so I’m excited.

If you could achieve one thing in 2022, what would it be?

Lawrence: Just to make some big improvements from last year, individually and as a team. Obviously when you are the center back, the better you play, the more games you have a chance to win. Trying to put us in a position to win every game we’re in. Obviously we’ve been through a lot in the last year, but I can see that we’re building on this. … We’re just trying to win as many games as possible, hopefully make a playoff run. Who knows? First we have to win the first game. We’ll start there and build each week.

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