Trevor Lawrence won’t participate in the Hall of Fame Game on Thursday when the NFL kicks off preseason action with the Jacksonville Jaguars taking on the Las Vegas Raiders.
Coach Doug Pederson said Tuesday that Lawrence would sit the first preseason game. With backup C.J. Beathard still nursing a groin injury, Jake Luton will start Thursday and get the bulk of the action.
“Trevor’s been getting a lot of great looks here in practice,” Pederson said, “and (we) feel he’s in a good spot.”
Pederson added that second-year running back Travis Etienne, who missed his entire rookie campaign, will also not play in the HOF Game. Etienne missed Tuesday’s practice due to an illness.
It’s not surprising that Lawrence won’t play in the first preseason game. More and more coaches are keeping critical players on the sideline during preseason action, using the games to evaluate younger players and those battling for positions and roster spots. Ensuring health is more important for some players than brief reps they might get.
“It’s still evaluation time, we’re still evaluating our roster,” Pederson noted. “We’ve got a lot of young guys and a lot of battles that we want to start seeing in game situations.”
Obviously, Jacksonville doesn’t need to evaluate Lawrence to know he’s the starting QB, so sitting him early in preseason action makes sense.
The Jags will participate in four preseason games. After Thursday’s HOF Game, they’ll face the Cleveland Browns on Friday, Aug. 12. We’ll see if that’s when Pederson decides to get Lawrence’s feet wet.
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