Hope has a name in Jacksonville: Trevor Lawrence


Jaguars factoid: All prospective draft choices were given private phone numbers for draft weekend, so teams could contact them directly without worry about cell phone issues. When it came time to call Trevor Lawrence, three calls to his private number went straight to voice mail. Finally, coach Urban Meyer picked up his cell and called Lawrence’s cell as the time ticked away on the draft clock. “Hey coach, I was getting nervous here,” Lawrence said. “Glad you called.”

JACKSONVILLE, 11 a.m. Friday — This is what draft weekend is all about: hope. Inside the wood-paneled stadium office of owner Shad Khan, you could feel it. In 30 minutes, Khan would meet his new franchise quarterback for the first time, and forget the fact that Khan, 70, is worth something like $8 billion. Trevor Lawrence is coming! We’re not going to be crappy anymore! The man was excited.

“It’s like an elusive dream,” Khan said. “We thought two-and-a-half years ago we’d turned the corner. We were the darlings . . . Then, after the misery of last season, I think, ‘Oh my God, this is almost too good to believe.’ How the gods of football smiled on us. We got not only the first pick in the draft, we got the first pick of coaches.”

The morning Florida Times-Union showed what northeast Florida felt 15 hours earlier—four teen boys, all giddy, at the team’s draft party on the field the previous night, exulting as Roger Goodell announced the Lawrence pick on the video board. That’s what 1-15 buys these days in the NFL, a giddy draft party with Lawrence about to pull up in a limo and meet his new team. When Lawrence arrived by the big jaguar in front of the stadium, it was Khan who opened the door and said, “Welcome to Jacksonville. I’m Shad.”

An exuberant class of third-graders with welcoming signs enveloped the 6-foot-6 Lawrence, with his flowing blond mane, and his wife Marissa. “Is your hair real?” one boy said. (It’s real, and it’s spectacular.) Another said, “Will you pay for our food?”

“Super cool,” said Lawrence, who knows what to say and what image to project. Neither seems out of character. “The kids were awesome.”

Jacksonville seems a good fit for Lawrence, with veteran pro coaches Darrell Bevell (offensive coordinator) and Brian Schottenheimer (passing game coordinator) the most hands-on coaches with him. They are vets who’ve worked with different style quarterbacks—Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford most recently—and because they’ve known for some time that Lawrence would be their pick, they’ve been able to feed him lots of information and plays.

The draft was good to Lawrence too. The Jags’ second pick was explosive back Travis Etienne, who played 40 games alongside Lawrence in the Clemson backfield over the last three years and caught 85 passes over the last two years. “That was a great pick for me, because we’ve gotten to know each other so well as players and friends,” Lawrence said.

“With Travis,” Meyer said, “I expect instant impact. He’s a slash . . . he has excellent hands, and he’ll be dual-trained [as a back and receiver].”

Jacksonville exited the draft with a need still at tight end, with one of Meyer’s old recruits at Ohio State, Luke Farrell, picked to supplement Tyler Eifert; Meyer sounded post-draft like he wished they’d gotten more of an offensive threat there. But they look capable at receiver, with free-agent Marvin Jones added to supplement D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault Jr.

I spent a few minutes with Lawrence. He said all the right things, the same way he’s been in Zoom meetings with coaches and even Khan.

“The player obviously is great, but the person behind the player is what really gives me hope,” Khan said. “I can’t believe how normal he is. He’s been the number one quarterback on all levels since he was 14 years old, being catered to at every level. His humility almost surprises me. I was impressed that he really wanted to come here, and wanted to spend his career in Jacksonville. That’s what he told me—he doesn’t want to move around. I told him, ‘If you do what you’ve done to this point, there’s going to be two constants—you’re going to be in Jacksonville, and I’m going to be in Jacksonville.’ “

Khan owns Fulham in the English Premier League, so he knows a bit about the world sport landscape. He thinks Lawrence has the ability to be the first cross-continent American star. “As great as Michael Jordan was, he was never a true superstar over there,” Khan said. “Trevor has the gravitas. I think he could become a true international superstar.”

Well, whoa. When I posed that to Lawrence, he was a bit taken aback. “I thought about how cool it’ll be to play in London, but . . . I try not to think about that too much. My job now especially is to come in and to win games and to get ready to be the best I can be and to make the team as good as we can be. I try not to think about all the other byproducts of it.”

But the thought seemed super awesome, upon reflection. “Obviously that would be cool,” he said.

Football first. “I need to come in, go to work, and earn the trust and respect of my teammates. There’s obviously so many things that I want to improve on and get better at. But really, I think, there’s not one specific way you need to play quarterback to be successful. It’s just doing what I know that I’m good at and bringing that here and improving on all the things I need to improve on. But as far as my style of play, I’m just going to be me and play the way I’ve always played.”

That’s been good enough to be the best passing prospect since Andrew Luck. But there will be tough days for the quarterback who lost two games in three years, and the coach who never had a three-game losing streak in 17 years of college football. Hiring Meyer and drafting Lawrence were the two best moves the franchise could make, by far. But games aren’t won in the offseason. The Jags are 12-36 since opening day 2019.

“We’ll enjoy the honeymoon,” Khan said, “until the ball is snapped.”

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here. 


NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, NFL.com and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!