Look … I don’t want to be writing this. I don’t want to be home. I want to be out there with my guys, prepping for another game. I want to be showing out for Jacksonville. But these past few months we’ve grown a lot as a team — and we want this to be the beginning of our story. So I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all of Duval. Because I know how much this season meant to our city.
There’s one memory I keep coming back to when I think of y’all. It’s when I was looking up at the scoreboard and it was 27–0. (I know I don’t have to tell you what game.) This was right before our last drive of the half, and the Chargers had been beating us all over the field. And I was going through the tablets, watching back the picks, just trying to keep myself focused. But then I kind of looked up into the stands … and I noticed something: Nobody was leaving.
That struck me as saying a lot about this place. We’re out here down 27 in a playoff game. Most people watching on TV probably thought it was over. But inside the Bank, it wasn’t like that at all. Everyone was still with us, still getting crazy loud and waving their towels and trying to pump us up.
Your energy in that moment, it meant a lot. It was a really good reminder that nothing was decided yet — and nothing had to matter except what was in front of us. Those picks didn’t have to matter. The score didn’t have to matter. There was a whole half of football left, and we had a really good football team. And we had y’all.
We’re out here down 27 in a playoff game. Most people watching on TV probably thought it was over.- Trevor Lawrence
A lot of teams will fold when there’s enough pressure. And a few teams will fold at the very first sign of pressure. We struggled with that last year.
Last season … really all there is to say about last season is this: It wasn’t good enough.
It was tough. After the coaching change, there was a lot of uncertainty and instability. I could tell there were guys who were looking forward to being anywhere else. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hear the noise. Not just the noise around our team, but around me as a player.
Yeah, I heard it. But I didn’t let it impact me at all. I know how people get, so I just kept my head down. And I had a lot of conversations with my wife, Marissa, about the bigger picture of our lives, our journey, who we wanted to be. And her belief in me meant so much, because in talking with her, we just kept coming back to the idea that we’re here for a reason. We really do feel that way. We feel like Jacksonville is our home now. And we badly want to be a part of turning this thing around — all the way around. So I knew I just had to block the noise out.
It’s funny, around the draft back in 2021 I made a comment about how I don’t have a chip on my shoulder. And I meant what I said. I didn’t have one — I’d never played football to prove anything to anyone. But after last season, and the frustrations we all went through.… Last year absolutely gave me something to prove. I felt the pain of the city. I knew what people expected from me, and what they’d invested in me. I knew that I was supposed to be a part of something different for this team. I understood.
We feel like Jacksonville is our home now. And we badly want to be a part of turning this thing around — all the way around.- Trevor Lawrence
And when I met Doug last winter, I could tell that he understood, too.
Doug really gets it. One of the first conversations I had with him, he told me, “I’ve got to earn everybody’s trust. You’ve all been through a lot in that room, and I need to earn that trust.” He didn’t come in and say we’re fixing this and that and making a bunch of changes. With Doug, it wasn’t even about football — it was about us. It was about every guy in our room and having them look at the person next to them and say, “I got you.” And mean it, you know? And that doesn’t happen overnight. It took most of the year. We lost five in a row at one point. We were 2–6. It took time. But that belief in ourselves, that refusal to quit, we found it.
All season long, I kept looking at our division standings. Even when it wasn’t going well, I just kept looking, like, Well … if we win this one and this one and this one….
Then I remember we were coming off the Detroit loss — maybe our worst of the season. That dropped us to 4–8, three games behind Tennessee. And when we got back to Jacksonville, I went over to Christian’s house with Zay, and we were all sitting there in shock about how poorly we’d played. But then this thing happened, where eventually we moved on from the shock, and started figuring out how we could still win the division. And we realized that if we were going to give ourselves a chance, we probably couldn’t afford any more losses.
So we went up to Tennessee, beat them. Beat the Cowboys in OT (shout out Jenkz). Went to New York, Thursday night, W. Beat the Texans. And then it was all set for Week 18: Win and in against the Titans at the Bank.
And that’s when I really felt the city come to life. There was this energy in the air. The beach had a buzz. Downtown was alive. Even Publix felt a part of it. I don’t think people realize how die-hard our fans are — how much Jags fans love this team, and how hungry they are for a winner. They just want us to be great. They want to get there. I felt that.
Our guys, we have no quit. You can call that cliché if you want, I don’t care. I was there. I’ve lived it. I know what I’ve seen. I know what we did.- Trevor Lawrence
After Josh ran back his TD, and the final whistle blew, and we were AFC South champion. I looked around our stadium and I knew I was right where I was meant to be.
The culture that everyone in our room helped build, the work that we put in all year — that’s why we came back against the Chargers the next week. It wasn’t because of some game plan switch or anything like that. It was because we had us. And us, our guys, we have no quit. You can call that cliché if you want, I don’t care. I was there. I’ve lived it. I know what I’ve seen. I know what we did.
And I know a lot of people probably thought we were just happy to be there against K.C., but if you think that, then you don’t know this group. We had a real chance to win that game, and we didn’t, and I’m still angry about it. We all are. And I like that. I like how — for all the talk about how we’re this young team with a bright future (and I believe we are) — the main thing guys were focused on after that game was we were right there. We were that team. So we’re going to let ourselves be mad. And we’re going to use it as fuel to get better for next year.
One of the things I remember from last season is thinking, How will we ever get guys to want to stay here? Or even come here? It’s only a year ago that I was worried about that. And now what I hear is guys talking about how this is a family. I hear guys talking like they know this is one of the best organizations in football, and they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Like we’re building something here for the long haul. And stuff like that, man…. It feels good. It makes me really proud to be a Jaguar.
So, Duval — thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking with us. For believing in us. We couldn’t have done it without you. That playoff win, that feeling, I want that forever. I promise it was just the beginning.
And I promise that where these last two teams are going — that’s where we’re planning on being.
It was always the Jags.