Jags’ Griffin on defense: ‘We are definitely better than last year’

The Jacksonville Jaguars had a hard time getting turnovers last season. Jacksonville’s defense was last in takeaways in 2021.

As they enter this season, the defense, led by new defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell, hopes to improve and create more turnovers. 

According to corner Shaquill Griffin, the defense’s goal is to lead the league in interceptions.

“I guarantee it’s going to be way better than last year,” Griffin said Monday about getting more interceptions. “The goal is to lead the whole NFL. I’m taking it definitely a point to myself to make sure I have every opportunity. I might not get the most opportunities on the defense, but opportunities I do get, I want to make sure I make the best of them. That’s everything I continue to say. I’m still out here trying to catch footballs every day. But it starts with me. That’s how I feel. Every time I make a play, I feel like it’s someone else getting a pick. I think about the first pick of the camp I get one day, you got Benjie [Franklin] getting one, and then I get another pick the day, and then you come back Rudy Ford have to pick it. You got to start with somebody. I feel like picks come in bunches, but someone’s got to get the first one. I definitely put that on myself. It will be better this year. I definitely think we will double. But the goal is to be the best in NFL.”

In this year’s draft, the Jaguars grabbed OLB Travon Walker with the number one overall pick. In addition, they grabbed another linebacker late in the first round when they selected Devin Lloyd at 27. Furthermore, they got some secondary help with the acquisition of corner Darious Williams in free agency. 

Griffin believes that the Jaguars’ defense will be much better in 2022.

“We are definitely better than last year, just the way we’ve been attacking the ball, for one,” he said. “The way we communicate, and our communication is so much better; the trust is so much better. Then you see the D-line running around. There are so many times where when we get to the ball; they’re already sacked before the ball even came out. So that shows a lot. I feel like one thing about it our defense is moving a lot faster. Our defense is well conditioned. Defense is talking a lot more. Our defense trusts each other a lot more than last year, and that’s why we’re a bit different than last year.”

Notes:

Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson announced on Tuesday that quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and C.J. Beathard would not play in the team’s preseason opener on Thursday against the Raiders(Hall of Fame Game) in Canton, Ohio.

Jake Luton will get the start.

“I can tell you Trevor(Lawrence) is not going to play,” Pederson said. “C.J. Beathard, with the injury is not going to play, and really the decision for that, too, has been Trevor has been getting a lot of great looks here in practice, and we feel like he’s in a good spot. And, and so we’re going to make those decisions this afternoon, tell our team later on today, so we can prepare for the game.”

Jags’ Shaquill Griffin is impressed by Trevor Lawrence

The Jacksonville Jaguars begin mandatory minicamp with a lot of hope. They have a new coach in Urban Meyer and a new quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, but with any rookie quarterback, there will be growing pains. However, for Lawrence, those pains are in his hamstring.

The number one overall pick in this year’s draft has been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury that has limited him during minicamp, but according to Meyer, if this were a real game, Lawrence would be a go. 

“Yeah, if we had to go, he could’ve went,” Meyer said on Monday. “Our trainers and Shad [Khan] are being a little cautious because right now, when you’re a month out if you yank a hamstring now, you’re going to miss the early part of training camp. So, we’re just being cautious. That’s that one muscle that—you guys have all seen it like I have, [if] you pull a hamstring at this point, you’re going to miss all your summer conditioning, so we’re being somewhat conservative on it. But he actually could play a game if we had to.”

Lawrence added: “I’m just trying to work it back to full capacity. It’s a little frustrating just not being able to go full speed, but I’m feeling good. [I’m] just trying to not have any more setbacks, so [I’m] taking it slow, got some good reps today, just starting to get more and more each day this week and just kind of work back into it. But it’s doing great, trying to work it back.”

Regarding Lawerence’s ability to execute the team’s offense, Meyer thinks it’s been a mixed bag.

“His retention and carry over has been very good,” Meyer said. “Execution at times, like you would imagine, has been up and down, especially when they start changing the looks up on defense—which obviously is going to happen a ton. But we’re very pleased with where he is. The summer is going to be great, and training camp is going to be great.”

One guy who has been impressed by Lawrence is the newest Jaguars CB Shaquill Griffin. 

“I feel like the main thing is he is very exposed, so when the ball is out, it’s out. I can tell when you see him throw, so even if I’m out on the sideline, I’m watching him throw to different receivers,” Griffin said. “The rotation of the ball, the timing, the way he’s putting it there, away from everybody, it’s just insane to see that so early in a quarterback. You’re talking about coming in the league with so much high hopes, and he’s proving it. That’s why I’m so excited for him.”

It’s one day at a time for Lawrence, and hopefully, for the Jaguars, he can grow into the franchise quarterback this team desperately needs.