Scorcher 2: A day at Jaguars' training camp.
The Jaguars held their second training camp practice of 2021 on Thursday. Like Wednesday, the team again didn't wear pads, only helmets. But there was one noticeable difference: the presence of fans, who brought some noise and enthusiasm throughout the day.
Head coach Urban Meyer continues to set the tone, making sure he's the first one on the field for practice. A metaphor? An example? Likely both. Meyer is the figure head for this organization. It's HIS program, and he's not just asking everyone else to "Own It." No, he's owning it himself. The tempo continued to be high during and in between drills.
With no pads until next Tuesday, position drills and team segments were once again light on contact. Defensive backs were not afforded the opportunity to press and were instructed not to attempt to break up passes with any real ferocity. After practice, safety Rayshawn Jenkins said, "It's tough, it's like you got some tools, right? But you go in there and take your tools away. It's tough right now, but it kind of helps us master off-man, and I'm sure when we pads get on, we'll be able to get in these guys' faces a little bit and challenge these guys."
So, what can we take away from a practice without much contact where the defensive backs aren't permitted to play at full speed?
To be honest, not a ton. But I'll do my best here.
Per usual, we will start with the quarterbacks.
Rookie Trevor Lawrence took the first reps in team drills and the most overall snaps of any quarterback on the roster Thursday. By my count, he completed 17/20 passes between 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 work. One of his incompletions came on his first pass when defensive end Dawuane Smoot batted the ball at the line of scrimmage. He then completed nine straight, including a deep touchdown pass to Marvin Jones, who created some separation down the field. Later, Lawrence ripped another deep bomb to Laviska Shenault, who may have found the endzone in a live setting. The first overall pick was sharp as a passer, and I saw only one or two passes that defenders would have likely altered if they were allowed to make plays on the ball. Safety Jarrod Wilson was in position to pick off a shot to Marvin Jones down the field but backed off. From a passing standpoint, there's no questioning the ability of Lawrence, who even showed off an angle-altering dime on the run in this practice. He throws with pace, velocity, and timing. The quick release is apparent. The only real issues I've seen from Trevor so far are before he gets his hands on the ball. There were a couple of miscommunications at the line of scrimmage today, including one instance where the offense had to get back into the huddle after breaking. But these types of errors are common early on and aren't something to worry about until much, much later in camp.
Gardner Minshew had his fair share of ups and downs in this one and wasn't quite as sharp as he was on Wednesday. The second-year quarterback completed 9/15 passes. I believe two-three of them were bad balls, while two of his throws were dropped. On his last passing attempt of the day, he completed a pass, but in a game setting, it appeared edge rusher K'Lavon Chaisson would have chased him down for the sack. Minshew and CJ Beathard were asked to hand the ball off a bit more in this practice.
Beathard completed 5/8 attempts in team drills. He was picked off by cornerback Sidney jones on an arrant pass. Jones made a diving one handed grab and appears to be locked into a big role at this point. The pecking order in the quarterback room feels clear at this point.
First-round pick Travis Etienne, who's been cross-training at running back and receiver, went down awkwardly during team drills and walked gingerly back to the offensive side of the field. It's unclear what happened on the play and if there's any long-term concern. Prior to that, Etienne looked explosive as a runner and receiver. I'll do my best to provide an update on the situation as soon as any new information is available.
Rookie undrafted free agent wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe, who had a solid start to camp, also appeared to limp off the field during practice.
The offensive line, particularly on the interior, played well (albeit without pads), opening up some impressive holes in the running game. James Robinson, Travis Etienne, and Carlos Hyde all ran the ball with assertiveness. After practice, Robinson reiterated that he feels faster and added that he's slimmed down while also getting stronger.
Speaking of the offensive line, it appears fourth-year OL Will Richardson is training primarily on the right side, while rookie second-round pick Walker Little is taking most of his reps on the left side of the line.
Unsurprisingly, the Jaguars' top three receivers, Marvin Jones, DJ Chark, and Laviska Shenault, all made some standout plays in this one. That group and their chemistry with Trevor Lawrence appears to be building nicely. Laviska Shenault looks significantly faster than he did in 2020. Laquon Treadwell continues to create separation and catch everything thrown his way. Collin Johnson caught his lone target of the day.
Receiver Josh Hammond had an up and down day. He was penalized for offsides on one play and dropped one catchable pass but also hauled in a couple of balls. His work is cut out for him when it comes to making the final roster.
Tim TEbow caught a couple of short passes from Gardner Minshew. Rookie tight end Luke Farrell made an impressive grab down the field. James O'Shaughnessy didn't appear to participate in team drills.
Rookie edge rusher Jordan Smith was penalized for offsides during a team session.
Both running back James Robinson and safety Rayshawn Jenkins praised the new emphasis on recovery and shared the sentiment that they'd never seen that level of technology previously.
That's all I got for you today, folks!
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