The first day of Jaguars' 2021 mandatory minicamp is in the books. After spending a couple of weeks going through voluntary OTAs, the mandatory portion of the offseason is upon us.
The Jaguars are still practicing in helmets, shirts, and shorts. There are no pads and minimal contact. Defenders aren't going all out for the football. But this is a valuable time of year for clubs. This time is that you lay the foundation for training camp. You take what you've learned in the classroom to the field.
After just one day of Jags' mandatory minicamp, we've got some intriguing threads to follow.
The key storyline here is the health and development of first overall pick quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Lawrence has a sore hamstring. The tweak occurred early last week and isn't thought to be a significant concern.
"Yeah, if we had to go, he could've went," first-year head coach Urban Meyer told the media 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."
While Lawrence isn't fully participating in practice, he's still getting some critical reps while he returns to full health. It's admittedly a bit frustrating for Trevor.
"It's feeling good," Lawrence shared. "It's been about a week [since it happened], and 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."
While the rookie quarterback isn't able to go full-bore on the field right now, he's putting in the work to make sure he masters the Jaguars' offense sooner rather than later.
"I feel good," said Lawrence. "Obviously, I still have a lot to learn. Just the more you practice something, the better you get at it. I still have to get a lot of reps, me and the receivers, the offensive line, just all the timing and meshing with all that. We still have to some work to do, but from a knowledge and just memorization and mental standpoint, I feel really good with the system. I think it's great. We got a lot of answers and now it's just working out all the little details to be a really good offense and we're working towards that."
He continued: "I want to just master the offense. I want to have complete control and know everything and be comfortable. You can't really play free and play really well if you don't know what you're doing. So that's the goal is just to master the offense by the time training camp comes around so in training camp we really can focus everything forward on being the best team we can come [preseason] and then going on into the regular season as well. That's the plan and it starts with the quarterback. Obviously, I have to be ready and I'm going to do everything I can to ensure that that is the case. I'm excited to get started. I think we've had a great past three weeks. It's been really good work."
Urban Meyer likes what he sees from Trevor when it comes to his knowledge and understanding of the offense but points out there's still plenty of room for growth in between the whistles.
"Yeah, him and [Passing Game Coordinator] [Brian] Schottenheimer have been working on this well before the draft," said Meyer. "His retention and carry over has been very good. 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."
While Trevor is still waiting to go full speed, he hasn't let his hamstring issue impact his confidence or work ethic. The Jaguars are fortunate that their star pupil can still take the field in some capacity during this portion of the offseason. Even though these reps aren't full speed, they're invaluable and will allow him to hit the ground running when training camp begins in mid-July.
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