Training camp, if we can even call it that, has come and gone for the Jaguars. As of this writing, the Big Cats are just two weeks away from their first regular-season contest of 2020.
With a week one home matchup again the Colts looming, here are ten takeaways from Jaguars' training camp.
1. DaVon Hamilton has been unblockable lately. It took Hamilton several practices to really find his groove, but he's been dominant in the trenches lately. The third-round pick had a breakout senior year at Ohio State in 2019 and has carried over the same level of performance to the Jaguars' practice field. He'll have a significant role in the Jaguars' defensive interior and will need to be stout against the run. If training camp is any indication of how he'll perform on Sundays, the Jaguars will be in good shape at nose tackle.
2. Gardner Minshew hasn't done anything to shake my confidence in him. Minshew was the best rookie QB from a passing standpoint in 2019 and is also an excellent improviser. He's continued to show his touch and accuracy on deep balls down the field and seems to have improved his footwork in the pocket. He's also taken command of Jay Gruden's offense in recent practices. He hasn't been perfect by any stretch — there have been some missed reads by Minshew that have led to interceptions, but he's been impressive on the whole. He looks ready to take a step forward in year two.
3. The Jaguars' offensive line looks better. Cam Robinson is undoubtedly in a better place than he was at this time last year when he was still working his way back from a torn ACL in 2018. He looks strong, confident, and determined to prove his critics wrong. Andrew Norwell has also played with a mean streak. Brandon Linder is as consistent as they come at center. AJ Cann hasn't done anything to suggest to me that he'll be better in 2020, but his backup, rookie Ben Bartch has shown flashes of brilliance. If Cann struggles, Bartch could potentially find his into the lineup at some point. Jawaan Taylor has been excellent. One of the areas this group needs to improve upon in 2020 is pre-snap penalties. Early indications are that those will be down — there was just one pre-snap penalty during the Jaguars' scrimmage on Saturday, but we need to see that improvement in a real game.
4. Josh Allen is on another plain. The ascending pass rusher notched 10.5 sacks as a rookie and looks poised to be an even bigger factor in year two. He's been very active in terms of creating pressure during camp but says he has yet to unleash some of the moves he's added to his arsenal for 2020.
5. K'Lavon Chaisson and CJ Henderson have both seen their fair share of ups and downs. The Jaguars' two first-round picks appear to have bright futures, but they may not be ready to win on a snap-to-snap basis consistently. Henderson has broken up some passes, shown stickiness in coverage, and even come down with an interception, but he's plainly had some frustrating moments as well. Chaisson has displayed some nifty hand usage and is developing several pass rush moves, including a spin and rip. But is he ready to beat the best offensive tackles in the league regularly? I'm not so sure.
6. Joe Schobert appears to be a difference-maker at middle linebacker. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time and has come away with a couple of interceptions and gotten his hands on a few more passes that he couldn't haul in. Having him locking down the middle of the field with Myles Jack roaming on the outside could represent a major upgrade for the Jaguars' defense.
7. Josh Lambo and Logan Cooke are at the top of their game. Lambo has been the most accurate kicker in football since joining the Jaguars in 2017, while Logan Cooke has developed into one of the most dangerous punters in football.
8. Chris Claybrooks appears to be the man at kick and punter returner. He's got blazing speed and has also shown off some shiftiness. As long as he continues to field punts and kickoffs cleanly, the job is his for the taking.
9. Chris Thompson is going to be targeted often in the Jaguars' passing game. He may not tote the rock often, but he'll spit out wide and take passes out of the backfield as well.
10. Collin Johnson has been a revelation. He fell to the fifth round of this year's draft due to an injury-plagued senior season at Texas, but the 6'6'' receiver has been a force in camp for the Jaguars. He moves with much more fluidity than I expected from him and almost always comes down with the ball in contested situations.
BONUS: The secondary might be the lone weakness for the Jaguars' defense. Starting safeties Jarrod Wilson and Ronnie Harrison have both done some nice things in camp, but they haven't stood out all that much. Tre Herndon hasn't played up to the level I expected, and Tramaine Brock doesn't appear to be the same player he once was. Perhaps this group will turn it on once the regular season begins, but as of now, I wouldn't count on them being a consistent unit.
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