The Jaguars will begin their virtual offseason program today (April 27th). All teams with incumbent head coaches are allowed to start today, while teams with new head coaches were allowed to begin a week ahead.
What exactly will a virtual offseason program look like? The Jaguars will be allowed to conduct classroom sessions, workouts, and non-football educational sessions via video conferencing programs.
Players are not required to participate in the offseason program, according to the CBA, but can earn offseason workout bonuses (if included in their contract) for participating. Players that did not have workout equipment in their homes previously will be given workout equipment by the team.
Jaguars’ head coach Doug Marrone spoke about some of his goals for the virtual offseason program last week: "It’s going to be important for us. Offensively — there have been a lot of things that have changed, whether it’s terminology or different types of concepts. There have been some changes there. On defense, we’re looking to make some changes to help ourselves going into this next season."
Marrone feels confident in the program the Jaguars have designed for their rookies and doesn’t expect the unusual offseason circumstances to have a negative impact on the veterans or the rookie class in 2020.
He doesn't see this as a competitive disadvantage. "We’re all going through the same thing," said Marrone. "I feel like it’s an equal playing field."
After the draft, Marrone talking about some of the challenges of the virtual offseason program. "I think I feel good about them having the knowledge and knowing what to do," said Marrone. "I believe that because of the players that we drafted and their character that they’re going to do everything they can to make sure they come in in-shape, and I think our team knows that. It doesn’t just affect these players; I think it affects everyone. We’ve got to do a good job there, and we’ve got to get them, when they come in, we can see what happens as we go. But I’m excited because of the way these guys have trained, the way they are right now with all the things that we’ve heard. As a coach, you always want to be around them (the players). You want to be there for them. You want to catch them up on your drills and things like that. But we’re going to put things out on the cloud, the drills that we do and try do the best job we can in this environment that we’re in right now, to get them caught up to speed, to where we don’t feel like it’s going to take them a while to catch up because the one thing about training camp is you think you have a lot of time, but you really don’t. It goes a whole lot faster than you expect. But I still think you’ll be able to say: Alright, practice one, practice two, practice three and you start charting increase and how much better they’re getting, and you do that with all your players and see who can become the most consistent. I’m actually excited about it, to see how these guys are when they come back in. The one thing it will show is their commitment and organizational skills about what’s going on, improvisation; you don’t have everything available to you. You have to keep yourself safe in this environment, so I think there will be some challenges, and we’ll see who is up to it."
May 18th is an important date to remember. If teams are allowed to report to their facilities by local government (TBD), they’ll be permitted to continue the offseason program at their facility. One thing to keep in mind: local government of every NFL team will need to allow their team to return to their facility, else-wise no clubs will be allowed to return, to avoid a competitive advantage.
Should the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic continue into the summer, the Jaguars and the rest of the teams around the league will be permitted to conduct virtual mandatory minicamp.
The NFL has not yet put a plan in place should teams not be allowed to return to their facilities by the time training camp rolls around.
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