The Jacksonville Jaguars will put a bow on their 2019 offseason program this week as they hold a three day mini-camp starting Tuesday and running through Thursday.
The three practices are considered as “Phase Three” of the NFL’s off-season program, and will be the final time the players will be together at TIAA Bank Field until the the team convenes for the start of training camp in late July.
Here are some things we’ll be watching for as the camp begins this week.
Full attendance, finally
Doug Marrone will get to see his entire 2019 squad together on the field for the first time this week, as the mini-camp is the only portion of the off-season program with mandatory participation. Expect to see Jalen Ramsey— who has been going through his now annual personal training in Nashville— back with the team, as well as players like Leonard Fournette, Dede Westbrook, and others who have opted for their collectively-bargained right to skip a few practices the previous weeks.
Though he stated last month he would be in attendance, it remains to be seen if Yannick Ngakoue will indeed be at the fields this week or opt to skip the work outs, as he and the team continue talks on a new contract. Marrone has already ruled out rookies Josh Allen and Ryquell Armstead, as well as Marqise Lee and Cam Robinson, from participating in any camp practices as they are rehabbing from injuries and the team is opting on the side of extreme caution following last season’s injury debacle.
Nick Foles vs. King Ramsey
As mentioned, expect to see and hear from cornerback Jalen Ramsey a lot this week. The Jaguars passing offense, and new quarterback Nick Foles specifically, has been widely praised thus far by local media who have been in attendance since the start of the team’s OTAs in May. A day hasn’t gone by without reports of Foles connecting on multiple deep attempts against the first team secondary. That’s been great news to hear for Jaguars fans, but Foles and his receivers haven’t been going against the best corner in the league, that all changes on Tuesday. Ramsey brings not only his elite skill set to the field that Foles has yet to challenge, but also a swagger that has defined the secondary of this team since his arrival, for better or worse at times. It will be interesting to see how Foles decides to attack whatever side of the field #20 is on when the opportunity presents itself and how that will translate into what will be consistent battles once training camp begins. In a week with little in the way of major storylines, the Foles-Ramsey battles will undoubtedly be something discussed heavily, most likely by Ramsey himself.
Setting the stage for the defense
While Foles has been the star of the off-season, this team’s calling card will continue to be it’s defense until proven otherwise, and this week will provide an interesting look as to where the team has it’s depth chart stacked at positions in flux on that side of the ball, heading into the official start of the 2019 season once training camp arrives.
With the unexpected departure of Telvin Smith, the shuffling at weakside linebacker has begun with many observers reporting that the rookie Quincy Williams has the inside track as the team heads into the summer. That would certainly be the team’s preference, but it remains to be seen if the rookie will be able to handle the workload. Veteran Ramik Wilson has also seen first-team reps according to reports. It will be interesting to see if free agent acquisition Jake Ryan is able to get on the field this week as well.
This should also be a big week for new starting free safety Jarrod Wilson. The Jaguars have seemingly penned Wilson in as the opening day starter at the free safety spot, but there have been mixed reviews thus far through his time in the spot during OTAs.
Having Ramsey back on the field with corners AJ Bouyes and DJ Hayden should provide some better support, but as the guy who is supposed to be the one leaned on by those same guys as the back end help, Wilson needs to have a strong finishing week to keep the team from potentially scouring what is an unusually deep free agent market at the position still, before they report for training camp.