After weeks of preparation, the Jaguars finally were able to take the field, working on live hitting, drills that simulating in-game situations, tackling fellow teammates to the ground.
Without a preseason, this portion of training camp is perhaps the most important, preparing to take a hit, or give one, will only sharpen the iron that is the team’s offense and defense. In preparation for the workload today, the Jaguars gave 18 players a “maintenance day,” yesterday.
Today, only a couple of players were absent, including rookie cornerback CJ Henderon who has an illness (not COVID related) and receiver Dede Westbrook, who is out with a shoulder injury. Safety Ronnie Harrison “returned” today, getting more action in, but is still in the final stage of the team’s concussion protocol.
Today’s events included plenty of physical activities, including one-on-ones, team drills and the aforementioned live tackling. Plenty of players showed out, offensively and defensively.
O-line-D-line exchange blows
The Jaguars will need to adjust if they want to become a run-stopping team as general manager Dave Caldwell, his staff, and head coach Doug Marrone have worked towards during the offseason.
Due to the amount of attrition on the defensive line, specifically losing projected starters defensive end/tackle Rodney Gunter and nose tackle Al Woods, the Jaguars have been forced to sign players off of the street in order to properly fill their roster with bodies. Given that, the team’s defensive line will take plenty of work to catch up to its offensive line, at least when it comes to the starting lineup.
Several times on Saturday, the team’s run game found holes created by the offensive line, especially led by center Brandon Linder who may have had his best showing during this year’s training camp. Running backs Fournette, Chris Thompson and Devin Ozigbo had no issue finding running room.
While the first-team offensive line certainly had the better showing against the first-team defensive line, it was quite the opposite for the second-team offensive/defensive lines. Several times on the day, players such as Timmy Jernigan, K’Lavon Chaisson and DaVon Hamilton all made plays whether in the run game or getting after the quarterback.
Timmy Jernigan has a day
Today was easily the best day for the seven-year vet, Jernigan. Just signed only five days ago, it appears the defensive tackle is finding his groove and is in better condition already compared to his first day.
Multiple times throughout the day, Jernigan beat his man on his way to the running back, with one play generating plenty of “oohs and aahs” from the coaching staff and his fellow teammates.
While he has plenty of work to do in order to get in better playing shape, Jernigan could end up with quality playing time as the team progresses through the regular season. The fire, passion and energy is evident, and Jernigan could provide a spark to the team’s defense.
Running game, Leonard Fournette impress
Fournette has become one of the team’s most-impressive players on offensive throughout camp. In the first day of live hitting, Fournette had plenty of runs break off that could very well have gone for touchdowns. The fourth-year running back has also had multiple impressive receptions throughout training camp.
Along with Fournette, all three of Thompson, Ryquell Amrstead and Ozigbo caught passes during team drills, with a couple that could have been taken the distance. Ozigbo looked fantastic in blitz pick-up drills today, something that may keep him on the roster moving forward.
Myles Jack has up-and-down day
Heading into his fifth season with the team, and second year after signing a mega-deal four-year $57M extension, Jack had a couple of shining moments, and some not as flattering.
In linebacker-running back one-on-one drills, Jack struggled in pass coverage against Fournette, but he did beat the fourth-year running back on a blitz pick-up drill during the day.
Myles Jack uses a swim move to get past Fournette pic.twitter.com/rz6YeEwmIz— Jamal St. Cyr (@JStCyrTV) August 22, 2020
In team drills, however, Jack showcased plenty of ability. Not only did he have plenty of speed, Jack had at least two bang-bang plays with Fournette and other offensive players. Blowing up two runs on the day, Jack finished strong. The most important detail of the plays, however, would come from defensive coordinator Todd Wash congratulating Jack for communicating throughout the day.
In 2019, communication within the Jaguars’ defense was one of the primary issues surrounding their lapses, especially against the run. While there is still plenty of work to do, it is clear Jack’s change from middle linebacker to weakside linebacker, along with the addition of MLB Joe Schobert, has made an impression.
With Henderon out yet again, undrafted rookie Luq Barcoo got in on the action. On one play, Barcoo trailed receiver DJ Chark Jr. step-for-step, breaking up a pass at the conclusion of the route - an impressive showing for Barcoo who has a solid in on making the team considering the depth at the position.
“He’s a very talented young man,” Jaguars cornerbacks coach Tim Walton said earlier today. “And that’s just now of everybody, like a guy like him. Just keep being able to apply the techniques, learn some things that you did differently in college. But he has a high skill set, upper-level talent, ball is important to him. He has the traits; he just has to keep working on the technique and do those things.”
On special teams, seventh-round rookie Chris Claybrooks shined through, fielding a punt near the goal line. Claybrooks used his speed to catch up to the football, able to get in on the action, drawing praise from his teammates. On a defensive play, Claybrooks made a nice break on the football, nearly coming down with an interception.
Second-year safety Andrew Wingard had a nice showing, not only on special teams, but on defense today in covering Tyler Eifert one-on-one during drills today. Wingard out-muscled Eifert on the play, taking the ball away for an interception.
Gardner Minshew turns in another solid day
The Jaguars’ offense didn’t do much passing on the day, particularly with Minshew, however, the second-year quarterback had a nice day with only one errant pass. Big Cat Country logged him as completing 8/10 of his passes in team drills, with a touchdown in between.
The Jaguars are entering an a brand-new offense under coordinator Jay Gruden, and it appears the offense is starting to get comfortable.
- Play of the day. The play of the day came on a routine throw near the goal line. Stepping in front of the pass by backup quarterback Josh Dobbs, defensive lineman Doug Costin picked it off and was off to the races, getting an escort by defensive end Josh Allen.
- Josh Jones continues to impress. The former second-round pick out of NC State, Jones has looked impressive throughout training camp, and showed out yet again today, making multiple plays against the run. The team’s safety depth chart has not yet been finalized, but Jones will be one to watch as we inch closer to cut-down day.
- Shaquille Quarterman impressed in drills. The fourth-round selection had another solid showing today, this time in one-on-ones. Several times today, Quarterman blew up his running back assignment, making is way to the quarterback.