If there’s one man who knows a lot about what it takes to be successful it’s former Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell.
The three-time Pro Bowler with Jacksonville was traded to the Baltimore Ravens just prior to the start of free agency in 2020. Now, his former team has made some wholesale changes, something he’s “excited” to see come to fruition.
“You know, I’m excited for them. I mean, the defensive coordinator was my D-line coach this year, so I’m happy to see my coach get some love, and end up in a place where I know I’m familiar with the guys,” Campbell said via The Jake Asman Show on SportsMap Radio.
While not yet official, the Jaguars reportedly will hire former Ravens defensive line coach Joe Cullen to become the team’s defensive coordinator. Campbell was originally signed with Jacksonville in 2017 and spent time with several of the players that remain on the team today, including two in particular in linebacker Myles Jack and defensive end Josh Allen.
“I mean, he has some beasts — Myles Jack and Josh Allen. I mean, those are two of my best friends and guys I have a lot of respect for, so I can’t wait to see them have some success and go out there and create a standard of excellence in Jacksonville that I tried to get going when I was there during my time.”
In 2019, Campbell and Allen were essentially tied at the tip. Allen was entering his rookie season with the team, while Campbell was entering his final season, though that wasn’t known at the time. During his final season in Jacksonville, Campbell would make it a point to take Allen under his wing, teaching him everything he knows as a veteran in the NFL.
Now, Jacksonville is headed up under a new direction with head coach Urban Meyer, a coach that the former Jaguars’ defensive end has plenty of respect for.
“Coach Urban Meyer is one of the most respected coaches in the game,” he says. “He had a lot of success in the college level and I’m eager to see what he does on the pro level now.”
Certainly, the expectations in Jacksonville will be at an all-time high this year. While it will be Meyer’s first shot at an NFL gig, the pedigree he has created for himself during his stints at Florida and Ohio State (three national titles between the two programs), looms large. It will create excitement, deservedly so.
Meyer isn’t the only “big name” that has landed or is expected to land in Jacksonville this year, however. By virtue of holding the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jaguars are expected to select coveted quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who spent the last three seasons at Clemson, leading the team to three playoff appearances and one National Championship.
Campbell is excited for Lawrence, too, but he did make sure to note that respect has to be earned, not given, in the NFL.
“He can make every throw. He just has this ... just a very special arm, and he makes plays in big moments,” Campbell said of Lawrence.
“But, for me, he’s still gonna be a rookie and I gotta see him develop because to me, you can hype anybody up, but when you gotta get on that field and play on Sundays and lead the team, you gotta earn that respect, so I’m not gonna give him too much love just yet. But I think he has a chance to be special, but I gotta see him earn it.”
Thus far this offseason, the Jaguars have garnered much more attention than they have in years past. The excitement level around the city of Jacksonville is at an all-time high, and Meyer, Lawrence and the team’s new direction is the main culprit, and Campbell appears to agree.
Click here to listen to the full interview with Calais Campbell on The Jake Asman Show on SportsMap Radio