The Jaguars’ first practice of training camp in 2021 was a hot one during the two-hour session in Jacksonville.
Under a new regime led by head coach Urban Meyer, the feeling during the day was that of high energy and excitement as players get used to the high-tempo nature of a Meyer-led practice. That said, it was easy to see that plenty of players could feel the effects of the Florida sun, often utilizing the necessary water breaks in between periods.
With that said, here’s what we learned from Day 1 of training camp:
1. Lawrence looks the part, Quarterbacks to split reps
Jacksonville selected the quarterback out of Clemson No. 1 overall for a reason: to make plays with his arm, and he didn’t disappoint on the first day of camp.
Completing an impressive 16 of 18 of his throws during team (7 on 7 and 11 on 11) drills on the day. One of his incompletions would be the result of a dropped pass by receiver Pharoh Cooper. Jaguars tight end Tim Tebow would be on the receiving end of an impressive Lawrence toss, making the snag in traffic on a seam route during team drills.
Overall, it was an impressive first day from the quarterback, someone the team will depend on moving forward.
The rookie quarterback showcased poise and patience not typically seen early from a rookie quarterback. Though he did have one dropped snap early on the day, the rest of the day would be clean, something the Jaguars’ coaching staff was certainly happy to see.
Late in practice, Lawrence completed a deep touchdown to receiver Phillip Dorsett, a speedy receiver the team is excited about this year.
During the day, quarterback Gardner Minshew II would take the starting reps in team drills, but that’ll change moving forward Meyer said following practice, stating Lawrence and Minshew would alternate as the days go on.
The third-year quarterback would complete 19 of 27 of his throws, including three drops during team drills. One of the more impressive completions of the day would come from Minshew as he hit tight end James O’Shaughnessy on a nice deep ball with a defender closing in.
2. Three players move to active/non-football injury list
Shortly following the start of practice, the Jaguars announced that defensive tackle Taven Bryan, receiver Jamal Agnew and kicker Aldrick Rosas would be placed on the team’s active/non-football injury list.
Midway through practice, Bryan was seen on the field, though the fourth-year defensive tackle did not participate in any drills during the day. Rookie linebacker Dylan Moses was placed on the list prior to camp starting last week.
3. Up-tempo practice remains, regardless of the heat
During organized team activities and minicamp throughout the spring, the Jaguars showcased up-tempo practices and the first day of training camp was no different.
While today did feature 90-degree temperatures as the day moved closer to noon, the Jaguars remained up-tempo throughout the day, cycling through periods quickly with plenty of announcements throughout the day by the team’s PA announcer.
Following practice, Jaguars cornerback Shaquill Griffin stated it will take some time for him to get used to the Florida heat again; Griffin originates from Florida but played his last four seasons in Seattle.
“I thought my Florida blood would have kicked in, I guess not yet,” Griffin said following practice when asked about the heat.
4. Team COVID-19 vaccination percentage above 80%
As the NFL pushes through towards the season, one of the major concerns has been player safety and vaccinations to fight against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Shortly following practice, Meyer was asked about his team’s vaccination rate, indicating it is above 80%.
Meyer, nor the team, will be pressuring the players to follow suit, however. The Jaguars head coach said he did a lot of research prior to getting vaccinated himself, including having a talk with one of his close friends who also happens to be a doctor.
“And I’m taking the same approach to the players in making sure that we educate them, present, and ultimately it’s their choice. But, how do you make choices in life? You educate them and give them the truth,” said Meyer.
“So, I believe they should be vaccinated, but I’m not a doctor, but we presented that to them several times.”
The team will continue to monitor the vaccination rate among its players while also giving players the resources to get educated by doctors on whether or not they should take the vaccine moving forward.
5. Jaguars defensive backs will be tested
During the offseason, the Jaguars and head coach Urban Meyer were fined heavily due to violations during practice that consisted of too much contact, particularly when it came to defensive backs against receivers.
With training camp now in full swing, and the pads set to go on next week, the team’s cornerbacks will finally be able to showcase their physicality, tested every day by the team’s receivers during camp.
After practice, Meyer addressed the fines, stating that the league sent eight plays to the Jaguars in which they violated the rules. Without any contact allowed, for now, it was obvious which unit held the advantage.
Moving forward, however, don’t be surprised to see the team’s defensive backs step up to the plate to showcase their abilities.
Note: Jaguars rookie safety Andre Cisco was active and participating in individual drills for the first time since being drafted.
With Griffin as a clear leader among the secondary, don’t be surprised to see a much more active secondary than seen in years past over the next couple of weeks.