The Jacksonville Jaguars won’t be business as usual as they set their eyes on the looming five-week break between offseason activities and training camp in July.
Instead of a typical three-day mandatory minicamp for the team and its veterans, Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson announced on Thursday that most of the team’s veterans would have those three days off, essentially, they’re done for the offseason. Pederson indicated that he made the decision within the last week or so.
“I’m still having the mandatory minicamp, mandatory three days, but I’m only doing the rookies, selected veterans and our injured players,” Pederson said in an opening statement on Thursday.
“The injured players are guys that maybe finished the season with an injury that worked all offseason. I just require them to stay here and still get treatment and rehab. So, it’s a chance to really work with our young players and some of the selected vets on a little more of a one-on-one basis.”
Essentially, the veterans are off. Though, there may be some players that continue to attend for rehabilitation purposes, such as receiver Jamal Agnew, running back James Robinson, and others that will need to continue their rehabilitation efforts. Agnew took the field and participated in a limited capacity for the first time earlier this week.
Given the team’s participation over the past several weeks - Pederson has mentioned that the team had virtually 100% of players in attendance throughout different portions of the offseason, far more than many clubs around the league.
The players, of course, were thrilled Pederson said, noting that they “earned” the right to have a bit of rest because of the hard work they’ve put in over the past few weeks.
“Again, these guys have worked extremely hard. They’ve earned it. They deserve it. We got done, as a staff, what we needed to get done and we’re getting ready for camp.”
After the tumultuous season the team took part in last year, Pederson and his staff have had to work diligently to repair relationships, earn trust and motivate its players for the new year. Giving the veterans some added time off is part of that process, it goes hand-and-hand, Pederson mentioned.
“We talked about the healing process and trust and all this stuff, and I’ve seen this team grow from April 11th to today and how they’ve come together. [There’s] a good group of leaders on this football team and how they’ve handled things, it’s just the right time.”
The team also didn’t conduct its final OTA practice as scheduled on Thursday, instead opting for a team-bonding trip to Top Golf, something Pederson said the team was very excited about.
“We staged it this morning, had a little fun with it, made them feel like we were going to practice, OTA 10 today, then loaded up on buses and went over to Topgolf and were over there for about two and a half hours,” he said.
“I think the guys really enjoyed it. They had a great time and the more we can bond that way as a group, I think it benefits us once we head into camp.”
The Jaguars will hold their mandatory minicamp from June 13-15. After that, all of the players will be off for an extended period of time, Training camp will open at some point in July, with Pederson indicating earlier this year that the team would like to start around July 24, just a few days earlier than the team started last year (July 27).
- Pederson provided an update on injured players, outside linebacker Jordan Smith (knee) and quarterback CJ Beathard. Smith will undergo surgery and miss the season, while Beathard should be ready for training camp, depending on his recovery, he noted.