It’s all about putting the work in and getting the most out of every rep at the end of the day.
The Jacksonville Jaguars concluded their seventh practice of training camp on Monday, another day in full pads in preparation for the team’s preseason matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday, along with the rest of the season that is to come.
There’s been some ups and downs during camp thus far in Jacksonville, both offensively and defensively. On the offense, in particular, the issues have been glaring in some areas - especially the team’s red zone work.
On Monday, Jaguars offensive coordinator Press Taylor was asked about the team’s struggles in the red zone last week and how much stock he can take into it moving forward.
”Anytime we get a chance to compete with a defense, we want to go out and compete and play well. But at the same time, that was our first red zone day (on Thursday). It’s just like the defense is doing, we put in the same plan we put in the spring, they put in the same coverage as they put in the spring,” Taylor said to offer some perspective.
“So we’ve seen each other a million times running the same stuff. And they had our number that day. We expect to execute no matter the situation. And we’re just continuing to work on that and get better at that. But I think everybody had a pretty good perspective of this is early in camp.”
Taylor is right and spoke about the ebbs and flows of camp with the offense having a good session one day, and the defense the next day. Don’t get him wrong though, Taylor wants to win every time the offense goes out, but that simply isn’t always the case.
It’s been a tough battle thus far in camp, with both the offense and defense having some success, and that’s what you ultimately want to see from the team this deep into it.
Here are our observations from Monday’s session:
Josh Allen has himself a day
Though the focus thus far in training camp has been on the team’s No. 1 overall selection from this year’s draft, outside linebacker Travon Walker, his counterpart, veteran OLB Josh Allen has been quite the standout himself on defense.
On Monday, Allen ripped up multiple would-be sacks on the day, wreaking havoc in the offensive backfield, and causing quick tosses from quarterback Trevor Lawrence. He was also vital in multiple of the stops the defense had against screens and other various plays the team ran throughout the day.
On one particular play, Allen forced what would have either been a sack for the defense or an interception. Lawrence was forced to get rid of the football, tossing it down the field only for cornerback Shaq Griffin to come up with it - what would have been his second interception since camp began.
“I want to be the best player in the National Football League this year, and I prepare like that, and I’m going to continue to prepare like that,” Allen said last week.
Allen has been everywhere on the Jaguars defense thus far in this year’s camp. His ability as a defender will set the stage for just how good the team’s defense can be this year.
Offense has a nice session, Lawrence looks sharp
With the team practicing its blitz pickup and pressure situations, it looked at times that the offensive line got overwhelmed, and unable to step up to the plate when necessary. That did happen on occasion, including times when Allen was able to break free into the offensive backfield.
Still, it doesn’t mean the offense didn’t have any success on the day. According to GenerationJaguar’s Jordan de Lugo, Lawrence completed 18 out of 23, including seven touchdowns.
Through our eyes, Lawrence did have a couple of nice throws, including a couple to tight end Evan Engram, with one coming after the veteran TE snatched the ball out of the air over several defenders.
Lawrence’s best throw of the game might have been the touchdown toss to receiver Christian Kirk, however, a pin-point throw to the back corner of the end zone.
Lawrence completed passes to multiple targets today, including running backs Travis Etienne and Ryquell Armstead, receivers Zay Jones and Marvin Jones, along with a host of other players.
The team’s starting signal-caller has been sharper than a year ago during this time, especially given the full allotment of reps with the team’s starters.
James Robinson does a bit more
Though all of the attention has been on second-year back Travis Etienne thus far this year, some attention must be put on the team’s returning starting back, James Robinson. Robinson is continuing to recover from a late-season torn Achilles, and is just under eight months removed from surgery.
Still, he was not placed on the team’s Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to start camp, and it’s obvious to see why after seven sessions at Episcopal School of Jacksonville.
On Monday, Robinson was able to do more than ever, working in the majority of the team’s individual drills with the rest of the backs while in full pads. That included a couple of routes and some agility drills on the side.
He didn’t look half bad, either, and it was hard to tell he was hurt prior. Robinson also still has yet to wear any protective padding on his leg, nor appears to be favoring the leg.
“It’s a credit to the work he's put in throughout the spring, through the summer,” Taylor said on July 27 when asked about Robinson.
“Coming off that injury, you never really know the timeline. I know there have been experiences where guys come back quicker and some guys haven't, whatever it is. So that’s a testament to James, the training staff, the work he’s put in.”
There’s still some time before the mid-August soft deadline for Robinson to return, but so far, so good.
Multiple players stand out during one-on-ones
The Jaguars returned to the coveted one-on-one sessions with offensive and defensive linemen on Monday. We tracked the majority of the repetitions, a drill that gives observers a good look at how physical and quick these players really are.
During the session, multiple players stood out, including defensive linemen Dawaune Smoot, Jay Tufele and DaVon Hamilton. Though Hamilton had a at least one poor rep, landing on the ground, he made up for it with a lot of power from inside against center Luke Fortner.
Tufele posted a couple of reps that led to defensive line coach Brenston Buckner giving a couple of tough coaching, making sure Tufele finished the rep off strong. Still, it was encouraging for the team’s staff to get a look at their young, second-year defender.
I think it’s apparent that Hamilton is getting stronger. Hes a sneaky force for them in the middle of the defense. pic.twitter.com/MqcztZI5ti— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) August 1, 2022
Without listing the majority of the players (it’d be impossible to list everyone who had good reps without getting too lengthy), a couple of the offensive linemen that stood out were left tackle Cam Robinson and right tackle Walker Little.
Robinson began the day with a strong rep against rookie OLB Travon Walker, while Little had a couple of reps against Walker and other players, stonewalling them for the most part. Little has played as the team’s starter at right tackle while Jawaan Taylor makes his way back from a hamstring injury.
Here was the second rep with Walker going up against Little: pic.twitter.com/jTvlfm37Da— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) August 1, 2022
Travon Walker did post a solid rep against Robinson in the two’s second face-off, but it’s clear who the vets are and who the young players, still learning, are. Robinson has been one of the standout players through the first couple of days of camp, looking like a veteran leader after inking a new three-year deal with the team.
One-on-one drills are the quintessential “ebbs-and-flows” drill a team can run, and it’s often looked at as the end-all-be-all to determine a player’s worth. Though they are valuable, the translation to the playing field on Sundays is often overstated, at least when there isn’t a lot of data to work off of.
A couple of under-the-radar players who posted solid outings:
- Outside linebacker De’Shaan Dixon
- Defensive lineman Israel Antwine
- Offensive lineman Wes Martin
- Quarterback C.J. Beathard participated in team drills for the first time since camp started. Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson mentioned on Saturday that Beathard would be back when he’s ready, and it appears he’s making his return soon.
- Jaguars defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi returned in limited action today after being sidelined with a calf injury over the past couple of days of camp.
- OL Jawaan Taylor remained sidelined with a hamstring injury, as did linebacker Devin Lloyd.