JACKSONVILLE – He's back, and he's ready for what's next.
And actually, Zane Beadles said he feels significantly more ready for what's next than he was at this time last year.
Beadles, a six-year veteran left offensive guard, said it wasn't as if he was unprepared for his first season with the Jaguars last season. But there was a lot of new. A new city. New teammates. A new role. New surroundings.
All were factors last season.
He's significantly more familiar with all of those things this season, and Beadles said Thursday that's part of what makes him optimistic entering the team's voluntary offseason conditioning program.
"I'm definitely excited to go into this year," Beadles said Thursday upon returning to Jacksonville in advance of the offseason program, which is scheduled to begin Monday at EverBank Field. "It was a learning curve for me last year personally."
Beadles signed as an unrestricted free agent from Denver last offseason. He graded well according to Pro Football Focus during 2014, but he and a young offensive line struggled at times with inexperience and a lack of continuity.
Beadles not only was perhaps the team's most high-profile offseason acquisition, he was in a new role as a veteran leader. He said he struggled at times with that role early, but agreed with Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell, who said shortly after the season that Beadles improved as the season continued.
"I had never been in that kind of leadership role before in a room," Beadles said. "To learn how to balance that with my own personal play and making sure that was all in line … as the season went on I got more comfortable with it and was able to figure it out.
"I'm looking forward to going into this year and having a comfort level with that role and continuing to build on it."
Not everything will be familiar Monday. The Jaguars since the end of last season have a new offensive coordinator, Greg Olson, as well as a new offensive line coach. That's Doug Marrone, who was the head coach of the Buffalo Bills the last two seasons and who is now the Jaguars' assistant head coach-offense/offensive line.
Those changes are significant, and the coming weeks and months for the line will be about adjusting what had been primarily a zone-blocking scheme to more of a hybrid scheme that Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said recently at the 2015 NFL Annual Meeting will emphasize what players do well.
Beadles said he expects the transition to be smooth. He also said experience gained last season should benefit the line – even with a new coordinator and position coach.
"Building that camaraderie and those friendships, that transcends from coach to coach," Beadles said. "Those relationships are the basis of things and will continue to grow and will pick up where we left off last year. That side of things got a lot better last year.
"We were able to work on that and build that. I'm excited to see where we can take it this year."
Beadles, who spent much of the first three months of the offseason working out individually in California, said he spoke with Marrone before leaving town in January.
"All great coaches take the talent they have and mold what they're trying to build around that talent – and obviously improve the talent they have," Beadles said. "Everything I've heard about Coach Marrone and everything I've heard from him, I think he's going to be a great teacher.
"We're going to work together to do things that really make sense for all of us, and he's definitely going to bring some great experience and great coaching to our room."
Beadles said without question he and the rest of the offensive line understands the importance of the coming season. Jaguars quarterbacks were sacked 71 times last season, and while the offensive line was not responsible for the entire total, it's an area that must improve.
The Jaguars signed right tackle Jermey Parnell as an unrestricted free agent, but other than that, starters Brandon Linder, Luke Bowanko, Beadles and left tackle Luke Joeckel would be starters if the season began today.
Beadles said it's a capable group, and one confident it can grow into a quality, consistent line.
"We want to be the stability of the offense and the driving force of the offense," Beadles said. "Every good offense I've been around, it started with a good offensive line. We understand that and we know that's something we need to be. Individually, all of us will have our own things we need to work on, but individually and as a group we need to be tough guys, tough-minded."
That's the objective, and a major step toward that objective begins Monday.
"We have high expectations for ourselves individually and high expectations as a group," Beadles said. "We're excited to get together and start working towards where we want to be."