Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

Austin Seferian-Jenkins - Monday, July 30, 2018

(On how practice feels with pads on) "It's been good. We're getting out there. We're still, as a team, getting in shape, getting used to having the pads on and the helmets on and going hard every single play and getting better every day."

(On if he had an expectation of training camp after speaking with teammates) "Honestly, I never really asked about training camp. I know there's 31 other football teams in the NFL going hard. I don't know if it's just as hard as us, but they are going really, really hard and they are practicing hard and all training camp practices are going to be hard in the NFL. This is the best of best. We're all professionals here. You got a guy training to make a team right across from you, going all the way down the depth chart. Regardless of where you are, whether you're in Jacksonville or New York, California, Texas, I don't know where you are, but it's going to be hard. It's going to be tough. You are going to have to fight every single day to earn your right."

(On what the offense looks for as they progress through camp compared to the defense) "Well, I think it's everyone just getting out there and working hard, getting back in shape, getting in that football shape with pads and building chemistry. The defense doesn't have a lot of moving parts. A lot of the same guys are coming back from a year ago. Offense has a little more change on the offensive side of the ball in some positions, but for the most part, it's just working that chemistry. We're only what, day four here? It takes time. It takes time to build that chemistry with the receivers and the quarterback – tight ends, quarterback – O-line, everyone making those calls, getting it down the line, getting it out to the receivers. It takes time, you know. Today was a better day for everybody and we took a step forward, but there still needs to be a lot of forward steps. There's a lot of work to be put in to be where we want to be Week 1."

(On the offseason work with Blake Bortles) "I think the biggest thing in chemistry is having the guy that's throwing me the ball knowing he can trust you. You are going to be at that spot. I think that is the biggest thing. When he trusts you are going to be at the spot, he doesn't necessarily need to look at you. He can just throw it to a spot, and I think me and Blake, and other guys on the team, Donte [Moncrief] and Dede Westbrook have done a phenomenal job of being in that spot that the quarterback needs him to be in and being able to throw that and have that trust to make those plays. Cody [Kessler] has done a great job, as well, same with Tanner [Lee], letting guys make plays. DJ Chark had a great play today. Guys are making plays all over the field, and you can't forget about [Keelan] Cole with some deep balls two days ago and had some plays today."

(On if there were any reservations coming to a small market like Jacksonville, in reference to his previous piece for The Players' Tribune) "Honestly, there was no reservation coming here.  To be honest, this is the Iast time we'll talk about this. Being in Tampa was when I grew up. I grew up, I was 20 or 21-years-old, going in there, still learning about life, learning how to be a mature adult, not just a man. Everyone wants to say, 'Be a man.' It's about being an adult and going through life problems and all those other things and understanding myself and knowing myself. I didn't know who I was. I didn't understand myself as a person and New York helped me do that. Coach [Todd] Bowles helped me do that. The Jets organization helped me do that. I'm here in Jacksonville and I'm ready to do the best I can do for them. I'm not worried about anything like that. I'm focused on what I can do today. What do I have to do for my teammates? What do I have to do for my coaches? What do I have to do for this city so they can get the most back on their investment in me and I can get the most out of myself so I can be the best tight end I can be."

(On if he feels pressure to come in as a leader) "I think pressure makes diamonds or you bust. I like pressure. We'll figure out which one it's going to be."

(On if he's taking on a specific leadership standpoint) "No. I come out here to play football. Leaders don't try to be leaders, they just play hard and people follow. I know I'm not one of the people that come in there and yell and get everybody's attention. I'm going to get your attention by the way in which I prepare, the way in which I work, the way in which I'm dedicated to my teammates, to my coaches and that, in itself, is enough. If I can show younger guys how to practice, how to play, how to carry themselves throughout the building, how to prepare, that is leadership in itself. Yelling and all that other stuff, that isn't me. Some people do that and they are vocal leaders and that works for them and they do all those other things that I'm talking about. I'm not that guy. I'm the guy that comes in here, works hard every day, gets here early, leaves late, and I just show the young guys how it should be done. Hopefully I show a young guy like me when I was young, 'You know it's tough right now, you're trying to figure out yourself. You can get through it if you dedicate yourself. If you love the game like I know you do, you can get through those tough spots and become a great player.'"

(On his perception of Bortles coming into the year and now his impressions of him) "Perception and reality are different. People can think whatever they think. I don't care. I don't think you should care what people think about you if you know who you are as a person. I know Blake knows what type of quarterback he is. I think he is a hell of a quarterback. I think he makes plays when it counts. I think he wins football games when it counts. I am pretty sure he was in my draft class, and I don't know any other quarterbacks that have won a playoff game in our draft class. He is the only one to do that. I know quarterbacks are drafted to win Super Bowls and win playoff games and win big games and he has done that. He had made that progression. I think the perception is wrong and I think the perception needs to be changed because people aren't realizing it is a progression. It takes time. You can't just come in here and be the best quarterback ever. It takes time from year one to year two to year three. People have to realize the progression of Blake Bortles from year one to year two to year three and year four and now year five with a different offensive system and see the jump he made. A lot of people want to talk bad about this and that last year. That was his best year. If you look at his stats, he did a lot better than a lot of the other [31] other quarterbacks in the NFL. They can say whatever they want about it. They can say negative things, but Blake is going to keep going back there, he is going to keep making throws and when he needs to run, he is going to run. He is going to do what it takes to win and that is what you want in a quarterback. A guy that wants to win and does the job every single day. If he messes up, he is going to go out there and sling it again, not timid at all. That is what I want in a quarterback. That is what we need in a quarterback. I am happy we have Blake Bortles here."

(On what challenges opposing tight ends will face going against the Jacksonville defense) "They play man, they play zone, they hit hard and are physical. They are a gritty bunch. If you aren't going to run-block, I don't know how many times you are going to be in there. We have some good safeties, whether it be [Tashaun Gipson], Barry [Church] or Ronnie [Harrison]. Ronnie has been coming on really well, as well as Cody Davis. We have some guys one through two and even three that can really cover the ball and come down and strike when it comes to the run-game. I think we are very fortunate to have those guys. I am trying to give them the best look possible, so whenever they face someone, there won't be many better guys that they face."

(On his progression as a run blocker) "It's hard. I will tell you that right now. I got beat a couple of times today going against '93', Calais [Campbell]. I do not know too many guys that are better than him, and I am going to continue to put my nose in there and go as hard as I can and get better. Not every play is going to be perfect and not every play in the season is going to be perfect. I will get beat one time. I am sure of it. It will happen, but it is about coming back and making that next play and making that block for your guy. I believe I can block anybody. All of that can happen, but I'm a realist, and I understand that these guys are getting paid across the ball from me and they make plays sometimes, too. I am never going to give up on my teammates. I am always going to be in there, try and do my best to block and it is going to continue to get better. We are only on Day 4. Day 4 ,guys, Day 4. We have a lot of time, but we don't. We have a lot of time, but we don't. We have to have a sense of urgency every single time we touch the practice field to get better."

(On who the team has in the tight end group) "We have James O'Shaughnessy, Ben Koyack, Scott Orndoff, David Grinnage, Niles Paul. Besides that, you are going to have to talk to the scouting department."

(On his route running) "It's been good. Like I said, I am working every single day to get that conditioning to be able to [be the] every single down player that the coaches need me to be, that I know I can be. It is [about] improving. It is improving each day and that comes along with the conditioning and being that mismatch that they need me to be. It is just a progression every single day. Rome wasn't built in a day. I can't be built in a day. I know it takes time."