JACKSONVILLE – This was familiar, and it was very much the start of something.
The familiarity for the Jaguars on Day 9 of 2023 Training Camp Saturday was being back in EverBank Stadium. As for the start of something? It's about to get tough and physical.
"This is the grind part of training camp here," Head Coach Doug Pederson said shortly before practice on Military Appreciation Day.
Saturday was the only '23 camp practice scheduled inside EverBank Stadium, where the Jaguars play home games and where they practiced daily last season. All other '23 camp practices will be held in the recently-completed Miller Electric Center – a state-of-the-art facility adjacent to the stadium.
The team will train at the MEC year-round, continuing to use their former in-stadium, year-round locker room on game days. That was the routine for Saturday's practice.
"A nice little dry run," Pederson called Saturday.
Pederson built this year's training camp schedule with the idea of making Days 9-11 "the grind" part of the preseason. The Jaguars will work in pads all three of those days. Although there were no "live" contact periods Saturday, 2022 camp featured such a practice during a similar mid-camp stretch.
"It's more about the mental toughness at this point, because we know the season's a long season and things come up," Pederson said. "You have to endure some adversity from time to time. There's going to be some. It's going to be hot. It's going to be warm. Guys aren't going to feel good. Coaches aren't going to feel good. But you know what? This is what we signed up to do.
"These three days are going to show a lot that way, to see who's really focused and locked in."
Pederson added, "I'll take care of them with water breaks and different things like that, keeping them hydrated and all. But this is a good little stretch."
Pederson on Saturday also discussed offensive and defensive identity, saying the offense must be "multiple."
"We talk a lot about the run game, play-action – all of that is critical – but our offense needs to be fluid," he said. "That identity needs to be fluid. It needs to be something where it's sort of changing every week, being able to throw our skill guys in positions to move around. That's something we've been able to establish these first couple of weeks and the guys have done a nice job with that."
Pederson said the defensive identity must be aggressive and physical at the line.
"We do understand that generating pass rush in this league is a lot of it, but being able to stop the run – I really think our defense's strong point is being physical," he said.
PLAY OF THE DAY
- This came late in an 11-on-11 drill, with backup quarterback C.J. Beathard throwing a pass deep down the middle of the field caught for a touchdown by wide receiver Jacob Harris – a third-year veteran who increasingly has looked impressive during '23 camp. Harris (6-feet-5, 211 pounds), who played collegiately at Central Florida, was a fourth-round selection by the Los Angeles Rams in the 2021 NFL Draft. He sustained injuries to his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments late in his rookie season and played 16 games – seven as a rookie and nine this past season – in two seasons with the Rams. The Rams waived him last December.
- Wide receiver Christian Kirk had a nice reception on an accurate fade pass from quarterback Trevor Lawrence early in 11-on-11 drills midway through practice…
- Wide receiver Calvin Ridley caught a touchdown pass from Lawrence in a late 11-on-11 repetition, and rookie Jaray Jenkins caught a touchdown pass later in the period…
- Left tackle Walker Little continued to shine in one-on-one pass-rush drills…
- Veteran nose tackle DaVon Hamilton also continued to get strong push, turning in three strong repetitions in one-on-one pass-rush work. …
- Left tackle Cam Robinson had strong repetitions in one-on-one pass rush…
- Rookie guard Cooper Hodges and defensive tackle Michael Dogbe had a brief skirmish and were separated by teammates following a one-on-one pass-rush repetition…
- Defensive lineman Foley Fatukasi had multiple strong one-on-one pass-rush repetitions, as did second-year outside linebacker De'Shaan Dixon…
- Cornerback Tyson Campbell sustained a concussion in practice Saturday and has entered the concussion protocol.
- Veteran guard Tyler Shatley worked on the side after going into atrial fibrillation after practice Wednesday. "We got him treated right away," Pederson said of Shatley. "He's fine. He's okay. He's with the team. Everything's calmed down. Until he's cleared, he'll just work on the side. From a health standpoint, he's good."
- Rookie right tackle Anton Harrison (shoulder) practiced limited and Pederson said the team is "progressing him slowly."
- Safety Andre Cisco (hamstring) returned and practiced full.
- Left guard Ben Bartch (knee) and defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot (Achilles) remain on the Physically Unable to Perform list to start camp.