JACKSONVILLE – Calais Campbell likes the new feel of training camp.
"It's a nice change," he said.
That was among the topics the four-time Pro Bowl defensive end covered Friday during his media availability on Day 2 of Jaguars Training Camp at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex adjacent to TIAA Bank Field – and Campbell made clear there is a different approach to this camp compared to past camps under Head Coach Doug Marrone.
Here's what Campbell had to say about that and four other topics Friday:
1."It's way different."
Marrone said Thursday there is an early emphasis during camp on preventing injuries. Campbell on Friday said players have more free time this camp to take care of their bodies, and that players aren't doing quite as many consecutive practice repetitions as in years past. "It's way different," Campbell said. "The team is maturing and he's allowing us to be pros and to kind of do what we need to do to get ready. We're still working really hard, getting a lot of good quality reps out there, competing. It's really iron sharpening iron. … We want to be the hardest-working team in the league. We'll gradually get there. It's going to be beneficial for us."
2."We're an inspired team."
Campbell is a team leader who focuses on the positive even in the toughest of times, but he seemed particularly optimistic Friday. "Guys are ready, focused, locked in," he said. "I think it's not even just physical shape, but I feel like guys are very locked in on knowing what to do early on. … Anytime you come off a season where you didn't do as well as you wanted to, guys kind of develop a chip on your shoulder again. You can see it around when you look at guys: They're working hard trying to earn back that respect that we once had, and I think that comes from just the daily grind and you can see the guys that have been working really hard and very much inspiring. We're an inspired team right now."
3."He's very physically blessed."
Jaguars rookie edge rusher Josh Allen has worked only individual drills in the first two days of camp as the team remains cautious in his return from a bruised knee that kept him out of much of the offseason program. Campbell on Friday spoke highly of the No. 7 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, saying he worked with Allen before camp "and my man is very blessed. He's a hard worker, he wants to learn. He seeks a lot of knowledge. Those are good things you want to see from a rookie. He understands that people will expect a lot from him, and he's just trying to be the best he can be. It's still early. We still have a lot of time to figure it out. First impressions are pretty good."
4."It tears him up not to be here."
Yannick Ngakoue's absence is a major early camp story, but Campbell has no worries about his teammate. "Wherever he is, you know he's working," Campbell said. Ngakoue, a fourth-year veteran defensive end, is holding out of camp because he and the team have yet to agree on a long-term contract. "It's only been a couple days, but we definitely talk a little bit here and there," Campbell said. Ngakoue, a Pro Bowl selection following the 2017 season, had 9.5 sacks last season and has 29.5 sacks in three NFL seasons. "I'm very confident that he's going to be in really good, quality shape and he's going to come back focused and ready to go," Campbell said. "Yann loves football. He has his people that he employs to give him the best advice and figure out what he needs to do and it's a business. But there are no ifs, ands or buts about it: Yann loves the game of football and when he gets back, he is going to be on point and ready to go, and I know he's itching to get back. He can't wait. I know it tears him up not to be here with us working. He's a guy that we all know that he's working somewhere."
5."The light bulb comes on."
Campbell said he is impressed with the continued growth of middle linebacker Myles Jack. A fourth-year veteran, Jack is entering his second full season starting in the middle of the defense – and his third full season calling the Jaguars' defensive signals. "He's getting to the age where it starts to click, the light bulb comes on and he becomes a vet," Campbell said. "The first three years, you are kind of young and trying to figure it out. Once you are coming up on that fourth year, you become vested, you kind of become a vet. You can see him when it comes to setting the defense, getting everybody lined up, it's night and day compared to what it was last year. He's quick and on it. … The first thing is getting everybody lined up and knowing where everybody is supposed to be. The second thing is understanding the schemes and where you are strong, where you are weak, where people are trying to attack you. That's what he's starting to learn now."