JACKSONVILLE – Training camp never fails to live up – or down, depending on your point of view – to being the "dog days of summer." It's hot, and it feels as if it gets hotter every day. Imagine wearing full pads – as the Jaguars will Tuesday – and running for more than two hours.
These are the days when NFL coaching staffs like to push as hard as they think is wise. The Denver Broncos, after all, will be in Jacksonville in mid-September – and the weather is generally just as miserable then as in early August.
The players walk off the field each day looking as if they were leaving the pool. Drenched isn't a good enough adjective to describe the experience of Urban Meyer's first training camp in Jacksonville.
"There's a lot of running," Jaguars defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris said Monday following Day 5 practice at 2021 Training Camp. "He's getting us in shape for sure. I thought I was in shape, but I am going to be in football shape by the time we're done with preseason.
"We're competitive every day and coach are doing a good job of working us and bringing us together…. but it's hot. It's a great opportunity for us to get ready for the season and Jacksonville is going to see that in September."
Meyer made the point repeatedly last spring that was going to give his team the very best tools to prepare and to recover so they could be ready to return to the practice field. He also added that he was going to ask for maximum effort and intensity in return.
"He talked about it all throughout the OTAs (the offseason program)," said assistant head coach/inside linebackers coach Charlie Strong, who has a long and successful history with Meyer. "He told them this was how we have to report to camp, this is what we're going to ask of you and give them credit, they all listened to him and did everything he asked them to do."
Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence had a welcome-to-the-NFL kind of morning, throwing three interceptions during team period. Fellow rookie and first-round pick Travis Etienne Jr., who knows him well after three years at Clemson, was quick to point out that "It is all about mindset" for his friend and longtime teammate. Etienne expects Lawrence will spend plenty of time with the film this afternoon and come back out for a better day tomorrow. "As a football player, you're not always going to have your best day," Etienne said. "That's why you come out here and work each and every day. It's better to have those days now than have them later in the season. I know how Trev is. I know his mindset. He's going to come out here and be much better than he was today."
Etienne is settling in nicely in his new city. The rookie on Monday said he went fishing with Lawrence and learned the hard way that he might need to work-out different muscles to be a good fisherman. A battle with a shark ended with the shark winning the day thanks to tired arms. He currently is looking for a house to buy on the beach because he enjoys the water but with current housing prices, he mentions he might have to go for a condo….
Robertson-Harris on his defensive-line teammates: "They're my dogs. Every day we come in and work. We click in. There's a lot of chemistry, on and off the field. We're going to be good. It's going to be a good front."