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Camping with the Jaguars: O-Line "starting to come together"

Jacksonville Jaguars center Brandon Linder (65) looks on before the start of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Minneapolis. The Vikings defeated the Jaguars 27-24. (AP Photo/David Berding)
Jacksonville Jaguars center Brandon Linder (65) looks on before the start of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Minneapolis. The Vikings defeated the Jaguars 27-24. (AP Photo/David Berding)

JACKSONVILLE – Brandon Linder isn't a big talker.

Not that the Jaguars' eighth-year center is quiet, but he never feels the need to gather the media to share an opinion. On Friday, he was the de facto mayor of the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex – holding court on a variety of topics and entertaining the press with the quick wit and sly grin teammates see every day.

Among the topics: The Jaguars' offensive line.

"That's the thing I'm most excited about, with us as a line," Linder said following Day 3 practice of Jaguars 2021 Training Camp. "We've been together for a few years and you can see already, in the first couple of days, we're starting to come together, to hit on all cylinders. The communication is there. The technique is there and it's only going to get better."

Linder, the Jaguars' most-tenured player, is energized by everything that is new inside the organization: the coach, the quarterback, the way the team practices and the way players recover in the new performance training room.

Ironically, it's what didn't change that brought the strongest response from Linder – who is surrounded by an offensive line that has played together the past two seasons and is unchanged headed into another.

Safe to assume then that the other four returning starters on the line – left guard Andrew Norwell, left tackle Cam Robinson, right guard A.J. Cann and right tackle Jawaan Taylor – are as enthusiastic about offensive line coach George Warhop, who returned for a third consecutive season.

"I was really excited about that, ecstatic about that," Linder said of Warhop returning under new Head Coach Urban Meyer. "Coach 'Hop' is probably one of the best offensive line coaches I've had, helps me improve my game and I know what he does for those guys as well.

"And it's more than just football. It's about life and how to be men and it's just a different relationship with him than I've had with any offensive line coach. I am super excited that they kept him and now we're just picking up where we've left off."


Every Jaguars player who comes to the media tent after practice, regardless of side of ball or position, is asked about rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Linder didn't shy away when asked about the "competition" between last season's Week 1 starter – Gardner Minshew II – and Lawrence, who most observers expect will be the Week 1 starter for years and years to come. "They're both competing," offered Linder. "Fricking love Minshew and I love Trevor and it ain't a weird vibe between them at all. We're a team and we know that at any moment someone could get hurt and it's football, so things happen, and the next guy has to be ready to go. It's a great competition and everyone is behind both of them."


Defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen, unlike Linder, relishes the chance to gather the media and chat. You couldn't see the smile behind the mask he wore after practice Friday, but you could hear the delight as he discussed the new staff, the new scheme and all the energy around TIAA Bank Field. "It's a new culture," Allen said. "Entirely new and you can see it everywhere you look. A new environment, new players, new staff, even the building has changed. I love what we have here, the intensity that we have here and if we keep listening to what (Jaguars defensive coordinator Joe) Cullen and Coach Meyer are preaching, we're going to go a long way." Linder has been in a few more of these sizzling summer sessions and is generally less effusive with his words, but he couldn't help it when asked about 2021. "It's always easy to come out here and just drag ass through practice," he said. "But I feel happier in this building and am more excited to come out here and perform than I have been in years."


Allen has high expectations for this upcoming year and is excited for the multiple roles he will be able to play. Cullen is known for moving guys around and getting creative, and he praised the defensive end saying he expected greatness out of him. Allen mentioned offenses are going to have no idea who is coming at them with the amount of players who can play multiple roles.


Friday looked the most like a "quarterback competition" out of any practice this week. Minshew made some nice throws in the red-zone period of practice and his best throw of the day was during 7-on-7 down the seam to rookie tight end Luke Farrell. The throw got passing game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to jump in the air and high five the quarterback. Lawrence had another impressive day, especially in red zone where he tallied over four touchdowns. His most impressive pass was to wide receiver Collin Johnson – leading him perfectly to the corner of the end zone and getting a roaring reaction from the season-ticket members at Friday's practice.

Check out top photos from the third day of the 2021 Jaguars Training Camp.

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