JACKSONVILLE – The restrictions are almost over.
And if you don't think Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer is eagerly anticipating that – i.e., the time when of training camp when defenses can hit and be aggressive – then you weren't listening during his Saturday media availability.
"The real stuff starts next week," Meyer said.
That was the money quote when Meyer met the media Saturday following Day 4 practice of Jaguars 2021 Training Camp at the Dream Finders Homes Complex. What he was talking about was the fact that for the first four days, the work has been no pads and no contact.
Defensive backs also haven't been allowed to defend passes. The Jaguars' first padded practice of '21 camp will be Tuesday, something Meyer referenced often Saturday.
"I told them (the defense) today, 'It's over now,''' he said. "'Now, go make a play.' Next week, they can start that."
Meyer referenced the non-contact, non-defending-passes nature of the offseason and early training camp when asked about quarterback Trevor Lawrence's performance early in camp. He referenced it again when asked about veteran wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr.
Both have been impressive this week, with Jones catching two touchdown passes from Lawrence in a two-minute drill Saturday.
"It's kind of unique: All spring and all now, you're not allowed to compete," Meyer said. "That starts Monday. Marvin's been great. Let's talk next week and see what happens."
Meyer spoke extensively Saturday of competition and the looming task of reducing the roster from 90 players in the offseason to 53 for the regular season.
"That's reality," Meyer said. "I want to take the subjectivity out of it. It's not fair to a player to not have objectiveness in there. That means charting everything. Not yet. Nothing's competitive yet. Starting Monday, we try to take the subjectivity out of who plays and who makes the team.
"It's a journey. Up until now, it's retention and skill set."
Lawrence said he struggled a bit Saturday in front of a capacity crowd with the Jaguars working on situational clock management. Meyer said the team will focus on two-minute situations often in camp moving forward, adding: "Clock management is a lot different than it is in college. Seventy percent of NFL games come down to two minutes."
The defense knows it will need to increase intensity next week, and linebacker Joe Schobert said he is looking forward to seeing how the defense will match up against Lawrence. "We just have to get close to the ball and then we can say we'd have broken that up," Schobert said of this week's no-contact, no-passes-defensed rules. "It actually makes it easy for the defense. Now, when we start putting pads on next week and you have to go and tackle [running back] James Robinson and break up passes from Trevor, it will change."
Meyer on veteran quarterback Gardner Minshew II: "I admire Gardner. We have a relationship now. It took a minute, like with a lot of players because they just weren't here much (early in the offseason). I appreciate what he's going through. It's never been harder than in 2021 to put team ahead of self. I'm not trying to be that old guy: 'Remember when.' But remember when team was team was more important than self? I'm not sure how much of that is left. I'm not complaining about it, but that's reality. I think he has done a really good job."