Marcedes Lewis likes the feeling around the Jaguars.
Lewis, the Jaguars' Pro Bowl tight end, along with Owner Wayne Weaver, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown and Head Coach Jack Del Rio, spoke to the crowd at the Chamber of Commerce Cornerstone/Kickoff Luncheon at the Prime Osborne Convention Center Tuesday afternoon.
Lewis thanked the crowd for supporting the team despite the recent NFL lockout, and said he's optimistic about the coming season.
"I'm so excited about this coming season," Lewis said as the Jaguars prepared to play host to the Tennessee Titans in the regular-season opener at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m. "I think I speak for everybody when I say, 'We're ready to pick up where we left off, and even come stronger.' "
Brown encouraged the business leaders at the function to continue supporting the Jaguars, and to help the team avert blackouts this season as it did last season.
Lewis likened the atmosphere this season around the Jaguars to the enthusiasm of a college team.
"Everybody is down with one another, and would do anything for one another," Lewis said. "We work hard knowing that the man next to us is going to work just as hard."
Del Rio said while the 2011 off-season – because of the lockout – was different than any he has experienced in the NFL, the Jaguars had a "very productive training camp."
"We are committed," Del Rio said. "We have put in hard work, and that's why we're excited about this season that's about to unfold."
The Jaguars during the early days of training camp signed linebackers Paul Posluszny and Clint Session, as well as safety Dawan Landry, cornerback Drew Coleman and defensive end Matt Roth. All are expected to play key roles, with Posluszny, Session and Landry starting.
"We have a rebuilt defense," Del Rio said. "We have some veteran players we're excited about. We feel like we're going to be one of the top defenses in the league this year."
Lewis and fellow team captains Maurice Jones-Drew, Kassim Osgood, Daryl Smith, Aaron Kampman and Montell Owen represented the players on-stage during the event, with Owens and Kampman also speaking to the crowd.
"We've got a great group of leaders on our football team, a great group," Del Rio said. "The leadership we have in our locker room – the players carry the torch. They understand what our message is. We're going to be a tough, smart football team. . . . We're just eager for the year to get here."