General manager Gene Smith shuffled the roster throughout the 2009 season, searching for the right combinations. The club had as many as 32 new faces on the roster at one point during the season, including 16 rookies.
The Jaguars have 13 players on the current roster who joined the club since last year's training camp. All those players now have the opportunity to train in the offseason with the club and "feel a part of the team."
"It's big to be able to start with a team because you get to build the camaraderie with the players, the coaches and the staff," defensive end Bryan Smith (pictured) said.
Smith was signed by the club on September 28 and was thrown into the fire a week later against division rival Tennessee. He saw action at linebacker in the 3-4 defense on 19 snaps and finished with two tackles.
"I got comfortable with the plays and how we were installing after about three games," Smith said. "I started to see what they really wanted me to do. I was able to learn the plays and get a concept of the defense."
Smith continued to see more time including a season-high 41 snaps at defensive end in the club's win at the Jets on November 15. Unfortunately, he suffered a shoulder injury in the first quarter a week later against Buffalo and was placed on injured reserve.
Smith is reporting to the stadium each morning and meeting with coaches following the workouts. It has allowed him to learn the details behind every scheme.
"You learn the plays from scratch," Smith said. "The coaches are getting really detailed and you have to learn everything. When you come in the middle of the season, you're learning on the go. It's a big difference."
The idea from a coaching perspective is to get the player ready for the upcoming game while also supplementing some of the concepts of the defense. The player is brought in for a reason, so the goal is to have him ready to play on Sunday.
Safety Anthony Smith was claimed off waivers from St. Louis on November 7 and made an immediate impact. He had two interceptions in his first three games and started at free safety the final two weeks. Part of his success was due to past schemes he played in while a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Linebacker Tank Daniels was brought in for the final two weeks with a reputation of being a standout special teams player. He spent time with Philadelphia and the New York Giants and led the Eagles with 18 special teams tackles in 2008.
Daniels admits he was limited with what he could do but is excited about being a part of the team moving forward. He is just starting to form relationships with players in the locker room.
"It's very important to be here this time of the season," Daniels said. "This is a time for me to build and show the coaches what they have in me. It's time for me to leave my impression on not only the coaches but the players.
"They are just getting to know me instead of just seeing my face a couple of times between meetings. I'm working out with these guys. They're learning a lot about me and I'm learning a lot about them."
Following his workout each morning, Daniels spends time with the coaching staff, preparing himself for the upcoming minicamp.
One of the major issues of joining a team in the middle of the season is living arrangements. While trying to learn a new scheme, most players opt to stay in a local hotel.
"I stayed in a hotel for the whole season," Bryan Smith said. "I'm in an apartment now which is nice and I'm just trying to get in here and get work done."