The Jaguars have begun a training camp that feels as though it's the start of something new. Yeah, it's still the Jack Del Rio era, but clearly the Jaguars are moving into a new phase of that era.
This is the "Re Era." It's a reset, so to speak, and Del Rio reaffirmed his demands on Monday for a total commitment from his players.
"The team gave a fully committed effort through OTAs and conditioning. The team is ready to work and that's going to be needed. We're going to stress that selfless mentality. The next thing is to build that trust in the system and trust in yourself," Del Rio told reporters following a morning practice that in many ways resembled what you would expect from a young team in its first practice of training camp.
That's because the Jaguars are a young team that was in its first practice of training camp. In the "Re Era," the most significant "re" stands for rebuilding, which is what the Jaguars are doing to their roster. Thirty-nine of the 80 players on the Jaguars roster were not on last year's roster.
Remarkable! How's that for another "re" word?
Del Rio is pinning his hopes for improvement in 2009 on the veteran half of his roster.
"I really believe it's the core of our team that we need to develop and have play the best football," Del Rio said, referring to prime-of-their-careers players such as David Garrard, Rashean Mathis, Daryl Smith, Maurice Jones-Drew and others. "Those are the guys that need to take us where we're going. We need to lean on them."
One of those "others" is John Henderson, who was one of the dominant defensive tackles in the game a few years ago. Del Rio is counting on Henderson returning to his previous high level of play.
"It would be a big boost for us if we could get him back to that Pro-Bowl level," Del Rio said of Henderson.
Offensive tackle Eugene Monroe's absence was the only negative at the start of camp. The eighth pick of this year's draft, it's hoped Monroe won't be as difficult to sign as last year's eighth pick of the draft, Derrick Harvey, was. Harvey missed the entire training camp and didn't offer much in the way of production until late in the season.
"Eugene is the only player not here. I remain optimistic that we'll get that resolved soon," Del Rio said.
Resolved is also a good "re" word and it fits the Jaguars, who have a resolve to be more competitive this year than they were in '08.
"The talent level in this league is evenly distributed. It's the team that executes on Sunday that competes the best," Del Rio said.
"The coach has to set the direction. Leaders emerge in that locker room and carry the team. There's an expectation of how we're going to approach things and it's been accepted," Del Rio added.
Guard Vince Manuwai, cornerback Scott Starks, wide receiver Torry Holt and safety Sean Considine did not participate in practice. Manuwai and Starks are in ACL comebacks and, along with Holt (knee), will practice once a day this week. Considine is said to have reported to training camp with a slight calf sprain. He has been placed on the "physically unable to perform" list and Del Rio said he expected Considine to be removed from that list in a few days.