JACKSONVILLE – Travis Etienne Jr. likes how he's feeling.
The rookie running back from Clemson University likes how he's looking so far in Jaguars 2021 Training Camp, too – and make no mistake:
When it comes to a key part of his role, Etienne believes he's looking much improved.
"Each and every day, I feel like I'm getting better," Etienne said. "Each and every day, I come out here and work – and the next day, I'm much better than I was the day before. I feel like I'm getting my confidence together and I'll be able to go out there and make plays."
That has been the goal in recent months for Etienne. The No. 25 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, Etienne will play running back for the Jaguars. But he also will play a key role as a receiver – and while that's not Etienne's natural position, he knows it will be an important one.
He therefore has made it an area of focus – and when speaking to the media Monday following Day 5 of Jaguars 2021 Training Camp, he spoke of the improvement he believes he has seen.
"Honestly, I feel like it's night and day from rookie minicamp (in May)," he said. "When I first came here, my stance was kind of sloppy. Now, it's night and day. I'm much better in my footwork, my pad level. I feel like Coach Urban had a great plan and it's coming to fruition."
Etienne, who rushed for 4,952 yards with 1,155 yards receiving at Clemson, is expected to play a key role at both positions as a rookie – and he said that was the focus between the end of the offseason program in mid-June and last week's beginning of training camp.
"I worked on the totality of my whole game," Etienne said "I did receiving drills and I did running back drills. I didn't let anything go to waste."
As running back James Robinson did last week, Etienne said on Monday he liked the idea of a running-back rotation with multiple backs having key roles and carries. Robinson carried 240 of the team's 281 carries by backs last season. The Jaguars now have not only Etienne and Robinson in the backfield, but also former 1,000-yard rusher Carlos Hyde. "We look at it different than the media," Etienne said. "We're all brothers. There are six of us and we're trying to help each other get better. If we can create a rotation, we're definitely going to have a longer career. We're definitely mindful of that and we want to help each other be the best we can be."
Jaguars assistant head coach/linebackers Charlie Strong met with the media following practice Monday, speaking of what he has seen through five days of camp: "Everything we've asked of them, they've done. They're just working at what they're doing. Tomorrow the pads come on, so it will be something different. You just hope they keep going down the road in the right direction. When you have a group that really wants to win, they'll do everything you ask them to do."
Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer on multiple occasions during '21 camp has stopped practice early to address the team, something he did Monday. "More than anything, he just tells them, 'We just can't waste a day,''' Strong said. "It's all about stacking a good day on a good day on a good day. You'll see that a lot. If he doesn't think practice is going good, he's going to stop the practice. That's what he does. There was a period there (Monday) when the offense completed 10 passes in a row. He called everybody up and said, 'Defense, you can touch the football. There's nothing wrong with getting the ball.' It's contagious."