JACKSONVILLE – Urban Meyer focused on the positives.
Speaking to the media Monday morning – two days after the 2021 preseason opener – the Jaguars' first-year head coach also focused on a message he delivered to his team following a 23-13 loss to the Cleveland Browns Saturday.
"Every play's gotta count, and every drive's gotta count," Meyer said.
Meyer, speaking to the media before Day 14 of Jaguars 2021 Training Camp at the Dream Finders Homes Practices Complex, said that's a huge difference for many of the Jaguars' young players – and for himself as he transitions to the NFL after a 17-year career as one of college football's most successful coaches.
"Every drive counts," Meyer said. "When you're only taking about 60 plays (in the NFL) and three hours of football, that's a big change for a lot of players – and coaches. You only get a couple of drives a half. In college, you're 80 or 90 plays a lot of times."
Meyer added, "There's certain things to work on, but there are certainly things that were pretty good, too."
Meyer on Monday also detailed multiple positives from Saturday:
*Veteran quarterback CJ Beathard, who completed 13 of 16 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown while starting the second half. "CJ Beathard came in and played fantastic," Meyer said.
*A run defense that allowed 41 yards on 26 carries. "Obviously, we loaded the box quite often, but our defensive line kind of controlled the line of scrimmage," Meyer said.
*Ball security. "We took care of the ball," Meyer said. "The backs, receivers, everybody really took care of the football, which was an emphasis."
*Special teams, which he said played well other than a missed 47-yard field goal by kicker Josh Lambo – "Lambo's gotta stick it through the uprights," Meyer said – and two penalties.
"That's about it," Meyer said.
Meyer also said playing time for Monday's Preseason Week 2 game against the New Orleans Saints will be determined as the week continues.
Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, started against the Browns and completed six of nine passes for 71 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions. Meyer said "there's a decent chance" Lawrence will start against New Orleans.
"We haven't made that decision yet," he said.
Meyer on Monday also reiterated what he said following Saturday's loss – that he wants to see faster pace offensively.
"So much I hear, 'Well, we can't show this, can't show this, can't show this…'" Meyer said. "I want to go some tempo. I'm used to some certain things. You'll see more of it as we get moving forward. What you saw is not what we're going to be.
"I get it. We're right out of the chute. I think sometimes coaches think, 'We can't show this. We can't show this.' I'm like, 'Why?'"
Meyer was asked how much of the playbook was used Saturday.
"Not much," he said.
Meyer on Monday also discussed the offensive line, saying left tackle Cam Robinson played OK Saturday and that right tackle Jawaan Taylor has had "a great camp." "He didn't play great; he didn't play awful," Meyer said of Taylor against the Browns. Meyer also said guard A.J. Cann "played solid" against Cleveland, allowing a pressure. "He's been really solid all the way through," Meyer said, adding that second-year Ben Bartch "did OK in there." Meyer said rookie tackle Walker Little "struggled" against the Browns, playing "with really low hands." Added Meyer of Little: "It was on him really fast. He's got to get a lot of reps. We're counting on him. He had a really good training camp, so we have to get him going."
Meyer said second-year cornerback CJ Henderson played 28 plays against Cleveland "and played pretty good. He didn't get 'Winning Performance,' but he got honorable mention. He's very talented. We're just seeing him get back in Game Mode.''
Jaguars defensive lineman Taven Bryan returned to practice after being activated from reserve/COVID-19 Sunday. Meyer was asked what gave him confidence in the fourth-year veteran. "OTAs and his practice work ethic in the spring," Meyer said. "He's not had the production in his career of his God-given skill, but I love the guy. He wants to go and he's full speed today. He's a talented good person and we're going to coach him hard."