JACKSONVILLE – Trent Baalke likes what he is seeing.
That's how an NFL general manager expects to feel during an offseason program, and it's how Baalke is feeling as the Jaguars' 2022 organized team activities begin.
"This is a good group," Baalke said this week.
Baalke, in his second season as the Jaguars' general manager, joined senior writer John Oehser for this edition of the O-Zone Podcast. Baalke discussed multiple topics during a 20-minute conversation –including his primary football influences, his thoughts on Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson and where quarterback Trevor Lawrence stands entering his second NFL season.
"He's mature beyond his years," Baalke said of Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. "He's an old soul. He's a leader. He does it in his own way like any good leader does. He has his own style, but the maturity he showed last year was very impressive and he has continued to build on that as we work through this offseason."
Baalke also on the podcast discussed the 2022 Jaguars as a whole. With training camp nearly two months away, most players who will make up the regular season roster are now on the roster and are participating in the voluntary offseason program. OTAs, the closest thing to real practices of NFL offseasons because they feature 11-on-11 – albeit, non-padded – work, began Monday.
"They get along well," Baalke said of the players on the Jaguars' roster. "They've meshed really quickly together. It's a very smart. They have an excellent football IQ.
"That has been fun to watch thus far."
Pederson early this week said the Jaguars have had near 100 percent attendance for offseason program, with Baalke during the podcast praising the approach in recent months of the team's veterans.
"This was a group that became very tight through the course of last year, and it showed up in the final game," Baalke said, referencing a 26-11 season-ending victory over the Indianapolis Colts that essentially eliminated that franchise from postseason contention. "They stayed together through a lot off-the-field stuff. …
"The one thing we do sense out there is a little more sense of urgency, and that's because there's more competition. More competition breeds urgency. That's where we're at right now."
Watch the entire O-Zone Podcast with Baalke below, and click HERE to view more O-Zone Podcast content.