JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars held Day 1 of 2022 Organized Team Activities Monday.
The team is scheduled to hold 10 such non-padded, non-contact practices inside TIAA Bank Field over the next three weeks followed by a three-day mandatory minicamp the following week. OTAs mark the start of Phase 3 of the voluntary offseason program, with teams able to hold 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.
Here are Monday's "campservations" from four members of Jaguars Media – senior writer John Oehser, senior correspondent Brian Sexton, senior reporter/editor J.P. Shadrick and team reporter Ashlyn Sullivan:
Jaguars Senior Writer John Oehser
- Gleaning real impressions from OTAs – or any non-padded football work – is difficult. So, while the defensive front pressured quarterback Trevor Lawrence during 11-on-11 work at times Monday, it's best not to overemphasize such things. What did stand out Monday were several times Lawrence connected with wide receiver Christian Kirk during a 7-on-7 drill midway through practice. Kirk, who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent, got open for a short gain on a sideline route – and then got deep for a 40-yard gain down the middle of the field shortly thereafter. "He's great," Lawrence said of Kirk. "From a football IQ sense, I think he's really quarterback-friendly – the way he sees the field and different coverages unfold, the way he runs his routes. Obviously, his speed is something we really needed and it's going to help us a lot. You guys saw it today: He can fly and locate a ball … all those things. He's really talented."
- Also standing out Monday: The apparent health of running back Travis Etienne Jr. He has been cleared to practice full in OTAs after missing his 2021 rookie season with a Lisfranc injury and looked confident, quick and fast. That's a good early sign.
Jaguars Senior Correspondent Brian Sexton
- It struck me while watching practice Monday there are plenty of good football players on this roster we've simply overlooked this spring. Nose tackle Jay Tufele was the first player I saw walking with defensive lineman Malcom Brown; we talked a lot in February about needing to get bigger and better on the defensive line, yet rarely were those two names mentioned. I also watched running back Ryquell Armstead Monday and thought the Jaguars could get productive time from him while being patient with James Robinson's recovery. Tight Dan Arnold caught a nice ball up the seam and I wondered what he might contribute now that Kirk, Jones and tight end Evan Engram are around to take some defensive focus. These guys aren't star players – but they should be good role players, provide quality depth and be counted on when the usual attrition of the season occurs.
Jaguars Senior Reporter/Editor J.P. Shadrick
- The start of Phase 3 of the offseason program means OTAs, which also means 11-on-11 is allowed for the first time this offseason. No pads and contact are allowed, but at least we got to see some routes against 11 actual defenders. Lawrence's first snap in 11-on-11 was a rolling throw deep down the right side to tight end Chris Manhertz for a long gain. He had some nice connections to Kirk, but also threw an interception to nose tackle DaVon Hamilton. It was good to see Etienne on the field without restrictions that we could see. Hard to tell on the offensive line without pads what's going to happen there, but you can tell newly acquired right guard Brandon Scherff goes about his business the right way – and offensive tackle Walker Little looks like he's trimmed up a bit from last year. Right now, the defense can't truly defend like it can when it's full pads and for real in training camp, but linemen Roy Robertson-Harris and Adam Gotsis got in on pressure a few times Monday.
Jaguars Team Reporter Ashlyn Sullivan
- The defensive line came out ready to play Monday, as ready as you could be for an OTA practice. Defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen hugged every member of the defense at the start of the 11-on-11 eleven period; I would describe the defense as giddy to be back together. The front seven made a multitude of plays during team period; Dawuane Smoot, Gotsis and Arden Key all had "sacks." Lawrence laughed when asked if the defense "got after them" Monday, implying they played as aggressive as they could without the offensive line pushing against them. Lawrence went on to compliment what suddenly is a star-studded group on the defensive line. The play of the day went to Hamilton, who intercepted Lawrence at the line of scrimmage and ran it back for a touchdown. Lawrence took the blame for that one, smiling and calling it an early birthday present for Hamilton. I would be surprised if this defense is not MUCH better than it was a year ago with the key additions the personnel department made on the defensive line.