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Jaguars Veterans and Rookies Came Ready To Work at Day 1 of 2024 OTAs

0520 Camp Observations

JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars held Day 1 of 2024 Organized Team Activities Monday.

The team is scheduled to hold 10 such unpadded, non-contact practices at the Miller Electric Center 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 – Jaguars/NFL Media analysts Bucky Brooks, senior writer John Oehser, senior correspondent Brian Sexton and senior reporter/editor J.P. Shadrick:

Jacksonville, Fla. — Jaguars cornerbacks Jarrian Jones (22) and Tyson Campbell (32) during OTAs at the Miller Electric Center on May 20, 2024.

Bucky Brooks, Jaguars/NFL Media Analyst ...

  • A few observations. One, the vibe is different this year and it's clear the Jaguars are determined to make amends for their 2023 late-season swoon. The team conducted their business with a purpose Monday – and it showed up in the overall urgency, intensity and attention to detail.From the way the offense broke the huddle and hustled to the line to the defense's commitment to running to the ball, the Jaguars moved around like a championship contender between the lines. Two, they're doing simple better. There are many questions regarding the defense's approach under new coordinator Ryan Nielsen. While the scheme remains a work in progress, it is apparent the defense is committed to playing fundamentally sound football by mastering the basics. The Jaguars spent a lot of time Monday working on various tackling drills before going through diligent individual drills that focused extensively on footwork and technique. With every group expected to communicate at a high level throughout the practice, the session reminded me of a high school practice featuring NFL players. While some might take that as a slight to a team with back-to-back winning seasons, it's actually a compliment to the attention to detail demanded by the new defensive staff. As a player told me after the practice, the clear and concise instruction made the game easier for him and allowed his teammates to play fast between the lines. Three, No.16 is back. After limping to the finish in 2023, Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence looks like the franchise quarterback we all know and love. The fourth-year pro repeatedly dropped dimes Monday, exhibiting excellent timing and rhythm throwing the ball inside and outside of the numbers at intermediate range. With the star quarterback routinely hitting the strike zone with fastballs, the wide receivers were able to dazzle on a handful of "catch-and-run" concepts against the defense. Although OTAs do not count, the performance from the Jaguars' QB1 should lead to better results down the road.

John Oehser, Jaguars Senior Writer…

  • As is always the case with unpadded work, gleaning much from Day of OTAs is difficult – which is why Head Coach Doug Pederson and Nielsen on Monday both emphasized that OTAs aren't about depth charts. A few highlights Monday: A one-handed reception by wide receiver/returner Devin Duvernay, a touchdown reception in the back of the end zone by wide receiver Christian Kirk from Lawrence and an over-the-shoulder reception by tight end Josiah Deguara on a pass from reserve quarterback C.J. Beathard. Wide receiver Joshua Cephus, one of the higher-profile 2024 collegiate free-agent rookies, looked smooth and fast running routes and caught a 20-yard pass early in practice. And veteran quarterback Mac Jones found tight end Josh Pederson for a touchdown pass in red-zone work. Also standing out were veteran running back D'Ernest Johnson and second-year running back Tank Bigsby, both of whom had two nice runs at various times in practice Monday. "I feel like now he understands what the league is," running back Travis Etienne Jr. said of Bigsby. "As a rookie you're so anxious to get in the NFL and to get out there and play. He's not as anxious as he was. He's more poised, calm. His work ethic always has been great. He's such a young guy. His best football is still in front of him."

Brian Sexton, Jaguars Senior Correspondent …

  • I noticed the height, broad shoulders and long arms of the first two draft picks. It was hard to miss how physically gifted wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. and defensive lineman Maason Smith are – and how much they add to the size of their respective position groups. If bigger, stronger, faster was the primary objective this offseason, their additions – plus the free agent signings of players such as defensive lineman Arik Armstead and wide receiver Gabe Davis – checked all the boxes. I mostly focused on the offensive line group Monday for an early read on how the roster might look in early September. Cam Robinson and Walker Little worked at tackle on Monday with Anton Harrison watching practice, and rookie Javon Foster would seem to be the fourth tackle. The centers are Mitch Morse and Luke Fortner. That leaves the starting guards as Ezra Cleveland and Brandon Scherff, with the likely backups Cooper Hodges and Tyler Shatley – if they keep the 10-year veteran Shatley. There's a long way to go, but Morse is the only significant addition. That tells you they think this group is good enough if it can stay healthy in 2024.

J.P. Shadrick, Jaguars Senior Report/Editor …

  • The Jaguars got to work Monday in OTAs, the first of 10 on the schedule over the next three weeks before a mandatory minicamp. With these being non-contact practices, it's difficult to get a full idea of how the offensive and defensive lines look, though Morse said after practice it's important to find that "one heartbeat" amongst the offensive line this time of year. Once that's in place, then the collective physicality will grow up front. Pederson and Nielsen each said at least three times in the pre-practice press conferences that there is no depth chart this time of year, so defensive players especially could be working in different roles (safety, nickel corner, outside corner, etc.) just to see what some players have to offer. This is very much a time to see who has studied in the classroom and who can take a general concept to the field. The nitty gritty begins in training camp in July.

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