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Marcedes Lewis: "Culture has definitely shifted"


JACKSONVILLE – He has seen a lot around the Jaguars, and Marcedes Lewis will tell you this:

What he's seeing now has a lot of positives.

The Jaguars' most-veteran player joined O-Zone Live on Facebook Thursday on the team's ninth day of 2017 organized team activities. Like many Jaguars players interviewed this offseason, the 12-year-veteran tight end said he likes the culture being established in Doug Marrone's first season as head coach.

"I've been able to see from all different angles; from general managers, to coaches, to owners … I've seen it all," Lewis said Thursday. "This year might be the best mixture of, 'Praise you when you do well, but you're going to work hard.' I'm excited to get out there and put some pads on and see what it's really going to be about.

"The culture has definitely shifted. It's definitely all about business. We want to go out and play and have fun while we're doing it, but right now it's about making sure we know what's expected and how to play as a team and together.

"Once we get that down, then the fun will come."

The Jaguars, after a 3-13 season in 2016, made Marrone the head coach after he served the final two games of last season as interim head coach. That happened on January 9, the same day the team named former Head Coach Tom Coughlin as executive vice president of football operations.

The offseason that followed brought new faces throughout the team, and also brought significant change to the tight-end position. Julius Thomas in March was traded to the Miami Dolphins and Mychal Rivera was signed as an unrestricted free agent from Oakland shortly thereafter.

The Jaguars' tight ends now: Lewis, Rivera, second-year veteran Ben Koyack, third-year veteran Neal Sterling, second-year veteran Alex Ellis and undrafted rookie free agent Caleb Bluiett.

Take a look inside another rainy Thursday practice at EverBank Field.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to help them get better," Lewis said. "Mike is better than a lot of people know. He's intelligent. He's smart. He works hard. He'll pop you in the mouth at the line of scrimmage. He's tough. …

"We're going to push each other and make each other better. … I'm looking forward to it, and we'll see what happens."

Lewis, the Jaguars' first-round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft, is by far the most-tenured Jaguars player. No players remain from the 2007-2013 drafts, while seven remain from the '14 draft. Lewis said he hopes to play at least three more seasons to reach 15 seasons.

"The toughest thing is maybe just saying ahead of the curve," Lewis said. "Every year you've got guys coming in trying to take your job. I take pride in being on time, and being professional and a consummate pro.

"I've always had a routine, from my fifth year on. I've stuck to that. Every offseason I'm looking to do more: 'What can I do to stay in front?'''

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