JACKSONVILLE – Time for time off.
The Jaguars’ 2019 offseason program ended Thursday with a shortened, indoor practice. As veterans and coaches headed for vacation, Head Coach Doug Marrone made something clear:
While he liked the progress made over the last two months – the trust that was built and the communication that developed – work remains.
“You say, ‘Hey, listen: We need to keep working hard,’’’ Marrone said early Thursday afternoon shortly after the third and final practice of 2019 minicamp, which was held at the Dream Finders Homes Flex Field adjacent to TIAA Bank Field.
“As coaches, we realize that. Players realize that. We know we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”
The Jaguars, after nine voluntary organized team activities practices in late May and early June, held their only mandatory offseason work this week – the three-day minicamp. Veterans and coaches are scheduled to be off until 2019 Training Camp, which is expected to begin in late July.
“We have this little break,” Marrone said. “We’re looking forward to everyone coming back ready to go, in shape and practicing right away.”
Marrone said he expects most players to be available immediately for training camp, with two likely exceptions being wide receiver Marqise Lee and left tackle Cam Robinson. Lee sustained a serious knee injury that included a torn anterior cruciate ligament last preseason, and Robinson missed the last 14 games of last season with a torn ACL. Marrone said he expects both players to return and participate during training camp.
“Other than that, we plan on everyone being full go,” Marrone said. “I’d be naïve to think someone’s going to pick up where they left off. They’ll be ready sometime in training camp and we’ll go out there and get it. All of the things we can do with rehab, classroom work and things of that nature – we’re on top of that, so we don’t feel that will be lost.
Images from the third and final day of mandatory minicamp.
“But any player that’s away for any period of time, it’s no different than every single player that’s going to report to camp: there’s always going to be some rust. You can’t simulate going against someone of this caliber, or in these conditions. Every player will have some type of rust when they get back.”
The nine-week offseason program that ended Thursday included four weeks of on-field work, all of which represented the first work with the team for new quarterback Nick Foles. He signed as a free agent in March.
“You feel like you know so much about the guy before he even comes because you do so much research on him,” Marrone said. “I would say everything we heard was pretty much on point. We’re communicating, getting our situational football ready. It’s, ‘Hey, this is what I’m thinking in in terms of timeouts, two-minutes, red-zone. That’s a work in progress, but communication has been excellent so far.”
Marrone on Thursday also discussed running back Leonard Fournette, a third-year veteran whose offseason has been focus for many observers.
Fournette, the No. 4 selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, missed seven games with injuries and another serving a suspension last season, and said Wednesday he likes where he physically as the offseason nears an end. Marrone said he liked what he has seen from Fournette this offseason.
“He’s been here, he’s practiced hard,” Marrone said of Fournette, who participated in most voluntary offseason work until late in OTAs and also participated in this week’s minicamp. “We’ve been able to see that. He has been able to pick things up well.
“It’s just like everyone. When I say I’m pleased with where we’re at with everyone right now, I truly am pleased. But now there’s a next phase that comes in and we start off at zero again and start looking where we’re at and building from there.
“All the players have done a good job. Now, it’s, ‘OK, now we’re not around each other for the next couple of weeks. We’re all accountable to each other and we know what our expectations are when we come in here.’ It starts at zero again and builds its way up.”