JACKSONVILLE – This isn't Jawaan Taylor's ideal offseason. If it were, he would be at TIAA Bank Field every day. If it were, he would be with Jaguars teammates – and with Jaguars strength coaches.
"It's different right now, because everyone's at home," Taylor said.
So, instead of ideal, the Jaguars' right tackle is doing what the rest of the NFL is doing under the current COVID-19 regulations: making do in what for him is an important offseason, and what for everyone are the most unusual of circumstances.
"We still have to find ways to get better," Taylor said.
That's Taylor's task, one he discussed on a Zoom video conference with local media Tuesday afternoon. He discussed other topics, too, including what he must do in his second NFL season to move closer to the potential that has the Jaguars believing he is a franchise foundation piece moving forward.
On that front, he knows he must reduce penalties.
And he must improve footwork.
And he must improve strength.
But much of that is about what he does this offseason – and because of COVID-19, that work will be done remotely in a so-called virtual program approved on Monday by the NFL and the NFL Players Association. The program was put in place because all NFL facilities are currently closed. NFL offseason programs typically begin in April and end with four weeks of on-field work capped by a three-day, mid-June minicamp.
"I feel like the virtual thing could be pretty good – a lot different," Taylor said. "I feel like we'll be able to get a lot done. We'll see how it goes."
The offseason programs as announced by the NFL/NFLPA Monday will begin Monday. They will be voluntary, as is all NFL offseason work except for the three-day minicamp.
This offseason, players will work on their own under guidance from strength-and-conditioning coaches. They also will be allowed to meet virtually with coaches during the time NFL facilities are closed, with a provision for on-field work if and when facilities open.
Teams during the voluntary period can conduct classroom instruction and workouts via Zoom, Skype or other videoconferencing forums.
Taylor said Tuesday he will participate in the program, although he said he would prefer the more traditional approach.
"I love the offseason – being around teammates and training together and getting better as a team," Taylor said, adding: "There are really no excuses. You've got to stay in shape in this game. Right now, we're at the point where we're all trying to find ways to get better."
Taylor said he has continued to work through the early weeks of COVID-19 restrictions. He worked at first on his own in Jacksonville and has since found a trainer. He has received a weight bench from Jaguars strength-and-conditioning coach Tom Myslinski and has focused on running and yoga – and boxing to maintain his wind.
"I do a lot of different things," he said. "Two years ago, I probably wouldn't have had the same mindset of the way I take care of my body. I feel like I got lot better at that."
Taylor's next step: parlaying that offseason focus into a Year 2 jump. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone has spoken positively of Taylor throughout the offseason, and the feeling within the organization is he will develop into one of the NFL's top players at his position.
Taylor said to get there he must improve fundamentals and strength – and he said experience and focus should help reduce his league-high 15 penalties as a rookie.
"I definitely need to improve on that – for one, just focusing," Taylor said. "A lot were holding penalties or false starts. With the holding penalties, it's making sure my hands are in the right place. That's what I've bene working on a lot – hand placement, things like that. The false starts are all about focus; I definitely have to improve on that.
"All of the things I need to improve on, I've been working on so far in the offseason. Even though the virus stuff is going on, I focus on certain things I need to get better at. I did go back and looked at certain things I did well. It was a big year for me, I thought, but I could also do a lot better so I'm looking forward to having a good year in this season coming up."