JACKSONVILLE – Sometimes, things takes time.
And sometimes, with time comes dramatic improvement – which seems to be the case in recent weeks for Taven Bryan.
"You always get better the more you do something," Bryan said as the Jaguars (1-2) prepared to play the Denver Broncos (0-3) at Empower Field at Mile High Sunday at 4:25 p.m.
Bryan, a second-year defensive tackle, discussed his progression Monday in a busy locker room. We'll cover multiple topics in this story, including Jaguars rookie Josh Allen's thoughts on Broncos pass rusher Von Miller, and Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell's thoughts on Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II.
But we'll start with Bryan, the Jaguars' first-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft who struggled at times as a rookie and who Head Coach Doug Marrone said Monday "has done some good things" in recent games.
"He's starting to put them back to back," Marrone said. "Now, you want to see that growth continue. He's doing a nice job."
Bryan, the No. 29 overall selection in the '18 draft, got noticeable push on several occasions in a 13-12 loss to the Houston Texans in Week 2. He continued in that vein in a Week 3 victory over the Tennessee Titans, pressuring quarterback Marcus Mariota multiple times and registering his first sack of the regular season.
"He's been working extremely hard, trying to do the best job he can and trying to avoid anything being said on the outside," Marrone said. "It's starting to show. Some players, it takes a while. You're not immediately going to get the type of performance you want right away from [all] players."
Marrone said while Bryan's strength and physical ability always has been evident, he's improving getting off blocks and making plays.
"He's starting to do that, and that can be something that can really help our football team," Marrone said. "It's obviously something he's working on and trying to do."
Bryan said he feels he's improving getting off the ball quickly at the snap, and that his eye placement during the play has improved – that he's not looking in the backfield as much as previously was the case. He said he will continue to emphasize technique with hands and body positioning.
"It's the regular season, so these games matter," Bryan said. "You've got to do it and you've got to do it right. … I've just got to execute what I'm supposed to do. If the play comes to me, the play comes to me. If it doesn't, it doesn't. As long as I execute my job and get it done, the defense is sound."
Also on Monday:
*Allen, the No. 7 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, turned in the first two sacks of his career against the Titans. On Monday, he discussed the influence of Denver Broncos pass rusher Von Miller – one of the NFL's best pass rushers of the last decade – on his career. "If you're a pass rusher, and you don't say that [Miller is a big influence] I don't know who you're watching," Allen said. "He's one of those elite talents, someone I want to get like goal-wise for what he's done in his career so far. He's had nothing but greatness, so just being on the other side of him and competing against him is going to be big." Allen on Thursday against Tennessee also had a forced fumble, making him the first rookie in franchise history with his first sack and first forced fumble in the same game. …
*Campbell, a defensive captain and the Jaguars' most-veteran player, lauded the play of Minshew. A sixth-round selection in the '19 draft from Washington State, Minshew was something a phenomenon in his senior collegiate season – partly because of his trademark mustache and accompanying persona. "Minshew Mania" has continued to grow since he entered the Jaguars' starting lineup in Week 1 following starter Nick Foles being lost for at least eight games with a broken clavicle. "He's earned it," Campbell said, "but I tell him, too: 'It's about being consistent.' It's great now, but there are some names I've seen him up there with, quarterbacks who have done great things [early in their careers] where you say, 'OK, well, that guy didn't play that long.' It puts things in perspective. I think Minshew has a chance to be very special. He's scratching the surface. He's not just getting lucky. He's putting the ball where it's supposed to go. He's making the right checks. He's making plays happen. That's exciting to see. At the same time, it's a consistent business. You have to continue to do it over and over again. He's loving the moment and he's seizing his opportunity, but he's taking it one day at a time. That's what makes him special."