Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

OTAs '21: "We're changing the culture…"

(Ben Liebenberg/NFL)
(Ben Liebenberg/NFL)

JACKSONVILLE – The difference is obvious.

Wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. has seen it, as has safety Rayshawn Jenkins. Perhaps most significantly, the Jaguars' most-tenured veteran has seen it.

To Brandon Linder, the difference isn't only obvious, it's significant.

"We're changing the culture, that's for sure," Linder said.

Linder, a veteran center entering his eighth NFL season – all with the Jaguars – spoke to the media after Day 3 of 2021 Organized Team Activities Thursday. A major takeaway of Linder's during the first week of Phase 3 of the '21 offseason is the same as that of newcomers such as Jones and Jenkins:

Things are different around the Jaguars in Head Coach Urban Meyer's first few months with the organization. A lot different.

"It's just a lot of energy around the building right now," said Jenkins, who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in March after four seasons with the Chargers.

The Jaguars' work Thursday was the third of their 10 scheduled 2021 OTAs, sessions that make up three of the four weeks of the NFL's Phase 3 of the offseason conditioning program. While the final week of the period – a three-day minicamp June 15-17 – is mandatory, OTAs are voluntary.

The Jaguars had full attendance Thursday, with 90 players participating in the voluntary session.

"We have a lot of guys and that's something that's kind of different than what I've been used to in the past," Jenkins said. "We have a lot of guys so we can really get some good-on-good reps. You can just feel the energy. You can just feel the amount of guys that are out there. And everybody [is] fairly new to one another, so of course there's going to be some energy there and guys trying to get to know one another and things like that.

"It's easy to get good competition on competition. Everyone was competing and that's the number one thing that I saw today."

Meyer on Thursday discussed the importance of the work with a largely new staff – including offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and defensive coordinator Joe Cullen – and 31 players new to the roster, saying he couldn't imagine preparing for the 2021 season without these Phase 3 sessions.

"If you didn't have this as a new staff, you'd have to push forward and start in August on the field," Meyer said. "I'm grateful they're here. I believe we're 100 percent. They're hungry. I think they trust the coaching staff and support staff that we're doing right by them.

"I respect the [NFL Players Association] and we try to do the very best we can by them. We had a chance to go four OTAs this week. We did three. We're trying to do right by the players. I have a group of players we visit with constantly."

Meyer on Thursday said he was pleased with the progress this offseason in areas such as camaraderie, work ethic, sports performance, change in bodies and health.

"If you said in January, what would be your ideal vision of what the team looked like May … I'd grade it an A-Plus," Meyer said. "Everybody talks about the draft and free agency. I'm not going to let people forget there's a great core group of players in the Jaguars' organization that want to win. It's our coaches' job to give them the opportunity to win.

"They're all here. They enjoy being around each other. They enjoy being around the staff. It's been really good."

Meyer since his January hiring has discussed the importance of sports performance, discussing on multiple occasions the need to have everything players need at their disposal and to ensure that facilities and support for players are "the best of the best."

"He's been giving us everything we need to succeed, and we haven't had that around here in a while," Linder said. "He asks it from us when we get on that field. That's what we've been doing. We've been putting in work and it has been good.

"Everybody's been trusting the process and buying into the culture."

Jones said, "Everybody's always communicating, and I think when you have that, that chaos is great because the communication has to go up. That's one thing that I like about the energy and the cohesion we have. It's been a short time, but obviously all of the individual groups have been together for some time now, so we have cohesion there and it transferred nicely into the team, into all of the groups."

Top photos of the Jaguars during the first week of 2021 OTAs.

Related Content