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Quick Thoughts: Ready for camp

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence runs a drill during an NFL football practice, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence runs a drill during an NFL football practice, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser, senior correspondent Brian Sexton and team reporter Ashlyn Sullivan all offer three quick thoughts on the Jaguars entering 2021 Training Camp …

Oehser …

1.CJ Henderson is a big story the next few weeks. Make no mistake: There are many big stories around Jaguars 2021 Training Camp – and the biggest is the development of rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence. But second-year quarterback CJ Henderson is a major story to the defense – particularly the secondary. Henderson – the No. 9 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft – had a huge, game-turning performance in a Week 1 victory over the Indianapolis Colts last season but was inconsistent after that before missing the final eight regular-season games with injuries. Henderson missed much of the offseason program after shoulder surgery and is on the COVID-19 reserve list to start camp – and he will be a player to watch upon his return. The Jaguars selected Henderson to be a lockdown, No. 1 defender; that's the expectation for Top 10-drafted corners. If he reaches that potential, the Jaguars could have a front-line trio of cornerbacks with Henderson, Shaquill Griffin and rookie nickel corner Tyson Campbell. Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer puts a major emphasis on cornerback play. The Jaguars need Henderson to live up to his draft status for that area to be at the level Meyer wants.

2.Walker Little is absolutely a training-camp player to watch. Little, an offensive tackle selected in Round 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft, was one of the most-talked about stories of the Jaguars' '21 offseason program – and figures to be so again in training camp. Little has the ability of a Top 15 selection – outstanding feet and agility, natural strength and balance, and offensive line coach George Warhop praised Little's preparedness entering his first offseason program. He figures to be the Jaguars' swing tackle entering the season. Can he push right tackle Jawaan Taylor or left tackle Cam Robinson for a starting role this season? That's a tough task considering the experience of the two and the need for continuity in front of a rookie quarterback. But Little's talent level is high enough to make this a position to watch, and to make Little earning a role as a rookie possible – if not necessarily likely.


1.Last year, it was the virus; this year, it's the vaccine. A year ago, the story entering camp was whether football could be played in a safe bubble in which players and coaches were protected from COVID-19. This year, the story is whether players will protect one another and coaches by getting the vaccine – and it's much more interesting to watch this play out. I made a personal decision to get the shot; I knew that if I didn't want to get the shot for whatever reason, I wouldn't react well to anyone telling me I had to get it or I couldn't work. The NFL hasn't said anyone must receive the vaccine, but it's beyond obvious the league has established a protocol that makes life less comfortable for those who arrive not fully vaccinated. A veteran team such as Tampa Bay could probably get by with players separated by those who have the shot and those who don't but a new, young team like the Jaguars would have more difficulty putting their plan in action. Stay tuned. This story isn't going away anytime soon.

2.Tim Tebow will quickly give way to Trevor Lawrence. Whether you welcomed the Jaguars signing Jacksonville's favorite son or were in opposition, Tim Tebow was a major story in the spring. Tebow always is going to move the needle; he's larger than life in Northeast Florida and so much more than just a football player. However, the same is true of rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence – who needs only to take the field in teal to start moving the needle in his direction. There will always be questions about Tebow. But already – in line at Publix or speaking at the Rotary Club – the questions are moving from the tight end (Tebow) and toward the quarterback. Lawrence's talent, abilities, personality and beliefs will win all of Jacksonville into his camp. It's only a matter of time before folks see that Lawrence is what they always hoped Tebow would be – a star quarterback whose faith and character fit Jacksonville … to a "T."


1.Pay attention to the backups. The backup quarterback position is a legit battle at the start of training camp, and I will admit I have no idea how it will shake out. The Jaguars paid veteran C.J. Beathard $5 million to be their backup QB; Gardner Minshew II had something to say about that. From what we saw during organized team activities and mandatory minicamp, Minshew appears to have the upper hand. It has not been officially announced yet, but we all more than assume Lawrence will have the starting job. Now you have Jake Luton, Beathard and Minshew to choose from for the backup – and you can make a case for any of the three for that job. The backup quarterback spot normally is not one I get excited about, but I am truly curious how this one will go.

2.I am giddy for the fans; it has been too long. I will admit I am that girl walking around today fired up for the start of training camp. I am particularly excited to see fans back out there, having that feeling that football is "back." Training camp last year was so weird; it was hard to feel excited when we had no idea what the season was going to look like. While COVID-19 is far from over and there are still many rules in place to keep players safe, this week is the closest it has felt to "normal" when you see gates and seats being set up on the practice field. Lawrence didn't feel truly like the Jaguars' quarterback until I saw him walking out to the practice field in a Jags jersey. It's awesome that fans will get to experience that for themselves this week.

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