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Schobert: "I'll be accountable…"

Cleveland Browns middle linebacker Joe Schobert (53) returns an interception in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Cleveland. The Browns won 21-7. (AP Photo/David Richard)

JACKSONVILLE – Joe Schobert described himself succinctly.

"I'm not a hoopla guy … I'm not a rah-rah guy," the Jaguars' newest linebacker said Friday afternoon.

That's what he's not. Here's what he has been, at least this week:

A very busy guy.

"It's been quite a rollercoaster," he said.

It's a ride that has significantly changed the Jaguars' linebacker corps, one the team hopes will dramatically improve what last season was a struggling run defense.

Schobert, who spent his first four NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns, this week agreed to terms with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent. He will start at middle linebacker, allowing Myles Jack to move to what Head Coach Doug Marrone believes is Jack's more natural position of weak-side linebacker.

"We made one move, but it's going to help us better overall in our whole linebacker corps," Marrone said Thursday.

Schobert on Friday discussed a couple of issues with, including the fact that his week has been a "rollercoaster" – not just because of his football world but his personal world, too. He and his wife, Megan, welcomed their first child – Simon – last week, and have been with his in-laws in Wisconsin since.

That made his Monday, day one of the NFL's free-agent negotiation period, different than it was for many of his free-agent peers.

"We're doing all right, I like to think," he said. "When the 'tampering' period started, I was like, 'I really want to take a nap.' There was a whole night of not sleeping and trying to figure out the first night at home. I had to be awake (Monday) for all the phone calls between the agent and the teams and all that.

"I pushed through that day and was able to get a little bit of sleep that night. Monday was definitely a long day."

And as has been the case for many people when it comes to the coronavirus (Covid-19), finding something close to a normal routine has meant adapting.

"I'm still sitting in at my in-laws' house trying to get through my workouts, trying to figure out where to go to work out and where to go to run and stay safe and stay healthy in these times," he said.

Schobert said he has been running in a field near where he is staying, setting up weights in his in-laws' basement for an "improvised home gym."

"It's taking up a lot of space and a lot of room, but they understand it's important for what I do," he said. "They've been very good about it, letting me do that."

Schobert, after being selected by the Browns from Wisconsin in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, played mostly outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme as a rookie. He transitioned to the middle the following season, making the Pro Bowl as a middle linebacker that season.

"It's just something that really stuck well with me – going through game plans, understanding what the other team's trying to do, how they're trying to attack you," he said. "When you're directly across from the quarterback, you can hear their checks. You can hear their calls. You can hear the offensive linemen, what they're saying. Just growing in knowledge of that – on game day, it helps a lot.

"When you're able to call out plays, or when you're able to diagnose things really fast because you understand what the other team's trying to do attack you … I think that's just a huge mental part of the game that people overlook. I find it really enjoyable and I like to get that work in during the week, get into film study and put it to work during games."

As for what the Jaguars are getting in terms of approach, Schobert said that's simple.

"I'll come in calm, and do my job," he said. "I'll be accountable. You can always count on me to do my job and make the plays that are there to be made and get everybody on defense on the same page to the best of my ability and make sure we're all working together in one unit.

"That's just kind of how I play the game. I don't get too hyped up. I don't get too low. I just try to be a calm, steady force out there and make sure people are doing the right thing so they can be held accountable – and make all the plays that come my way."

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