The most oft-used word in this training camp is "buzz." Everyone's talking about this new buzz that has joined the Jaguars. So what's caused it? Is it the new teal shorts the Jaguars are wearing, instead of their time-honored black?
Head coach Jack Del Rio even addressed the issue in his first press conference of training camp, which followed the team's first practice of camp, a rather tame, OTAs-like affair under a very camp-like sun.
"People ask why I think the year will be different," Del Rio said at one point in explaining the mindset of his team in this camp.
So why does he think this year will be different? It's a good question. Is it because the Jaguars signed Aaron Kampman and drafted a whole bunch of defensive linemen who should help rush the passer? That would be a fair answer.
Is it because the Jaguars' young receiving corps has a year under its belt and is on the rise? Or is it because the two offensive tackles the Jaguars drafted in 2009, Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton, are primed to become big-time blockers in this league and should provide David Garrard with the pass-protection he didn't have last season?
Hey, either of those two answers, especially the latter one, is acceptable. That's not, however, where Del Rio went with his explanation.
The coach senses this season will be different than those of recent vintage because the coach feels a difference in his team's karma. Hey, coaches know these things. They have their finger on the pulse of their team. They feel the heartbeat.
"We're ready to make the sacrifices necessary. I know there's a difference. There's a difference in my approach. There's a difference not only schematically but in the tone we're going to take. It started in the spring and we're going to continue it. These are things you can only prove through hard work," Del Rio said, and there was an edge in his voice, and that's good because football is very much an edge game.
It started in the spring? No, it started in the winter, right after Del Rio and the team's owner, Wayne Weaver, called out their quarterback. They demanded greater dedication from him, and then we all awaited Garrard's response.
He's the guy who triggered this buzz. Garrard's response is responsible for the good feeling about this team today because it all starts with the quarterback. If the quarterback takes the high road, his teammates are obligated to do the same. Make no mistake about it, Garrard took the high road, and it allowed Del Rio to demand the same of everyone.
"We're going to get to work and continue what we started in the spring. I've established very clear values I believe in and it's imperative our players embrace that," Del Rio said.
All of that verbiage was made possible by Garrard's reaction to being called out. He could've balked. He could've said get me some pass-protection and receivers and then I'll play better, but he didn't say either. Instead, he complied fully with the demands of his coach and his owner. He worked harder and his teammates followed in kind. In fact, they worked so hard the league shut them down with a couple of OTA practices remaining.
Yeah, the Jaguars are guilty of working too hard. That's the difference Del Rio senses and that's why he believes this season will be different from the last two.
There's definitely a buzz in this camp. Weaver said at Friday's press conference that announced the naming of the team's practice fields that this year's team has the "best chemistry we've had in 15 years."
It's called feeling good about yourself. That's the buzz. The Jaguars are feeling very good about themselves as they head into meat of a training camp on which Del Rio promised on Friday to turn the "heat" up.