JACKSONVILLE – He spoke about the team and spoke about himself.
If there was a takeaway from what Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette said about both topics on Saturday, it was this:
He expects more from both. A lot more.
"I think last season kind of woke a lot of guys up," Fournette said late Saturday morning shortly after Day 3 practice of Jaguars 2019 Training Camp at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex adjacent to TIAA Bank Field.
Fournette also simply stated his goals – both individual and team – in the wake of last season's 5-11 last-place AFC South finish.
"Just to win," he said. "Anything's better than last year. Most definitely."
Fournette, the No. 4 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, is a major camp storyline because of his importance to the offense – and because of his well-publicized issues during a difficult '18 season.
Fournette, after rushing for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie, missed seven games because of injuries last season and missed another game because of a suspension for his involvement in an altercation against the Buffalo Bills. He also drew the public ire of Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin for his sideline behavior while inactive during a loss at Houston in the regular-season finale.
"Most of us, I think appreciate last season overall," Fournette said. "I feel like there are things individually we all could have done to get ourselves in better shape [last season]. Confidence-wise, coming off a great season in 2017 … I think last year kind of humbled a lot of us in some ways. It happened for a reason at the same time."
Fournette finished last season with 439 yards rushing and five touchdowns and said Saturday he feels a dramatically different vibe early in training camp compared to last season.
"You see it in the way guys practice," Fournette said. "Some guys who kind of lacked effort … they're not showing it this year."
Fournette was asked if he personally learned anything last season, and if his approach entering camp was different because of last season.
"Most definitely – just taking camp and pretty the whole season to a different approach than last year," he said. "It's Year 3, and like [defensive end] Calais [Campbell] said: Year 3 is the year you find out which guys are really like that. It [football] is something I love to do. I take it serious, but just keep the same attitude, same personality … but just know what's at stake and have a better year than last year."
Fournette said one element hasn't changed from last season – the camaraderie of a group of players that he said has been and remains a close-knit unit.
"That's always been there," Fournette said. "That's not going to go anywhere. At the end of the day, we're brothers. In spite of what we all go through, we're brothers. That's going to be there. Always."
Other takeaways from Fournette's availability Saturday:
*After speaking highly during the offseason about new quarterback Nick Foles, Fournette did so again Saturday. He said Foles is doing a "great job" communicating with wide receivers and running backs. "We're kind of just following Nick's lead right now," he said.
*Fournette on Saturday also spoke highly of new running backs coach Terry Robiskie, a 38-year NFL coaching veteran. Fournette said Robiskie has shared stories of players with whom he has worked in the past, including details on how he prepared All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones while serving as wide receivers coach with the Atlanta Falcons. "I take heed and listen – in how he prepared Julio for games, how he practiced him in practice, how he warmed him up to get ready to get the ball during games," Fournette said.
*Fournette, like other players in recent days, spoke positively about the changes Head Coach Doug Marrone has made to '19 camp to emphasize player health. "Last year, the leaders on the team had talked to him about how camp was run," he said. "I think he took heed to that and really listened to us and took the time to really fix our camp schedule. … It's up to the leaders to make sure we follow what he wants, get them in line and get them intact. Whatever he demands, you must repeat to all the players and expect it to be done."
Take a look at Saturday's practice dedicated to our season ticket members.