Training Camp 2020: "I like the way we're practicing…"

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Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone coaches from the sideline during an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Indianapolis. Indianapolis won 33-13. (Aaron M. Sprecher via AP)

JACKSONVILLE – Normal means little these days.

That's reality in many places, and Head Coach Doug Marrone said it's absolutely true for the Jaguars as 2020 Training Camp continues to gain intensity.

"There's nothing the same about what's going on," he said.

But Marrone said while COVID-19 continues to define much about the NFL, he continues to be pleased and impressed with how players and the organization have handled training camp as it continues this week at TIAA Bank Field.

"I like the way we're practicing," Marrone said Monday via videoconference. "I like the way the league has set it up with the [NFL Players Association]. Guys are getting in good shape. We've had a lot of time out on the field. It has been hot. Our acclimation is better now than it would be if we had come in and gotten into pads earlier."

The Jaguars this past weekend trimmed the training-camp roster to 80 players with a series of moves – including Sunday's signings of veteran cornerback Tramaine Brock and veteran defensive linemen Carl Davis and Caraun Reid. They also waived rookie cornerback Kobe Williams and placed defensive tackles Brian Price (knee) and Dontavius Russell (hip) on injured reserve.

"Getting down to 80 was a huge transition," Marrone said. "It was an interesting week. There was a lot of transition."

Moving to 80 allows all Jaguars players practice to simultaneously, with non-padded practices this week and padded work expected to begin Monday, August 17. Because they were over 80 players during the NFL's "ramp-up" phase of training camp, the Jaguars worked players separately during that period under NFL COVID-19 protocols.

"There are a lot of moving parts to this thing to make sure everyone stays safe," Marrone said. "We're at a point now where really it's the first time we've been together as 80. We went more toward interactive meetings now. We're practicing the physical distance, not together as a large group except really when we're out on the field.

"Everyone's done a good job. Everyone's protecting each other. We're preaching to the player patience. That's the No. 1 goal, even before we get to the football part."

The Jaguars have three players – running back Ryquell Armstead, offensive lineman Tre'Vour Wallace-Simms and offensive lineman Ryan Pope – on the NFL's reserve/COVID-19 list and haven't placed a player on the list since August 2. Reserve/COVID-19 is a reserve category created by the NFL for a player who either tests positive for COVID-19 or who has been quarantined after having been in close contact with an infected person or persons.

"It's a very, very fluid situation," Marrone said. "We're all trying. It's amazing the habits that are being created. Anytime you walk into this building, you're going to see everyone have masks on. The amount of hand sanitizer that's around … the amount of arrows and signage …

"It's good. It's the right thing to do and everyone's taking steps to make sure it's done. But I just think it's very fluid. I don't ever feel confident it's beaten. I just think it's a matter of keep on doing the right thing and we'll see how it goes."

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