Training Camp 2020: Marrone "happy" as scrimmage closes camp

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JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone doesn't know what to call the last few weeks, exactly.

The Jaguars 2020 Training Camp that ended with Saturday morning's scrimmage at TIAA Bank Field wasn't, after all, a true training camp like any Marrone ever had experienced. But to the Jaguars' head coach, that didn't matter much.

What mattered was what the Jaguars accomplished.

"I'm very happy with the way this team has progressed and the way this team has worked," Marrone said.

Marrone spoke to the media via videoconference after a scrimmage highlighted by rookie wide receiver Collin Johnson continuing to stand out, starting quarterback Gardner Minshew II throwing a pick-six before responding with two late touchdown passes and wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. continuing to appear ready for a huge jump this season.

Marrone discussed those details Saturday, but his focus was how the Jaguars emerged from a '20 camp that looked different than any before it because of COVID-19. He said camp's theme was "team first."

And he said the message has been heard.

"I do see players that are trying to do that, that are trying to be players their teammates can rely on," Marrone said. "If something does happen, you can recover quicker when you have a bunch of guys around you who are trying to get you going rather than being divisive and pointing fingers."

Saturday's scrimmage marked the last major evaluation opportunity of '20 camp. No preseason games are being held this season because of COVID-19, and NFL teams will reduce rosters to 53 by September 5 at 4 p.m. The Jaguars open the regular season against the Indianapolis Colts at TIAA Bank Field September 13.

"We've tried a lot of people in a lot of different areas to get a good evaluation," Marrone said. "The responsibility I have is to make sure we're getting players who are consistent in their ability and we're keeping players who are going to be able to help us win – and that we're keeping players that have team concept first. These are the things I've talked to the team about at a consistent level."

Marrone said he liked the team's overall health as the regular season approaches. He also liked that the team was able to get young players – many of whom could contribute if the season becomes about attrition – extensive work.

Marrone, too, said he liked the team's discipline. The Jaguars, the NFL's most-penalized team last season in yards against, committed just one penalty Saturday – a late-practice false start.

"We spent a lot of time on discipline, pre-snap penalties," he said. "That's something that I was looking for. I've seen where we've gotten better. I believe in what we've done and that we're going to see that when we start to play."

A look at Saturday's scrimmage:

PLAY OF THE DAY

Johnson, a rookie selected in Round 5 of the 2020 NFL Draft, continued a standout camp with four receptions for 94 yards – including a 31-yard, over-the-shoulder, stretched-out touchdown reception in the front corner of the end zone on a pass from reserve quarterback Josh Dobbs. Johnson – who had receptions of 35 and 19 yards early from rookie quarterback Jake Luton – narrowly missed another touchdown on the scrimmage's final play, leaping over a defender and dropping the pass as he hit the ground. Johnson called the day "another opportunity to show my teammates what I can do and earn their respect," adding that had he caught the final pass it "would have been the cherry on top, per se, of the day for me. I'm going to have to look at that one on film and figure out why I didn't come down with it. That would have completed my day; I've got to clean that up." Marrone said he wasn't surprised with Johnson's performance. "If you've been out there watching practice, I don't think what happened today is anything where you'd say, 'Oh, my gosh … where did this guy come from?'" Marrone said. "He's been very consistent. He's done a very good job. He's been consistent in making those catches. The kid has really had a good camp and he's really worked hard."

STANDING OUT

*Nickel cornerback D.J. Hayden defensed one pass and had the day's biggest defensive play when he stepped in front of a soft pass into the flat from Minshew and returned it for a touchdown. …

*Minshew responded to the interception with two late touchdown passes – a two-yarder to wide receiver Keelan Cole and a 25-yarder to Chark, who got a step ahead of the defender in the corner of the end zone. …

*Middle linebacker Joe Giles-Harris intercepted Luton in the end zone on the day's second drive. …

*Kicker Josh Lambo went 6-for-6 field goals, including back-to-back late field goals of 54 yards. …

*Reserve quarterback Mike Glennon had a nice throw on a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Terry Godwin late in the scrimmage. Marrone called the receivers as a whole "probably one of the groups that has the most competition, whether you look at is as far as playing time or dressing on Sunday or the final number of the 53. That position has done a nice job."

*Veteran cornerback Tramaine Brock had a pass breakup Saturday, and rookie linebacker Shaq Qu_arterman had a hard tackle on reserve running back Devine Ozigbo midway through the scrimmage; linebacker Cassius Marsh pressured Glennon into an incompletion early. …_

INJURY WATCH

The Jaguars held eight players out Saturday with injuries: defensive tackle Taven Bryan (knee), wide receiver Dede Westbrook (shoulder), running back Ryquell Armstead, linebacker Dakota Allen, safety Daniel Thomas, rookie wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr., center Brandon Linder and linebacker Quincy Williams (core surgery). Marrone said Shenault and Linder would have been able to play had there been a game Saturday.

NOTABLE

*The Jaguars will focus this week on getting players familiar with the team's in-season routine Marrone said the team this week will simulate a "normal" in-season schedule Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday as much as possible. Teams normally use Preseason Week 3 as a dress-rehearsal: for game week and game day. …

*Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue remains away from the team, not having signed the franchise tag the team placed on him this past offseason. Having not signed the tag means Ngakoue is not under contract and his absence therefore does not violate NFL rules. Ngakoue can either sign the tag and play for the Jaguars on a one-year deal or not play in the NFL this season. …

*Offensive lineman Ryan Pope remains the lone Jaguars player on reserve/COVID-19, a new 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. …

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