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Training Camp 2020: Warhop sees progress from O-Line

2020-08-23 - Jaguars Practice - Rick WIlson - -04

JACKSONVILLE – George Warhop made a few things clear Sunday.

Warhop spoke to the media Sunday before 2020 Training Camp practice, leaving no question Cam Robinson is the Jaguars' starting left tackle – and that he expects improvement from the fourth-year veteran. The Jaguars' offensive line coach made something else clear, too:

He is confident in his group entering his second season with the team.

"The biggest strides they're making now is they know what's expected of them," Warhop said via videoconference. "There's really nothing new. They know what to expect. They know how we want to play, and the emphasis is on being physical.

"We want to run guys over and that's our thought process."

The Jaguars returned all five starters from last year's line: Robinson, left guard Andrew Norwell, center Brandon Linder, right guard A.J. Cann and right tackle Jawaan Taylor. While that surprised some observers, General Manager David Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone spoke highly of the group throughout the offseason – as Marrone has done multiple times during camp.

Warhop on Sunday said he absolutely "wanted to keep all these guys."

"My opinion about my guys often differs from other people's opinion about my guys," Warhop said. "One thing I saw from this group last year was that they were physical. … I teach things a little bit differently, and it takes some time to understand that.

"But at the end of the year, I thought our guys had a good understanding and they were going about it the right way."

Warhop also left little doubt about the importance of perhaps the group's major camp storyline – the play of Robinson, who spent much of last season dealing with the aftereffects of a torn anterior cruciate ligament that kept him out the last 14 games of the 2018 season.

"How important? I mean, Cam's going to be our starting left tackle … I think he's extremely important," Warhop said. "We need him to perform at a high level. The biggest thing from last year to now is he can take all of practice. He's out there in all of practice. He's taking all the reps. There has been to this point no issues with him physically. He can just keep going and getting better. We don't have to worry about managing him like we did last year.

"Last year, it was a daily managing of him to get him through practice – and at times, to get him through the games. Now that he's healthy, we can see what he's truly capable of.''

Warhop, like Marrone, said he has been impressed with how the entire offensive line reported to camp following an offseason that was conducted virtually with no on-field work because of COVID-19.

"The thing about this offseason was all the pressure was on the individual player in terms of how he returned," Warhop said. "They weren't around us to be monitored, so it was going to be a direct indication of what their commitment was. There was nobody else responsible for it but themselves. That was made very clear in our encounters and our meetings.

"Those guys listened, and they all worked. I was pleased with where they came back. We still have work to do, but they came back in a position where we didn't have to fight to get them into shape before we could start making progress."

Also Sunday:

*Warhop said he is pleased with third-year veteran Will Richardson Jr.'s progress in camp after moving full-time to left tackle, particularly in the last three or four days. "I'm going to be frank and honest: First, Will had to get adjusted to playing left tackle," Warhop said. "I don't think he was there when we started training camp. The last three or four days, you can see him settling in. As he gets more settled in, and he gets more comfortable, he creates more competition. That's just where it is. But when he walked in the door, I wouldn't say day one he was truly competing with Cam because Cam was so far ahead of him. As he closes the distance, he'll start competing. I think he's starting to close the distance." …

*Warhop expressed confidence in rookie Ben Bartch, who is working at right guard behind A.J. Cann in camp. A fourth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft from Division III St. John's (Minnesota) University, Bartch has impressed early in camp. "I like Ben," Warhop said. "His college tape was good, but the level of play didn't give you a great indicator of what he possibly can be." Warhop said Bartch showed he could play against Division I competition at the Reese's Senior Bowl and has progressed in recent weeks while transitioning from collegiate tackle to NFL guard. "He's fighting through the early parts of making that adjustment, but I'm fired up for him," Warhop said "I think he'll be a good player for us in the future." …

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