His film isn't in the can, yet, but Phil Tuckett is sure he'll be satisfied with the finished product that'll be aired on NFL Network tomorrow night. "I like the way it's shaping up," Tuckett said.
"I think we have the story of a team coming together in the first week of camp. They're all different people with different personalities," Tuckett added of the Jaguars, the subject of NFL Films' "Inside Training Camp: Jaguars Summer."
It'll be those personalities Tuckett will feature because, quite frankly, as training camps go, this one won't qualify as a re-make of "Ben Hur." Yeah, Tuckett's gonna have to draw on his considerable artistic skills to make this camp a clash of the titans.
That's not to say the Jaguars haven't been working hard. It's just that Tuckett hasn't had the benefit of the kind of ingredients you might expect: a scorching Florida sun and players dropping like flies. Hey, he should've been here last summer.
Instead, the weather has been cloudy and unseasonably cool, and Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio has been sensible in his approach to the training camp regimen, opting not to punish his players for the mere sake of a good film. No, for this one Tuckett's gonna have to work.
"That's what making movies is all about: life with all the boring stuff cut out," Tuckett said with a smile.
"We had a practice," he added of that one Neanderthal moment every training camp must include. You remember fight night, don't you? "That was real. That was intense. There are those moments," Tuckett said.
But mostly there have not been those moments. This training camp has been very businesslike, very efficient, very responsible and, quite frankly again, a little dry. It's the personalities in this camp that must carry the day and Tuckett says they will.
"He's the man in charge," Tuckett says of Del Rio, who will clearly emerge as the dominant personality in Tuckett's film. "There is no question who's in charge. I've been around some teams where there's a feeling, is he really making the decisions? I don't think there's any question that Jack is the leader of this team. It's nice to have a strong central figure like that. That's really where you start."
The film will undoubtedly move quickly to quarterback Byron Leftwich. The kid's going to be all over this film, not only because he's the team's quarterback but also because he has an effervescent personality.
"He surprised me at how gregarious he is. He's a serious student of the game but he's able to balance that with the quarterback leadership thing, that he's one of the guys. We went to a U.S. basketball team practice with him. He's a good guy to hang with," Tuckett said.
Then there's Fred Taylor, whose personality requires study. Tuckett agreed that there's a degree of depth and intrigue in Taylor.
"Fred's got that quiet authority of somebody who can really play the game. You have to watch what he does rather than listen for what he says," Tuckett said.
We've come to expect, of course, that Del Rio, Leftwich and Taylor will be major players in Tuckett's documentary, but a most unlikely candidate has surfaced as one of the stars of the film. He is special teams coordinator Pete Rodriguez, a smallish, unassuming man of more than 35 years of college and professional football coaching.
"He's the guru. He's the village elder who sees all things. We'll go with him and we'll see the progress special teams will make. To me, he's going to be a real strong character," Tuckett said of Rodriguez.
On those characters and the skills of Tuckett's production company the success of "Jaguars Summer" will rest, because camp alone isn't gonna carry it.