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Week That Was: "Good nucleus" offensively

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Detroit Lions head coach Darrell Bevell watches during an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

JACKSONVILLE – It's still early. Darrell Bevell will tell you that quickly.

But after taking an early look at the Jaguars' offense – and the offensive line – Bevell made this much clear: While work must be done, there's much to like.

"I think there's a good nucleus to start with," Bevell said of the Jaguars' offense.

Bevell, officially named the Jaguars' offensive coordinator late last week, spoke with Jaguars Media this week. He discussed multiple topics, including adapting to new Head Coach Urban Meyer's offensive philosophy and the recent Pro Day of Clemson University quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

We'll cover the conversation here and elsewhere on jaguars.com in the coming days, and among the topics was an offensive line that Meyer last week called "pretty good." Bevell agreed with the assessment.

"I'm excited about the offensive line," Bevell said. "That's really where your offense needs to start. Somebody's got to protect the quarterback and somebody's got to open up those holes. We like what we have up there.

"We have one spot where we have a free agent at left tackle (Cam Robinson). We have to see what happens. We're excited to work with all those guys."

Bevell, who has been an offensive coordinator the past 14 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions, added that offensive line coach George Warhop "is outstanding." Warhop joined the Jaguars' staff in 2019 and was among the coaches retained by Meyer.

"He has them playing really well," Bevell said.

While Robinson indeed is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent when the NFL League Year begins on March 17, the other four starters from last season – right tackle Jawaan Taylor, right guard A.J. Cann, center Brandon Linder and left guard Andrew Norwell – remain under contract.

Robinson, Norwell, Linder, Cann and Taylor have started a combined 147 of 160 games the past two seasons – with Robinson starting 30, Norwell starting 29, Linder starting 25, Cann starting 31 and Taylor starting 32.

"I like those guys," Bevell said. "They've done a nice job. It's a group that has meshed very well and I think they're a close group. It's a good place to start. If there's a place I want to start it would be with the offensive line because that really makes everything go."

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Bevell this week also discussed Lawrence's February 12 Pro Day. Bevell attended the event at Clemson along with Meyer and passing-game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Bevell, like Meyer, said he was impressed by Lawrence – particularly considering the Pro Day was moved up five weeks to allow Lawrence to undergo left shoulder (labrum) surgery this week. "I thought he did a really nice job," Bevell said. "We sped it up for him. We asked him to do it early because of the surgery he was going to have. We wanted to make sure we saw him in person. I think it's very important, to see those guys throw and to see how the ball comes out of his hand. It's better to see velocity in person than it is on tape. We put him in a situation that's tough. I know he was probably in a little bit of pain as well. He never let on on that. He did a really nice job on the day."

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Assistant head coach/linebackers Charlie Strong discussed multiple topics this week on the O-Zone Podcast. Among them: Meyer's ability to adapt to different situations and different personnel, something Meyer consistently showed in collegiate stops at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State. "What he does is he looks at his roster and he finds out, 'What are we going to be good at? What do I have?''' Strong said. "When he had Alex Smith at quarterback [at Utah], he did a lot of different things than he did at Florida. Then he first had Chris Leak [at quarterback] and then you transitioned from Chris to Tim Tebow – who were just two totally different quarterbacks – in one year. Then, he goes to Ohio State … and all the different quarterbacks he had there. He sees what he has within his roster, then he builds his team within that roster. He gets his coaches to accept what they have and says, 'Now, guys … let's go coach them.' His motto is there is greatness in everyone. 'Don't tell me that a guy can't do it. If a player can't do it, there's a reason why he can't do it. Now, let's find out why he can't do it.''' Hear more from Strong on this week's O-Zone Podcast.

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