Jaguars Training Camp Notebook, Day 4: Meyer Challenges Fans, Coaches up Chark And More
It was “Back Together Saturday” around the NFL, as all 32 teams took to their respective practice fields for training camp and every club welcomed fans back—some for the first time since 2019.
Quarterbacks, led by No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence, didn’t have the best day as the defense begins to amp things up, and some missing faces led a housekeeping rundown from Head Coach Urban Meyer. We have updates on all of that and more in today’s Training Camp Notebook.
Meyer asks for fans' dedications
Fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars were in their seats and baking under the Florida sun before the first player even took to the field. It’s the kind of energy and dedication Meyer wants to see come kick-off for the season, energy he says has been missing from Jaguars games.
So before practice began, Meyer took the mic for the second day in a row and delivered a message to the full capacity crowd of around 1500.
Leaning on the mantra of “Own It” he’s preached to the team and jaguars organization, Meyer extended the same challenge to the fans.
“My challenge is not just to everybody in that organization and facility. [It’s] on our coaching staff and our players and you, let’s own this thing. I’m tired of hearing about people coming in that stadium that aren’t Jaguars fans. That shit has got to stop and it’s up to us to make sure it stops. That’s our stadium, this is our city of Jacksonville and this is our team. All of us own it.”
Quarterbacks have first "off" day
Trevor Lawrence was with the first team offense today, as Meyer continues his rotation between the rookie and Gardner Minshew II.
"I didn't have the best day today," admitted Lawrence after practice. "But that's what training camp is all about."
The quarterback unit as a whole had an off day on Saturday; albeit this is relative to what they had been doing all week. Trevor Lawrence, Gardner Minshew and CJ Beathard all pushed passes too much at times. Relatedly, the defense began to push more Saturday as well. They are still limited in what all is allowed, particularly with the Jags still trying to put the offseason OTA fines for contact behind them. The pads won’t come on until next week either.
Still, Josh Allen was able to bat down a Lawrence pass at the line, while Rudy Ford got his hand in to break up a deep pass. Minshew was forced to throw a couple of balls away due to pressure and overthrew a couple of others in one-on-one drills. Beathard was reined in with short passes.
Second-year passer Jake Luton never participated in team drills, making it clear the hierarchy is Lawrence, Minshew, Beathard, Luton.
Based on our unscientific note keeping, Lawrence was 11-14 with two touchdowns in the first skeleton drill and 4-6 in the second full scrimmage team drill. Minshew was 10-11 in the first drill with a touchdown, while completing every pass in the full scrimmage drill.
Running Backs practice versatility
During one-on-one’s, Minshew uncorked a long touchdown pass to James Robinson, allowing the star second-year player to use his speed to get past the defender. Then Travis Etienne showed off his shiftiness with a move to lose a linebacker in the middle of the field after a short crossing route. The turn-and-go play would have accounted for chunk yardage in a game.
Meyer and Offensive Coordinator Darrel Bevell have expressed their intentionality in cross-training the backs.
“The more well-rounded you can make the players, the more successful our offense has a chance to be,” Bevell explained on Thursday. “When you throw the ball and you got all your receivers running down and everyone is covered, you find the running backs and we say can make you a lot of money by taking those checkdowns.”
Meyer and Chark work side-by-side
Meyer and receiver DJ Chark spent time before practice working together, as they also did Friday. The former wide receiver coach takes Chark to an empty section of the practice field, where the duo spent the quiet time before practice walking through a drill Meyer believes will help his Pro-Bowl receiver.
“We call it snapshot and snapshot is when you push pause on the video tape. The reality between a great corner and a great wideout is they’re gonna be in position to make a play on the ball," explained Meyer after practice. "And the defensive back is trying to box you out and the receiver’s trying to box the DB out. Somebody’s gonna win and whoever wins is either gonna make a play or it’s gonna be a [pass interference].”
The coach famously and publicly challenged Chark this offseason to become stronger and step up his game. Chark has worked to respond, by all indications, even bodying up a few defenders on Saturday. And now when he gets ready to head to the practice field, he knows to find his coach. Asked if Chark comes to him to ask about working one-on-one, Meyer joked to Jaguar Report, “he does now.”
Best play of the day
A pass from Trevor Lawrence to the flat for Laviska Shenault was just a tad off target. But Shenault adjusted and stuck his hand out, palming the ball for an incredible one-handed catch.
There have been some missing faces and non-participants at practice this week. So Meyer went down the housekeeping list to provide updates.
- Defensive lineman Taven Bryan (Non-Football injury List): “Taven Bryan had an off-the-field accident. No one’s fault. Should be back here pretty soon.”
- Kicker Aldrick Rosas (was cut on Friday): “Rosas also had an injury that we had to make—we were down a couple at receiver so—I really liked Rosas so not sure of the future. [General Manager] Trent [Baalke] and I will discuss that.”
- Safety Jarrod Wilson (absent the past two days): “COVID contact [tracing] I believe. He should be back next week.”
- Tight end James O’ Shaughnessy (working to the side): “He’ll be back Monday, sprained ankle.”