• Mon. Oct 3rd, 2022

Jaguars kick off training camp in a peculiar way

ByJanice K. Merrill

Jul 26, 2022

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Doug Pederson opened his first training camp in Jacksonville with a police escort.

The Jaguars first-year coach and 91 players boarded a five-bus trailer for a 5-mile trip between TIAA Bank Field and a nearby high school for their first practice on Monday. Despite the added security, the quick trip gave an old-school feel to a new-school coach whose primary goal is to return one of the NFL’s clunky franchises to respectability.

“Ten minutes on a bus full of 50 guys, yeah, there’s quite a bit of bonding,” Pederson said.

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Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Jacksonville Jaguars throws a pass during training camp July 25, 2022 at Episcopal High School in Jacksonville, Florida.
(James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Jacksonville landed at the Episcopal School for camp due to a $120 million renovation of the team’s training grounds. The 18-month project includes three new courts (including one indoors) and a 125,000 square foot sports performance center that will house meeting rooms, offices, a weight room, locker room and more. Its opening is scheduled for next June.

In the meantime, the Jaguars will be somewhat out of place for training. They mainly worked from their playground for organized team activities, but this option was not an option given the daily workload associated with training camp.

Team leaders therefore scouted five local sites, including the University of Jacksonville and University of North Florida campuses, before settling on Episcopal because of its proximity and the fact that it was wide open in June, July and August.

“When you’re following the (collective agreement) and you have an 11-hour day, you have to factor in commuting and all that,” Pederson said. “It either takes practice time or meeting time, whatever you can do. You have to sort out some of those issues. … It was kind of fun this summer watching the progress of everything.”

The Jaguars renovated two lacrosse/football fields to mimic NFL-quality playing surfaces, installed a bank of electrical outlets and delivered two portable goal posts that were built and welded together from the six disassembled on the old ones. training grounds. They rented equipment, buses and security, racking up a total bill that topped $1 million for 14 days of practice.

“We can do anything here,” Pederson said. “The only thing we have to watch out for is the weather, but that’s why we’re in the morning and hopefully the storms stay away in the morning. We just don’t have a ton of shelter (and) player safety is No. 1, and we just have to make it work. We have plenty of time.”

Not as much as usual.

Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson talks to Trevor Lawrence #16 during training camp at Episcopal High School on July 25, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson talks to Trevor Lawrence #16 during training camp at Episcopal High School on July 25, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida.
(James Gilbert/Getty Images)

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The Jaguars opened camp nearly a week after Las Vegas. The teams play August 4 in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.

Pederson expressed no concerns about having a preseason game in 10 days. He’s unlikely to play with many starters and he feels players have done enough in OTAs, so much so that he’s canceled a practice and released most veterans from a mandatory minicamp. of three days.

“We are not starting again. We pick up where we left off,” second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. “Everything we talk about, we skim over it because we’ve installed it many times. Having that knowledge and everyone can just quickly understand when installing is good. We can add new wrinkles more quickly because we’ve already done it.”

Pederson’s first practice at camp lasted just over an hour, the latest player-friendly approach taken by the longtime NFL QB.

Jacksonville hasn’t placed anyone on the physically unable to perform list and has several rehab veterans on the verge of making a full comeback. Running back James Robinson (Achilles tendon) could be the last to return. Robinson, who has 1,837 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in two seasons, tore his Achilles tendon in late December. He worked on the sidelines on Monday and expects a full return in mid-August.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence sits on the bench in the final minutes of a loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Inglewood, in California.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence sits on the bench in the final minutes of a loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Inglewood, in California.
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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“It’s a good sign. I’ve seen how hard he’s worked to recover this spring and summer,” Pederson said. “He’s done a great job of putting himself in a position where we don’t have to (rush him) but be careful with him and make sure he’s ready when he’s ready.”