By: Hays Carlyon
I don’t know if I’ve ever been happier to step foot on the Jaguars practice fields.
Football was back. Even in a COVID world.
The weather was perfect. Hot, but not overwhelming, with a consistent breeze.
The Jaguars conducted a 90-minute workout on Wednesday as all NFL teams continue the ramp-up portion of training camp. No one-on-ones and no 11-on-11 were allowed. The offense and defense can’t even be on the same field.
As new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said to media after practice via a virtual press conference, “We’re still in diapers right now.”
Still, there were observations to be made. Here are mine.
- Second-year defensive end Josh Allen looks leaner. Slimmer. I was surprised because I thought Allen had an excellent frame last season. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. He’s clearly lighter. I’m eager to see him burst off the line when pads come on next week.
- The Jaguars announced prior to the practice that rookie first-round edge defender K’Lavon Chaisson would work off to a sideline with a minor hamstring injury. That is certainly disappointing. However, it was cool to see Allen working with Chaisson on technique after practice. Chaisson didn’t look limited, so hopefully his injury will heal quickly.
- They like rookie second-round receiver Laviska Shenault. He must be a quick learner.
- Rookie fourth-round right guard Ben Bartch looks good physically. Bartch played a Division III St. Johns (Minn.) and I always wonder about the physical maturity of those prospects. Seeing Bartch washed away those fears. If he doesn’t unseat incumbent A.J. Cann it won’t be because he can’t physically handle the position.
- Quarterback Gardner Minshew’s physical strides this off-season are evident. He was in acceptable shape as a rookie, but is now in exceptional physical condition. Minshew spoke to reporters after practice and was asked about his training.
“Obviously, speed was a big area of emphasis,” Minshew said. “And then maintaining as much strength as I can, to put as much on the ball as possible, with my current weight.”
- Fifth-round rookie receiver Collin Johnson looks enormous, even for his listed measurables (6-6, 222 pounds). He stands out in the crowd.
- Left tackle Cam Robinson described his physical condition as being “night and day” better than last year when he was recovering from an ACL injury. That’s obvious after seeing him in person. This is the best Robinson has looked in his career.
- Rookie third-round defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton physically looks like a seasoned veteran. He is a wide body that is well put together for a rookie. He will need to be ready to contribute immediately with defensive tackle Al Woods opting out.
- Veteran tight end James O’Shaughnessy (knee) returned to practice and was removed from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list.
- The practice was incredibly light still it was good to see no apparent injuries sustained in the workout.
(You can email Hays at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)