By Jeff Moeller, Florida Sports Wire
JACKSONVILLE – Two days into the Jaguars’ camp, and you can sense a thread of confidence and comfort around the Miller Electric Center.
From the opening day to day two, the stands went from a quarter full to nearly completely full. Fans were both anxious and responsive to the Jags’ scrimmage toward the end of practice. When you have fans this focused and dedicated watching the majority of drills for over two hours, you have something special.
They are counting down the days to the first and lone home preseason game August 26 against Miami, and the season opener at Indianapolis Sept. 10. A week later, the Chiefs come to town for the home opener.
It will be the series of games that will be an early barometer of how comfortable this team already has become.
With confidence comes comfortability. It can be a huge factor for the Jags especially with a defending AFC South crown in their laps.
Jags’ offensive coordinator Press Taylor will be assigned to try and piece it all together. He has a more mature Trevor Lawrence at quarterback and Travis Etienne at running back.
Taylor also has the luxury of wide receiver Calvin Ridley to a core of Zay Jones, Christian Kirk, Jamal Agnew, and Evan Engram, who established themselves among the league’s elite with their combined production last year. You can throw in vets JaMycal Hasty, D’Ernest Johnosn and rookie Tank Brisby to the running game along with Etienne.
For the OC, it is all about the comfort. Their 2022 experiences certainly have helped.
“I think the biggest thing is the comfort level,” said Taylor. “We’re able to go so much faster on our installs. We cram a lot of plays in now up to an hour and a half meeting. We’re going really fast. We don’t show as much video because we know the guys have seen it, they’re accessing it. But we can get a little bit more in and a little quicker as we go.”
Still, Taylor is aware of the limitations of a training camp.
“You go into a training camp situation where we’re just running plays. We’re not scheming our defense,they’re not scheming us, we’re just putting in plays and running them,” he added. “You see guys, maybe the quarterbacks get through progressions a little bit quicker. Guys adjust to things a little quicker just because they know. They’ve been through it. We’ve been through this install, essentially this is the sixth time through most of this. Then, obviously, we have our additions off that we build on and continue to do.”
Taylor is ready to hand the keys to Lawrence.
“I think it is his offense and the empowerment he feels,” stressed Taylor. “Day one, we have a play on, they play a different coverage, he checks it to a different play. He would not have done that at this point last year. Part of it is just knowing what we like for certain looks, what he likes, what he can get to, what the guys outside can handle as he does certain things. “
Taylor has noticed the difference from the second half of last year.
“Just that next step where that was kind of how the offense took off in the second half of the year last year,” said Taylor. “We didn’t have a perfect play on, he got us to a better play. We had a bad play on, and he got us to the right play or got out of a bad play, whatever that may be. Just understanding what we’re trying to do and trusting the guys around him that they can handle that as well. “
This season, it will be about confidence and comfort.
(SportsDay columnist Jeff Moeller writes for Florida Sports Wire)
(Photo by Nancy DeLander Beecher/SportsDay Images)