Calais Campbell talks National Anthem, different feel to OTA's this year


JACKSONVILLE, Fla – The Jaguars were back on the practice field today for the second day of OTA’s. On Tuesday, the team was inside the flex field because of the weather, but today, the team was back outside in the heat.

Before the team even took the field though, the hot topic was about the NFL’s new rule that players on the field for the National Anthem must stand or be fined. If they choose, they can stay in the locker room with no punishment.

Defensive End Calais Campbell was asked about the new rule.

“At the end of the day, I think the biggest thing is for us to try to take action in the communities and try to do things one at a time,” Campbell said. “As far as being limited or restricted or stuff, that is the rules of the game. You kind of just have to deal with what comes.”

Campbell said some players talked about the new policy, and he acknowledged each person might have a different mentality about what they will do.

“I think first things first, the ultimate goal is to try to create some social change. There are issues that I believe in strongly and a lot of my peers believe in strongly, and we want to find a way to create change,” he said.

Even though the team isn’t in pads, Campbell says there is a lot of competition going on between guys.

“We have a lot of talent, you know? Guys are working and pushing hard. It’s nice being outside even though it was very hot today,” Campbell said. “Guys are competing, taking turns making plays offense and defense. It real felt like the competition factor was really good today.”

The 31 year old was a leader both on the field and in the locker room last season for the Jaguars totaling 14.5 sacks, but he says is year two with the team and this coaching staff, he and his teammates are able to put even more focus on each rep in practice.

“Last year I was just trying to learn the playbook. This year, you can work on specific things every day to try to get better. Today, you can sense that everyone was taking a play or two here that they’re trying to work on a different technique they are trying to work on.”

Defensive Line coach Marion Hobby says having guys like Campbell in the locker room makes everyone better.

“Even in the meeting rooms. When you have a leader like that, you let him lead. He’s a problem solver a lot of the time,” Hobby said. “And a lot of times things don’t get to me because I know he’s knocked them down.”

Hobby says for a guy who has played more than 150 games in his career, Campbell is exactly what a coach wants in a veteran player.

“He’s a 10 or 11 year vet. You can still coach him too. He will let you coach him. A lot of times you hear the horror stories about older guys who don’t want to be coached, they have all the answers. He’s not that way.”

Campbell says he likes the depth the team has on the defensive side of the ball, including on the defensive line where they added Taven Bryan in the draft. Campbell says the competition between guys makes everyone better.

“The only downside is, you might not be able to make as many stats, numbers wise, but we are going to win a lot of games. And you can trade wins for stats any day of the week,” he said.