JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The voluntary portion of the Jaguars off-season program came to an end on Friday. Players aren’t required to show up for the 10 days of OTA’s (Organized team activities). That mandate changes on Tuesday with the start of 3-day mandatory minicamp.
Following minicamp there’s a five week break before the start of training camp in late July.
“It’s really important, especially for us on the back end in the secondary,” said Jaguars safety Barry Church when asked what needs to get accomplished next week. “We’d like for everybody to be there so we can all communicate. We have to all get the ins and outs of the defense. We’ve had a couple of guys who’ve been absent but they’ve been in the system for three of four years so I don’t see communication being an issue out there. Once we get everybody back for minicamp we should be running on all cylinders."
Because OTA’s are voluntary players are at their liberty to show up or work out on their own. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey chose the latter and missed all of OTA’s while training with his father in Tennessee. He is however expected to be back for the start of minicamp on Tuesday.
“I think each player is different,” said Jaguars coach Doug Marrone. “As long as it is voluntary, I try not to put a lot of thought into it. I really don’t. It’s something that you can’t control. You would like to see them. You would like them to work together. If something comes up and they can’t be here for whatever reason, it’s fine. It’s OK. It’s part of what the league rules are.”
Marrone continued, “As long as they are ready to go when it’s mandatory minicamp, as long as they are getting ready to go when it’s training camp. That is the only thing that I can really control.”
It’s very common for quarterbacks and receivers to find time to throw and catch in the five weeks between the end of minicamp and the start of training camp. The same isn’t the case for most of the other position groups on the team.
Last season the Jaguars secondary of Church, Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Tashaun Gipson and Aaron Colvin (now in Houston) didn’t spend any time together on the field throughout the entire off-season program. The group was able to get on the same page quickly during training camp and Church expects new nickel cornerback D.J. Hayden step right into the role vacated by Colvin.
“We have to use this time to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each other,” said Church. Luckily he’s been here all throughout OTA’s and will be here for minicamp. We’re learning how he likes to approach certain situations. Once we all jell together we’ll be fine.”