Jaguars making the best of virtual offseason program

The NFL announced they will be reopening team facilities, but players and coaches will still not allowed inside.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s a much different offseason for the Jaguars, but Doug Marrone said that the team is making the best of it.

Marrone met with the media Friday afternoon to talk about Jacksonville’s offseason program that has been pushed into the virtual realm due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marrone said that it’s challenging to get the full effect of a traditional offseason program when coaches and players aren’t around one another, but they’re doing the best that they can.

That includes second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew II, who enters the season as the starter. The sixth-round pick out of Washington State in 2019 went 6-6 last year and played well enough that the Jaguars traded expensive free agent signee Nick Foles to the Bears to pave the way for Minshew.

Jacksonville added Mike Glennon as a veteran free agent and drafted Jake Lutton to pair with Minshew and backup Joshua Dobbs.

“I’ve challenged the coaches, I’ve challenged the players, you know, to take this virtual world that we’re in and let’s have some fun with it,” Marrone said. “You know, let’s try to do things. I think, you know, Gardner has obviously spoken to a lot of the players and I think a lot of our players are on group text and trying to create that chemistry, you know, that I talked about before, which is difficult to do in a virtual setting.”

Marrone didn’t offer many position specifics on Friday, but did elaborate on what the offensive line could look like in spots following draft.

Will Richardson, who showed last year that he could play multiple spots on the line, will shift to left tackle. The Jaguars will put Ben Bartch, a fourth-round draft pick, at right guard, presumably behind starter AJ Cann.

Marrone said that he’s enjoyed hearing from players about their work in the offseason, including that of backup quarterback Dobbs.

Dobbs spent some of his offseason at Kennedy Space Center and working down there. Dobbs has an aerospace engineering degree from the University of Tennessee and hopes to work with NASA when his playing career is over.

“No doubt I dig at him for that kind of stuff. … like Josh you got to become an astronaut. You got to get in there and you got to bring some stuff back. If you can look like, you know I'm a big memorabilia guy, there’s stuff like that has come from space that's on auction sites that go for a lot of money,” Marrone joked.

“Obviously, we understand the importance of a professional relationship, you know, but I think some of these guys are really doing some interesting things and you know when you talk to them about it, it’s pretty fascinating.”

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.