Jaguars training camp primer ‘21: Storylines, important dates, what to watch out for

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer, second from right, talks with players defensive tackle Carl Davis, from left, defensive end Lerentee McCray (55) and defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris before the start of an NFL football practice, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The countdown is on.

The Jaguars report to training camp on Tuesday morning for a season unlike any other.

They have a first-time NFL head coach (Urban Meyer), the first overall pick in the draft in camp (Trevor Lawrence) and dozens of lingering questions after last year’s miserable 1-15 campaign that touched off an organizational reset. Here’s a quick training camp primer with all you need to know entering the season.

What does the start of camp mean?

It means that veteran players report to team facilities for the official start of the training camp. For the first time in league history, the NFL had a near-unified start to camp. Twenty-nine of the league’s 32 teams were set to report to camp Tuesday. Jaguars rookies have already been in camp for nearly a full week. Rookies like Lawrence and Travis Etienne reported to camp on July 20.

How can fans check the team out?

Six training camp session dates are open to fans (five sessions and one scrimmage). Advance registration is required, and those looking to attend can knock that out here. Camp is free to attend. The dates that fans can go are July 29, 30 and 31, and Aug. 6, 7. The scrimmage is Aug. 8. The July 30 camp is only open to season ticket holders.

When is the first preseason game?

The Browns visit the Jaguars on Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. as fans get a chance to see Lawrence and Co. for the first time. The second preseason game at the Saints (Aug. 23, 8 p.m.) will likely be the most action that Jacksonville starters see until the regular season starts. That game will also be televised on WJXT Channel 4. The preseason finale is Aug. 29 at the Cowboys (1 p.m.).

What are some big dates during camp to be aware of?

On Aug. 17, teams must reduce rosters to 85 players on the active/inactive list. On Aug. 24, teams must cut rosters to 80. On Aug. 31, teams have to trim rosters to a maximum of 53.

Training camp battles

Quarterback seems to be settled, right? But last year’s starter, Gardner Minshew II, won’t cede the position willingly. Even assistant Brian Schoettenheimer said earlier this summer that the team wasn’t ready to declare Lawrence the starter. Elsewhere, how will the carries be divvied up between first-round pick Etienne and returning 1,000-yard rusher James Robinson? Will a pass catcher emerge at the talent-starved tight end position? Will Tim Tebow make the 53-man roster? The defensive line rotation is one to watch. That unit was upgraded quite a bit in the offseason, along with the secondary. One of the more intriguing training camp positions to watch — offensive line. Right tackle Jawaan Taylor has been so-so in his two seasons. Left tackle Cam Robinson was franchise tagged, but the team hasn’t signed him long term. Jacksonville spent a second-round pick on Walker Little. Is he ready to start as a rookie after not playing in a game since 2019?

Remember the rookies

Jacksonville has high expectations for its nine-player draft class. Realistically, three, maybe four could earn starting spots in Week 1 (Lawrence, Etienne, Campbell and Sisco).

Round 1: 1. QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

Round 1: 25. RB Travis Etienne, Clemson

Round 2: 33. CB Tyson Campbell, Georgia

Round 2: 45. OT Walker Little, Stanford

Round 3: 65. Andre Cisco, Syracuse

Round 4: 106. DT Jay Tufele, Southern Cal

Round 4: 121. Edge Jordan Smith, UAB

Round 5: 145. TE Luke Farrell, Ohio State

Round 6: 209. WR Jalen Camp, Georgia Tech

Looking at the positions

In advance of camp, the News4Jax sports staff broke down positions on both sides of the ball. Here are looks at each of those groups.

DEFENSE: Linebackers | Defensive line | Cornerback | Safeties | Special teams

OFFENSE: Quarterbacks | Running backs | Receivers | Offensive line | Tight end

When does the season really start?

The Jaguars open the regular season on the road Sept. 12 at the Texans.

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.