Doug Pederson takes the reins as Jaguars open 1st camp under new coach

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson directs players in an NFL football practice, Monday. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Football is back for the Jaguars.

While the team reported to training camp Sunday, the Jaguars hit the practice fields Monday morning for the first time since organized team activities last month.

Head coach Doug Pederson said the team’s energy was incredible on Sunday.

“The guys were fired up yesterday. The energy was incredible,” Pederson said. “They’re in the right frame of mind, focused, and ready to go.”

Pederson said the first day of training camp always comes with plenty of excitement.

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“Emotions and energy are high for us. We’re looking forward to having a great camp and being competitive,” Pederson said. “For me personally, I enjoy being back on the grass and seeing how progress continues before the regular season.”

The first couple days of training camp for NFL teams normally consist of light drills to shake off the rust and get extra conditioning before getting the pads on. While the Jaguars still do 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 run throughs, Pederson said he wants the players to build a tolerance before getting the pads on.

“We’re in this acclimation phase, similar to OTA’s, where we’re not having physical contact but instead getting out and loose,” Pederson said.

While this team isn’t a Super Bowl contender now, the morale around the locker room is seeing a significant jump for the Jaguars this season.

The team finished 3-14 last year, failing to reach the playoffs for the fourth straight year. They last appeared in the 2017 postseason, losing 24-20 to the New England Patriots in the AFC championship.

Injuries hurt the team last season. Running backs James Robinson and Travis Etienne suffered season-ending injuries, which stung the offense.

Etienne sustained a preseason foot injury, causing him to miss the entire season. Robinson suffered an Achilles tear in Week 14 against the New York Jets, sidelining him for the duration of the season.

Robinson was in attendance for training camp but was on the side as he continued his rehab.

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence said it was a great sight to see Robinson in uniform.

“It’s great to see how fast he’s progressing, and I’m excited to have him back with us,” Lawrence said. “We don’t want to rush anything, but it will be a fun year when he’s ready.”

Pederson mentioned that Robinson is doing exceptionally well.

“He’s going to be out here all week on the side, but we’re taking things slow with him,” Pederson said. “We want him 100% or better before we put him back in pads.”

Etienne is back and healthy ready to go for the year, and the former Clemson teammates are excited to be back on the field together.

“It’ll be great to have my guy back this year,” Lawrence said. “I missed him last year, and he’ll add an explosive element to our offense.”

The Jaguars could be a two-way dangerous offensive threat with that duo in the backfield this year.

Pederson announced no players would start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Robinson, along with cornerback Darious Williams, will be eased back into action. Jamal Agnew is also going to be day-to-day.

“He’ll be doing individual training and working with our medical team,” Pederson said.

Pederson also announced that rookie linebacker Devin Lloyd would miss some time with a hamstring injury that was announced Sunday.

“He had a little injury that popped up yesterday,” Pederson said. “It’s nothing too significant, but we want to be cautious with it and give him some time.”

There’s work to be done in Jacksonville, but the optimism continues to grow around the locker room and into training camp

The Jaguars will go full pads on Sunday, preparing for the preseason Hall of Fame against the Las Vegas Raiders on Aug. 4.

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