As full pads go on, Doug Pederson says energy ramping up at training camp

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson directs an NFL football practice, Sunday, July 31, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With a full week of training camp in the books, the action and intensity are picking up in Jacksonville.

The Jaguars wrapped up their sixth day of training camp Sunday, where the players got the full pads on for the first time.

Head coach Doug Pederson spoke before practice Sunday, giving his comments on the first week. He said he wants his team to get acquainted again wearing the pads.

“The No. 1 thing is player safety and protecting each other. We’re practicing hard and fast, and we just want to be smart about it,” Pederson said. “The physicality is picking up, and we want the guys to get used to wearing pads again.”

News4JAGs camp coverage ‘22

Miss something this week? No problem. Jaguars training camp coverage is all right here. (Note: The team was off on Friday, so there was no camp notebook).

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Saturday, the team was equipped in just the upper pads. Pederson said it was an excellent first step in preparing the team for their upcoming preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders Thursday.

“The tension is starting to build back up between the offense and defense, and it’s the energy we love to watch,” Pederson said. “Have to ensure we have smart heads-up plays and are in full control before Thursday.”

After six days of camp thus far, coaches are becoming more comfortable and acquainted with their players, particularly the rookies.

While different mandatory camps and OTA’s took place in June, coaches began to learn more from their team with the pads on.

“We’ve been learning more about our football team and the physicality of our guys,” Pederson said. “These guys have been doing this since high school and so on. They are getting in situations now at the NFL level.”

It’s not only rookies getting up to NFL speed as veterans begin to shake off their rust from the summer. New tight end signing Evan Engram has had a shaky start to training camp.

Engram has had some noticeable drops throughout the first week that have caught attention. Most noticeably, he dropped an open pass during a two-minute offense drill in the red zone.

“I think that would’ve been a tough catch to make anyway. He’ll make that catch next time,” Pederson said. “Better to do it now than Week 1.”

Despite the sluggish start, Pederson said Engram would be a big part of the offense.

“He’s been good so far, and I like where he’s at mentally, always picking things up,” Pederson said. “I’ve really enjoyed the connection and communication between him and Trevor [Lawrence]. Excited to see those two this year.”

Speaking about Engram and the tight ends, he mentioned Dan Arnold, who’s in a perfect spot.

“He’s a veteran guy who’s a sneaky athlete on the football field,” Pederson said. “He’ll have a good year for us at tight end.”

The kicking situation for the team has been among the talk of the first week of camp.

Jacksonville signed undrafted free agent Andrew Mevis at the end of April, coming in to compete with Ryan Santoso, who was signed in March.

Mevis performed well over OTA’s in June but struggled during the first week of camp.

Thursday, Mevis went 1 for 3 during field goals, one of which hit former Dallas Cowboys head coach Dave Campo who was standing in the sideline media viewing area.

The Jaguars then waived Mevis Friday and signed Elliot Fry.

“Young guys sometimes put too much pressure on themselves, and that’s what happened with Mevis,” Pederson said. “They just have to learn to relax and just play.”

Pederson wrapped up his time Sunday speaking on Travon Walker, who has been very impressive his first week of training camp.

During team drills Saturday, Walker was constantly getting past the line and into the backfield.

Pederson said the most significant thing for young guys like Walker is to see how they handle the intensity volume.

“He’s a true student of the game. He studies very well, and when he makes a mistake, you don’t see him do it again,” Pederson said. “He’s been thrown a lot of information, and we want to make sure he can respond well.”

That intensity continued into Sunday as Walker again dominated in 1-on-1 and team drills.

The Jaguars will have two more days of camp before they hit the road to take on the Raiders in the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.

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