JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The start of a new NFL season is right around the corner, and Jacksonville sits at the helm.
The Jaguars wrapped up training camp for the week on Tuesday with a light practice without pads as they prepare for their upcoming game.
They will play in their second Hall of Fame game Thursday night in Canton, Ohio when they face the Raiders at 8 p.m. It marks the second time Jacksonville has played in the game. It faced Carolina in 1995 when both were expansion teams.
MONDAY NOTEBOOK | Jaguars go through light camp day to prep for game
Doug Pederson said Jake Luton would be the starting quarterback for the game Tuesday morning. Pederson said both Trevor Lawrence and C.J. Beathard (coming off a groin injury) won’t play.
“He understands the game, can make all the throws. I’ve been very pleased with his progress.” Pederson said of Luton.
Luton was drafted by the Jaguars in the sixth round in 2020 and went 0-3 as a starter (two TD passes, six interceptions) during the team’s forgettable 1-15 season. He was waived last August by the Jaguars and picked up by the Seahawks quickly after that. Luton spent a few games as a backup in Seattle but was mainly on the practice squad.
After spending time with the Seahawks and briefly on the Dolphins practice squad, the Jaguars signed Luton in February to a reserve/future contract for the season.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be back in a Jaguars jersey to start the game,” Luton said. “I want to go out and score points and execute well.”
Luton said he’s enjoyed working with the quarterback group since arriving back in Jacksonville.
“Trevor and C.J. are my guys, we’re really good friends, and they are constantly pushing each other to be great,” Luton said. “We’re all competing hard during camp, but at the end of the day, we’ve grown really close to one another.”
So far, through training camp, he is proud of how the offenses minimize mistakes.
“We push the ball downfield and be aggressive when we have to when fitting some passes through tight windows,” Luton said. “Overall, it’s been a great camp, and we want to keep it rolling Thursday.”
His last start came in November 2020 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He went 16 of 37 with 151 yards in the air, including four interceptions and two sacks.
Despite the rough game, Luton said his focus for Thursday is simply executing the offense.
“I need to do my job, move the ball around and get it in my guys’ hands,” Luton said. “Put my team in the best position to score points, and that’s the bottom line.”
Luton mentioned Pederson has been beneficial to his game as a former quarterback.
“He sees the same things we do and speaks the same language. He fits in like a glove in our quarterback room,” Luton said. “He knows what he needs from us and how to get better.”
With Lawrence and Beathard out, it’s expected newcomer Kyle Sloter will get playing time as well.
Pederson also said Travis Etienne Jr. (absent from camp Tuesday due to illness) would not play either.
As for the rest of the team, Pederson and the coaching staff will decide Tuesday afternoon who will and won’t play Thursday night.
For veteran players who won’t see the field Thursday, Pederson still encourages them to be engaged in the game.
“I don’t care if they play a single series then come out. They need to be engaged and be able to help the young guys out,” Pederson said. “I’ve been there as a young quarterback, and I would always want the veterans to engage with me throughout.”
With the players preparing for their first preseason action, the coaching staff is also figuring out the best way to impact each other.
“Preseason games are just as important to us as for the players,” Pederson said. “Mike [Caldwell], being a first-time coordinator, calling formations, and keeping the organization on defense will be important. We’ll figure out what spots work best for our guys.”