Training camp notebook: Big hits fly as Jaguars dial up the intensity before day off

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - JULY 27: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Jacksonville Jaguars hands the ball off to Travis Etienne Jr. #1 during training camp at Miller Electric Center on July 27, 2023 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) (James Gilbert, 2023 James Gilbert)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Time to go live! Not on TV, but on the football field. So far through training camp — even though the pads have been on — it’s been mostly thud or touch football. That isn’t realistic.

Doug Pederson decided to start Monday on a high note with the first full-go practice of the year. It makes a difference. Jaguars rookie Parker Washington said, “you have to make sure the helmet is strapped up and go to work.”

The guys certainly went to work. The offense and defense had their highs and lows. During red zone, the Jaguars starting offense was near perfect (5 of 6 or 6 of 6, depending on who you ask).

There was a play where Trevor Lawrence ran and Travon Walker and Josh Allen both pulled up not to hit the red jersey. Nonetheless, a good day of work for the Jaguars starters. Once the second-team offense went on the field, the tone changed quickly. Ventrell Miller, Raymond Vohasek and De’Shaan Dixon all made plays in the backfield.

Miller almost looked like he was back at Florida the way he was racking up tackles. Vohasek put his power on display. He blew up two plays in the backfield quickly, including one for a would-be safety. Dixon made his TFL from his new position on the inside of the defensive line and his quickness is a clear advantage for him on the inside.

Chad Hall is in his first year as the Jaguars wide receiver coach. The Jaguars have a veteran group but there is a rookie that is in the room in Washington. 

Hall said Washington is “mature beyond his years.” Quite the compliment for the young receiver who is still trying to find his way in the NFL. Pederson was asked if Washington is like Christian Kirk, and Pederson said, “not yet.”

Kirk is a lofty bar to set, so I think “not yet” is a fair answer. Washington knows that with such a talented receiver room he has to be like a sponge and soak up as much knowledge as he can.

“I learn something new every day,” Washington said.

Washington does have a little bit of an advantage over most rookies. He came to Jacksonville with someone he knows, Brenton Strange. Washington and Strange were teammates in college at Penn State and the pair are now teammates in the NFL.

“It is good to have somebody you know,” Washington said.

Saturday will be the Jaguars first preseason game of the year against the Cowboys. For Washington, this will be his first taste of NFL game action. There are reports that Pederson plans to play the Jaguars starters for a few series on Saturday. Even with that, the majority of the game will be played by players like Washington, who said there may be some nerves but is going to “take it one play at a time.” He continued to say that he “definitely wants to make a big play.”


  • Tyson Campbell is still sidelined. Campbell suffered a concussion in Sunday’s practice.
  • Travis Etienne had a tough goal-line run. Etienne fought through contact to get into the end zone. Those types of runs will need to keep happening if he is going to keep Tank Bigsby off the field in those situations.
  • Speaking of Bigsby, he popped the longest run of the day with a 70-yard touchdown. Bigsby has some power, but he can also put it in sport mode and turn up the speed. The Jaguars have a good 1-2 punch with Etienne and Bigsby.
  • On that play where Bigsby popped loose, I was impressed by Tank, but Cooper Hodges really caught my attention. It is tough to miss a guy that size nearly 30 yards down the field still blocking. Hodges said he thought it was more than 30 yards. That sort of effort play shows up on tape and will catch the attention of the coaching staff.
  • The backup punt return job looks like it is Parker Washington’s to lose. Washington exclusively caught all the punts during practice. Heath Farwell said he thinks Washington has what it takes to be an NFL returner.
  • When I put together my 53-man roster before camp, Raymond Vohasek was not on it. His performance during team drills and some impressive moments during 1 on 1′s on Monday have me wondering if I need to rethink his spot. His power was on full display.
  • I feel like at this point through camp we haven’t talked much about Cam Robinson. It is because he is up to his normal bullying ways. I say bully as a compliment. Robinson’s physical brand of blocking has been on full display.
  • During a period where the offense was starting from their own 1-yard line, Derek Parish lined up at fullback for the running plays. It is worth mentioning since he is the only player that lined up at that spot.
  • Travon Walker had a good day. He won with power against Robinson during 1 on 1′s. During team drills, Walker showed a nice ability to knife inside.
  • This was possibly the best day of camp so far for rookie Anton Harrison. He still had some of the rookie struggle plays but there were more bright spots along the way.
  • Elijah Cooks had a crazy one-handed catch. Cooks is a height, weight and speed freak. He has tools and wouldn’t be surprised if he made the practice squad.
  • Blake Hance has so much versatility. When Harrison was out, Hance has lined up at right tackle along with taking reps at guard. That sort of versatility will keep him around.
  • Jeremiah Ledbetter had a sack during team drills. Ledbetter is a guy that Brentson Buckner told me to look out for during the offseason. He has made a few head-turning plays so far through camp.
  • With Campbell sidelined, Darious Williams has taken over the responsibility of guarding Calvin Ridley. Williams has taken the challenge and run with it. He locked up Ridley during reps Tuesday, Including an interception during 1 on 1′s
  • The future is bright for Antonio Johnson. During 1 on 1′s, Evan Engram is the only tight end that works on the field with the wide receivers. The coaching staff sent Johnson to that field to guard Engram. This isn’t the first time during camp they have done this. Guarding Engram in that drill is next to impossible, but it shows what the staff thinks of the rookie who continues to make plays during practice day after day.
  • Lloyd may take some reps on the edge in situations, but the Jaguars are looking to K’Lavon Chassion and Yasir Abdullah to be their third and fourth pass rushers — until Dawuane Smoot is back. The staff firmly believes the best is yet to come for Chassion.

About the Author:

Jamal St. Cyr is an award-winning sports anchor who joined the News4Jax sports team in 2019.