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Jaguars Training Camp, Day 12: 5 Observations As Lawrence, Run Defense Flex Muscles

What did we see during the Jaguars' night practice at TIAA Bank Field on Monday night?

Just a few nights after the Jacksonville Jaguars hosted their first home game of 2022, the team had a few more firsts, holding their first training camp practice at TIAA Bank Field along with their first night practice on Monday evening.

"It does break it up, plus we haven’t had fans at practice, and it gives our organization and their families a chance to come and watch the guys practice tonight and just a way to get back together with them," Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said before practice. 

Monday was set to be the Jaguars' second and final "live" hitting practice of camp, taking place eight days after the first one. And while Monday wasn't quite as hard-hitting as last weekend's practice, we still saw quite a bit of value. 

So, who and what stood out during Monday's practice at TIAA Bank Field? We break it down below.

Breaking down Trevor Lawrence's night

Monday night was a mostly positive night for Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, with the Jaguars doing their part to attempt to improve upon some specific plays from Friday night's loss against the Browns. The Jaguars worked on a lot of similar concepts and even ran a few plays that looked just like plays they ran against the Browns. Lawrence looked sharp against an energized first-team defense on Monday, albeit not perfect.

Lawrence finished 21-of-27 on Monday night, throwing two touchdowns (one to Marvin Jones in 7-on-7, one to Zay Jones in team drills). He saw the offense drop three of his six incompletions, with two coming from Evan Engram in team drills and one coming from Chris Manhertz in 7-on-7 drills. 

All in all, a practice with just three truly missed throws is a good one for any quarterback, and Lawrence had a few really impressive throws. His two best throws were the touchdown to Jones, which came against Tyson Campbell, and a throw to Zay Jones against Shaquill Griffin in a two-minute situation where he stepped up in the pocket and fired a laser to Jones for a gain of at least 20 yards.

With that said, two of those throws were near interceptions by Campbell. One of those picks would have been a tough but makeable play in 7-on-7, while Campbell dropped a much easier interception in team drills at the end of practice after jumping a route by Zay Jones. 

Overall, it was a solid night from Lawrence; he even threw a touchdown to Jones on the same play they failed to connect on during last week's preseason game. It wasn't without blemish, showing he is still developing in his own ways, but he hasn't hit a wall during camp yet.

Run defense dominates the offense in a big way 

The most dominant player during team drills on Monday night? Nose tackle DaVon Hamilton. It isn't often a nose tackle stands out in a big way in any training camp practice, but Hamilton led the charge as the first-team defense kicked in the first-team offense's teeth on running plays during the live practice. He completely shut down the middle of the line of scrimmage, consistently resetting the line of scrimmage and making tackles for short gains.

The Jaguars found some success through the air and saw their line hold up well against the blitz, but the front seven and even safeties outplayed the Jaguars' offensive line during the running game. Travis Etienne, Snoop Conner and Ryquell Armstead struggled to pop many long runs, with only two coming from the group the whole night (one from Conner and one from Armstead). 

Other Jaguars defenders who gave the offense trouble outside of Hamilton included Roy Robertson-Harris, who shed Tyler Shatley with ease on a few reps, along with Foyesade Oluokun, Chad Muma, Shaquille Quarterman, Josh Allen, Rayshawn Jenkins, and Andrew Wingard. Each made at least one tackle at or behind the line of scrimmage, with the Jaguars' running game failing to make any kind of positive impression.

The Jaguars' running game struggled at times against the Browns too, but Monday night was a more physical beating by the hands of the defense than Friday was. The Jaguars' offense was bullied by its defense in the running game on Monday, leading to the question if it was good defense or bad offense. 

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"I mean, listen, it's still early. We're trying a lot of things, doing a lot of things, seeing a lot of people," Pederson said after the Browns game about the running game. 

"You don't game plan a lot, so you're not really focused on them as much as it is us. So not a concern at this point. We've just got to keep going to work and get better at it."

James Robinson gets 7-on-7 work 

There is no question the Jaguars need James Robinson back on the field. Some of the runs during the Browns game showed that and then the Jaguars' tough sledding against their own defense on Monday reinforced it. For as talented as Etienne and Conner are, Robinson has proven to be an incredibly efficient runner between the tackles, rarely being tackled for negative yards. 

Luckily for the Jaguars, Robinson took another step in his recovery on Monday evening. Sporting a red non-contact jersey for the first time in camp, Robinson took full part in individual drills before making his first appearance in 7-on-7 drills in camp. Previously, Robinson would just watch 7-on-7 from the side, even over the last week as he has been put into more and more non-contact team situations. But on Monday, he was a fill participant in them. 

Robinson rotated reps with Etienne during 7-on-7 and ran routes at full speed, even catching his lone target from Trevor Lawrence. He looked like he was able to cut and break without any loss of speed and there were no labored movements as he got closer to a full drill than he has at any other point in camp. 

“You’ll see him in some team drills. We’re going to keep him out of contact drills, though, this week and keep progressing him along," Pederson said before practice. "He’s doing well, and that’s the goal, keep progressing him for the next few days."

Tyler Shatley takes every first-team rep at guard

There had been some questions ahead of Monday's practice about exactly what the Jaguars plan at left guard is. Tyler Shatley had taken close to 100% of the first-team reps at guard during the first several weeks of practice, but a poor outing against the Browns on Friday and a strong performance from third-year left guard Ben Bartch led many to wonder if there was or should be a true competition. 

“I think so," Pederson said before Monday's practice when asked if the left guard spot was up for grabs. "Both guys are doing well. You could start Ben one week and Tyler the next. It’s that close right now.”

But for all of those ideas and Pederson's support of Bartch pushing Shatley for the starting job, we didn't see much of a competition on Monday. Shatley again took 100% of the first-team reps, with Bartch running exclusively with the second-team offense. Bartch could very well play himself into running for the guard spot over the final two games of the preseason, but so far it has been Shatley and Shatley only with the first-team offense.

“He’s progressing well. He’s played well. Him and Tyler (Shatley) working at left guard. There’s some competition there," Pederson said about Bartch. 

"Both guys are doing extremely well, and it’s good to have depth there at that position because Shatley can play center, too, which is good for us, and we just continue to monitor their progress, but Ben has been doing really well.”

Play of the day 

The play of the day for Monday's practice goes to a player who one wouldn't normally think would be the recipient: third-year cornerback Chris Claybrooks. Claybrooks had a strong practice on Monday night and made the highlight of the practice in team drills when running with the second-team defense, perfectly covering Marvin Hall on a deep pass before fully extending and diving to catch an overthrown pass from C.J. Beathard. It was an excellent catch that was one of the best individual plays made in all of camp.

Other notes

  • The Jaguars continue to rotate Jawaan Taylor and Walker Little at right tackle. Taylor got the very first reps with the first-team offense and rotated with Little after two series, with Little then doing the same pattern. Both also ran with the second-team offense at times. 
  • The Jaguars' tackles during most second-team offense reps: Coy Cronk at left tackle and K.C. McDermott at right tackle. Will Richardson didn't practice after injuring his ankle on Friday, giving the Jaguars some razor-thin depth at tackle.
  • Zay Jones continues to stand out. He looked like Lawrence's favorite target on Monday night, even with Christian Kirk back on the field.
  • Christian Kirk and Laviska Shenault returned to practice on Monday night and will be expected to play this Saturday against the Steelers. Kirk made a few impressive grabs over the middle and had two deep catches as well.
  • Andrew Wingard picked off C.J. Beathard during 7-on-7, Beathard's second interception of the night and Wingard's second pick of Beathard in camp.
  • Jeff Cotton Jr. had some great reps after the catch during team drills, showing both speed and strength to explode for extra yards.
  • Jay Tufele is getting more and more reps with the second-team defense. He had a few impressive plays on Monday, including a quick pressure against Bartch. 
  • K'Lavon Chaisson beat McDermott around the edge for a sack during team drills, showing good bend around the corner.
  • Other sacks on Monday: Travon Walker and Chad Muma, with Muma's coming on a blitz in team drills and Walker's coming against Cam Robinson.