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Jaguars Training Camp Notebook, Day 14: Minshew, CJ Henderson Get First-Team Reps

The Jaguars held a padded practice two days after their Week 1 preseason loss to the Cleveland Browns. What did we see, who impressed, and what changes could be in order?

A few days fresh off a 23-13 loss to the Cleveland Browns in the preseason opener, the Jacksonville Jaguars hit the practice field again on Monday, suited up in full pads to battle through a two-hour practice in overcast weather. 

There was some good, there was some bad. Big plays were made by the offense, while massive stops were made by the defense. Ultimately, it was another revealing day of practice, a day that also gave us some more insight into the team's plans for the regular season.

So, what all did we see on the practice field on Monday? We break it down here.

Gardner Minshew strangely reps starters reps

Perhaps it was naive to believe Saturday was the day the Jaguars' offensive staff and Urban Meyer would end the constant back-and-forth rotation of Trevor Lawrence and Gardner Minshew with the first-team offense. While Lawrence got the start against the Browns, is likely to get the start in Week 2's preseason bout against the New Orleans Saints and is still the runaway favorite to start on Sept. 12 against the Texans, the Jaguars continued to let Minshew get first-team reps on Monday. 

Minshew got every single first-team rep on Monday, working behind the first-team offensive line (sans Andrew Norwell and Brandon Linder) and throwing to the likes of Laviska Shenault, Marvin Jones, Travis Etienne, and Collin Johnson. Meanwhile, Lawrence played behind a line consisting of Walker Little, Derwin Gray, Will Richardson and Tre'Vour Wallace-Simms and spent his day throwing to Pharoh Cooper, Tavon Austin and Laquon Treadwell.

It is hard to see how the Jaguars are getting better if Lawrence isn't getting consistently building chemistry with the players he will actually share the field with in Week 1. It is hard overall to see exactly what the Jaguars' plan at the position is because all signs point to Lawrence getting every important in-game rep, but the Jaguars are still forcing him to share pivotal practice reps 14 practices into training camp.

CJ Henderson gets an introduction to the first-team defense

The news continues to be good for CJ Henderson. He has returned to practice on a consistent basis, now participating in four consecutive practices. He is fresh off an extremely strong performance against the Browns in which he was targeted four times and allowed as many catches (two) as pass breakups recorded, all while allowing just 15 yards over those two catches. And on Monday, things got even better as Henderson got extended looks with the first-team defense, spending most of the day with the starting unit.

“[He played] 28 plays. He played pretty good," Meyer said before practice on Monday. "He didn’t get winning performance, but he got honorable mention. He is very talented obviously, but it’s just seeing him getting back in game mode.”

Henderson missed the majority of the first 10 days of training camp due to being on the COVID-19 list, which led to him being behind the rest of the cornerback room in terms of practice reps and on-field experience this fall. As a result, he had been working exclusively with the backup units until Monday. Monday saw a change, though. This may have been in part due to Tre Herndon not practicing due to injury, but it also may be a sign of things to come. 

Tracking DJ Chark

The Jaguars' top field-stretcher was back on the field in some capacity on Monday, which could turn up being a massively encouraging development for the Jaguars' offense. Chark has spent the last 10 days on the sideline following a minor finger injury that required surgery, but the expectation has always been for him to be back by Week 1. And if Monday was any hint, he appears to be on track to do just that.

Chark wasn't a full participant in practice on Monday, but he was on the field in his helmet and shoulder pads and warmed up with the rest of the receivers before practice. Chark took part in a few on-air drills in practice, but he noticeably wasn't catching any passes, only running routes and working on his releases. Chark was off to the side during the majority of team drills and clearly isn't yet 100%, but it was a good sign to him back on the field and working in some capacity on Monday.

Taven Bryan, Phillip Dorsett return to practice

The Jaguars got two of their most explosive players back on the practice field on Monday. Phillip Dorsett had missed nine practices with a hamstring injury, while Bryan missed the first 13 practices of training camp after starting on the NFI list and then being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Each practiced fully on Monday, giving the Jaguars much-needed looks at veterans who they may have to soon make some tough decisions on.

"He’s not had the production in his career that his God given skill [should provide], but I love the guy. He wants to go and he is full speed today," Meyer said about Bryan before practice. "[He’s] just a really talented, good person and we’re going to coach him hard.”

It may be tough for Bryan to crack the defensive line rotation considering that unit appears to be a strength of the team this season, but he will at least get a few preseason games to attempt to do so, and his journey to a spot on the 53-man roster more or less began today. As for Dorsett, he had a good practice in his first work in over a week, catching touchdown passes from Gardner Minshew and Trevor Lawrence in the red-zone. Dorsett will likely make the roster based on his speed alone, so stacking good days of practice will be paramount. 

Defense makes plays near the end zone

The Jaguars' defensive line dominated the trenches against the Browns' backups on Saturday, limiting Cleveland to just over 1.0 yards per carry. With a change in scheme under Joe Cullen and recent investments made in the defensive front, it certainly appears the Jaguars could finally be equipped to consistently stop the run, and this carried over on Monday.

With the Jaguars' offensive unit backed up against its own end zone, the Jaguars' defense was tasked with one goal: make a negative play. And while the Jaguars attempted to lean on the strength of their offense and run James Robinson up the middle, it didn't matter as Josh Allen flew off the weak side edge and Malcom Brown blew up the middle of the line to combine for a safety. The run defense was stupendous on Saturday, and there appears to be a good chance it wasn't just a one-time affair. 

Trevor Lawrence's (mostly) great day 

If Trevor Lawrence could find a way to take back his final throw of the day, he would have had another practice in which the negatives were hard to find. Lawrence has begun to stack up consistently impressive practices and Monday was yet another example in what has turned out to be a strong camp for the No. 1 overall pick, even if the Jaguars aren't letting him roll with the starting offense on every snap yet. 

Lawrence had several highlight-reel-worthy plays on Monday, finding Pharoh Cooper deep for two giant gains -- one on a rainbowed deep shot with touch in seven-on-seven, and another a 40-yard touchdown down the seam in team drills with Jarrod Wilson nearby in coverage. Lawrence threw his first touchdown to Jalen Camp in the red zone when he anticipated Camp breaking toward the corner of the end zone and floated a perfect ball to him, while Cooper was on the receiving end of a perfectly-placed back shoulder toss from Lawrence for a touchdown shortly thereafter. 

Lawrence did have some down moments, such as a few risky throws over the middle of the field. His last throw of the practice came in a one-minute drill as he tried to fit a pass to Jalen Camp in the back of the end zone, but there was too much traffic in the area and Rudy Ford came away with the interception. But outside of one glaring exception, Lawrence was, once again, on the money for the majority of practice. 

Shaquille Quarterman has an active practice

The Jaguars are going to rely on Shaquille Quarterman a lot more than previously anticipated by most. Quarterman was the third middle linebacker on the depth chart until the Jaguars traded Joe Schobert to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a 2022 sixth-round selection, but he got bumped up a spot on the depth chart following the move. He is now behind just Damien Wilson on the depth chart, giving him plenty of worthwhile reps in Monday's practice.

Quarterman made the most of those reps, too, making several plays as a pass defender. Quarterman's reputation is as a thumping downhill linebacker, but he was all over the field in pass coverage on Monday, deflecting a Minshew pass over the middle of the field in seven-on-seven and then nearly intercepting Lawrence in the middle of the field in red-zone drills, drawing a lot of praise from the coaching staff on the side of the field.