The Jacksonville Jaguars had numerous appearances at Tight End University this week -- but not all were tight ends.
Aside from Jaguars tight end Evan Engram earning an invitation to George Kittle's, Travis Kelce's and Greg Olsen's week of tight end fellowship and drill work, Jaguars quarterback CJ Beathard also made an appearance at the practices in Nashville, according to The Athletic's David Lombardi, throwing passes to the players.
"Three quarterbacks — the Bills’ Josh Allen, the Jets’ Zach Wilson and the Jaguars’ C.J. Beathard (a Nashville native who was previously Kittle’s teammate in college at Iowa and with the 49ers) — came to throw passes at the event," Lombardi wrote.
"Last month, Kittle said the 49ers’ Trey Lance was also planning to be in attendance, but a reported scheduling conflict kept the second-year QB away.
Kittle's and Beathard's relationship is clearly a key reason the Jaguars' backup quarterback was in Nashville throwing to the league's best tight ends, but it is a good sign for the Jaguars to see Beathard take part in such a week.
Earlier this month, Beathard was carted off the field during OTAs due to a groin injury. Anytime a player is carted off the practice or game field, it is a scary moment. The Jaguars said a few days later they expected Beathard to be ready for training camp after avoiding serious injury, and his throwing in Nashville only confirms his health.
"C.J. [Beathard] is a little bit better, a bit better news on C.J. Again, [it’s an injury in the] lower body, groin area and he should be okay for training camp. We’ll just wait and see as it progresses over the summer," Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said at the end of OTAs.
Drafted by San Francisco in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Beathard started 12 games for the 49ers during his tenure. Beathard went 2-10 as a starter during that period. He ended his 49ers tenure with 18 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 58.6% completion rate, and 7.0 yards per attempt.
Beathard threw just two passes in 2021, completing both for a total of 30 yards when Trevor Lawrence briefly left Week 9 with an injury. Beathard has been set up this year to be Lawrence's No. 2 backup entering the offseason; behind Beathard, the Jaguars have third-year quarterback and former sixth-round pick Jake Luton and undrafted free agent quarterback EJ Perry.
“The one thing with C.J., he’s played games, he’s started games in this league, and I think that’s valuable. C.J. has the mentality and I think he has the right mentality right now as a backup quarterback where there’s not that threat to Trevor," Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said in May. "It’s not like he’s out there making an agenda for C.J. He’s a team player and he’s on board. You see it out on the grass, or you see it in the classroom where those two are having really good dialogue back and forth and open communication, and that’s really what it takes.
"I think about my days in Green Bay with [former Packers QB] Brett [Favre]. Not that I was going to threaten Brett’s job, but just having the communication of another set of eyes for the starter, that’s what you have to have. It was Nick Foles with Carson Wentz a few years back [in Philadelphia]. I think those combinations are really good for the starter and it kind of calms the starter down a little bit where Trevor can just focus on his job knowing he has the support of the backup.”