Just a few minutes on the practice field at TIAA Bank Field, and it won't be hard to find the Jacksonville Jaguars newest, and loudest, hype man: defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan.
Jernigan has only been on the Jaguars for a few weeks after spending most of this offseason as a free agent. But it hasn't taken long for the seventh-year veteran to immerse himself in the Jaguars locker room and establish himself as the energy source of the defense.
He whoops and hollers whenever he or a teammate makes a play, sings to the music blaring from the field's speakers and is constantly pushing his teammates to show more energy. It is impossible to go through a Jaguars training camp practice without hearing from Jernigan, which is likely a welcomed sight to the Jaguars considering the vocal leadership they lost when they traded Calais Campbell.
"There’s no secret Timmy brings some energy now," defensive line coach Jason Rebrovich said with a smile on Tuesday.
"And when he gets out there and it’s time to put that helmet on and the shoulder pads and mosey out to practice, he’s going to tell you he’s there. Whether it’s by his play or whether he’s going to let you know with some hootin’ and hollerin’."
How exactly does Jernigan let those around him know it is go time? The sheer presence of his hulking size at 6-foot-2 and 295-pounds is likely enough of an introduction to everyone watching, but he makes sure to take it a step further.
According to Rebrovich, this isn't an attribute that should go overlooked. Instead, it is something the defensive line desperately needs.
"And that’s what we need. We pin that in our positional meetings, we’ll watch and say, ‘Hey fellas, this is what we need, man. If you can’t have fun and have energy at playing this position, then this isn’t the place for you," Rebrovich said.
"And Timmy is—I really enjoy it. Timmy Jernigan is going to be a great attribute for us, a great addition and I’m looking for a lot of good things from him.”
When the Jaguars signed Jernigan, they likely were not expecting him to step in and immediately become a vital vocal presence. He was signed in large part as a result of a pattern of attrition along the defense line, with the Jaguars needing him to play a major role in the depth chart early on in his tenure.
But through a few weeks, the Jaguars have gotten value out of Jernigan as both a player and an energizer. He has dominated on the practice field at times in recent weeks and was one of the standout performers of last Saturday's scrimmage.
But maybe more importantly, he has perhaps taken the role Campbell used to hold as the motivator of the defensive line room. Jacksonville's defensive line lost its loudest and most important voice when they traded Campbell, but so far it looks like they may have found a solution.
“He’s a dog. He’s out there with all the energy and he brings it," defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot said about Jernigan on Tuesday.
"Like [Tuesday], I was down. We just came off a little vet day or whatever we just had, but like I was down, and he just came out there like, ‘What? What?’ He was out there singing and everything. He really got me hyped up and I ended up having a good practice right off his shoulders. Hey man, I love him. He’s definitely somebody I want on the team for a long time.”
In just the matter of a couple of weeks, Jernigan has made his presence obvious to his coaches and his teammates. He is not only performing well on the field as a defensive tackle, but he has clearly performed well as a teammate so far. And for the Jaguars defensive line to overcome its losses, they will need him to continue doing both.