The Jacksonville Jaguars are one of the most intriguing stories in the NFL this offseason, with a lightening rod of a new head coach and one of the most exciting quarterback prospects in years. As such, the last stretch of the offseason beginning signals the start of one of the most anticipated seasons in Jaguars history.
Rookies will report tomorrow, July 20, for the start of training camp. Veterans will report next week, with the remainder of the league, on Tuesday July 27.
The Jaguars are one of 27 teams who will hold their entire training camp “at home,” i.e. facilities. It is the largest number of teams to do so since 2000. And after an offseason in which nothing was normal, fans will be welcomed back (albeit in a limited capacity) to their teams training camps. All 32 teams will welcome fans on Saturday July 31, in what’s being coined, “Training Camp: Back Together Saturday Fueled by Gatorade.”
As of now, the Jaguars have no joint practices scheduled. Originally the league had included Jacksonville on the list of teams participating in joint practices, announcing the club would participate in them with the New Orleans Saints at that team’s facility in Metairie, Louisiana. However, the Jaguars confirmed Jacksonville is not doing joint practices with the Saints this preseason.
The opportunity for joint practices wait ahead in the preseason. The Jaguars host the Cleveland Browns for the first preseason game. The second week will be in New Orleans. The third week is at the Dallas Cowboys.
Two of the Jaguars preseason games this year will be broadcast on NFL Network; the Week 1 match against the Browns and Week 3 game against the Cowboys. The week two preseason game against the Saints will be shown on ESPN at 8:00 p.m.
The preseason was suspended last year, amidst the spread COVID-19. In an effort to mitigate unnecessary transmission, the NFL came to an agreement with the NFL Players Association to suspended all preseason games, and instead convert to a “ramp-up” training camp period.
The “ramp-up” period saw teams spread out training camp over a longer number of days, increasing intensity in intervals as the regular season approaching. Veteran players praised the change, after years of lamenting the pre-season games. As a comprise, preseason games returned this year, but were dropped from four to three games.
The preseason is a great opportunity to see and workout young and/or fringe players. The Jaguars have had back to back years with the double digit draft picks (12 in 2020 and 10 in 2021). Many of the 2020 rookies were thrown into the fire with playing time last season, granting invaluable experience. But with a new coaching staff as well, the preseason will allow time for the first and second year players a chance to work out the kinks of a new playbook and prepare for a full NFL season.
Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence will inevitably be on display, allowing him time to adjust to the speed of the NFL, and take care of the nuanced aspects, such as receiving calls in the helmet, different hashmarks, etc. But the bigger priority for the Jaguars in the preseason will be finding their backup quarterback.
Gardner Minshew, Jake Luton and CJ Beathard are all competing. Minshew has recent and relatively successful starting experience, meaning the preseason is also a chance for him to audition, should he seek a trade or a team need a replacement for an injured player.
The preseason will also give new Head Coach Urban Meyer and staff an opportunity to evaluate a 90 man roster, which will face its first cutdown day on August 17, which is the Tuesday after the first week of preseason games. The subsequent cutdown dates will take place each Tuesday after a preseason game.