Hays Carlyon's Jaguars Blog

HAYS BLOG: Training Camp Suggestions to Urban Meyer

todayAugust 5, 2021


By Hays Carlyon

The Jaguars are seven practices into training camp.

It’s time to evaluate.

Jaguars first-year coach Urban Meyer is doing that with his staff on Thursday while the players are off.

“Every off day we have a two-hour personnel meeting, so tomorrow we will have another one,” Meyer said after Wednesday’s practice.

“We had one on Sunday and I have all the coaches rank one through (the rest) … there is that cut limit and who is behind the cut line. We also do a mindset grade on each player. Mindset is competitive spirit, toughness, intelligence, leadership and adaptability. Everybody does that so we will spend over two hours on that tomorrow.”

Here are my suggestions as the Jaguars prepare for Sunday’s scrimmage in TIAA Bank Field.

Announce Trevor Lawrence as the Week 1 starter

We all knew the rookie No. 1 overall pick would start the season opener at Houston on Sept. 12. Lawrence is the reason Meyer took this job. He was never sitting him.

Still, it’s silly to assume there’s any competition with Gardner Minshew as Meyer initially said as camp began. Meyer immediately backed off that, as well as his announcement that they would rotate starting reps. Lawrence has dominated the first-team reps over the past few practices.

Meyer said he would lean on his veteran NFL coaches – offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and passing game coordinator (quarterbacks coach) Brian Schottenheimer – to let him know when it was time to announce Lawrence’s starting assignment.

The time is now. Lawrence is clearly the best quarterback the Jaguars have and the earlier he’s the named the starter the more he can accelerate as a leader.

Announce Trevor as the starting quarterback on Friday, Urban.

Up the ante for Walker Little

Left tackle Walker Little has been brilliant through two padded practices. The second-round pick is huge and moves incredibly well.

So far, Little has been dominating second-year outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson in one-on-one matchups. Little has easily handled Chaisson’s impressive speed to the outside and once engaged absolutely mauls him.

The time has come to see exactly what Little can handle. Meyer needs to see what Little can do against Josh Allen – by far the most well-rounded edge rusher on the team. Having Little go against veterans like Dawuane Smoot and Jihad Ward would be wise too.

Anything but more Chaisson. We’ve seen that result enough.

Find a contingency plan at tight end

This team can be good this season. Like playoff good. I truly believe that.

But the tight end position is a complete zero in terms of pass-catching ability.

James O’Shaughnessy looked good on the first day but has missed the last six practices. No one believes he’s a quality pass-catching tight end. He’s at best serviceable.

Tim Tebow was a pleasant surprise catching the ball in the first few sessions but has done little in two padded practices.

Chris Manhertz can block, but has been a complete afterthought in the passing game in practices as his career stats (12 catches in 70 games) would suggest.

“The blocking piece I feel good about, but the separation piece we still got a ways to go,” Meyer said.

News flash: the separation piece isn’t getting solved in-house.

The Jaguars do have the first priority for every cut player in the league on waivers and a churn at the tight end position will be coming. However, final cuts to the 53-man roster don’t take place until Aug. 31.

That doesn’t give Lawrence much time to gel with a new player.

Meyer should instruct general manager Trent Baalke to work a trade for a pass-catching tight end. I still would offer Philadelphia a fourth-round pick for three-time Pro-Bowler Zach Ertz. The 30-year-old Ertz has 561 career catches for 6,078 yards and 36 touchdowns.

I don’t buy the argument that the Jaguars can’t contend for the playoffs this season, so why make a win-now move trade.

This division is wide open. Indianapolis is being decimated by injuries already and Houston is putrid. What if Tennessee starts dealing with attrition as the season progresses? A 10-7 record might win the AFC South.

The Jaguars either need to make a trade or accept that they won’t have separation from the tight end position all that much this season.

(You can email Hays at haysc@1010xl.com and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)

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