That time of the year when up to 2880 NFL players head to their respective training facilities and begin the tall task of preparing for the NFL season. This is NFL training camp. This is where coaches and players will start the feeling out process to get an idea of what is to come. Believe it or not, this is a very critical time in the NFL season and goes a long way in determining the rosters depth charts.
And for a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars, who nabbed first round pick, Trevor Lawrence, in the draft, it is a very critical period that could set the tone for the entire season. Not only is that evident by Lawrence needing time to learn the ropes, but also due to new head coach, Urban Meyer needing to learn the ins and outs of his new team.
Furthermore, Lawrence has been in and out of team activities due to a tightening of his hamstring, which doesn’t seem to be getting any better. ESPN.com noted that he was participating in 7 on 7 field activity but was sat when it came to 11 on 11 drills. This puts Lawrence starting role for the preseason in doubt and could lead to them relying on someone else for now.
“Our trainers and Schotty [passing game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer] are being a little cautious because right now when you’re a month out, you yank a hamstring now you’re going to miss the early part of the training camp,” Meyer said in a statement to the media regarding Lawrence being benched again due to injury.
There is also the Tim Tebow sideshow, which could be beneficial to Lawrence and help keep the media attention off him. Sure, he doesn’t really have a choice due to how popular of a player Tebow is, but this allows him to stay out of the spotlight. Hopefully, that will relieve the pressure on him and allow the young to recover before the season starts.
Speaking of Tebow, it’s no secret that he is trying to make the 53-man roster as a tight end, creating a sort of make-or-break moment for him. Tebow will also have to deal with a relentless media storm that almost seems hell bent on picking him apart and dissecting every single move he makes. That has proven to be a distraction for some teams in the past and could result in Jacksonville cutting Tebow relatively quickly.
This sadly makes Tebow’s road to the roster a very difficult one, but he will have help. Urban Meyer, who helped Tebow to a NCAA football championship in 2006 is the new head coach in Jacksonville, making for a powerful reunion. Whether Jacksonville will be able to utilize this unique pairing and work Tebow into the mix remains to be seen, but it will be worth a watch for longtime Gator fans.
“Oh, Tim has done a decent job. We all know this is a new position for him,” Meyer said, per said John Reid of Florida Tribune “He is a great teammate. In the locker room, I can see everybody getting along, we have good chemistry on our team. But he’s picked it up decently.”
If nothing else, the Jaguars are a team to watch due to all the storylines playing out right now. Keep in mind that Jacksonville is very much a team in transition, which should make for some interesting moments throughout training camp. It will also be enticing to see how the Jaguars deal with Lawrence’s nagging injuries, or if he is even the starter at the beginning of the season.
Another team to look out for is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are fresh off a Super Bowl victory with Tom Brady and looking to repeat. The never-ending circus that is the Tom Brady show will be fun to critique as he works with different receivers to see who he can rely on.
What people are also going to want to watch out for though is the Buccaneers depth at the running back position heading into 2021. They already have Ronald Jones III and Leonard Fournette, who are the likely starters for the upcoming season and added Giovani Bernard during the offseason. They also now have Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who will probably account for some touches as well.
“It’s a hell of a group,” said Arians, starting his thoughts with Jones and Fournette. “Both those guys are starters in my mind. Whoever goes out first doesn’t really matter to me. But that will be determined in camp “Ke’Shawn’s made a nice move but he has to be a better special teams players right now because of what’s in front of him, But I have all the confidence in the world in him as a runner and a receiver. And Gio has added a nice presence back there.”
Of course, someone is going to come out of this deal with a few less touches every game, but it is worth it to have so much depth at a position like this. At the very least, it allows for all four running backs to rest up, gives the team a chance to score whenever they have the ball and could end up being critical in third down situations.
It might also be worth watching what kind of trick plays these three running backs are involved in. In fact, with their various speeds, and Brady’s clutch throwing abilities, the players could become a sort of triple threat as the season moves on. If nothing else, the possibilities are endless with these three and Brady only makes this even more interesting.
In the end, it all comes down to how the Buccaneers improve on last season and that’s going to be hard to do with everything they accomplished. Seriously though, how do they improve on what they pulled off last season? That’s what makes the Buccaneers worth watching this season though. It’s the uncertainty tied around how they are eventually going to fair against competition.
Isn’t that the only justification you need to watch?