Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday that the joint practices between his team and the Jaguars from training camp don’t have much relevance as the two teams prepare to meet for a berth in the Super Bowl. What does have relevance is the impression that a young and hungry Jags team made on some of the Patriots players.
“Those guys are competitive,” Patriots tackle Nate Solder told reporters on Monday. “They play hard. They’re very talented. The way that they practiced was hard, so you know that they’re going to improve and get better and that’s what they’ve done and that’s what we have to perform against.”
Special-teams captain Matthew Slater noticed the Jaguars’ physicality during the sessions between franchises.
“They have the mentality,” Slater told reporters. “Coach [Doug] Marrone, having a background as an offensive line coach, they have that toughness. They have those types of players who bring out toughness and edge, and it shows up on the film. You can be watching the film for a handful of plays and it shows up. That was something definitely that we saw when we left practicing with them, and it’s something that they’ve consistently shown all year long.”
“We knew from the beginning they were a good football team,” safety Duron Harmon told reporters. “You could just tell. You could tell the mood around the team — they came up here and instantly they wanted to show that they were a good football team just like we are a good football team, and they did. You saw it then and they didn’t have Jalen Ramsey and Calais Campbell practicing at the time. . . . We saw it. We saw it. We knew they were going to be a good football team and they just kept progressing, kept getting better, and that’s the reason why they’re here right now.”
They’ll literally be here (as in there, in New England) in six days, and as one source explained it to PFT on Sunday night the Jaguars may be too young to realize that they should be intimidated by the almighty Patriots.
The Patriots and Jaguars last played in 2015, with New England winning in blowout fashion at home, 51-17. The Patriots have a 7-0 record against the team that joined the NFL in 1995 in the regular season, and a 3-1 record in the postseason. The only win for the Jaguars happened during the 1998 playoffs, 25-10 in Jacksonville.
That combined record of 10-1 all-time surely won’t mean anything to these Jaguars.