A year after the Jacksonville kicker got kicked in the leg, most veteran players may now be singing, Ain’t That a Kick in the Head?
New coach Doug Pederson decided to exempt many of the Jaguars from this week’s mandatory minicamp. He explained the decision on what became the final day of the offseason program for the players who get an extra break before the real work begins.
“I’m still having the mandatory minicamp, mandatory three days, but I’m only doing the rookies, selected veterans and our injured players,” Pederson told reporters on Thursday. “The injured players are guys that maybe finished the season with an injury that worked all offseason. I just require them to stay here and still get treatment and rehab. So, it’s a chance to really work with our young players and some of the selected vets on a little more of a one-on-one basis. We’re going to do that next week, so the veterans are done. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.”
He said the players who were given the week of “were thrilled” with the news.
“I mean listen, they worked extremely hard,” Pederson said. “We’ve had great attendance all spring. We had the three-day extra minicamp back in April.” (Teams with new coaches are permitted to have an extra three-day voluntary minicamp.) “The guys are in good spots, so I felt that it was the right time to give them a little extra rest before we get ready to get cranked up in July.”
Pederson said the players earned the break.
“I wanted to see this group work and work together,” he said. “It wasn’t final until just within the last week or so for me to make the decision. Again, these guys have worked extremely hard. They’ve earned it. They deserve it. We got done, as a staff, what we needed to get done and we’re getting ready for camp.”
Looming over Pederson’s approach is the nightmare that was the failed tenure of Urban Meyer. Pederson specifically mentioned “the healing process” that began in April, when the group first gathered.
When they gather again, it will be time to truly move past the Urban Meyer misadventures. Maybe this team, which has plenty of talent, will turn things around faster than anyone realizes.