Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye are the best cornerback tandem in the NFL. Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson are solid veteran safeties. Ronnie Harrison is a rookie who will see considerable time on the field. Having stars on the field makes Jacksonville Jaguars defensive back coach Perry Fewell a bit easier.
Perry Fewell talked to the media on Thursday, speaking about the Jacksonville Jaguars OTAs and preparing for mandatory minicamp.
"“We always want to get better and improve. I think that on first and second down, we can be a lot better. I think second down, we weren’t as good as we could have been,” Fewell said. “Sometimes when we had a two-score lead, we didn’t play as tight a coverage as we could have played. Just shoring up some of the little things like, ‘Hey, we have to have that killer instinct. We have to tighten up.’ Even in second-and-15, we have to tighten up our coverage. We have to be more focused. Those are some of the little things that we have been trying to get better at as well as technique.”"
It’s hard to believe, but the secondary could be even better this coming season. With Jalen Ramsey already an All-Pro going into his third season and A.J. Bouye, a second-team All-Pro looking to gain more respect amongst opponents, Fewell knows this year could be another special one.
Ramsey has not been at the team’s OTAs, however, head coach Doug Marrone has confirmed he will be here in Jacksonville at the mandatory minicamp Tuesday-Thursday of next week. Bouye missed the first week of voluntary workouts but has been a fixture here on the practice fields since last Tuesday.
Bouye was just named to the Top 100 players in the NFL at No. 35 by the NFL Network. Ramsey still hasn’t heard his name called. It’s only a matter of time. Fewell said he keeps in contact with Ramsey despite being out of state and looks forward to him being here on Tuesday.
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"“We talk constantly during the offseason, and he has some things that we talked about at the end of the season that he needs to work on,” Fewell said. “We talk and communicate about what he needs to work on and what he does not need to work on. When I say doesn’t need to work on, he needs to work on a lot of little technique things. Yes, it is constant communication.”"
The team signed cornerback D.J. Hayden in the offseason to replace Aaron Colvin, who signed with the Houston Texans, at the nickel position. Ronnie Harrison could be a player who sees time at both free and strong safety. From a numbers perspective, addition by subtraction isn’t always good but this might be a better unit overall than in 2017.
Perry Fewell raved about Harrison, as Marrone and defensive coordinator Todd Wash have done in recent weeks.
"“[Harrison is] a very good student, attentive to football. He is a good communicator and that transfers on the field also. Obviously, he has some formations, motions, and shifts with our defense that he needs to experience and work on his communication with adjustments, but we see a good athlete, an instinctive athlete,” said Fewell.“He is very long. I like the length that he has. I like the size that he has. I think he is going to be a very physical football player. We do not know that until pads come on, but he has the traits of having the height, weight, size, and speed that you look for in a good football player.”"
Of course, seeing the players on the practice field during these practice sessions gives Perry Fewell and the staff a taste of what’s to come. But as he explained, he really won’t know what he truly has from this unit until training camp when they can put the pads on in practice.