At the beginning of the first Jacksonville Jaguars padded practice, Taven Bryan and Calais Campbell were talking. The rookie defensive end has been a sponge since OTAs, taking in everything he can from the leader of the team’s defense.
The first thing I noticed about Taven Bryan on Saturday night during the first night practice of training camp is he is as quick as advertised off the snap of the ball. The Jacksonville Jaguars hope that quickness, and growth, will help him become one of the better players on the defensive line this season.
Bryan has been everything he was advertised to be between OTAs, minicamp and the first few days of training camp. But Saturday was a bit different. With the pads on, coaches had a chance to see how good he could be, matching up against the offensive line. In a small sample – two-plus hours – Bryan, the team’s first-round draft pick out of Florida – showed no signs of a letdown.
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That’s a good thing for the defense and a bad thing for opposing offenses in the future.
Bryan told John Reid of the Florida Times-Union last week he could not wait to put the pads on and hit someone. The offensive and defensive lines have been limited throughout camp, but now have the chance to show power and strength.
Bryan’s initiation in one-on-one drills showed he is impressive but has a ways to go and a lot to learn.
The rookie and Calais Campbell talk all the time, with the veteran imparting wisdom when he can. Bryan is learning from the leader of this Jaguars defense about the NFL works on and off the field.
"“The biggest thing I’m learning is how to be professional and do all the little aspects the coaches want,″ Bryan said. ’“I just want to be a contributing member of the team.″"
Bryan will have that opportunity, with a possibility of playing 25-30 snaps per game. On a defensive line as talented as this one, that’s a nice workload to begin his career.
Campbell has been singing Bryan’s praises since the Jaguars drafted him in April. Much like Paul Posluszny helped Telvin Smith learn the NFL game and make adjustments to his style of play, the man who had 14.5 sacks last season for this team is doing the same thing with Bryan.
He’s also making sure Bryan listens to his advice about getting better.
"“He’s very open to it,″ Campbell said. “Most of it is just technique stuff and trying to get him to understand things a little quicker because he’s a guy that has a lot of talent and we could really depend on. I’m just trying to help.”"
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone told the media before the practice on Saturday night he watches and takes everything. Observing Bryan is no different. While the team has already shown what it can do in pads, we don’t know what the coach’s assessment is yet of his latest first-round pick.
"“If he does a good job, I will be excited. If he doesn’t, I won’t be. Like I said, I don’t go in there with high expectations for some, low expectations for the others,” Marrone said. “I just kind of take it how it is. If it is a good job, it is a good job, and I want to make sure I congratulate the players on it. If it’s a poor job, I want to try to find something positive and try to get them to do it right.”"
As Bryan continues to learn and the Jaguars continue to push through training camp, the expectations for the rookie and the rest of the team will increase as the team gets closer to the regular season.