JACKSONVILLE, Fla.— Three Jaguars thoughts:
1. I love when this happens. After practice, all I wanted to do was jump in a pool of ice cubes. How these guys do it in this heat, I have no idea. But after a two-hour, 30-minute practice, Campbell signed autographs in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes, and then he met me on the field for a seven-minute on-camera interview, and then he said I had to meet Josh Allen, his training-camp protégé. Campbell, 32 and entering his 12th year. Allen, 22 and a rookie first-rounder.
Campbell:“This guy’s flashin’. He’s flashin’. You gotta meet him. The real deal. The real deal.”
Allen:“He’s teaching me everything! Everything.”
(Campbell fist-bumps Allen.)
Campbell:“I got no choice!”
Allen:“I’m not gonna disrespect you. But every time I watch you on film bro … Man … Just knowing you, knowing how you are … Damn. I watch you play, and you still got it. You got it! I watch you, and you’re like lights out. Still.”
(There was a puppy-dog vibe in Allen just then, like, It is so cool to be Calais Campbell’s mentee.)
Campbell:“I tell you, I tell you. Take care of your body. Work. We gonna get to that conversation. We ain’t got there yet.”
For Campbell, this is passing along what he knows to the next generation. If Allen down the road takes his job or even some of his playing time (and they’re different players, Campbell a huge physical player, and Allen an edge rusher), Campbell will live. It’s what an unselfish veteran does with a promising rookie, and it will pay off for Allen long after Campbell retires. It’s a pay-it-forward thing. Allen, the sixth pick in the draft, will be on some team in 2029, and maybe the coach will say something to him about mentoring the first-round rookie lineman, and maybe the coach won’t have to say anything—Allen will just do it. And Allen will drop knowledge on the kid the way Campbell did him.
2. The Foles way. Observation: Nick Foles talked to a receiver or receivers after every pass he threw in this practice. There wasn’t a play that Foles walked away and was in his own world. After practice, Foles, a devout Christian, gathered some of the (presumably) Christian players on the team, maybe 15, and they broke down the huddle by saying, “1-2-3-Jesus!” He’s assumed a major leadership role, whatever that means, very early on in the process here.
3. Jalen being Jalen. I don’t know Jalen Ramsey, but I have immense respect for his game. Some of the stuff he does—ripping players before meeting them or playing them, for instance—is a little strange. But most of what he does is harmless, though it can be annoying. It can be fun too. At practice, I looked at Ramsey during a lull, standing behind him behind the end zone. I looked at his backplate (that piece of equipment that hangs down from the shoulder pads to protect the spine), and there was a $20 bill encased in the clear back of the piece of plastic. If you looked close, you could see, in black, “Twentyland” printed on the bottom of the bill. “It’s just swag,” he told me for my podcast dropping Wednesday. “Every time I go out there I’m trying to make some money. I’m number 20, so I chose a $20 bill.”