Just three days into training camp, Leonard Fournette can already tell a difference in his teammates.
Fournette and the Jacksonville Jaguars are fresh off an extremely disappointing season, in which they backed up their 2017 AFC Championship game run with just a 5-11 record. After starting out 3-1, the Jaguars lost 10 of their final 12 games to post one of the worst records in the league.
The third-year running back, though, believes that season ended up being a good thing.
“I think we appreciate last season overall,” Fournette said on Saturday, via ESPN. “I feel like a lot of things, individually, we all could have done to get ourselves in better shape confidence-wise coming off a great season in 2017.
“I think last year kind of humbled a lot of us in some ways.”
Fournette has been vocal about the team’s struggles last season, and even said there were times when Jaguars players “didn’t put forth their best effort,” according to ESPN.
Fournette was accused of exactly that by many last year, where he appeared in just eight games after suffering a hamstring injury and was hit with a one-game suspension after a fight with Buffalo Bills lineman Shaq Lawson. He ran for a career-low 439 yards and five touchdowns, less than half of what he put up in just 13 games in 2017.
Yet so far at training camp, Fournette said effort hasn’t been an issue across the board.
“You see in the way guys practice,” Fournette said, via ESPN. “Some guys who kind of [had a] lack of effort, they're not showing it this year. So I think last season kind of woke a lot of guys up.”
Part of that change, Fournette said, is due to how head coach Doug Marrone has tweaked their training camp schedule. The team has started out much easier than they have in recent years, and has yet to wear full pads at a practice — something the team has already done by this point in the past two seasons.
That strategy hasn’t caused any problems among players so far, either. Instead, Fournette said, veterans have stepped up to help the team fit into Marrone’s new system.
“It's kind of up to the leaders to make sure everyone follows what [Marrone] wants,” Fournette said, via ESPN. “Get them in line, get them intact, and also, just like I said, whatever he commands we just go through and repeat to all the players and we expect it to be done.”
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