Del Rio Speaks Out (Part 2 of 3)

Del Rio discusses injuries, off-season conditioning, the minicamp schedule, and Byron's decision at the owners meeting in this second of three segments.


What does your minicamp schedule look like?

JDR- We'll get together the second weekend after the draft. We have OTA's the week leading up to that first minicamp, and we're going to have three passing camp days leading up to that mini camp. The OTA's end mid-June and the off-season program will end end of June.

The Jaguars had 15 players on the disabled list last season, how do you plan on avoiding those injuries this season?

JDR- Last year we had an inordinate number of hamstring injuries. I wanted to take a good look at it and make sure we're doing all we could. One thing that came out of that look was the examining of our program. We came up with the fact I thought we need to do a better job of building a foundation of conditioning, so we tweaked our running program just slightly. Any time have an inordinate number of injuries like last year, you want to make sure you're doing all you can to rectify that. We made a couple of adjustments to the off-season program that we think will be beneficial.

What are some of those adjustments?

JDR- We are mainly working with a split routine this year in terms of multiple sets. We will be breaking up the speed of the conditioning days, to have a chance to really build a base of conditioning.

Split sets?

JDR- A split routine in other words, upper, and lower, as opposed to working the entire body at once. We feel like it'll give a chance to add a little more in terms of the foundation of our conditioning.

What about the strength coach?

JDR- That's part of his responsibility, strength and conditioning. He was open minded and we took a good look at it and we wanted to ensure that we could do all we could to avoid that again.

Is there a luck factor with injuries?

JDR- No question. With soft tissue injuries, that's not something you're doing by the structure of your program. If you're coming up with a lot of back injuries, a lot of shoulder injuries, things like that, you can take a look at what stresses you're placing on the body.

How do you feel about guys skipping the off-season conditioning program?

JDR- The biggest thing I stress to the guys is to communicate with us so we all know what they're doing. It is a voluntary program. We encourage the team to be there working out together. It is good for chemistry. I recognize that individuals have the option based on league rules to work out wherever they like. We have been very successful. We have a great facility, warm weather, a lot of guys live in the area, so we've been pretty good in terms of the participation we've been able to get. We think that we'll have that again. I think yesterday we had all but a handful of players that were in attendance for the first day. I think much like we've had in the past, we'll have a very strong showing in numbers.

Are you okay with Byron Leftwich not being in attendance?

JDR- I'm okay with everybody getting in shape, and showing up in great shape. I know Byron has been working with Fred, and he has been working for a month before we even got started. I think the question, am I okay with it, it really comes back to, I recognize the guys have an opportunity to make a choice. My hope is that the majority of the guys make a choice to be with us and work out there. I also understand until we go on the field and start playing football, coaching football, and so long as they're working hard there's a lot of different ways to get in shape. The bottom line is we need those guys working hard and coming in great shape. I think what gives me a little confidence, is that last year Fred had such a great off-season and came to camp in great shape, and subsequently had a great year. I know this year Fred can do that again. It's just case by case. Some guys are better at taking care of their business on their own, other guys may need a push, they may need to be around more structure. We actually pay them to come in and workout, and have a great setup in a warm place. We don't have a real issue.

Speaking of Fred Taylor, are there any signs of him aging?

JDR- He's not 20 years old anymore, but he's still a "heckuva" football player. He's been a great Jaguar, and we were happy to get that (contract) done. I felt confident at the end of the year, the way it finished up. The way he came in and really was a good, strong teammate, while being an explosive threat in the backfield for us. Really, I had a good feeling when the season ended that we'd be able to get something done (contract), fortunately we were able to get to go back with that same tandem next year. (Del Rio made no mention of the fact Fred got hurt again at the end of last year).


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