Camp ’22: Lloyd feels “great to be back”

Camp '22: Lloyd feels "great to be back"

FLOWER BRANCH, Ga. – He is back, and that is a reason to smile.

“It feels scary,” Devin Lloyd said.

This was a Thursday and Lloyd felt bad because he was practicing paddling. That means he has a chance to face the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday in the 2022 preseason finale. That’s good for Lloyd, and good for the Jaguars’ young and improving defense.

“This is what I’ve been waiting for,” Lloyd said Thursday, moments after the Jaguars’ second joint practice of the week against the Falcons at the Falcons’ facility. “This is my kind of peace, so I’m happy to be back here.

Lloyd added, “I felt real confidence in my ability, confidence in the system. I was flying. It felt amazing out there.”

Lloyd, the No. 27 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, missed the first few weeks of training camp with a hamstring injury. Head coach Doug Pederson said Thursday that Lloyd could play about a quarter on Saturday “barring any setbacks.”

“These practices here and next week are important to him,” Pederson said. “There was a lot of missed time, reps on the field that [rookie third baseman Chad [Muma] got. Chad is good for that, which is good for us, too.

“We’re fortunate to have both of those guys here with us. We’ve got to do our job as coaches to make sure Devin gets picked up quickly and he’s prepared mentally and physically for what he’s going to face.”

Lloyd, projected during the offseason as the starter, was asked Thursday if he thought he would be ready for the Jaguars’ Sept. 11 regular season opener against the Washington Chiefs.

Asked what he needs to do to make sure that’s there, he said: “It’s the same thing I would do if my muscles weren’t ready: Continue to prepare, watch film, all the little things right. do it. I don’t think this injury has stopped me in any way from playing to my full potential.”

Lloyd, a first-team All-America selection from Utah in 2021, suffered a hamstring injury during the team’s preseason run. He said that the pull is where the ligaments and muscles connect, which is why his recovery takes a little longer than the muscle injuries. He talked about the injury Thursday as an example of knowing when and when not to push his limits, and said missing valuable time in rookie camp was difficult at times.

“There were days you wanted to be out there and you couldn’t,” Lloyd said. “Mentally, you were ready, but physically your body just wouldn’t let you. There were hard days, but in the end you try to stay on the positive side. That’s what I did most of the time.”

Teammates this week said Lloyd’s speed, athleticism and “high motor” were evident this week when he returned.

“He was flying, he looked good, he was blowing the gaps, he was doing what he was supposed to do,” Jaguars rookie outside linebacker Travon Walker said. “It wasn’t surprising because I watched a movie about him, I saw him doing it in the movie, but actually with him on the field flying like he was, I’m happy to see how he’s going. Become. “

Jaguars linebacker Foye Oluokun said Lloyd’s commitment was clear even during his training camp absence.

“He will be like a lab rat,” Oluokun said. “He’s a worker, very hardworking. I think he’s built a muscle from working so hard, I told him to chill, he just wants to be the best he can be, but he wants to be the best right now, I love that about him.

“He just has to listen to learn, and I think the sky’s the limit for him.”

Lloyd described staying in high spirits as the most difficult part of the past few weeks, and said he felt he was benefiting from brainstorming and meetings during that time. Although last week was his first full-time, on-field job, he said he hopes to be physically ready when needed.

“The conditioning side is tough, but I’ve also been doing some conditioning while I’m building to do things on the field,” he said. “The last two days, I haven’t really felt it at all. I’ve been flying. I feel good about the reps I’m getting.”

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