Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Safety Course Big Help for Rookie; Cyprien Embraces Lessons of Playing Defensive Back

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Safety Course Big Help for Rookie; Cyprien Embraces Lessons of Playing Defensive Back

Article excerpt

Byline: Ryan O'Halloran

The Education of Johnathan Cyprien will shift into overdrive this fall when he faces experienced quarterbacks and cagey receivers.

But this week, months from the Jaguars' regular season opener against Kansas City, Cyprien is getting a daily crash course.

Defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker is the classroom instructor, but on the practice field, it's veteran safety Dwight Lowery.

Before every play, there is communication, as exhibited during one sequence Tuesday.

Play A: Lowery pointed to his right and waived his hand to signal Cyprien.

Play B: Tapping both sides of his helmet, Lowery directed Cyprien to the right position.

Play C: Approaching the line of scrimmage, Cyprien turned back to Lowery, who nodded.

"He's helped me a lot," Cyprien said. "We're making sure we're squared away on every play."

The communication between Lowery and Cyprien will be crucial to both the Jaguars improving on defense and also Cyprien's transition to the professional game.

Lowery is the lone holdover starter in the Jaguars' secondary, a college cornerback-turned-NFL safety entering his sixth year.

Cyprien is the second-round pick who is expected to start right away at the other safety spot.

The Lowery-Cyprien partnership began Monday when the veterans and rookies began working together. The Jaguars will be on the field 13 times before the start of training camp in late July.

"[Cyprien] is a sponge," coach Gus Bradley said. "He has really taken things to the next level. Every play, every rep, everything he's doing - he really wants to be good. And D-Lo is a good one to talk to."

Lowery has taken a vocal role for the entire secondary, which has two rookie safeties and three rookie cornerbacks.

"He's doing a lot of talking out there," cornerback Dwayne Gratz said. "He has to take the lead of the secondary and he's doing a really good job of that so far."

Another vocal leader was added last week when the Jaguars signed veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant.

Trufant has already talked to the entire defensive back group. He has experience playing for Bradley and knows the scheme works. …

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