Joe Schobert, a Pro Bowl selection in 2017, has made more than 100 tackles per season since 2016.
Instead of participating in drills with his teammates, Joe Schobert has been doing his fieldwork alone at an elementary school.
He views film and hears instructions from Jaguars coaches from his computer in an upstairs office at his in-laws' house in Wisconsin.
"I watch my stuff upstairs," said Schobert, who signed a five-year, $53.7 million free-agent contract with the Jaguars in March to become the team’s starting middle linebacker after playing four seasons with Cleveland.
"Downstairs is pretty much the loudest and craziest place because my mother-in-law is also teaching her kids [students]."
With all NFL facilities closed indefinitely due to coronavirus pandemic, Schobert is doing his best to get acclimated by participating in the Jaguars' virtual voluntary offseason program launched last week.
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The Jaguars players participate four days a week that includes classroom instruction and film review using video conferencing.
Schobert said they went through their first install of the defensive scheme Tuesday. If it had been regular organized team activities workouts, the entire team would be on the field to go over assignments and responsibilities in a walkthrough drill.
But teams like the Jaguars are trying to do what they can under the circumstances. And players like Schobert is trying to learn on the fly and adjust as best as they can.
But it has not been easy, even for veterans.
"I can go through steps, but I can't see the offense doing anything,' Schobert said. "I can't communicate to Myles [Jack] or the D-ends to make some calls. I got the park down the road and do some of the drills and all that. But the stuff I want to do would be to go through practice where I would be seeing a pulling guard, seeing a fullback, the backfield motion and to be able to react to it. You try and do it in your head, but it's not truly a reaction."
Schobert said he's been on a virtual crash course to pick up the system quickly. But he acknowledged that since he signed with the Jaguars, he's only talked face to face with linebackers coach Mark Collins and defensive coordinator Todd Wash.
Regardless of the adjustments, it doesn't lessen the expectations ahead for Schobert. They needed a better run-stopping middle linebacker, which is why the Jaguars signed Schobert and moved Myles Jack from middle to outside linebacker.
Jack struggled the past two seasons, getting off blocks. He had problems stopping inside run plays and making the right reads last season. The Jaguars allowed 139.3 yards per game, the fifth-highest in the league. They also allowed 23 rushing touchdowns, the second-highest in the league.
Schobert, a Pro Bowl selection in 2017, has made more than 100 tackles per season since 2016. He led the Browns last season with 133 tackles, fifth-most among middle linebackers in the league. He also had a career-high four interceptions and nine pass breakups in 2019.
"We feel great about the things Joe has been able to do and what he adds to our team," head coach Doug Marrone said after Schobert's contract was finalized. "He brings the ability to tackle and diagnose plays. He's a true middle linebacker and has played it at a high level. ... He also helps us overall across our whole linebacking corps.″
Still, just about everything has been a blur since Schobert signed.
Schobert and his wife, Megan, welcomed a new baby boy, Simon, on March 13 - the same week he agreed to sign with the Jaguars. It also was the same week that the NBA, NHL, and Major League Baseball all shut down due to the pandemic.
"We went into the hospital able to have visitors, and then he was born," Schobert recalled. "The next day, you weren't able to have any visitors — only the spouse was allowed in the hospital."
Though Schobert agreed to terms with the Jaguars, the deal didn't get finalized until he passed his physical examination in Jacksonville. Schobert and his father took a 13-hour drive from Cleveland to Jacksonville, to get in some house hunting, and take his physical.
Four days later, they were back on the road for a 16-hour drive back to Wisconsin.
"It was a nice drive," Schobert said." We got stopped at the [Florida] border; they had a coronavirus checkpoint. They were seeing where you are coming from. If you are coming from a high area of infections, you have to fill out additional paperwork. But since we were coming from Ohio, we just had to tell them where we were coming from, and we got to go straight on through."
Schobert expects to return for training camp in July. By then, he hopes most things will be back to normal. He especially can't wait to get back on the field and play alongside his defensive teammates.
"You can't replace the lost time of OTAs," Schobert said." It's hard to get that experienced through Zoom and virtually. But I'm going to try and help [with the rookies adjusting] as best I can once we get on the field."