It didn't take long for DE Aaron Kampman to decide that Jacksonville would be a perfect fit. Kampman knew the Jaguars were desperate for a proven pass rusher and they employ a similar 4-3 scheme to the one he was a part of his first seven seasons with the Packers, but it was the impression he had after meeting with GM Gene Smith that sealed the deal.
"Seeing the way that he is trying to reestablish the organization to be the type of team that is pursuing and trying to win a championship," Kampman told PFW, "doing it with character guys, doing things the right way with good work ethic, changing the roster to reflect that, right away I knew this was something that I wanted to be a part of."
Kampman inked a four-year, $26 million deal with the Jaguars on the first weekend of free agency — less than four months after tearing his left ACL. The Jaguars were convinced after meeting Kampman, who is well known around the league for his impressive work habits, that he would be ready for the start of the season.
"The No. 1 thing is that I didn't put a timetable on my return, because my mindset from the beginning was that this would be something that made me stronger. … It's been a tremendous experience, actually; tough, hard, but usually the things that I value in life are hard, so I learned a lot of great lessons through it."
Kampman's dominant performance in a Week One victory over the Broncos — he recorded 1½ sacks and six QB hits — suggests that his knee is doing just fine.
Perhaps more impressive than the stats, Kampman played all but two snaps in the hottest game — 90 degrees at kickoff — in the history of the franchise. He attributes his success to having the right mindset.
"Our attitude was great all offseason. We built tremendous work ethic. It's kind of nice flying under the radar, just being able to come to work every day and work hard and get better. I think we saw some of the fruits of our labor on Sunday — by no means does that mean that we have arrived — but it does give us confidence that we're headed in the right direction."