JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Nearly seven months after being traded to Jacksonville, Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is still getting used to his new-ish surroundings.
The former third overall pick was acquired by the Jaguars prior to the NFL trade deadline in October. He helped Jacksonville improve its run defense as the team made its push all the way to the AFC Championship Game.
Dareus, 28, was able to help the squad despite learning the system on the fly. His transition from Buffalo to the First Coast wasn't an easy one, but his new teammates were able to help him settle in as the team clinched its first AFC South division title.
The former All-Pro player is now learning at his own pace during the offseason program.
"It's great, it's refreshing because coming here, I've never come in with such a tough transition," Dareus said on Thursday.
"The guys made it so easy for me [after the trade] and helped me out so much to just get adapted but now it feels good to now have a full opportunity so I can earn these guys' respect. Just to be out here, sweat with them, hurt with them and it's everything is coming together ... It feels cool to be a part of it."
Dareus was reunited with Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone upon his arrival in Jacksonville. Marrone served as the nose tackle's head coach for two seasons in Buffalo (2013-14).
So far, Marrone has been impressed with how Dareus has carried himself with his new team
"He's done a great job, he really has but I've always seen that in him," Marrone said.
"I think it's the same thing like all of us, the longer we're around and I know with Marcell and [me], our relationship is a little bit different because it goes back further than most of the players here and I think we'd both say I've seen him do a lot of good things and I would think he would say the same thing about me. We've gotten better at our professions, so I'm very happy with the way he's worked, the way he has come into camp. I think those are things he has done a much better job of than what maybe he had done in the past. I can appreciate that and see that in him."
Along with Marrone, Dareus has made a strong impression on defensive line coach Marion Hobby. The player and the coach are both from Birmingham, Ala. and they have bonded over their similar backgrounds.
"We just connect so well and it's an easy transition with the way we communicate," Dareus said. "It's just like talking to one of my old heads back at home. [Hobby] gives me advice and teaches me about life and keeps me prepared. He's just such a cool, laid-back, no-nonsense guy, just relaxed."
Hobby has seen Dareus become more comfortable within the Jaguars' defense this offseason. Despite being a two-time Pro Bowl player, the veteran still wants to learn and get better.
"We do things a little bit different than what he had done in the past, so now he's kind of understands what's expected of him, how our scheme is played," Hobby said.
"He's a great vet but he still asks good questions. You've got to respect that from a guy who has been in the league as long as he has. In the meeting room, he's really good, really good with the young [defensive linemen]."
Five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kyle Williams tutored Dareus during his days with the Bills. Dareus is now looking to pay that forward with the Jaguars' young defensive linemen.
Dareus is quick to advise the Jaguars' rookies - including first-round pick Taven Bryan - to relax and rely on their technique, as Williams did with him. Dareus said the young players know what they are doing but it's easy to fall into a trap of over-thinking technique when you're new to the NFL.
The 6-foot-3, 331-pound lineman enjoys the Jaguars' defensive scheme. His outlook toward the Jaguars' defensive approach indicates he still subscribes to the advice that his former mentor, Williams, used to give him.
"It's fun, just technique and play," Dareus said regarding the Jaguars' defensive scheme. "Plug and play, it's organized chaos and I love it."
Following last year's trade, Dareus was used in a nose tackle rotation with fellow veteran Abry Jones. While the split in playing time was a new experience for Dareus, he was quick to embrace the committee approach.
During his 12 games (including the postseason) with the Jaguars last season, Dareus produced 30 tackles and three sacks while rotating with Jones. The rotation could prolong both of their careers, keeping them fresh as the pair pounds on opposing offensive linemen for the foreseeable future.
"I'm just ready to go whenever," Dareus said. "I just want to do the best we can ... We just push each other and let's go. Give me what you got, I'll give you what I've got and when you're tired, just let me know and I'm right there to pick up where you left off and vice versa."
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.