Day two of Jaguars training camp drew another impressive crowd. The heat was turned up just a bit (it was still mild for a mid-July day) at the practice fields outside of EverBank Field, and so was the defensive intensity. Yes, on day two, the defense stole the show.
Running in shells for the second straight day, it's tough to get a read on the physical aspects of the game. The offensive and defensive lines aren't hitting at full blast yet, and defenders certainly aren't making contact and wrapping up as they will once the pads come on this Sunday.
Here's my practice recap by position group.
The quarterbacks struggled for much of the practice. Each made some impressive plays in their own right, but the defense decisively got the better of the offense on Friday. An encouraging sign? Foles was the best QB on the field by a long shot, as he should be. Foles completed 15/21 passes in team drills, including going 7/11 in 11-on-11 with a deep TD pass to Chris Conley. Foles threw a pick in seven-on-seven drills, but it's hard to blame Foles for the turnover. Brandon Watson forced the ball out of the receiver's hands, and Breon Borders was able to sneak in to pick the ball off. The three backups had a more difficult go of it. Tanner Lee took the second-team reps, with Alex McGough running the third-team and Gardner Minshew with the fourth-team. Lee got an extensive amount of snaps on the day and made some nice plays, but still doesn't look like the same caliber of player as McGough or Minshew. It should be a two-horse race for the backup QB job, but the Jaguars seem determined to keep trying to develop Tanner Lee.
The Jaguars' running backs continue to impress me more than they have in recent years. Leonard Fournette has been exceptional when it comes to following his blocks and being decisive. I believe he will have a career year for the Jaguars if he can stay healthy. Thomas Rawls has been my second favorite back. His quickness, change of direction, acceleration, and overall speed have been fun to watch. Benny Cunningham and Taj McGowan have shown some juice too. Fournette and Armstead both dropped a pass, but overall did well catching the ball out of the backfield.
It was an average day for the receivers. Chris Conley did make a fantastic play on a touchdown pass, beating two defenders to haul in a bomb, and was relatively effective throughout the rest of practice. Dede Westbrook continued to be the best receiver on the field. He makes getting open looks easy. Keelan Cole made a nice grab on a Nick Foles pass deep down the middle. Terrelle Pryor had another solid day, hauling in several passes. DJ Chark continues to underwhelm, and I'm beginning to wonder if he could fall down the depth chart with the way everyone else is playing around him. Marcus Simms dropped a pass or two, but he has impressive speed and quickness. Raphael Leonard made a beautiful grab deep down the field on a bomb from Alex McGough.
The tight ends had another big day. I don't believe they've let a ball hit the ground yet in team drills. Josh Oliver continued to be motioned all over the field. All of the Jaguars' tight ends are performing at a high level.
There's not too much to report here until the pads come on. It should be noted, however, that Leonard Wester got the starting reps at left tackle, while Cedric Ogbuehi moved over to start on the right side. It looks like there have been some decent running lanes. The defensive line put more pressure on the quarterbacks today.
Josh Allen still didn't participate in team drills. The Jaguars are going to bring him along slowly. Abry Jones and Marcell Dareus both took reps in team drills after not participating on Thursday. This group looked good in terms of getting after the QBs. Several plays were blown dead with the ball still in the QB's hands.
I think the return of Myles Jack to the group was a calming presence. The linebackers were making nice plays on the ball and looked pretty solid in coverage. This is another group that will benefit from getting the pads on. James Onwualu picked off a pass that was dropped by Raphael Leonard.
A bounce-back day to be sure. Jalen Ramsey was phenomenal. AJ Bouye was held out for precautionary reasons, but the rest of the group stepped up. Tre Herndon had two pass breakups, while Breon Borders hauled in two interceptions, one for a pick-six. Rookie Andrew Wingard made a wood-be stuff on a safety blitz, showing no hesitation.
Dede Westbrook took kick and punt return reps and looked damn good doing it. He's a valuable asset on offense, but he may be too good to keep off the field as a returner. Josh Lambo missed one long field goal in a hurry-up situational drill, but came back and made the next one with ease.
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