On Tuesday the Jaguars held their fifth practice of training camp and their third one in full pads. There were ups and downs on both sides of the ball and special teams. Here's what we saw:
The Jaguars offense, specifically Blake Bortles, played well for a second straight day. After a disastrous 5 INT performance on Saturday in front of over 4,000 season ticket holders Bortles rebounded Monday with a highly efficient no INT performance. Tuesday he was able to stack on another impressive practice. In 11 on 11 team drills Bortles was precise, completing 75% of his passes and finding receivers in the end zone several times. The team did a lot of red zone work and the passing offense was clearly ahead of the pass defense, however the defense is still with out Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Colvin.
The running game was less impressive. Undrafted rookie I'Tavius Mathers sustained an injury early on and had to be carted off the field. Aside from Leonard Fournette, who has been explosive in every padded practice, the run game was largely ineffective. The Jaguars offensive line is struggling to create significant push agains the Jaguars defense. The Jaguars may have one of the best front sevens in football, so the Jaguars offensive line may look better against a different opponent. We'll find out more on that next week when the Jaguars travel to New England for a couple of practices against the Patriots. This offensive line may struggle to create push in the run game again in 2017, but Fournette will likely make them look better than they actually are.
The receivers looked exceptional on Tuesday. Allen Robinson was his usual spectacular self while Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee had impressive, if not spectacular, performances. Undrafted free agent Keelan Cole had another impressive practice while fourth round pick Dede Westbrook is beginning to truly establish himself as a threat on offense.
The tight ends had a REALLY, REALLY good day. Marcedes Lewis made several contested catches including a one handed TD grab on a fade route. Ben Koyack caught everything thrown his way and looked good doing so. Neal Sterling made several nice grabs but did let one ball hit the ground today. Tight ends Neal Sterling and Alex Ellis appear to be working on a lot of motion and inline routes.
The offensive line was OK in pass protection. Cam Robinson more than held his own against Dante Fowler for a second straight day, but there were several occasions in which the offensive line couldn't keep their opponents in front of them.
The defense was decent today. The defensive line continues to be an impressive group, even with out Calais Campbell who missed practice with a second straight veteran day off. Sheldon Day got impressive penetration on two consecutive plays at one point. Fowler excelled when not facing Cam Robinson and had another solid practice. Malik Jackson was able to get a batted ball at the line, while Yannick Ngakoue almost hauled in an INT.
The linebackers looked solid. They did give up a number of intermediate catches in the middle of the field to tight ends, however they played well on the edge and will excel in run defense this season. If Myles Jack can own the defense sooner rather than later this might be one of the best groups in the AFC. Telvin Smith made several splash plays on the day. Myles Jack spoke with the media after practice and made a comment reminiscent of his mentor Paul Posluszny. He said "Doing enough isn't enough". That might be one of the best quotes of camp thus far.
The defensive backs weren't quite up to snuff today, but that should come as no surprise with Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Colvin still on the PUP list. Bouye played well, but it seems like there may be a little to much breathing room in the middle of the field. Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson need to tighten up and grow together in order for this secondary to reach it's potential.
The usual suspects Westbrook, Grant, Greene, Lee, and Wynn all took kick return reps. Grant was by far the most impressive and would have scored a TD on at least one of his returns.
Jason Myers made every kick he attempted going 7 of 7 during team drills.
The intensity and pace of practice continues to be the story line here.
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