The Jaguars (some of them) returned to the practice field on Wednesday, this time in full pads.
The Jaguars' coaching staff gave Brandon Linder a rest day. The oft-injured starting center is a key cog in the Jaguars' offense, but keeping him on the field has been much easier said than done. He finished last season on the IR, missing the final seven games with a knee injury. The Jaguars are giving him the veteran treatment, in an attempt to ensure they'll be able to deploy one of the best centers in football all season long.
The Jaguars also excused Dede Westbrook from Wednesday's practice for personal reasons. There's no cause for concern here, but it will be a situation we monitor over the next couple of days. Westbrook has been BY FAR the Jaguars' best and most consistent receiving target to this point in training camp. He's primed for a breakout season.
Thomas Rawls and AJ Bouye continue to rest with hamstring soreness. Bouye's health will be paramount for the Jaguars in 2019. They're looking to get back to their 2017 form and to do so they'll need Bouye to be at his best. Rawls is the Jaguars' quickest and most explosive back in short areas. He's currently fighting for a roster spot and every day he misses is costly.
Rookie running back Taj McGowan, who also has some juice to him, suffered a knee injury on Tuesday. He limped off the field late in practice and didn't return.
Cam Robinson, Marqise Lee, and Jake Ryan continue to work on the side as they work back from knee injuries.
As for the players that were on the field Wednesday, there were several intense battles in drills from offensive and defensive lineman. Jawaan Taylor and Josh Allen faced off. Allen initially drove Taylor backward, but Taylor recovered and held Allen off. Both players are having strong rookie camps. They haven't been anywhere close to perfect, but with improved consistency, they'll be exceptional players.
Tempers flared when rookie cornerback Savion Smith and running back RyQuell Armstead got after each other for a brief moment during the middle of practice. The scuffle quickly ended and marked the first "fight" of training camp for the Jags.
Nick Foles continued to show off his accuracy. With even average offensive line play, the passing game should easily be able to put 2018's struggles in the rearview mirror. Foles was particularly efficient in the Jaguars' simulated two-minute drills during practice today.
Tre Herndon, a 2018 undrafted rookie of out Vandy, once again showed why the Jaguars' coaches have been so high on him. He got another big pass breakup in team drills on a Nick Foles pass to Chris Conley. Herndon is probably going to enter the regular season as the number one backup at both the nickel and outside cornerback.
Speaking of Foles and Conley, they continued to show their rapport. Foles found his six-foot-three inch target a few times on the day, including a beautiful strike down the field.
I hoped to see second-year WR DJ Chark stack back-to-back impressive practices, but a drop on a shallowing crossing route put a damper on his performance. The drop also highlighted what I've come to expect from Chark so far: inconsistency.
One wideout who has been more consistent than I expected is Terrelle Pryor. He never looks like he's moving fast, but he almost always comes down with the ball in contested situations. He could be valuable for the Jaguars in the red zone and on third downs as a possession receiver. To make the team, he'll need to continue to impress.
Tanner Lee and Alex McGough continue to struggle to an extent. Both have made some impressive plays throughout camp, but show very little consistency. McGough got intercepted by Brandon Watson for what would have a been a pick-six.
Overall, the defensive line continued to be the most reliable group. The usual suspects played very well on the D-Line, but Lyndon Johnson and Dontavius Russell both flashed.
The offense and defense have consistently been competitive with each other to this point in camp, which is an encouraging sign for the offense. Led by Nick Foles, the aerial attack has not backed down when faced with adversity.
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