Thursday morning, as I was sitting in my car waiting for Jaguars' head coach Doug Marrone's morning press conference, news started to pour in from around the league about certain teams canceling practice in the wake of the Jacob Blake situation. The Jaguars postponed Marrone's media session and then delayed the start of practice from 9:45 am to 11 am. After hours of discussing the circumstances as a team, Marrone gave the players the chance to decide whether or not they would practice today. By taking a vote, the players decided — by a narrow margin — that it would be best for the team to practice.
While the Jaguars' players elected not to boycott or cancel practice, it should be noted that this organization was the first to organize a team-wide protest walk this year. Starting running back Leonard Fournette also organized a peaceful protest walk earlier this summer.
But as the players and coaches strolled out onto the practice field, it became clear that the team was focused on the task at hand: getting better as a squad.
Notes from practice:
DJ Chark was fairly quiet, but made the most of limited opportunities and made an impressive contested catch down the field with Jarrod Wilson in practice.
Several players took reps at punt return, including Chris Claybrooks, Keelan Cole, and DJ Chark.
Gardner Minshew played fairly well but missed on a couple of throws. He targeted running back Chris Thompson on several occasions and found him in the front corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Minshew continues to grow in his command of the offense. Thompson is going to contribute as a receiver quite a bit in 2020.
Collin Johnson continues to impress in a big way. The 6'6" rookie receiver moves well for a player of his size and has shown the ability to catch passes far away from his body. Johnson caught an impressive touchdown pass from Mike Glennon in the back of the endzone.
Keelan Cole had a strong showing, notably toasting cornerback Tre Herndon over the middle during practice. He has all the ability in the world but will need to continue to prove his reliability on the game field in 2020. He nearly hauled in a pass deep down the field, but DJ Hayden had tight coverage and was able to jar the ball loose.
Leonard Fournette continued his strong camp. He looks as explosive as ever, and it'd be surprising not to see him at his best in what is a contract year for the young runner. He showed off his blitz pick up ability today.
DaVon Hamilton continued to flash in one-on-ones and team drills. He's growing into his role and looks poised to take the majority of the snaps at nose tackle to start the season.
K'Lavon Chaisson looks the part. He's a chiseled 6'3'', 254-pound edge defender. But he struggled in one-on-one work today and is clearly going through the rookie growing pains.
Kicker Josh Lambo was perfect during team drills, connecting on 6/6 field goal attempts.
Brandon Linder did not practice on Thursday.
After practice, Doug Marrone, DJ Chark, and Chris Conley all spoke with the media. All three are looking to create actionable change. Conley implored the faces of the league — the franchise quarterbacks — to take a stand.
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