Truth is, it’s really hard to tell anything about any team when they are running around in shorts and jerseys. That will all change very soon, however. Very, very soon.
Last Saturday morning, I had the opportunity to attend the Jaguars’ training camp session which was open to the public. Speaking of “public” did anyone get the complimentary Publix lunch?
Ever since training camp started for the Jaguars last week, I’ve been keeping a close eye on the local team. Everyday you can catch day by day training camp breakdowns on jaguars.com, and our very own Daniel Lago has been doing the same with a “twitter roundup” of sorts. I highly recommend you check it out. It’s pretty much all of the random tweets on the Jaguars from the people who really matter in one place. Don’t sift through the twitter riff raff. Check here first!
I’m going to attempt to make life easier on you good readers. I believe some sources have been too hard on the Jaguars. I believe others have been way too soft. With absolutely nothing to lose or gain from actually telling the truth, I will now do just that.
Here is the truth on the Jaguars training camp so far:
- Wait for the pads to come on, watch, analyze, and then form your opinion.
- Saturday, Gabbert botched two snaps, threw a pick, and just really seemed to over and under throw on a regular basis. He looked bad on Saturday and there was no way around it. Has he gotten better since then? Yes. It seems like everyday he gets a little bit better. Will this translate into actual game success? I certainly hope so. Look. We can say “oh he went 11 of 11″ or whatever, but it doesn’t matter quite yet because it’s late July. Yes, it’s encouraging that he is making progress. Let’s take it at just that. Progress. We’re 4 days into camp with a long way to go. By mid-August, these “storylines” won’t be storylines anymore. Around this time of year, everything gets blown out of proportion.
- The quarterback battle is real. Henne and Gabbert go back and forth running with the ones and so forth. Henne hasn’t been as bad as Gabbert at times, but then again he’s really not doing anything to wow you either. This is going to be a back and forth ordeal and as important as everyday is in getting better, the entire body of offseason, training camp, and preseason work will all come into play with this decision so don’t rush the process.
- Luke Joeckel is every bit as advertised and more. His footwork looks amazing. He picks up stunts with ease. His stance isn’t too wide and he doesn’t lunge. He’s strong with great technique. And that’s the truth.
- Mike Brown has been the next best receiver next to Cecil Shorts with Justin Blackmon sidelined. He looks crisp in his routes and he seems to know where the ball is at all times.
- Ace Sanders will be used in the return game. That’s nothing new. What really shocked me though, is that Sanders seems to be a bit farther along playing wide receiver than I originally thought. He’s got an honest shot for slot duties. Right now Massaquoi is running opposite shorts with Mike Brown in slot, but we all know that can change.
- Denard Robinson is going to line up all over the place. He was taken off punt returns only to run a few wildcat plays today. He’s going to be involved in so many different ways, and he’s got the speed to do it. The more he learns, the better off the team will be.
- Marcedes Lewis had a cases of the drops on Saturday. Maybe it’s better by now.
- The defensive line is going to have a heavy rotation, getting the freshest guys on the field in the best situations possible. I’m serious. These guys are lining up everywhere, and the only change just isn’t Alualu to defensive end. I saw Mincey line up inside. Deaderick will play both DT and DE. The defensive line rotation will be something to watch in preseason.
- The second team line is as follows: LT Cameron Bradfield, LG Dan Gerberry, C Jason Spitz, RG Mike Brewster, RT Austin Pasztor
- The Jaguars have a bevvy of young players in UDFA Tobias Palmer, 4th round pick Ace Sanders, free agent acquisition RB Justin Forsett, WR Jordan Shipley, all being tried out at returner. For the first time in awhile, the Jaguars have options at that position.
- Gabbert sprained his ankle yesterday which somehow became big news. If the word “high” isn’t in front of the word “ankle”, I’m not interested.
- I really like how the coaching staff isn’t rushing impact players such as Cyprien and Blackmon back to action. They will be ready when they are ready and until then we should only be focused on the players who are on the field.
So that’s what I’ve gathered so far. There’s going to be growing pains. This is a young team with 46 new players, including 23 rookie free agents and 8 draft picks. This is the 3rd offensive system Gabbert will be learning. It’s not going to be pretty, but then again that’s what training camp and preseason are for. That’s the truth so far.
-David R. Johns