The Jacksonville Jaguars started their organized team activities (OTAs) on Tuesday morning, but they did so without the services of a key veteran. For the second year in a row, defensive end Chris Clemons decided to skip the voluntary organized team activities. Unlike last year however, Clemons actually spoke with head coach Gus Bradley and defensive line coach Todd Wash about his plans to skip OTAs.
"“We communicated and he continually communicates with [defensive line] coach [Todd] Wash,” Bradley said. “Obviously we’d like to have everybody here. He knows our feelings.”"
Ultimately this isn’t a big deal, and the players in particularly have echoed that sentiment:
"“I don’t think Clem has been to an offseason workout in probably seven years,” defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks said. “I guess that’s what he’s been doing. He’s always come in and done his job so I don’t think it’s an issue."
While it isn’t an issue with the players at least publicly, it can’t be too encouraging to see Clemons missing the first practices of this new iteration of the Jaguars. His presence is even more magnified given the disheartening injury to first round pick Dante Fowler Jr.
Clemons had fairly decent production last year, so there really isn’t too much to indicate this will affect his play in the regular season. If anything, there were already question marks about how much Clemons could contribute given his inconsistency last year. Despite his 8 sacks, Clemons failed to provide consistent pressure from the edge, hence the team drafting Fowler with the third overall pick. Pro Football Focus gave Clemons a 5.8 Pass Rush Productivity rating, the 4th worst rating of all 4-3 defensive ends in the NFL.
While his absence now doesn’t mean much, Clemons needs to step it up when the real games start in 2015.
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