This is the final week of OTAs for the Jacksonville Jaguars before mandatory minicamp next week. After six practice sessions over the course of the last two weeks, the Jaguars will participate in four sessions, having Wednesday off and concluding with a morning practice on Friday.
This has been a more organized, more intense series of practices as the second year of the Doug Marrone-Dave Caldwell-Tom Coughlin era here in Jacksonville continues to prove demanding.
From Day 1, players have run drills, scrimmaged plays and felt like this was more of a training camp without the pads or hitting as in the weeks to come. It was this philosophy that helped Jacksonville win 10 games and the AFC South title last season.
Local media members have had a chance to watch the 90 players on the roster make an impression they hope lasts through the preseason, with the hope of making the 53-man roster. This is just another chance to show Marrone and his coaching staff who is ready to take a step forward this coming season.
While OTAs are not mandatory, the majority of the roster from last season is here in Jacksonville – with the exception of both Jalen Ramsey and Leonard Fournette. Both are expected back in town for minicamp, per Marrone on Friday.
Here are three things to look for this week as the Jaguars conclude their OTAs for 2018.
More Out of Blake Bortles
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It’s hard not to like what you see so far out of quarterback Blake Bortles. We aren’t supposed to give too much away, but I can tell you things are a bit different from last season – for the better. The difference between the fifth-year pro and backups Cody Kessler and Tanner Lee is evident.
The difference between Kessler and Lee is also evident, which means the former Cleveland Browns third-round pick will certainly be the second quarterback on the depth chart.
The Good Hands People
There is a chance that three players will compete for one spot at wide receiver. It is one of the more interesting battles the past two weeks. Rashad Greene has looked impressive, but the fourth-year player must unseat Jaydon Mickens and turn away undrafted rookie free agent Allen Lazard.
Despite the solid showing by the former FSU star these past two weeks, I think Mickens is still in the driver’s seat while Lazard may be headed to the practice squad.
Defensive Line Numbers
This is one of the deepest groups in camp. Both defensive ends, Dante Fowler, Jr. and Dawuane Smoot haven’t been on the field yet in camp. Both figure to be part of the rotation of pass rushers this season. Fowler is playing for an extended deal after the team did not pick up his fifth-year option.
Defensive tackle Malik Jackson came to camp in great shape for OTAs and earned praise from the coaching staff. Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue have both shown they are ready for the season to start and should pick up where they left off last season.