The Jacksonville Jaguars ended their 10 OTAs on Friday with yet again another spirited practice on the practice fields adjacent to TIAA Bank Field. The team has three mandatory minicamp sessions next week before players have five weeks off before the start of training camp.
As Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone explained often in meetings with the media, OTAs were a dress rehearsal of sorts, a time when playing football in their pajamas meant he won’t know anything about this franchise until the pads go on and the hitting begins.
There were some positives from the past three weeks Marrone stressed about these Jaguars players. Still, like he told the media on Friday, there is work still to be done. Here are four stories to follow once the Jaguars training camp begins:
The Continued Growth of Blake Bortles
From what we have seen of Bortles, it has been positive. Again, like Marrone said, things change once the pads go on and there is a little more activity in camp.
If Bortles is going to take the next step and prove he is worthy of the three-year, $54-million deal, he must do the same thing he did last season – protect the football. Bortles must also make solid decisions in the pocket and let the run set up the pass.
Strength at Right Guard
It’s a fair assumption that the weakest link on the Jaguars offensive line is at right guard. It’s also fair to say having Jermey Parnell at right tackle helps make up for some of the deficiencies on that side of the offensive line.
A.J. Cann is the incumbent at the position, and offensive line coach Pat Flaherty said it will “work itself out” when asked about it from the media. Does Cann still have the job after training camp? Does another veteran reserve push him?
Will the Jaguars work with rookie Will Richardson, who some think can play inside until more changes are made in the next year or so?
Who Is The Sixth Wide Receiver?
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There have been many conversations about this very topic with other members of the media. For the sake of this argument, let’s assume (I know that is dangerous) the Jaguars open the season with Marqise Lee, Donte Moncrief, Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook and Chark. Who grabs the final spot?
A case can be made for Jaydon Mickens, who was solid as a special teams player last season and showed he could be part of the wide receiver rotation if needed. Shane Wynn is a small, speedy receiver who knows this offense but is a longshot once again to make the roster.
Allen Lazard was an undrafted free agent who has nice size but has a tall mountain to climb. And there is Rashad Greene, who has impressed in camp so far. Greene was on the IR all last season and needs to re-establish himself as a solid possession receiver and a punt returner.
Where Does Taven Bryan Fit In?
Bryan has played at big end most of camp and figures to stay there. While his athleticism will allow the Jaguars to move him inside, I can see him spelling Calais Campbell, reducing the wear and tear on the veteran toward the end of the season.
Bryan has shown his first quick step and his athletic ability and has become a quick study. If the Jaguars are committed to him getting 25-30 snaps a game, he will most likely get them on the outside rather than inside because of a numbers game.
Anything the Jaguars get from Bryan, the team’s first-round draft pick this season is a benefit for the future when roster decisions will be made in the next couple years.