While training camp for the Jacksonville Jaguars doesn’t officially start training camp until next week, rookies report to TIAA Bank Field on Wednesday. I guess we can say football is finally back after a five-week hiatus.
For the Jacksonville Jaguars, this will be the continuation of putting together a game plan that can take this franchise farther than the AFC Title game. There is only one more step to take. There is only one more mountain to climb. As veterans come back to Jacksonville next week, there are still questions to answer about the offense and who will surprise us all and make the team like Keelan Cole did last season.
I’m forever an optimist when it comes to this franchise. I guess it’s because I have endured the pain of many losing seasons while being a season ticket holder and someone who has lived in this city for the past 37 years. Football isn’t just a “thing” here in North Florida. It’s a passion and religion many practice on Sunday afternoons.
More from Jacksonville Jaguars News
- Jacksonville Jaguars should welcome Derrick Henry into the kingdom
- Jaguars Rumors: Trent Baalke seems to be getting respect now
- Jaguars News: This division rival might be making a big move
- Former Jacksonville Jaguars S Johnathan Cyprien: “New Profession, Same Standards”
- Jacksonville Jaguars TE Evan Engram officially gets the franchise tag: 3 takeaways
When the first official whistle is blown on July 25 I will be curious about how this team looks compared to the success it experienced at both OTAs and minicamp. Of course, everything changes once the pads go on. But for me, these are the three things I am looking for at training camp.
How Does Blake Bortles Look
Let’s just get this out of the way, shall we?
I want to know if the Bortles I saw a few weeks ago is the same person, or even better. He threw a better football and looked like the wrist surgery he had this offseason may have been a difference maker.
The Jaguars have given Bortles more weapons to work with – tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and wide receivers Donte Moncrief and DJ Chark. How will he form chemistry with them and continue the same connection with the returning pass catchers?
Bortles does not have to do everything to win games. He can rely on the running game as well. But training camp last season was a disaster. I want to know he is more mature in his decision making and that he can continually throw a better football.
The Tight End Position
I mentioned Seferian-Jenkins and for good reason. He is replacing a solid blocker in Marcedes Lewis and the leader in touchdowns caught last season. How will the chemistry that appears to be there with Bortles get better?
When I talked to the 2018 free agent signee during minicamp, he said all the right things, was happy to be on a playoff contender and liked what offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has designed for the passing game. Now, the Jaguars need to see more consistency in his game, while averaging more than seven yards a reception.
When he was on the field in minicamp, it was obvious Seferian-Jenkins could be one of the bigger surprises for this team this season. He was quick off the snap and ran tight routes in non-contact drills. I worry about his blocking, as Lewis was one of the best in the business, acting as a third tackle.
If Seferian-Jenkins is everything advertised, the Jaguars got a steal this offseason.
How Does Taven Bryan Look?
The Jaguars coaching staff raved about Bryan and his speed and agility. Of course, like we discussed, this was without pads on and without contact. That all might change once players can hit each other.
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said it was hard to assess the progress of the linemen on both sides of the ball because they weren’t able to play in pads and hit each other.
Bryan’s ability to play inside and outside will help keep veterans fresher toward the end of the season. If he can provide solid play while substituting in and out of the lineup, it will prove more valuable than any sack totals.
Bryan was brought in to learn and build for the future. His first true test comes once training camp starts.