Three things to look for at Jaguars OTAs

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 18: A Jacksonville Jaguars helmet is seen at TIAA Bank Field on November 18, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 18: A Jacksonville Jaguars helmet is seen at TIAA Bank Field on November 18, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars get set to begin OTAs over the course of the next three weeks beginning on Tuesday. Here are three things to look for.

The Jacksonville Jaguars begin another phase of their off-season workout program on Tuesday when the team participates in OTAs.

Over a three-week period, the coaching staff will have an opportunity to see how the current roster looks on the practice fields adjacent to TIAA Bank Field. I still believe there is a move or to this team makes before heading to training camp.

There are still questions at tight end, linebacker, and potentially safety. There are a few rumors out there about players who might be available for trade. There is roughly $14 million left in salary cap money available if Jacksonville wanted to make a move and should they be able to use the $9.75 million allocated to Telvin Smith’s contract this season, then the Jaguars could play “Let’s Make A Deal,” specifically at safety or at tight end.

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This is still a make or break season for this organization and the front office and coaching staff. The moves general manager David Caldwell made on his chessboard look like this should be an approved team this coming season. Obviously, getting everybody to play with the same kind of tenacity as was shown in 2017 is still the objective, but it has not been seen yet.

Since there are still questions this franchise must answer leading up to training camp and then into the preseason and the regular season, here are three things to watch for at OTA’s starting next week.

Continuity – Jalen Ramsey won’t be here. The likelihood of Yannick Ngakoue being here is very slim. We all know Smith won’t be here. And there are plenty of new faces added to this roster.

How will everybody blend? Does the loss of one of the key leaders on defense have an affect on the way the veterans on this roster perform? How does the coaching staff help make up for the loss of Smith‘s enthusiasm?

The one thing that was preached by many NFL insiders last season was talk of a divided locker room. Is there any hangover heading into this season? Players have said they want to put last year‘s lack of success behind them. Now it’s time to see whether their actions match their words.

Which veterans will step forward and help rookies get adjusted? How will a new quarterback in the huddle change the Jaguars focus on offense?
If there was ever a chance to prove that addition by subtraction works, it’s with this roster.

Injury Report – I am curious to see how players come back from injury. The focus will be on the offensive line, with Cam Robinson, Andrew Norwell and Brandon Linder missing considerable time on the left side. They all return to a new offensive line coach and a rookie right tackle.

The team does not expect Marqise Lee back until the latter part of the preseason. The veteran wide receiver was missed last year. Will he be able to resume the same kind of regiment he had prior to the injury? Also, will DJ Chark take a step forward after missing a five games late in the season last year?

I also wonder if this team will go through the same pieces that the coaching staff put it through prior to the start of the preseason. Do the injuries from last year change how Doug Marrone prepares this team?

Also, the Jaguars need to stay as healthy as possible throughout the off-season program.

Leonard Fournette – In his third season in the NFL, this might be the most important off-season of Leonard Fournette’s career. He looks to be in better shape. He seems to have brought into what the Jaguars another 1,000-yard season?

Will Jacksonville get 16 games out of their workhorse back? And will the offense remain a run first focus? How much of the addition of quarterback Nick Foles plays into how the coaching staff uses Fournette and his running mates?

Next. Myles Jack says he is the Jaguars MIKE linebacker. dark

Also, because there are new faces in the running back room, which roles will be defined? Alfred Blue should be the primary back up and rookie Ryquell Armstead should challenge him for carries. Can Benny Cunningham become the third down back, and fill the same role in the offense and on special teams much like Corey Grant did two years ago?