Day two started out in similar fashion to opening day of camp. With a significantly smaller crowd in attendance, the Jaguars took the field under sunny, hot, and humid conditions. Similar to the practice yesterday, the Jaguars have quite obviously made the decision to shorten the length of the practice sessions considerably over years past. After initial warm-ups and stretching were completed, the team ran through drills for just about 70 minutes again this morning.
With the dawn of a new day, the return of one of the Jaguars more popular players marked the event. Fred Taylor, who was excused for practices on Saturday to attend a funeral, was back on the field participating fully with the team.
The players either not in attendance, or not participating included Derrick Harvey, Jerry Porter, Jeremy Mincey, George Wrighster, Mike Walker, Chad Nkang, and Reggie Williams. Williams was on the field again today, and did some running on the sideline, but his knee is heavily wrapped and he is walking with a slight gait, so it remains to be seen how long he will be out because of this knee issue.
For those clamoring for depth chart talk, the starting offensive line this morning saw less rotation than was done yesterday. The number one unit was Tony Pashos, Vince Manuwai, Brad Meester, Maurice Williams, and Khalif Barnes. Collier took fewer snaps today, and continued to wear that belt that appears to be some sort of support device. It is not certain whether he is dealing with some sort of a back strain, or if it is simply protective gear, but he is the only guy on the field donning such an apparatus.
At linebacker, the starting three are Daryl Smith, Mike Peterson, and Justin Durant.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Dennis Northcutt, and Rashean Mathis rotated on punt return drills. Keep in mind that this rotation was also used last year during training camp at some point, so I would try not to read too much into that.
Again, this practice was non-contact, so there is not much to report on how good the defensive ends or tackles looked. Until the pads go on Monday night, it will be difficult to determine just how good they do look.
Now, let’s get to the drills.
11 x 11 (Part I):
Matt Jones continues to show that he is going to at least put up some sort of a fight for a roster spot. During the first part of practice, Jones was focused on running his routes. Todd Monken was working with the receivers on their route running, and it appeared that Jones has been doing what he can to speed up the manner in which he gets in and out of his cuts. During the 11 x 11 drills, this work appeared to have paid off with a couple of really nice catches, including one over the middle with Drayton Florence practically wearing his jersey, and again later when he went over the top of Pierson Prioleau to pull down a nice pass from Garrard. In both cases, the coverage was spot on, but Matt actually fought to get position on the ball. This is something that is certainly refreshing to see, and it has now become somewhat of a trend for him.
Ryan Hogue, the long shot wide receiver, made a couple of nice plays early in practice, including a very strong fingertip grab on a deep crossing route. The pass by Cleo Lemon was a little out in front of the receiver, but he managed to catch up to the pass and bring it in cleanly, catching the ball on the back end.
John Broussard keeps showing the speed that has become his trademark, along with a great set of hands. He connected with David Garrard on a curl route that should have gone for about a seven yard gain. However, Broussard rolled out of the curl so quickly that he turned it into a long gain as he ran right by his defender. Granted, Drayton Florence probably would have made the play had contact been allowed. Still, the move was quite impressive to watch unfold.
There was a D’Juan Woods sighting early in the session as the receiver made a nice play in traffic on a pass over the middle delivered on target by Cleo Lemon.
Jeron Harvey had trouble during the practice session with holding on to the ball. During individual drills, he dropped a couple of passes, and that affliction followed him into 11 x 11’s where he ran a curl route and had the ball delivered on target by Todd Bouman, only to have it bounce off of his hands.
7 x 7:
As was the case yesterday morning, the Jaguars put the bulk of their focus during 7 x 7 drills on the passing game involving running backs and tight ends. They did slip in the occasional receiver, but for the most part, it was about the short passing game.
Marcedes Lewis continues to look strong on the field, catching everything thrown in his direction when the ball is within reach. During this drill, he made a couple of nice receptions over the top along the sideline with tight coverage. One pass in particular was a deeper out pattern that Lewis ran to the far sideline. Garrard went over the top and Lewis hauled it in while focusing on keeping his feet in bounds on the play.
Jeron Harvey rebounded nicely by making a couple of deep catches including one on a deep cross in traffic. His practice highlight was a deep sideline lob by David Garrard that was hauled in nicely before going out of bounds.
Todd Bouman was the first quarterback of the morning session to be victimized by the defense. On a sideline pass play intended for Marcedes Lewis, he overthrew his target, finding a teal 27 jersey waiting for the ball with open arms. Mathis turned the interception into a nice return for nearly 20 yards.
Ryan Hogue made a really nice catch, and probably the highlight of the drill on a deep sideline lob over the top of Rashod Moulton launched by Paul Smith. Hogue pulled the ball in and made a nice gain on the play. Unfortunately, he came back three plays later and had a short curl route end abruptly when the pass from Cleo Lemon bounced off of his chest and fell incomplete.
Richard Angulo somewhat redeemed himself from his less than stellar performance in the Saturday morning practice by making a great catch over the top on a deep sideline pass from Cleo Lemon.
Anthony Cottone also continued to make his case for a roster spot (albeit a long shot) by making a couple of good catches in traffic over the middle. In both instances, he was well covered, but still managed to maintain his concentration to make the play.
11 x 11 (Part II):
Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor both got an opportunity to open things up and do a little running during the final drills. The results were mixed.
When Maurice got an opportunity to carry the ball, he bounced off to the left guard side of the line and was stuffed by Reggie Hayward and Daryl Smith who were both waiting for him with open arms.
When Fred got to carry the ball, he went in the opposite direction, going outside of the right tackle, hitting the burners as he turned the corner, running by Rashean Mathis and turning in a nice gain on the play. Fred is looking as quick as he has at any time in recent memory.
Chauncey Washington also got a shot at carrying the ball, and he was able to get a nice gain on a play running behind the left guard. Washington is an interesting prospect to watch. He’s got good speed, decent size, and he runs with power. This is a nice combination to have. If he can keep his head, he will find a spot on this roster.
Charles Davis continues to impress. It is difficult to comprehend just how big he is until you see him make a play and then turn to deal with a defensive back. The guy looks more like a small offensive lineman than a tight end out there, but he moves very well, and has good hands. On one crossing route, he completely swallowed up the ball on the play and carried one of the defensive backs for a few yards before the coaches blew the whistle. Big man will not go down easily.
Greg Estandia showed once again that he is a solid receiving tight end, going over the top of Jamaal Fudge to make a nice catch on a deep crossing route delivered by Cleo Lemon. If Estandia can maintain his health, I do not see much of a challenge for his roster spot.
Marcedes Lewis had what had to be the catch of the day. Lewis was running a deep post pattern. Garrard put the ball out in front of him a little bit further than he probably intended to, but Lewis closed the gap and made a fingertip grab in front of Rashean Mathis who was right on his heels. The way Lewis closed on the ball, and then made the play at full speed with blanket coverage was quite impressive.
The quarterback situation is an interesting one to watch unfold. As David Garrard continues to assert himself as being head and shoulders above the rest, the battle for the backup role seems to be working itself out quite quickly. While his delivery does not come with the same velocity, Cleo Lemon has quickly picked up the offense, and has improved his accuracy and timing considerably. He continues to make the plays that are demanded of him, and rarely makes a glaring mistake that would be cause for concern. Lemon does a good job of not trying to force a play where none exists. This is a good thing because he does not have the arm strength that would allow him to get away with such things.
The running back situation for those final roster spots will be interesting to watch as well. The top three is clearly determined already, so you’ve got a handful of guys battling for the last spot, and you have players out there with unique talents that are vying for the spot. Montell Owens and Chauncey Washington are both going to make a solid case. It comes down to which player is the first to blink. So far, it is a draw.
The receiving corps is also a fun competition to watch. These guys obviously understand how difficult the roster spots will be to obtain this year, and they are all doing the best that they can to make a case for them being part of the final five men left standing. At this point, Williamson, Broussard, and Jones are all making a strong case for the final two roster spots. With Mike Walker thrown into the mix, the Jaguars may be forced to consider carrying six receivers this year so that they are not tossing a solid player to the scrap heap.