Day four of training camp has passed. I haven't had a chance to get to one yet, but I hear many players are impressing, which is the story of every training camp, and that certain players are excited about other players. Really, everything seems to be going according to plan, and catastrophe has yet to strike. And I think every Jag fan on this site knows what I'm talking of when I say the word catastrophe when conversing about football.
I'm really knocking on wood, and I'm not even all that superstitious. It scares me to say this, but the Jags... haven't had any injuries yet. No players are going to miss the first few weeks of the season, like Jerry Porter and Brad Meester had to do last season, and no body has been lost for the year, like Mo Williams and Vince Manuwai were. The only injury the Jags have right now, a calf injury to strong safety Sean Considine, is completely minor. Jack Del Rio said Sean is very close to returning.
The whole reason for me bringing this up is to credit the new strength and conditioning program the Jags implemented this past spring under the direction of Luke Richesson and his highly trained staff. The Jaguars, as a team, have bought into this regimen, and so far it is paying off in a big way. Vic and several others have said this has really been a "thumping camp". Nice hits, high intensity, good all around football. The true test, will be if the training and conditioning holds up and prevents injury throughout the rest of training camp, the rest of preseason, and all the way through the regular season.
Many teams around the league are seeing problems with injuries already, only one to two weeks into their respective camps. Stewart Bradley of the Eagles is knocked out for the season with a torn ACL. Bradley was supposed to be the leader of that Eagle 46 with the departure of Brian Dawkins. Now the Eagles are scrambling, possibly having to make Omar Gaither play middle linebacker, a position that is unnatural for him. Another player, Maake Kemoeatu of the Carolina Panthers, has been lost for the season as well with a torn Achilles heel. Now the Panthers find themselves with a huge hole in the middle of what was a very respectable defensive line. Both of these injuries are major for each team, and leave a gaping hole that will be very hard to fill. Even our rivals in the AFC South have seen some problems with injuries, particularly the Texans. Rookie running back Jeremiah Johnson out of Oregon has been placed on injured reserve, and will have to undergo shoulder surgery sometime during the season. Jacques Reeves, who was expected to start opposite Dunta Robinson this season at cornerback, has broken his leg. According to Battle Red Blog, he will be out 6-8 weeks. The Titans haven't seen any real injuries, but didn't wear pads until this past evenings practice. The Colts seems to be faring well in the injury avoidance game.
Richesson has a new style to training players. Instead of maxing out on the weight, he lifts lighter loads, and does completely different exercises to prepare players in a different way. Three weeks ago, I went with my football team to Wake Forest University for a football camp. While there, we had a short session with the strength and conditioning coach at Wake Forest. He has been a huge cog in the emergence of Wake Forest as a force to be reckoned with in the ACC. He told us to be strong, but be athletes first. Thats what this years Jags are... they're surely strong, but over and above all, they're athletes.