Jaguars Training Camp: It Begins

As announced previously in this space, XFINITY from Comcast has generously agreed to support the best NFL community around -- us!  As part of that effort, XFINITY will be sponsoring our Jacksonville Jaguars training camp coverage as well as a variety of special editorial and interactive features on our site between now and the end of the 2011 NFL season.

The Jacksonville Jaguars opened up training camp today with two practices. In the afternoon practice the team actually wore helmets and it was a typical opening training camp practices. The pace wasn't fast, there was no contact, and there was quite a bit of teaching. Each day at camp, I'll give a couple of my thoughts on the practice over all and the Good, Bad, and Ugly which seemed to go over well last year.

Click the jump to get to it.

The practice was a typical opening training camp practice, light work. Before practice however, Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver addressed the crowd, talking about the free agents the Jaguars were bringing in and the fact that they were still doing work to bring some others in. Weaver charged the crowd with a challenge to fill EverBank field and once again not have any blackouts.

After Weaver, newly elected Jackonville Mayor Alvin Brown gave a nice speech to the crowd about what a blessing it is to have NFL football in Jacksonville. Mayor Brown engaged the crowd with chants of "NO MORE BLACKOUTS" and asking all of the Jaguars fans if they were "Down with Brown" to help avoid blackouts.

Practice got started its usual way with the players making their way out. Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, offensive lineman Vince Manuwai, runningback Maurice Jones-Drew, and defensive end Aaron Kampman didn't participate in the practice. Kampman did a few of the individual drills with the defensive lineman, but that was about it.

The Good:

  • Blaine Gabbert was signed and at practice along with the other 4 Jaguars rookies.
  • Offensive tackle Eugene Monroe and defensive end Aaron Morgan look like action figures. Morgan is a player I'm very excited about this season as long as he can translate what he's doing in practice to the games. He could be a nice find as a UDFA in the pass rush rotation.
  • Cecil Shorts III looked smooth running routes and did a nice job of catching the ball with his hands.

The Bad:

  • The Quarterbacks. The Jaguars quarterbacks looked a bit rusty, which was to be expected, so as of now this is nothing to worry about. Luke McCown missed Cecil Shorts on a deep pass, over throwing him by about 5 yards. David Garrard was nearly picked by Rashean Mathis on a throw to the sideline and then later hit Mathis in the chest with a pass that was intercepted. Undrafted rookie Scott Riddle looked like the typical camp arm.
  • Lots of drops. There were quite a few drops by Jaguars receivers, most notably tight end Zach Miller. Miller had at least two drops that should have been easy catches from what I saw. Wide receiver John Matthews dropped a nice pass from McCown on a roll out that he should have caught for a long gain.

The Ugly:

  • The gnats. The gnats were just obnoxious. 
  • Oh, and the sun. It sets right in the line of sight of practice.

There wasn't really much "ugly" on the first day of practice.


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