Jack Del Rio is ... smiling (sort of) to not have to deal with the Patriots anymore. And he's got a few real good players back after they missed some practice time this offseason.
It would be hard for Jaguars fans to feel confident in a week where the team allowed 47 points to the Patriots without Tom Brady taking a snap. Yes, the team was missing seven starters, but that's not really a valid excuse as most of the damage was done in the 3rd and 4th quarters. In reality, most fans have been less confident and more... concerned this offseason. Worrying over the lockout and getting the new rookies up to speed. Let's not forget that the team's two most dynamic players are recovering from a second consecutive ACL tear (Aaron Kampman) and knee surgery (Maurice Jones-Drew). Add to that concerns over Terrance Knigton's weight, and Jaguars fans could be looking at a big, hot mess. Well, I'm here to say that for those who were concerned, today is the day for catharsis. Today, those concerns can be somewhat put to rest.
Maurice Jones-Drew was a full-practice participant on Saturday, and Terrance Knighton and Aaron Kampman were out there as well. The Jaguars also got David Garrard and Luke McCown back after small injuries suffered by each of them.Tania Ganguli reported the news on the return of Jones-Drew, Kampman's involvement in practice, and the return of the two quarterbacks in her blog on Jacksonville.com. She made it seem as though MJD was simply being eased back into practice and that there wasn't any concern about his recovery. She also indicated that Kampman "did a lot more individual work" then left during the team portion of practice as has been his habit during camp.
It was also mentioned over twitter that Terrance Knighton finally rejoined practice. It was thought that he would return after the Patriots game, so this is not so much a surprise, just a relief. He returned to practice, weighing in at around 340 pounds, but claimed that he'd be down to 335 by the start of the season. According to a tweet from Tania Ganguli, the defensive tackle was ready to play. According to Ganguli, he looked quick and "[I] didn't see anything indicating his absence slowed him down."
Basically, this is a lot of good news. The biggest concerns on the roster after the defensive upgrades this offseason were about Kampman and MJD returning from injury and Knighton's weight issues. As of yesterday, signs were good on all three fronts. Hopefully, Kampman will be back as a full participant soon. The only other starter who was reported as out of practice yesterday is Eben Britton.