Terrance Knighton saw this coming. A lot of the Jaguars did. Knighton and his teammates told people, too – anyone willing to listen, anyway – that this kid with the long hair, the one taking the abuse and the criticism, was going to be OK. He was going to be a *quarterback.* So, when they see Blaine Gabbertlooking different now, when they see signs of success . . . well, they’re not saying, "I told you so." At least not yet. But neither are they surprised. "I always had faith in him," Knighton, the Jaguars’ fourth-year defensive tackle said as the Jaguars prepared to play the Ravens in Baltimore Thursday. It’s not just Knighton, either. Throughout a difficult rookie season, with his statistics lagging and critics multiplying weekly, teammates publicly and privately supported Gabbert.
NO EASING UP Five days ago, head coach Mike Mularkey told Jaguars players, "The hard part is over." Not quite. A day after Jaguars 2012 Training Camp officially closed, and five days after the final two-a-day practice, the Jaguars on Monday went through what players said afterward was one of the most physical, hottest, draining practices the team has held since the pads went on in late July. "It was a -----," left guard Eben Brittonsaid. Britton, one of several offensive and defensive lineman appearing exhausted after the two-and-half hour session on the Florida Blue Health and Wellness practice field, said while feeling as he did afterward "stinks" – our word, not his – the benefits are obvious.
Despite the rainy, dreary weather Sunday, there was a note of optimism in the air Sunday as new coach Mike Mularkey rang down the curtain on his first training camp. "I think we accomplished a lot," Malarkey said as the Jaguars prepare to go into their regular-season practice mode Monday even though they still have two preseason games left. "The effort we had from our guys, the attention to detail, it was amazing," Mularkey said. "These guys are diligent about note-taking and there weren’t a lot of mistakes for a new offense and the defense picked up where we left off [last year]." Veteran Jeremy Mincey said it’s the best NFL camp he’s participated in.