The Jacksonville Jaguars opened up their first mini-camp under new head coach Gus Bradley, which meant he could get his first impression of some of the players and how they approached practice. Right out of the gate it appears the Jaguars two young wide receivers, Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts III, caught the coaches eye, in a good way.
"I felt like Justin Blackmon had a really good day today. He was going and had some nice catches and things like that," Bradley told reporters after practice. "To be on the field and encourage him and try to get him to the next level along with Coach Sullivan, that’s what I love to do. That’s what we all do as coaches."
I still have reservations if Blackmon can ever be the number one wide receiver that the past regime drafted him to be, but regardless hearing his name singled out by the new head coach on the first day of practice is promising. There were murmurs last season of Blackmon being a bit lackadaisical and such during the games, but to catch a coach who's big on competing's eye on the first day is a good sign.
Shorts, who emerged as a big play threat last season, also impressed Bradley early.
"I thought he did good," Bradley told reporters when asked about the third-year wide receiver. "What a competitor. I saw that too on the field. That’s what you hope to see. You want to find out do we have strong competitors? I thought it was very evident that we’ve got them."
Oddly enough, wide receiver seems to be one of the positions the Jaguars would seem to be set at for right now, which certainly hasn't been the case in the past. With Shorts, Blackmon, Jordan Shipley, and the addition of Mohamed Massaquoi the team should be in good shape heading into 2013.