I was at the Jaguars first practice today from 10-12:30, and here are some thoughts that I came away with.
- Cecil Shorts III, WR: If anybody was "on" for the Jags first practice, it was 3rd year receiver Cecil Shorts. He gained constant separation in the CB's all days and ran crisp routes. He was thrown to early and often and did not disappoint as he caught nearly everything thrown to him, and was very elusive on a few WR screens. It was only the first day of course, but nobody could really stop Shorts.
- Ace Sanders, WR: Just as fast as advertised, Sanders also showed off his underrated WR skills from the slot. His routes seemed good and he made several nice grabs throughout the day, including a tough one near the sideline on a Blaine Gabbert roll out.
- Dwayne Gratz, CB: It was somewhat hard to gauge how the CB's performed today due to the fact they had no pads on so they had to play a lot of off coverage, something they likely won't do much this season. One guy who did impress in the limited views though was Dwayne Gratz, the 3rd round pick out of Uconn, and my personal favorite draft pick from our draft class. Gratz kept up with the receivers he was lined up with all day, showing quick feet and awareness. He was not challenged by the QB's very much throughout the practice.
- The QB's were as expected, if you know what I mean. Blaine and Henne each had their issues throughout the day with bad decisions, overthrows, and a few INT's, and Kafka/Scott saw limited reps. 1st day rust of course, but my expectations for Thai position have not changed.
- After just 1 practice, it was clearly evident how much faster the team is on both sides of the ball due to offseason/draft acquisitions. Much needed improvement.
- I loved the up tempo style of practice, and the energy all the players seemed to have. Gus Bradley led the charge with his constant energy, and it is quite clear that he is making an influence on the team, at least practice style wise. No more lining up helmets y'all.
- There was a number of cramps that played players at times, but this is nothing to fret over. Their 1st practice this season, combined with the heat? Nothing to worry about.
- There was a heavy rotation on the Dline with quite a few different combination of players. Having solid depth on the Dline is not something the Jaguars have been lucky enough to have the last few years, but that should change this year.
- It was only day 1. No reason to condemn anyone or hype anyone up for a breakout season just yet. It's a long season, just buckle up and enjoy the ride.