Monday Evening Practice Re-Cap:
As usual, all credit for the observations quoted here goes to Tim at Jaguars Journal Tim produces professional grade reports on every aspect of training camp, and deserves far more publicity than he gets in the Jaguar fan community. I wouldn't claim to know him well, but you can't participate on the Jaguars.com Message Boards without coming across FBT.
I'm damn proud of the Jaguars fan community tonight. We had 4,011 fans in the bleachers for the Monday evening practice, a Jaguars record! I hope this means that the excitement is building for a season long sellout of the stadium. Speaking of tickets the Mini-Pack that the Jaguars are offering is one fantastic deal. I'm a thousand miles away and seriously considering buying, just because it's worth it to get those four tickets. You'll see us destroy the Titans in the season opener, emasculate Manning on Monday Night, get revenge on the Bills for last seasons embarisment, and see Donovin Darius in Jacksonville one more time. All for 152 bucks! I hope that sounds like something other than corporate hackery.
Anyhow, the fans were there to see official start of training camp, the infamous "Oklahoma Drill".
If you're not familiar, the Oklahoma drill is a simple event used to get players emotionally excited and ready for the physical contact of football. Four players are involved, a running back, a quarterback, a blocker, and a defensive player. Quarterback hands off to the running back who has to get past his blocker and the defensive player without leaving the boundaries, in this case two tackling dummies spaced 3 yards apart. The blocker and defensive player impact with significant force, causing big hits and heavy emotions as their dignity is on the line with the whole team watching. Nobody wants to get pancaked or flattened in front of the whole team.
Usually the match-ups have some significance, rookies against veterans, high draft picks versus each-other free agents and draft picks, etc.
There were six match-ups last night.
Marcades Lewis vs. Justin Durant:
This is my favorite pairing. Two high draft picks with chips on their shoulders going head to head. I like Marcades being put in the role of blocker, no matter how important his pass catching credentials might be. He's coming off an injury that hurt his production last season, so he's burning to show he's worth the first round pick. Justin is the 2nd round pick that nobody expected because he's from a small school (Hampton), so he'd like to show the team and the fans that he's the real deal.
FBT had this to say about the encounter:
Round 2: D.D. Terry was the running back. Again, Marcedes Lewis got the better of the two and worked Durant out of the way for Terry to run through the hole.
Richard Collier vs. Tony McDaniel: Battle of undrafted "jars on the shelf" that could become stars in their own right. Tony McDaniel is someone that other teams should drool over, but he'll never get the spotlight behind Stroud and Henderson. Collier is not so bad himself.
It looks like Richard won the exchange:
Round 2: Collier got the advantage early and leveraged McDaniel enough to give Montell Owens enough room to clear the tackling dummies.
Uche Nwaneri vs. Rob Meier: Classic youth versus age battle.
Round 2: Montell Owens got through untouched as Nwaneri was able to spin Meier out of the way.
Vince Manuwai vs Derek Landri: Score settling...
Derek has been causing a little stir during camp so far. He's got an uncanny knack for pissing off offensive linemen
Round 2: Manuwai cleared a path for D. D. Terry, despite the fact that Landri managed to put Vince on the ground briefly, and remove the helmet from the Samoan's head.
Yeah, you read that right. The helmet got knocked off. The Oklahoma is not a weenie drill, it's intense competition under the most critical of environments. Did you look at the picture with this post? Do you see the team sitting there in the background? Professional athletes are proud people and nobody wants to look weak in front of their peers. This event pumps up the whole team, as nobody wants to appear weak.
Finally we had the "coaches choice", where Jack picks a unique pair to illustrate some sort of point. I'd have given my left arm to watch this one in person...
Tony Pashos versus John Henderson: Yeah, you read that right. Our giant offensive lineman acquired from the Ravens, who's known for his nasty streak I don't need to tell you about John Henderson. Just watch this.
You get the picture.
I was not there, so you'll have to rely on FBT to see what happened:
Can you believe after all that excitement there was still a practice?
Here's the highlights, in rapid fire format!
- Matt Jones is still making one handed catches, but I'm ok with that, as long as he's catching the ball.
- Byron Leftwich and Dennis Northcutt are developing a rapport. I hope it's as exciting in the real game as it is in practice.
- Tim Couch doesn't suck.
Tim Couch showed to be significantly sharper than anyone expected. There were certain passes that he did struggle with, but overall, he looked much better than anyone could have anticipated with a three year layoff. On one particular play, Couch delivered a deep pass with nice touch to D'Juan Woods over tight coverage by Terry Cousin. It showed some promise in what Couch might be able to provide if he can become more consistent. Clearly, he has some rust to deal with, but overall, he was surprisingly sharp.
- Rashean Mathis is still a very good cornerback.
- But so is Brian Williams. Even with two inexperienced safeties, I'd be willing to bet that our secondary is top five in the league.
- Justin Durant is good at stopping the run, but he probably shouldn't scuffle with Fred Taylor.
- Adam Podlesh kicked a 75 yard punt. Let's let that sink in. 75 freaking yards, into the wind.
- UCLA is representing, as Jones-Drew and Marcades Lewis are doing exceedingly well.
- Reggie Nelson almost killed Dave Campo :
Reggie Nelson found himself in an unenviable position having to cover John Broussard. The rookie receiver ran a deep slant, hitting the burners when he turned across the field, leaving Reggie Nelson in his wake. Trying to make up the gap, Nelson did not see Dave Campo in the middle of the field, and flattened the coach as Broussard took the pass from Byron into the end zone. Nelson came back a few plays later and almost intercepted a Leftwich pass intended for Matt Jones on a short out. He showed his speed after recognizing the play, almost jumping the route and taking the pass away from Jones.