Yesterday, the Jacksonville Jaguars practiced in full pads for the first time during this year’s training camp. The team was introduced to a more physical, full speed environment and the offense took full advantage.
Blake Bortles had a great day. (via @MadeByTim)
Oh. My. pic.twitter.com/h03eHZMXWg— Talkin' Bout Tim (@MadeByTim) August 5, 2015
Pass rush drills were downright nasty through the first two padded practices. Chris Smith and rookie Michael Bennett have shown up hungry. Here's Bennett destroying Zane Beadles.
Mike Bennett vs Zane Beadles. Yeah, https://t.co/kLUC2MKNsT— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) August 6, 2015
Chris Smith even trailed a tight end down the seam to break up a downfield pass at one point during team drills. That’s not a typo.
Bortles had some success in redzone drills, finishing the practice strong with a rushing touchdown and a great pass to Allen Hurns.
Overall, after all of the praise the offense received yesterday, the defense showed up to play today. Generally, it’s a good sign when a team can trade blows between the offense and defense. It displays a more competitive environment, and a more resilient team. It’s all about who wants it more.
The entire team looks fired up through two padded practices. The addition of higher tier talent on both sides of the ball sets a higher standard, and you can see that standard being implemented around camp.
The offense isn’t completely comprised of wide-eyed rookies anymore, and the defense is done giving up ground. As a group, the team just looks competitive. Individually, it seems like some players have a renewed energy.
Marcedes Lewis has stepped into training camp ready to fight for his opportunities. He’s motivated, and you can see him bleeding passion on the field. Third-year safety Jonathan Cyprien and Marcedes have been trading blows and jawing at each other throughout camp, which stems from the heated environment.
Up to this point, Julius Thomas has been the sure-handed target the Jaguars wanted him to be. I have no doubt the addition of Thomas has lifted the bar for the offense, and you can see that in the play of Bortles, Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and even Lewis.
Jermey Parnell is a beast of a right tackle, and he has showcased his ferocious attitude through training camp. The addition of Parnell certainly makes the offensive line better, though through training camp, the defensive line has flashed quite a bit in pass rushing drills.
The atmosphere surrounding the practice field this season is energetic. In Gus Bradley’s third year, the team is inching closer to success by continuing to establish a competitive culture.
Nobody knows how close to success the Jaguars can land in 2015. But the team is fired up, they’re trading blows, and Bradley’s culture is very much visible.
A competitive training camp is the first step towards fielding a competitive team in 2015.