The Jacksonville Jaguars wrapped up their second open training camp today, and I was out there making observations on how the team is coming along.
I was planning on focusing on the running back group, specifically first round pick Leonard Fournette, but they did their individual drills on the far field and I couldn’t observe the group until they performed team drills. I did, however, get a good look at the defensive line during individual drills and the quarterbacks and receivers during team.
Blake Bortles had a great day
Yesterday, Bortles had an up-and-down practice with some good throws and some misses, specifically on outside corner routes. Today, however, Bortles look much better, and I was impressed with his poise.
It seemed that Bortles was more confident in climbing into his pocket, even when he would check down on a short route. He was money in the middle of the field during team drills, and I only saw one clear bad throw on an outside corner route, which is seemingly a route Bortles has to work on.
Besides his issue with the corner route, Bortles was very accurate all day long. In the offense the Jaguars are going to run gong forward, he will be asked to be a “game manager”, who can control the tempo and complete a lot of short throws to move down the field. If Bortles can continue to be accurate on short-to-mid throws, perhaps he can get the job done at quarterback going forward. However, it’s going to take more than one great practice to sell himself.
Yannick Ngakoue is hungry
While the team isn’t wearing pads and it’s hard to judge any position other than skill positions at the moment, Yannick Ngakoue seemed to be the tone-setter for the defensive line group. He was very energetic and quick, always jumping to the front of the line for his drills, and attacking the tackling dummies with 100% effort.
Brandon Allen continues to play well
Blake Bortles isn’t the only QB who had a good day. Backup QB Brandon Allen practiced well for the second day in a row, especially in team when he was throwing mid-to-deep balls.
Caleb Bluiett with a bad drop on a seam pass from Allen. Allen has looked good all day, but Bluiett needs to catch that ball pic.twitter.com/zShf8T5h19— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) July 28, 2017
Tight end Caleb Bluiett dropped this pass, but Allen made a great throw before the safety could see Bluiett racing down the seam.
Allen also threw a beautiful touchdown to receiver Shane Wynn on a 15-20 yard fade route in the end zone. It was odd to have Wynn run the fade route, considering he had to win a man-coverage battle with a cornerback on a jump ball while standing at 5-6, but Wynn made a great catch on a great throw.
I’d be interested to see Allen get some time with the starters, not to replace Bortles after his good day, but just to see how he looks against a starting defense. But so far, Allen has had an impressive camp.
Remember the name: Keelan Cole
Keelan Cole, an undrafted free agent out of Kentucky Wesleyan, is making the most of his opportunities to shine and potentially fight for a roster or practice squad spot.
Cole made three nice receptions down the field on the sidelines with the second an third team, and it seemed like the entire Jaguars media group was intrigued by his play:
Rookie WR Keelan Cole is out here putting on a show with a pair of beautiful grabs.— Brian Chojnacki (@BroadcastingBri) July 28, 2017
https://t.co/hyck7a7dNL of Day 2: Jaguars rookie WR Keelan Cole, with three long receptions, including one-hander from QB Chad Henne. ...— John Oehser (@JohnOehser) July 28, 2017
Keelan Cole was the star of today's practice. Learn more about the potential dark horse from our earlier piece: https://t.co/eebXSwBASR— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) July 28, 2017
One of his catches was good enough to earn my play of the day honor, which you can see at the end of this article.
This ain’t Gus Bradley’s team anymore
Under former head coach Gus Bradley, camp was always more fan-friendly and “fun”, with music blasting all the time, players signing autographs for nearly an hour after practice, and little to no accountability.
That is no more.
Under coach Doug Marrone, his assistant coaches (specifically special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis), and Executive Vice president of Football operations Tom Coughlin, players are being held accountable for mistakes. After dropping an easy interception, the coaches made linebacker Hayes Pullard do push-ups before returning to the field — Something I never saw during Bradley’s time here.
Every now and then you’d hear a coach drop an F-bomb and yell at player or the team. Today, Marrone yelled “First play of f——g team [drills]!!!” when the offense looked to mis-communicate on the first pay of team drills.
- The team ran an extra cool-down break earlier on during practice, in order toprevent dehydration. Several players had to sit out of some drills yesterday due to the heat.
- Dante Fowler Jr. started his practice off a little rough, losing his cleat and step during individual drills against tackling dummies He has been getting reps with the second team defense.
- Leonard Fournette displayed a really nice inside cut move on two counter runs in a row during team drills. He split reps on the first team with Chris Ivory and Corey Grant, and he also made at least one catch and run that he turned into a yardage gain.
- Cam Robinson spent a lot of the day as first-team left tackle. The first team drills offensive line group was Robinson - Shatley - Linder - Cann - Parnell.
Play of the day
Wide receiver Keelan Cole, as I mentioned before, had a great day at camp. His most memorable play came on this pass from Chad Henne deep along the sidelines, with cornerback Jalen Myrick in coverage.
Be sure to follow my Twitter handle, @zach_goodall, for more Jaguars training camp coverage next week, when camp re-opens to the public on Monday.