After a season ticket owners-exclusive training camp practice on Saturday night, headlined by quarterback Blake Bortles throwing five interceptions, the Jaguars returned to the practice fields today for day four of open training camp.
How did the team, specifically Blake Bortles, respond after the rough Saturday night practice? I was there to observe.
Bortles bounced back
After starting the day — Individual drills, 5 vs. 5’s, and 7 vs. 7’s — a little inconsistent and missing on some throws outside, Bortles made significant strides during 11 vs. 11 full team drills.
Per Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, Bortles went 20-21 in team (not including spiked balls in two minute drill simulations) with zero interceptions. Now, most of Bortles throws weren’t “testy”, rather, they were short throws such as slants, drags, and outs. Was this by design to eliminate Bortles from throwing interceptions by the coaches? I’m not sure, but he definitely looked much more accurate during team drills:
Bortles. Hurns. Slant. Yards. pic.twitter.com/ww2OIWlI0e— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) July 31, 2017
I’ve said it before, it’s one practice and I want to see performances like this regularly going forward. Now, the same may be said about his Saturday night disaster, but there’s a giant difference between the two. Saturday night’s practice was on par, if not worse, than what we saw of Bortles almost all last season. Today, as well as Friday’s practice, are not on par with last season. It’s incredibly reasonable to not be sold on Bortles after two good practices — He needs to be more consistent going forward.
However, today was a good day for the fourth year quarterback. Let’s hope he can continue to put on performances like he did today.
Branden Albert retires; Cam Robinson has an up and down day
As you probably already know, Jaguars left tackle Branden Albert shockingly retired this morning. The Jaguars traded a 2018 seventh round pick to the Miami Dolphins for Albert in March.
There’s no known reason as to why Albert retired, but I have a guess. Albert held out of OTA’s due to wanting some form of a new contract that offered him guaranteed money, as he had none on his current deal. The Jaguars didn’t budge, and would’t give him his guarantees and rather waited for him to return to the team on his own to compete for the starting left tackle position.
It has been assumed that the loser of the left tackle competition — Albert vs. second round pick Cam Robinson — could slide to the left guard position for the 2017 season. Albert stated before that he would play guard if “compensated properly” for it, but since the Jaguars never restructured Albert’s deal, it was seemingly left tackle-or-bust for Albert.
By the looks of it, Albert was down in the left tackle competition, after getting whipped twice by Dante Fowler Jr. on Saturday night:
Albert personally requests Fowler again, points to him & asks for him. Even let them matchup post-horn. Fowler blows him off feet. #Jaguars— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) July 29, 2017
I have a feeling that, for Albert, there wasn’t any coming back from that. He had already missed most of the Jaguars offseason activities, he wasn’t going to receive any guaranteed money, and he was losing the left tackle battle, and I think putting all of that together led to Albert hanging up his cleats.
So, Cam Robinson looks to be the team’s left tackle going forward. Head coach Doug Marrone doesn’t want to hand the position to Robinson, but there aren’t any realistic options as of right now at left tackle.
Robinson started his day a little rough, getting dropped to his knees against Fowler Jr. in his first one on one drill:
Cam's first drill as starting LT, falls onto his knees against Fowler. Cut video. pic.twitter.com/ACpsiMGV1M— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) July 31, 2017
However, according to Mike Kaye of First Coast News, Robinson immediately bounced back:
Cam Robinson just did very very well against Dante Fowler in two one on one reps. #Jaguars— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) July 31, 2017
From what I could see, Robinson did alright in team drills. He split first team reps with Josh Wells, which I anticipate will happen going forward, due to Marrone not wanting to hand Robinson the job.
It will be interesting to see how Robinson progresses through camp.
- Allen Robinson has been lights out all camp. He and Bortles have been connecting outside on almost daily basis, and has come down with several jump balls.
- Jeremiah Poutasi, who played one game at guard last year for the Jaguars and getting hurt early in the game, received most of the first team reps at right tackle. He looked solid from what I saw — Granted, it wasn’t much — but it was interesting to see him receive so much time with the first team while Jermey Parnell has been the starting right tackle for two years and throughout all of camp to date.
- Jalen Myrick defended at least two passes in team drills today, bouncing back after starting his 2017 training camp poorly.
- The team is spending a lot of time focusing on simulations today: Both the two minute drill and punt team. Several interesting names, including Dante Fowler Jr., Paul Posluszny, and Leonard Fournette got time on special teams, and most of the drills focused on moving down the field, time management, hurry-up offense, and field goals. On said field goals, Jason Myers went 1/3, missing from both long and short distances.
Play of the day
Perhaps Bortles best throw of the day, hitting Corey Grant perfectly in stride on a wheel route during team drills.
Bortles on the money outside to Grant. pic.twitter.com/zxwuQIcaSM— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) July 31, 2017
Be sure to follow my Twitter handle, @zach_goodall, for training camp updates, video, and analysis throughout the week.