As we inch closer to the preseason, the Jaguars training camp practices are starting to become more intense. Physicality is expected, running until the whistle blows is a must, and competitiveness is in the air.
I was out at Day 5 of Jaguars training camp, and here are my observations.
After a great end to Day 4 of practice, Bortles had an up-and-down Day 5
Despite his 11v11’s stat-line (16-21 and no interceptions, per Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union), Bortles made some head-shaking throws during practice today.
Throws that caught my eye in a negative fashion include a throw to Allen Robinson on what looked like a post. Robinson was double covered by A.J. Bouye and Barry Church, but he had a step on both players. Bortles, however, overthrew the ball by about five yards.
Later on, in 5v5’s, Bortles overthrew Marcedes Lewis on a corner route in the end zone, much to Lewis’ frustration. You can hear Lewis yell “Dammit!” after the ball hits the ground:
Marcedes Lewis yells "Dammit" as Bortles overthrows him on a corner route in the end zone. pic.twitter.com/VvqICt4xHL— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) August 1, 2017
However, Bortles bounced back on his next throw and completed a pass to Lewis on a corner to the opposite side:
Later on, in 11v11’s, Bortles threw a ball directly to Yannick Ngakoue on a roll out. Ngakoue batted it down and my immediate reaction was “What just happened?”:
However, after the play above, he completed two straight touchdowns, the first on a wobbly, but well-placed, pass to Allen Robinson in the end zone in between two defenders:
And on the next play, Bortles hit Ben Koyack up the middle for an easy touchdown:
Bortles second touchdown in a row pic.twitter.com/wH0n7TMDuz— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) August 1, 2017
One thing that stuck out to me — On a couple of Bortles throws, his motion resembled his 2016 windup. On the one below, you can see Bortles turn his body and start his windup closer to the middle of his body than most of his throws leading up to today:
This didn’t happen often at all, but I noticed a dragged out windup on a couple of Bortles passes throughout the day. His windup has looked much cleaner throughout camp than it did last year, so I’m not worried that he will regress to this throwing motion, but I was a little concerned to see it in action.
It seemed like for every bad pass Bortles threw, he followed it up with a good one or two. While it’s nice that he threw several good passes, we can’t, and shouldn’t, ignore the bad ones, as they are reminiscent of the Bortles we saw last season. He needs to eliminate any bad decision making and continue to progress on his placement. All in all, I wouldn’t say Bortles had a bad day, but I wouldn’t say it was great either. It was up-and-down.
The intensity is picking up
As I opened with, these practices aren’t for the faint of heart. If any player makes a mistake, whether it be miss a play call, drop a pass, not give 100% effort on every single play, and so on, the coaches will let them have it.
This has been seen all camp, with coaches dropping F-bombs, making players run gassers to end the day, and openly stating concern about certain players after poor performances. However, with the pads on and the official team scrimmage being only days away, things are getting much more intense.
Heard Doug Marrone say "What's going on, do we know what the hell we're doing?" after offense miscommunicates before the snap on a play.— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) August 1, 2017
It's clear that the Jaguars coaching staff is intent on raising the level of intensity today. Lots of yelling. High tempo. No coddling.— Cole Pepper (@ColePepper) August 1, 2017
With the intensity comes competitive nature. Players have been getting chippy on the practice field, all staring on Saturday night when Allen Robinson and Jalen Ramsey had a small scuffle. Today, I saw Marcedes Lewis refuse to disengage from his block on Mallicah Goodman in team drills, holding him by the jersey for about five seconds after the whistle blew.
Players are also taking every opportunity to be physical, and while nothing drastic has come from it, that can lead to injuries. I saw A.J. Bouye lower his shoulder on Chris Ivory today after Ivory caught a pass outside, only to be told by defensive coordinator Todd Wash “Tap only, tap only”.
- Leonard Fournette is starting to pick up speed, breaking free on runs during team drills and never taking a snap off. It seems that on every pass he catches outside, he turns into a full sprint up the sidelines to avoid defenders. Here’s a video of him breaking free on a hand-off:
Fournette breaks free with the first team. pic.twitter.com/PJWeTe90ww— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) August 1, 2017
- Allen Robinson should receive an extension immediately. He hasn’t had a bad practice yet, and honestly, I haven’t seen him run a bad play at all. Granted, I could easily have missed a play somewhere, but as far as I’m concerned, he’s been near-perfect.
- Barry Church is filling in nicely at safety. I’ve noticed that he is constantly near the ball on short plays, recognizing the quarterback’s reads and making his way to tap off (since the defenders aren’t allowed to tackle) the receiver.
Play of the day
In case you missed it above, this adjustment from Allen Robinson on a nice ball from Blake Bortles was great. Easily the play of the day:
Follow my Twitter handle @zach_goodall for updates from Jaguars training camp over the next couple of days.