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Daily battles: Jaguars training camp observations from Monday

With another maintenance day in the books, the Jaguars took a close look at their receivers and defensive backs in one-on-one matchups.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars-Training Camp Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Taking the field for the fifth-straight day on Monday, the Jaguars and head coach Doug Marrone stressed the importance of retaining the health of the players available.

For the first time since training camp began quarterback Gardner Minshew II didn’t throw, but was present on the field, shadowing his fellow quarterbacks.

Meanwhile, 23 other veterans were absent, pushing and pulling inside, rather than having contact on the practice field. Every rookie was present, including first-round selection cornerback CJ Henderson, who had missed several days due to an illness.

While the Jaguars have dealt with some injuries, the majority of players have avoided the dreaded soft-tissue injuries that oft-come up during training camp. No Jaguars player has had to have an IV either, something Marrone says is a result of the league’s ramp-up period.

Today, the Jaguars featured several players in one-on-one matchups including receivers, defensive backs, offensive linemen and defensive linemen for much of the day. Several young players stood out, while others struggled at times.

Keelan Cole has another good outing

The fourth-year wide receiver yet again showcased why he is deserved of so much praise during this year’s training camp. Going up against a couple of different corners, including Henderson and veteran CB Parry Nickerson, Cole won the majority of his one-on-one matchups.

Thus far in camp, Cole has looked like one of the best receivers on the roster. In the absence of Chris Conley and DJ Chark Jr., Cole got the majority of the repetitions against the team’s “top” cornerbacks. Projected starter CB Tre Herndon got a day off.

Several times during the day, Cole showed off his impressive route running skills, and was able to take advantage of his opportunities, something Marrone says is important for determining playing time moving forward.

Henderson shows frustration

Today was a rough day for the first round pick out of Florida. Several times during one-on-ones Henderson wasn’t able to keep up with Cole - his primary matchup during the day. On his final rep against Cole, the rookie cornerback grew frustrated - likely a culmination of events, and simply training camp heat levels rising.

During the play, Cole beat Henderson who was placed several yards off of the line of scrimmage. Following the reception, Henderson took out his frustrations from the previous plays on Cole, knocking him to the turf.

For context on this play, nearly every receiver was able to beat their corner on the slant route, given the amount of space provided. However, Henderson looked sluggish during the drills, his first day back after missing several days due to a non-COVID related illness.

In team drills, Henderson made the most of his opportunities, and made several plays in run support, showcasing his willingness to throw himself into the mix. At one point, Henderson took on multiple blockers on his way to the running back near the sideline.

Today’s events shouldn’t define Henderson. Throughout camp, the rookie has looked sensational, and has taken on several big-time receivers, including Chark. After missing several days, rust should be expected, and it’ll be how he comes back that will determine his future.

Young secondary takes advantage of opportunities

Two rookies stood out on defense today: nickel/cornerback Josiah Scott and safety Daniel Thomas. On Multiple occasions on Monday, both Scott and Thomas had the looks of players who have been in the system for quite some time. Working well off of his technique, Scott broke up at least one pass, while intercepting another.

Thomas, battling against fellow rookie receiver Collin Johnson, won one of the matchups, while surrendering a touchdown on another. Thomas has showcased his physicality throughout camp and will likely play a role for the team on special teams and provide solid depth for the team during the season at safety.

Young Receivers take advantage, too

The Jaguars are going to have some work to do during for final cut-down day. Whether or not they retain six receivers will become a major story to watch moving forward. With Chark, Cole, Laviska Shenault, Conley, Dede Westbrook and Johnson all showcasing why they should be retained, the team may have no other choice but to keep them all.

Today, both Shenault and Johnson showcased why they deserve to be on the roster. While he is listed at 6-foot-1, 227 pounds, Shenault appears to have a knack for route running, using quick, sudden movements to get by his defenders.

While he doesn’t make the catch, Shenault showed off every reason why the team’s coaching staff is so excited about him. Not only can he play a utility role for the team, he has all of the tools to succeed as a receiver.

It took a little while for Johnson, 6-foot-6, 220 pounds to get going during camp, but over the past several practices he has showed why the team coveted his size as an option in the red zone. Today during goal line plays, Johnson made a terrific catch while being covered up by Thomas.

DaVon Hamilton shows off quickness

The Jaguars will be looking for playmakers within the interior of their defensive front. By selecting Hamilton, a nose guard, in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft the Jaguars made it a point of emphasis to stop the run.

With several key veterans missing the season this year, Hamilton’s role will only get bigger. Today during one-on-ones, the former Ohio State defensive tackle took on veteran offensive lineman Tyler Shatley, winning the battle using his arms to break free.

Hamilton’s quickness on the rep showcases why the Jaguars value him so highly. While he was brought in to primarily stop the run, he could provide some pass rush in key situations down the line.

Notes:

Injury update. Only a few players have been held away from practice: Taven Bryan (left knee/bone bruise), Westbrook (shoulder) and linebacker Quincy Williams (core muscle). All three players should be back with the Jaguars at some point prior to the season, with Bryan and Westbrook listed as week-to-week.

Scrimmage Saturday. For the first time since week 17, the Jaguars will return to TIAA Bank Field to play football in what head coach Doug Marrone says is going to have the feel of a week three or four preseason game. The Jaguars have run a scrimmage once already, and will be ramping it up in preparation for week one against the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 13.

Will Richardson coming into his own. Making the switch from guard to tackle, specifically right guard to left tackle, Richardson has taken some time to adjust to his newfound role. Today, it appeared the third-year offensive lineman made strides, locking up several defensive linemen in one-on-one drills, including a competitive matchup with rookie K’Lavon Chaisson.