There were a couple of potential issues to watch for following this practice. First, it started with the normal position drills. As the team finished those and gathered for stretching, five of the players were sent for a lap probably because they failed to show the proper level of hustle as the team convened. The players that were disciplined were Chad Nkang, Josh Gattis, Jorge Cordova, Reggie Nelson, and Reggie Williams. The crowd gave them a bit of motivation as they trotted by the bleachers, which Reggie Williams seemed to appreciate.
There were a couple of possible injury scares again during this practice. Ernest Wilford spent some time with the training staff late in practice just before it completed for the evening. There was no indication about what the issue was, and it might have just been cramps because it was humid on the field.
Also, toward the end of practice, after making a play, Mike Walker came up favoring an ankle. I was not able to see if he received any attention from the training staff because practice completed and the team huddled up shortly after the play was done. Hopefully this is nothing to be concerned about, and it is just another one of those minor twists and strains that are quite common during camp.
Scott Starks had his left hand wrapped up in the evening practice. It did not appear to impact his ability to make plays, but he is wearing what looks like an oven mitt on that hand.
Reggie Hayward participated in all drills during the evening session, and looked sharp on the field. He is not showing any signs of struggle with his Achilles tendons, which is encouraging.
Greg Jones was also involved in all drills, and made quite a few nice plays showing nice burst and speed. We have yet to see him make any cuts, but his straight away speed looks to be returning to the point it was at prior to the injury. He is no longer showing any signs of residuals from his injury. The limp that was noticeable in the spring practices is gone now.
George Wrighster and Paul Spicer did not take part in the evening practice.
Now, let’s look at the practice session.
Individual Unit Drills:
The defensive backs were being drilled by Dave Campo on forcing fumbles, trying to improve their stripping technique.
The coaching staff was working with the receivers on deeper routes during the early part of practice, focusing on timing and position. In one particular play, Matt Jones reverted to his rookie year, attempting to haul in a sure touchdown pass using one hand. Unfortunately, it did not end well as the ball skipped off of his hand and fell incomplete.
Meanwhile, on the very same seam route, Charles Sharon was faced with an identical situation. By using two hands, he was able to make a nice jumping catch for a touchdown.
The individual drills were the only time where Tim Couch, the newest member of the Jaguars roster, actually got involved, throwing a couple of short passes.
The Jaguars introduced a drill that they have not used in the first few sessions of camp involving the quarterback, a receiver, and a defensive back. The goal is to work on the timing between the quarterback and receiver, and sharpening the route running of the receivers. This was a fast paced drill as the plays are lining up to go again almost as quickly as the previous one had completed. There were some nice highlights to go over that came from this segment of practice.
Mike Walker and Byron Leftwich connected on the first play during the drill, and Williams started what was to become a trend, making Brian Williams look like a rookie out there with his cutting ability. On the first play, Walker ran a little curl route that froze Williams briefly, and gave Walker just enough separation to make the play. Williams did recover quickly and almost had a chance at batting the pass down, but was a half step too slow.
Dee Webb made a great play on a Garrard pass intended for Jimmy Farris, stepping in on the quick slant after picking up the route, and batting down the short pass that was thrown slightly behind the intended receiver, allowing him the opportunity to deny the play.
Ernest Wilford made a nice move, and then ran right by Terry Cousin on a go route, hauling in the Garrard pass for a crowd pleasing touchdown.
Byron Leftwich connected with John Broussard on a perfectly delivered pass in the corner of the end zone dropping the ball just over the top of Rashod Moulton.
Mike Walker continued to maintain ownership over Brian Williams throughout this session, burning him on a quick slant with a nice cut to shake coverage, then again on a deep double move that left Williams a step behind, and then again at the end of the session when he absolutely embarrassed Williams with a curl route that froze the cornerback allowing Walker to make the catch, turn, and get extra yardage on the play.
Dennis Northcutt also had a couple of shining moments including one particular slant deep down the field where he left Scott Starks in his wake as he ran right by him. Northcutt continues to prove his worth early in camp. It will be interesting to see what he does when the contact begins. He clearly is one of the better receivers on the roster right now, and has been the most consistent of the bunch.
David Garrard was almost picked off by Bruce Thornton on a crossing route that he threw behind the receiver. Thornton was cheated out of a pick thanks to the heads-up play of Ernest Wilford, who tipped the ball away allowing it to fall incomplete.
John Broussard ran right by Rashod Moulton and was wide open on a deep corner route. Unfortunately, the Garrard pass was badly overthrown, falling incomplete.
Rashean Mathis made a terrific play on a deep sideline Leftwich pass intended for Charles Sharon.
Leftwich had some trouble hitting Reggie Williams on a deep seam route, throwing to the wrong shoulder and causing it to fall incomplete.
David Garrard struggled at times with his accuracy as well, throwing behind Roosevelt Kiser and Jimmy Farris as well.
11X11 (Two Minute Drill):
The team ran the two minute drill with Byron Leftwich and David Garrard. This was the first time the clocked segment was incorporated into practice, and should become a staple for the remainder of camp as they work on various scenarios. Each unit is given two minutes to score points.
Dennis Northcutt and Byron Leftwich are quickly becoming comfortable with each other, as Byron is looking for him in the middle of the field with more regularity.
Marcedes Lewis had the first of a handful of drops during the practice session on a quick out that he dropped. The pass hit him right in the numbers, but he failed to hold on to it.
Fred Taylor stepped up and made a nice conversion on a little screen pass, taking it for a first down.
Ernest Wilford dropped a perfectly delivered pass that Leftwich put in his hands on a quick slant. To his credit, Brian Williams did help force the incomplete pass, but Wilford should have held on to the ball.
Byron hit Maurice Drew on a slant pass that went for a short gain, and then overthrew Charles Sharon for an incomplete pass.
In the end, Josh Scobee stepped in and booted a short field goal.
When Garrard took over the offense, his first pass play was a little dump off to Maurice Drew that actually lost yardage.
He came back on the next play and connected with Jermaine Wiggins for a short gain that got the team back to the original line of scrimmage.
Garrard connected with Matt Jones on a deep out that went for 15 yards. Jamaal Fudge was in coverage, but the ball was over the top and he was unable to defend it against the significantly taller Matt Jones.
On the next play, David Garrard managed to get sacked in a non-contact drill by James Wyche, who completely manhandled Maurice Williams and covered up the quarterback.
He came back and connected with John Broussard for a short gain on a crossing route, then again with Richard Angulo on a nice sideline pass.
At this point, Josh Scobee once again was called upon to boot a mid-ranged field goal for 3 points.
David Garrard attempted to connect with Dennis Northcutt on a deep crossing route. Northcutt had shaken coverage and was wide open, but Garrard lead the pass too far ahead of him and the ball fell incomplete.
Garrard came back to Northcutt on the next play on a deep sideline pass. Northcutt made a nice adjustment to bring the ball in as it was slightly under thrown.
Alvin Pearman looked good coming out of the backfield on a short dump off from Garrard that he managed to turn into a decent gain.
Marcedes Lewis had yet another one of his drops on a sideline pass from Byron Leftwich. He turned, made the catch, turned again, and dropped the ball. He came back a few plays later and redeemed himself on a deep corner route, making a terrific catch on a pass from Byron, showing the hands that we should expect to see from him.
Greg Jones got an opportunity to show the fans how his recovery is going by taking a pass out of the backfield from Byron along the sideline, kicking in the afterburners, and taking the ball to the end zone. Clearly, in straight line acceleration, Greg has rebounded nicely from his knee injury. How he cuts remains to be seen, but cutbacks were never exactly his style. We may get more from Jones than anyone expects as he comes back from his torn ACL.
Matt Jones showed some nice athletic ability as he ran out deep, and then cut into a crossing route out of the seam. Garrard put the pass on the near sideline, and Jones made a nice grab hauling the pass in, but the ball was too far out in front of him, and he was unable to get both feet down before going out of bounds.
11×11 (Part II):
Fred Taylor dropped a nicely delivered pass from Byron Leftwich, showing one of the bigger flaws in his game. He had the ball in his hands, but was more focused on turning up field to haul in the pass.
Byron connected with Ernest Wilford on a nice touch pass over the top of Josh Gattis for a touchdown. Gattis had Wilford covered effectively, but the pass was dropped in over the top for a touchdown.
Byron came back and connected with Dennis Northcutt on a deep post pattern. Northcutt ran by Brian Williams and left him in his tracks and Byron delivered a strike deep over the middle.
Greg Estandia hauled in a Leftwich pass for a touchdown. The ball was dropped over Justin Durant in coverage. Estandia made a nice leaping grab to haul it in for the score.
Byron was intercepted on a great play by Rashean Mathis where the Pro Bowler took the ball away from Charles Sharon after the catch. Mathis showed why he is one of the best cornerbacks in the business by snapping the ball away quickly.
Byron connected with Charles Sharon on a deep sideline pass into double coverage with Gerald Sensabaugh and Rashean Mathis in tow. There was a fight for the ball, and Sharon ultimately came up with the reception.
The practice ended with a deep crossing route with Mike Walker hauling in a nicely delivered Garrard pass for a big gain. It was after this play concluded that some people saw that Mike Walker was favoring his ankle. Unfortunately, because practice ended immediately after the play concluded, it was difficult to see if it was anything worth being concerned over, or if it was just a minor twist.
On Tim Couch, it is clear that the Jaguars brought the quarterback in to be a fourth arm in training camp with Quinn Gray on the mend. If he plays well, then the Jaguars have an option there because his contract has no bonus money linked to it, and his salary is less than half of what the Jaguars are set to pay Quinn Gray this year. If he comes in and plays well enough, he certainly offers a cheaper option for the third quarterback, but if he does not, it costs the team nothing to have him here for training camp and the preseason.
The coaching staff continues to work with the main skill players at wide receiver and quarterback to improve their footwork, and the receivers are being drilled on running their routes more precisely. It appears that this work is starting to pay off as the quarterbacks are moving around in the pocket and doing a nice job of buying time while remaining protected by the line. Because the receivers are running more precise routes, and they are doing it with more attention to details, the quarterbacks are able to get the balls out more quickly. This will go a long way toward preventing injuries that have been the main impediment to the progress of this offense, and of Byron Leftwich as a quarterback.
The team is gradually ratcheting up the level of intensity, and things should be percolating nicely for the practice tomorrow night when the pads go on and the hitting goes live.