- The best news thing about this year's Jaguars' rookies was that they all were signed prior to the start of training camp. And other than fourth-round pick Brian Smith out of Missouri, all reported in good shape. Smith is still mending from a hip injury that sidelined him for the final four games of the 2006 season.
"I think as far as the rookies go, some are feeling pretty good about where they are right now and some are probably swimming with information," coach Jack Del Rio said. "All in all, it's a pretty solid rookie class and these guys have bee what we thought we were getting in the draft. Reggie (Nelson) has shown his playmaking ability. Justin Durant is a very, very quick, a very sudden linebacker and Mike Walker has been solid in camp, and on and on. It's a good class and they're adapting."
- Veteran defensive tackle Marcus Stroud feels this year's Jaguars defense may be the better than any of the previous six units that he's been a part of since being drafted by Jacksonville in 2001.
"Definitely, definitely," he said when asked if it was the deepest defense he's been a part of since joining the club. "Jack (Del Rio) has done a great job of putting everybody in the proper places. We are deep at every position and everybody is playing well right now. I think if we can just carry that momentum going into the season, then we have a chance to do some great things.
"I want us to be the No. 1 defense in every statistic possible. We have been in the top five over the last few years, but we want to do something like a Baltimore defense, where you go out and just dominate games."
Stroud was a three-year starter in the Pro Bowl in 2003-05 before injuries hampered him a year ago, causing him to miss five games the second half of the season.
Stroud's linemate, defensive tackle John Henderson, concurs that the Jaguars defense can be a top-rated unit this year if they stay injury-free.
"We're capable of being probably the best defense in the league if we stay healthy," he said. "You saw what we did when everyone went down (last year). Just think if everyone was there, fewer mistakes. I think we could be number one."
- Second year pro Clint Ingram comes off his initial season with 11 starts to his credit as a rookie. He accumulated 117 tackles a year ago, second best on the team and fourth highest in the NFL among first-year players last season.
But Ingram knows he got that playing time because middle linebacker Mike Peterson missed the final 11 games of the season due to a torn pectoral muscle. That moved Daryl Smith to the inside and gave Ingram his chance to start at the outside backer spot.
Peterson is now healthy and that pushes Smith back to his regular starting spot and leaves Ingram to battle incumbent Nick Greisen for a starting job. Ingram knows what he has to do in order to send Greisen to the sidelines and earn that spot.
"I'm pretty sure to keep a job I have to impress the coaches," Ingram said. "That's probably the main thing, impress the coaches and be one of the guys who can go out there and make a difference on defense.
"I need to finish on the ball, get lower, work on my blitzes. I could sit here all day and talk you to deaf about stuff I need to do. Better my pass drops and read my keys. It's a lot of stuff."
- Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio invited former NFL pass-rushing standout Kevin Greene to observe the team's training camp and to share some of his knowledge with some of the Jaguars young defensive end prospects. Greene played 15 seasons in the NFL and finished with 160 career sacks, third highest in NFL history.
"I invited him out to be around our edge rushers for a few days and just kind of share some of his knowledge," Del Rio said. "We just want to kind of suck that knowledge out of his brain and then send him back to the beach. He's a great, competitive guy that really knows how to rush the quarterback, so we're going to see if maybe we can get a tip or two."
Second-year defensive end Brian Hawkins did just that. Hawkins, who saw action in six games for the Jaguars a year ago before he was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury, said he's picked up some pointers from the former NFL defensive great.
"The guy is really tenacious and really violent, so to speak, when he is trying to teach you the game," Hawkins said. "Learning from him helps me out so much as far as opening up my pass rush game and letting me be able to do my job more on the field."
Greene was a walk-on at Auburn where he graduated with a degree in criminal justice. He played in the NFL from 1985-99, was twice named NFC Linebacker of the Year and in 1996 set an NFL record with five consecutive multi-sack games.
- With Greg Jones running with the same power and speed that he showed during training camp in 2006 before he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during a preseason game, the Jaguars running game looks as solid ever with Jones, Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. While Jones and Jones-Drew are in their early 20s, Taylor is the fatherly figure at age 31.
But don't expect Taylor to step aside or ease up on the number of carries he has for the 2007 season, even with the return of Jones.
"Why should I think that?" Jones said when asked if he thought his carries would go down this year. "No negative thoughts. I'm not thinking that. They brought me back for a reason. I'm a big part of this offense. That's my thought process.
"Until somebody tells me otherwise, that's going to be my thought process. I love playing football. I came back to play, not to get my reps diminished.
"If I'm tired, we'll work accordingly and share the reps, but other than that, I'm going to be smart about everything. If they do some things better than I can at this point, they're going to get the nod and I'm not going to have anything to say about it. We'll see how it goes."
QUOTE TO NOTE:
"I reminisced during the playoff time and seeing (Indianapolis quarterback) Peyton (Manning) and the Colts, but then I got married and went on with just that."
-- Jaguars defensive tackle John Henderson on if he thought about not making the playoffs during the past off-season.