David Garrard (Phil Coale/AP)
It was a beautiful night for football down at the practice fields outside of Jacksonville Municipal Stadium for the Jaguars PM training camp session. To many people's surprise, the Jacksonville Jaguars rolled out in full pads, perhaps showing that head coach Jack Del Rio means business.
There were a couple of noticeable observations right off the bat. This team is very quick on offense and also smaller than in years past. They are smaller and quicker at the offensive skill positions. Even though David Garrard checked into camp at 238 pounds, only 12 pounds lighter than last season, he was noticeably
thinner. How much did losing that weight help his passing? Rookie wide receiver Mike Thomas looked humorous, at best, in his full pads. While he is thick for a 5'8" wide receiver, he still brought a chuckle from some of the offensive coaches with how big his shoulder pads looked. The only player to not participate in practice was new strong safety, Sean Considine. He will begin the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. All indications are that it is nothing serious and he should be back in the action later this week.
The other notable players coming off injury; Torry Holt, Vince Manuwai, and Scott Starks all practiced. It appears Jack Del Rio is going to limit them to just one practice per day for right now. Fan favorite and oft injured Mike Walker fully participated and showed no signs of favoring his knee. Another quick humorous note before practice started, linebacker Clint Ingram rode a bicycle from the stadium all the way up to the practice field and back again after practice. I'm trying to find out the purpose of this, but it brought a laugh from
the fans. Now, on to actual practice.
In the wide receiver drills, it seemed like David Garrard and Paul Smith were constantly throwing behind the wide receivers. It's possible this was by design since both quarterbacks had issues, but judging by their body language that wasn't the case. Mike Walker seemed to work exclusively with David Garrard in all of the drills
except 11 on 11. A few under the radar guys who really stood out making very nice catches and adjustments to the ball were rookie Todd Peterson, Nate Hughes, and newly signed Jacksonville native Clarence Denmark. None of these players will likely make the final roster, but all three should push for practice squad spots.
In the one-on-one drills, the most notable play was made by seventh-round draft pick Tiquan Underwood putting a double move on Rashean Mathis, making him look downright silly and hauling in the long pass for a touchdown. Other players who looked good in the one-on-one drills were undrafted rookie cornerback Pete Ittersagen, wide receiver Mike Walker, and rookie receivers Mike Thomas and Jarrett Dillard.
After the one-on-ones, the Jaguars moved to the 11 on 11 drills which is where it got real shaky for the offense. Quarterback Paul Smith was baited by the patented Rashean Mathis scoop interception and was
picked. Outside linebacker Clint Ingram lived up to his reputation of being a thumper by crushing running back Alvin Pearman on a short dump off route. Kick return specialist and friend of JagNation Brian Witherspoon broke up a deep pass to Tiquan Underwood down the seam. Speedster Troy Williamson who was quiet most of practice dropped a ball about 20 yards down field he was trying to cradle and catch. A few plays later David Garrard missed Tiquan Underwood deep down the field with two defenders chasing him, and then was picked off down the field by safety Reggie Nelson. I'm not sure what Garrard was trying to do, but it was a slight jump for Nelson to pick the ball off. Later on in the second set of 11 on 11's, David Garrard was nearly picked again by Brian Williams on a deep ball to the sideline. Garrard put way too much air under the ball and it floated.
All in all it was an interesting night for the team. You can tell it's clearly a team in transition and so far the defense is ahead of the offense, like most teams at this juncture. The rookie wide receivers do look promising.
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