Jack Del Rio (Phil Coale/AP)
The Jacksonville Jaguars came out under the lights in full pads on Wednesday night, despite some scattered rain storms. It was an ominous setting for football practice; Light rain, full pads, and spidered lighting in the sky far in the distance. It was a perfect setting for a full-contact practice.
Wednesday signified the recent tradtion of the Oklahoma drill for the Jaguars. It generally brings the fans out, as roughly 2,500 onlookers showed up for the drill. The Oklahoma is essentially a one-on-one blocking/shedding drill. The offensive lineman attempts to stone and move the defender to let a running back by while the defender attempts to tackle the running back. I'll say this first and foremost, this is an offensive drill and the offensive lineman generally has the advantage because he just to hold the point of attack without worry of other defenders. It is entertaining, none the less. Here are some of the highlights:
Derrick Harvey vs. Eben Britton: The first match up was last year's first round pick against this year's second round pick. The first go around, Harvey got a good initial push, but Britton stood Harvey up and held the point of attack. The next go round saw Harvey get off Britton and make the tackle. Good showing for both participants.
Terrance Knighton vs. Uche Nwaneri: This was a match up I was looking forward to specifically. In the first match, Knighton beat Uche badly, tossing him aside after the initial engagement. In round 2 Uche held (not the penalty) Knighton at the point of attack. This drew a round 3 which ended in a stalemate with great effort by both involved.
Tony Pashos vs. Julius Williams: I'll say this first, Julius Williams is small and looks like an outside linebacker for a 3-4 more than a 4-3 defensive end. In the initial contest, Williams went low and Pashos held him down. Someone actually called a penalty on Pashos, so they went again. Williams was smart in the drill knowing he couldn't power through Pashos and went low the next two times taking out the runners legs.
Attiyah Ellison vs. Mo Williams: While Ellison has been rolling with the starters in 11x11 drills and looked impressive, he got stoned by Mo WIlliams twice in this drill. To his credit, he wasn't budged off his intial attack, but he couldn't move Williams either.
Zach Miller vs. Tim Shaw: This was a battle I was looking forward to, not the match up specifically, but Zach Miller blocking. To my surprise, Miller looked like a pro blocking up Tim Shaw. Both times Miller got a good punch and drove Shaw backwards, Miller lost his helmet one of the times with Shaw trying to get past. Miller's effort and tenacity had coach Mike Tice hooting and hollering and jumping up and down. Miller has been very, very impressive in camp.
Cameron Stephenson vs. Jeremy Navarre/Terrance Knighton: Stephenson was a bit of a surprise. I figured the kid as a practice squad player, but he dominated Jeremy Navarre in this drill. He drew a smirk from Jack Del Rio who then called out Terrance Knighton to face Stephenson. Stephenson answered by standing up Knighton for an easy 3-0 win in the drill.
Brad Meester vs. Thomas Williams: I guess for the "joke" match up of camp, Jack Del Rio let Brad Meester swallow up Thomas Williams twice. Nothing like seeing an interior lineman versus a second level defender.
Some other quick notes on practice:
* Greg Jones looks noticably thinner and quicker. He still runs and blocks with power. In one blitz pick up drill, Jones blocked Williams and literally lifted him off the ground and tossed him to the side. Trying to save a little face, Williams pretended like he was tying his shoes.
* There were way too many short quick passes and wide receiver screens for my liking.
* Mike Walker gets better and better each day and could possibly be the No. 1 receiver despite Torry Holt's presence.
* Torry Holt right now is clearly on his decline. He still looks pretty good, but is not the Holt of old. He will be a nice possession receiver however. Another thing to note on Torry Holt, he was seen quite often in Mike Walker's ear and coaching him up. Very good sign.
* The team used a lot of single back formations with Maurice Jones-Drew split out wide and Greg Jones in the backfield. There were a few screens out of this, Greg Jones getting some carries, and normal passes with Jones-Drew running routes. Very interesting.
* Derek Cox and Tyron Brackenridge are two defensive backs to watch. Both were impressive in 1 on 1 drills and 7x7 and 11x11 drills. Derrick Cox had another interception of a deep ball from Todd Bouman.