There was a lot of action in the practice this afternoon as the session ran almost two hours, so let's get right to it.
Prior to practice, during the first part of team stretching, the team always gets into a rhythmic clap to get rolling. This time, Mike Peterson ran between the offense and defense, which face each other for the stretching, getting the guys fired up. It was fun to watch him out there motivating the masses.
11×11 (Part 1):
The Jaguars focused heavily on check downs throughout practice. The quarterbacks are being drilled to work through their progressions and then take the dump pass. Each quarterback had a significant number of dump offs that they were executing during each of the offensive sessions trying to get the timing down.
Byron Leftwich and Marcedes Lewis connected on a nice crossing route. Lewis made it look difficult, trying to catch the ball with his body, and almost bobbling the ball in the process. He finally hauled it in and got a decent gain on the play in front of Nick Sorensen.
David Garrard connected with Reggie Williams on a deep corner route, turning it into a fifteen yard gain for the offense. Reggie made a nice catch over the top as the ball was thrown high to avoid coverage.
Garrard tried to connect with Roosevelt Kiser on a quick slant, but the ball sailed well over the receivers head on the five yard pass.
Individual Position Drills:
Ernest Wilford continues to struggle with consistency, dropping two passes during this drill that were perfectly delivered by Lester Ricard. On a quick slant, Ricard put the ball right on his hands, and it almost appeared as if Wilford was fighting the ball. After that particular drop, he had a brief conversation with his position coach, Todd Monken.
David Garrard struggled with his deep passes, either overthrowing his intended targets, or in the case of one pass intended for Matt Jones on a deep corner, one hopping it to the receiver. When he did hit his receivers on the deep passes, he was victimized by drops, so it just was not a good day for the backup. I am starting to wonder if he might be dealing with a little bit of shoulder fatigue because his accuracy woes go far beyond what would normally be the case in training camp.
Both he and Leftwich had balls that they put on target that fell incomplete, and the receivers that were behind the drops are guys like Reggie Williams, Ernest Wilford, and D'Juan Woods.
This drill is quickly becoming a fan favorite because it matches receivers up against a single defensive back. It fosters a real competitive atmosphere on the field, which always feeds the crowd to keep it interesting.
Byron Leftwich and Dennis Northcutt continue to develop some chemistry as they connected a few times during this drill, and each one went for good yardage. In one instance, Byron dropped a ball on Northcutt on a deep corner route over Dee Webb in the end zone. Northcutt made a nice jumping grab, hauling in the touchdown over the young cornerback.
Ernest Wilford continued what was quickly becoming a bad day for him. Byron targeted him on a deep go route, hitting him in the hands in full stride. Wilford was unable to pull the ball in and make the reception.
Byron went deep on the next play, this time to John Broussard on a deep crossing pattern. The ball went right off the rookie's hands and fell incomplete.
Mike Walker continues to show that his receiving skills are on par with a veteran wide out by making a great adjustment to pull in a deep sideline pass from Byron that dropped in over Rashod Moulton for a big gain.
Byron tried to go to Reggie Williams on a deep post route, but dropped the ball at his feet. Reggie has been much quicker and better at getting in and out of his cuts during training camp, so maybe Byron is still not used to the newfound speed? It has been interesting to see Reggie running so many deep routes up to this point in training camp. In the end, it was a bad pass, which has actually been somewhat of a rarity in camp.
Mike Walker made another impressive diving grab on a sideline pass from Garrard. The ball was thrown away from coverage, which was being tightly applied by Bruce Thornton. Walker made a nice move and went down low to bring the ball in cleanly.
D'Juan Woods did not help his cause by allowing a nicely thrown pass from Lester Ricard to bounce off of his hands and fall incomplete on a little slant route. Meanwhile, Jimmy Farris continues to make a case that he should get some strong consideration for a roster spot by catching just about anything thrown in his direction, including a nice sideline pass thrown low and away. Farris went down and made a nice rolling catch before going out of bounds.
David Garrard barely avoided being intercepted by Jamar Landrom on a pass intended for Matt Jones on a quick slant. The ball was thrown over the receivers back shoulder, and right into the face of Landrom.
He rebounded on the next play, connecting on a perfectly thrown bomb down the middle of the field on a streaking John Broussard, making the play over Rashean Mathis.
He came back again on the next play and hooked up with Roosevelt Kiser for a deep touchdown on the sideline with Rashod Moulton in coverage.
When he tried to link up with Mike Walker in the back of the end zone on a corner route, he showed his erratic passing by overthrowing Walker by five yards.
Greg Estandia continues to make his case for a roster spot, hauling in a nice grab on a pass from Leftwich that was put between Mike Peterson and Reggie Nelson who were both right there in the middle of the field. Estandia was able to maintain concentration, pull the ball in, and continue down the seam for a long gain.
Byron Leftwich saw firsthand why Rashean Mathis is a Pro Bowl cornerback. On a quick slant intended for Ernest Wilford, Mathis jumped the route and intercepted the pass for what would have been a sure pick six.
David Garrard rolled left on a play to buy time, missing a wide open D'Juan Woods initially, but then picking him up again and delivering the pass when Woods was on the sideline. It was a nice pass by Garrard, but a trend has been developing during camp where he hesitates before throwing the football, almost as if he is second guessing the move, then committing to it. In most instances, his hesitation forces him to check down to the running back and just dump it off. This time, the receiver stayed with him until he decided to throw the ball.
Garrard came back and showed nice touch on a little screen pass to Alvin Pearman. Clint Ingram was coming hard at Pearman when the catch was made, and he smothered him on the sideline for a very short gain.
This is a drill that they have not been using regularly during camp. Instead of having just one receiver and one defensive back to contend with, they add a second receiver or running back, and another defensive back in coverage.
Byron Leftwich picked a spot between the defensive backs and delivered a strike to Ernest Wilford who was probably quite relieved to discover that the ball stayed in his hands for a change.
Tim Couch got his first real action of the day, stepping in to make a couple of short passes on crossing routes to D'Juan Woods and Roosevelt Kiser. He continues to show nice touch on his passes as Quinn Gray sits on the sideline as a spectator.
11×11 (Part II):
This was a two minute drill run by both Byron Leftwich and David Garrard.
Byron connected on a quick slant with Matt Jones that went for a short gain.
He came back on the next play and attempted to hit Reggie Williams on a deep pass down the sideline. The ball was dropped into the hands of the receiver, but Brian Williams got a hand in to knock the ball away for an incomplete pass.
They went back in the direction of Brian Williams with Ernest Wilford running a slant in front of him for a short gain, then again on a deep corner route for another eight yard gain.
Leftwich then hit Dennis Northcutt on a short slant route that went for a minimal gain.
Byron tried to go back to Reggie Williams on another quick slant, but Rashean Mathis got a hand in and knocked the pass to the ground, forcing a field goal attempt.
Scobee lined up for a 37 yard field goal, and promptly got the ball stuffed back in his face when Marcus Stroud blew through the middle of the line and swallowed the kick, ending the two minute drill for the Leftwich crew.
David Garrard initiated his drive by connecting on the sideline with John Broussard, getting the ball out as Brian Williams was coming on the blitz, barely avoiding a sack.
Garrard was almost sacked again on the next play when Brent Hawkins blew right by Richard Collier, just missing Garrard as he got the ball hitting Richard Estandia on the sideline for a short gain.
Hawkins blew by Collier a second time, and this time got to Garrard, sacking him as he was setting up to throw it at Mike Walker on a slant route.
Jamaal Fudge came up the middle on a blitz, forcing Garrard to roll right. When he did, Brent Hawkins was more than happy to sack him for a third time in four plays, forcing a field goal attempt.
Coming off the blocked attempt, Scobee was able to hit from 45 yards the second time around.
7×7 (Red Zone):
Byron connected immediately with Dennis Northcutt for a touchdown on a crossing pattern.
Byron connected on his second attempt with Matt Jones on a little dump pass, but Terry Cousin hammered Jones for a very short gain.
Byron attempted to go after Jermaine Wiggins, but Reggie Nelson stepped in and almost intercepted the pass.
David Garrard rolled out to his left and hit LaBrandon Toefield for a short gain.
On a dump pass intended for Alvin Pearman, Garrard threw to his back shoulder high, missing the target completely.
He came back on the next play connecting with Mike Walker who came streaking over the middle of the field in the end zone.
Tim Couch hit Jimmy Farris on a short crossing route. Farris bobbled the ball but held on to it for a short gain.
Couch was almost picked off by Brent Hawkins when he attempted to hit Isaac Smolko in the end zone, but threw the ball just slightly behind the receiver.
11×11 (Part III):
Lester Ricard connected with Greg Jones on a dump pass for a short gain. Jones showed a nice cut back move, but the penetration by the defensive line made that a maneuver that was unnecessary.
Alvin Pearman tried to run the ball up the middle, but he was greeted by Derek Landri, Justin Durant, and James Wyche. This is not a welcoming committee that you want to meet when you are running full speed directly into their open arms. Pearman tried to use his patented technique for dealing with such a dilemma, turning around backward and trying to back through them hoping they might not notice. They buried him three yards behind the line of scrimmage, putting a quick end to that thought.
Maurice Jones-Drew attempted to run into the teeth of the Jags defense, but he was stuffed at the line by Gerald Sensabaugh and Mike Peterson as they came up in run support, plugging the hole that the running back was trying to exploit.
Fred Taylor also tested the waters in the middle of the defense, only to have Marcus Stroud wrap him up behind the line for a loss along with Clint Ingram.
In a lesson on futility, Greg Jones tried to crack the middle of the line again, only to have Rob Meier plant him at the line of scrimmage with a little help from Justin Durant.
After testing the middle with no luck to be found, Maurice Drew ripped a big run, wisely running outside of the right tackle. Clearly, they were just setting this run up by probing the middle of the line three times, and then going outside.
They quickly moved this to a goal line drill where Byron connected with Greg Jones, who quickly turned the dump pass up field and ended up with a touchdown.
Maurice Drew tried to run behind Khalif Barnes, only to be stuffed at the line by Gerald Sensabaugh.
He came back and attempted to run the ball up the middle again only to be stuffed at the line of scrimmage, unable to crack the goal line.
Jorge Cordova had his first highlight of training camp, batting down a pass intended for Greg Estandia delivered by David Garrard.
The session ended when Greg Jones was stuffed by Brent Hawkins at the line of scrimmage, showing just how dominant the defense is at stopping the run.
The offense is starting to incorporate a lot of motion at the line, and it is not just one receiver going in motion. There are several times during the practice where they have one receiver go into motion, then set, and then another one follows suit before the ball is snapped. This is something that we rarely saw with Carl Smith and his offensive scheme.
Tim Couch continues to progress in his throwing accuracy and velocity, and is starting to participate in more drills. All the while, Quinn Gray stands on the sideline watching practice with the training staff.
The defense is looking fast, and strong. Teams are going to have a difficult time running the ball against the Jaguars, and if the pass rush continues to show the same type of disruptive behavior, passing is going to be a tough call as well.