Jaguars Dead Zone Officially Here

Welcome to the "dead zone." The dead zone is of course known as the time between OTA's and training camp where there is very little going on in the NFL, and the players have one last opportunity to rest and relax prior to the beginning of camp. JagNation.com will continue to get you the latest information on your Jacksonville Jaguars.

For NFL starved fans, this is quite possibly the worst time of the year. Training camp begins at the end of July (26th for the Jaguars), followed by preseason, which is a nice appetizer. The regular season begins in September and runs through January, and then of course there are the playoffs and the Super Bowl for two lucky teams. After the Super Bowl ends, the free agency period is just a few weeks away, and that leads us into the draft. After the draft there are mini-camps and OTA practices. Simply put, now is the time where everyone gets to relax and exhale, and overanalyze and make what's sure to be bogus predictions and power rankings to fill space.

The Jaguars completed what was probably their most crisp offensive set of practices in years, due to an increased level of talent in the passing game. Quarterback David Garrard is 200% better than a year ago, the team appears to have a much better set of receivers thanks to the additions of Jerry Porter and Troy Williamson, and running backs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew seem to be in fantastic shape.

"The new receivers have adapted well," said running back Montell Owens. "The coaches did a great job with a smooth transition for those players. The competition between our receivers is greater. In fact it seems as if every year, the competition for positions between everyone rises. The competition and intensity level is great because it keeps our players on their toes. I look at it as, the more stress we undergo in practice, the better we will be in ball games."

Defensively, the team's first and second-round draft picks, Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves look as if they're ready to supply a much needed pass rush, the team has a healthy Mike Peterson back with something to prove, and the secondary appears to be improved with the addition of Drayton Florence.

"Defensively we brought a few guys in, but the majority of our group is still here, so it's real good," said defensive tackle Derek Landri. "I thought we got more camaraderie, more team unity. It's just building off of last year, we had a real solid group, a couple games slipped here and there, but overall it's a real intense minicamp here and overall. OTA's guys were hungry, guys were flying around. It was exciting to see people do what they did."

Expectations are as high as ever for the Jaguars, and they should be, according to quarterback David Garrard—

"I believe we should have those expectations because we know what kind of team we have. We know that we made a pretty good run last year and that was off nobody even expecting us to do it. Now that we know we can do it…We didn't sneak up on everybody all year long. They had to realize eventually that we were a pretty good team. Once they started to do that we still continued to move on and win ballgames. Now we know how we can play and there is no surprise from us and there shouldn't be any surprise from anybody else."

The hype machine has officially started for the Jaguars, and the respect that Jaguars fans have been clamoring for is finally in Jacksonville from the national media. No more complaining Jaguars fans, your team is considered by nearly everyone as a Super Bowl contender.


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