Jaguars Notes and Quotes

With only eight practice sessions left in their OTAs, Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio will take a hard look at his receiving group over the next three weeks. The OTAs are designed for teams to sharpen their passing attacks before training camp opens in August. Thus far, the Jaguars haven't been particularly sharp in either the passing or receiving aspect.

The receivers will especially be the focus of attention in the final eight practices. Mike Sims-Walker is unquestionably the leader of the group, but thus far, no one has emerged as the No. 2 receiver. Mike Thomas would seem to be the leading candidate for that spot, but he's been out most of the early part of OTAs, though he is expected back this week. The receiver group contains mostly young, unproven players with the exception of veteran Troy Williamson.

"That's a group that we're going to work and let them determine their roles and roster spot," Del Rio said. "Troy is in the mix. Clarence Denmark's in the mix, Nate (Hughes) is in the mix. All those guys are in the mix. We need somebody to emerge. We've got a bunch of guys that will get an opportunity and we'll let that play out in camp."

Denmark would be the most unique story. He's from Jacksonville, having attended Lee High School in the city before playing his college ball at Arkansas-Monticello. He was signed by the Jaguars as an undrafted rookie in August of 2009 but was waived in the team's final cuts that year. He was signed to the practice squad for the final four weeks of the season and then signed as a free agent two days after the season ended.

He's drawn Del Rio's eye with his determination and dedication.

"He came in last year as a roster spot, a camp spot ... and did well enough. He was fast and tough and showed he could learn so we had him around for the practice squad a little bit later in the year," Del Rio said. "Coming out of the season, we thought he's worth bringing him back and investing more time in him. He's really made, I think, significant improvement and put himself in position to legitimately contend for a roster spot."

--The Jaguars didn't practice this last week but resume their "voluntary" organized team activities (OTAs) on Monday. The team has eight practices -- three this week, three the following week and two the next week, concluding on June 22.

--Cornerback Rashean Mathis continues as the only rostered player not participating in the OTAs although a handful of Jaguars players have seen limited action due to previous injuries. There's no indication if Mathis will show up and participate the final eight sessions. He has not given any interviews nor has his agent talked about his absence.

Mathis told head coach Jack Del Rio that he wouldn't be attending the OTAs because he wants the team to re-do his contract. He has two years left on a five-year, $25.5 million extension that he agreed to off his initial contract. He received $9.4 million in guaranteed money with the new extension and is due to receive $3.95 million this year and $4.45 million next year. Mathis wants to be paid in the same range as the top 10 cornerbacks in the league, even though he has only made it one Pro Bowl in his seven seasons with the Jaguars.

--The Jaguars urgency to sell season tickets during the offseason with the hope of avoiding the numerous blackouts the team experienced a year ago, has made significant strides but still has a ways to go. The team still has slightly more than 12,000 non-premium season tickets to sell to assure that their home games will be on local TV.

The team had extended its popular 30-30 plan ($30 per month for 30 months for a season ticket for three years at a locked in price) through May. That's now over and while it brought in nearly 12,000 new season ticket holders, it still leaves the team a ways to go. June is typically a slow ticket-selling month, so the team has directed its attention to selling is premium seats.

These seats don't count toward the blackouts, but they are important because 60 percent of Jaguars ticket revenue comes from their 12,000 premium seats. They currently have between 4,000 and 5,000 premium seats that can be sold.

--Maurice Jones-Drew will hold a free youth football camp at a local high school in Jacksonville on June 19. The Jaguars running back will lead the camp and will be joined by other highly qualified, experienced NFL athletes, college players and high school coaches. They will teach fundamental football techniques as well as mentor to the campers about the importance of an education, rejecting negative attitudes and avoiding drugs and alcohol as their key to success.

"My aim is to promote self esteem through positive experiences like the football camp," Jones-Drew said. "I feel opportunities such as this can offer kids a chance to hear directly from their NFL heroes, that although they came from similar surroundings, hard work and determination helped them to succeed.

"If my youth outreach can turn one kid around, my mission is accomplished."

The football camp is free for the first 300 kids ages seven to 16.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think he's a little bit humbled. He's accustomed to being the best guy on the field all the time. All his life, he's been the most talented guy on the field and I think he understands clearly that he's got to fight for an edge in this league and he's looking to do that right now." -- Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio talking about safety Reggie Nelson.


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