Jags Like Where They Are

Coach Jack Del Rio downplayed the significance of the team being forced to forego its last two days of OTAs next week as a result of the team being admonished for excessive play in the OTAs up until now.


The Jaguars coach said the final two days were going to be more of a review of the past 12 OTA sessions compared to installing some new concepts.

"We hadn't scheduled any more installation; we got it all in. Next week was going to be a little bit of a review. It was going to be lighter. In some years I've actually cancelled those last couple of days. But we had them scheduled to do and we'll just adjust and move forward," he said.

--With next week's OTAs cancelled, the Jaguars will now be off until Thursday, July 29, when players must report. The first of four two-a-day practice sessions will then begin the following day. The following Friday the team will conduct a scrimmage in the stadium. Unlike past years, the scrimmage will only be available to season ticket holders.

The following Monday and Tuesday, the team will journey to Georgia to practice twice-a-day, both days, with the Atlanta Falcons. The team returns for a practice on Wednesday and then plays its first preseason game that Friday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

--Unlike some other NFL starting quarterbacks that have made news for their after-hour escapades, Jaguar fans aren't likely to have to worry about David Garrard being involved in any trouble. At 32, the Jaguars quarterback is married and has a young son. But even when he was single, he said he was never one to stay out late.

"I'm not going to say I never went out. I did have energy myself. I quickly wisened up though," Garrard said. "I don't know how they do it now [players that are out late]. It's hard for me to stay up past 9:30 [p.m.] now. When my son goes to bed, I almost feel like it's time for us to go to bed too.

"There are a lot of young guys out here now. I think you can look back to the old saying that there is nothing good that can happen after 12:00 (a.m.). If they could really stick to that, that would help a lot of people."

--Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew has always been one who can find the positive, the good, in situations that might not appear so to others. The Jaguars running back said he really likes what he's seen from the younger players in the team's OTAs that finished up this week.

"Guys are here working hard, doing everything they can. If we run a play and a guy messes up, last year he might mess up again and you know, it's just being young," Jones-Drew said. "But this year even the young guys when they mess up, they're not making the same mistake twice and the coaches are really harping on that.

"The D-line is looking great. David [Garrard] is throwing the ball just on the money every play. Receivers are getting up and catching passes, DBs are breaking up some balls. It's an even back and forth. Each practice it's offense one time, defense the next and that's when a great team arrives."

--Following a recent Jaguars OTA session, kick returner/cornerback Scotty McGee was asked about practicing with his ring on. Most players discard all jewelry so as not to risk a possible injury because of it.

But the Jaguars sixth-round draft pick from James Madison said he's been playing with the ring -- his wedding ring -- since his senior season in college.

"The majority of the time I have gloves on. It doesn't bother he," he said.

McGee also announced that he and his wife are expecting twin boys this fall.

"They're due Nov. 8, our bye week, so it's perfect. I'm praying that my wife goes full term."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think the work ethic and the dedication that we've seen throughout, all of this work this spring has been on point and exactly what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately it's been decided by the (NFL) PA and the Management Council that we were somehow going beyond the limits that they had established for us, and while I don't necessarily agree with that assessment of what we've been doing, we are going to respect that decision and therefore everything will be canceled next week; no OTAs and no workouts." -- Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio following Thursday's OTA practice.


The Jaguars say that the penalty which cost them the final week of OTA practices isn't that significant, that they had installed all the new plays for the coming season and that the final couple of practices were only going to be for review. But for a team that is full of young players, one that started five rookies at times last year and had four other first-year players contributing much to the offense, and for a team that will likely count on another half dozen rookies from this past college draft for contributions for the upcoming season, they could have used all the additional practice time allowed.

The team has a number of holes to fill, players who need to step their game up another level in order to be competitive next year. That especially holds true on the offensive side of the ball, where the Jaguars passing game is a work in progress. Other than Mike Sims-Walker (63 catches) and Mike Thomas (48), no other Jaguars wide receiver caught more than 16 passes for the season. So there is definitely work that needs to be put in by this group before its ready for the next NFL season.

OTAs are typically the best time to focus on specific areas of improvement -- such as the Jaguars' passing game. For the Jaguars to miss out on two sessions in which to help its 19th ranked passing game from a year ago, is more significant than what Del Rio might be indicating.

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