Jaguars Notes and Quotes
--NFL commissioner Roger Goodell visited the Jaguars facility on Monday of last week. He spoke with a group of prominent local businessmen and then met with local media afterwards. He reaffirmed that he has not second-guessed putting a team in Jacksonville.
"No, I don't," he answered to the question. "We want this team to be successful and we want it to be here. We just want to make sure that we're playing in front of large audiences and hopefully sold-out audiences because that's what we do expect in the NFL.
"There's a tremendous fan base for football. It exists down here and I think Wayne (Weaver) and the Jaguars provide a tremendous leadership to help put the best product on the field, and I think the business community here is proving great leadership to talk about this team.
The Jaguars had nine of their 10 home games blacked out last year and Goodell was asked about the possibility of changing the percentage of tickets that needed to be sold to avoid blackouts depending on the market.
"It's a policy that's served the league well over several decades. And it's been through a lot of economic crises through that period of time. I think it served everyone very well, so I don't anticipate any changes," the commissioner said.
--The Jaguars worked tight end Zach Miller at quarterback on back-to-back days, including one practice session in which normal starter David Garrard was rested. Miller was a 3-year starting quarterback in college at Nebraska-Omaha.
He was converted to the tight end spot a year ago in his rookie season and said he's getting comfortable playing his new spot.
"There are things that I do that I feel a lot more comfortable doing and there are things that I still have a ways to go," he said. "It's still a learning curve and it's something I'm going to keep learning every practice, every game.
"Playing quarterback my whole life, I never really had tobe the lowest on blocks or things like that so that's one thing. It's something I'm working on but that's one of the things that I know cut and dry I need to do."
--It isn't often that fans and players look forward to a certain aspect of daily practice, but that changed on Wednesday this week when newly signed defensive tackle Tyson Alualu was matched against veteran offensive guard Vince Manuwai in an individual battle of the Jaguars' Oklahoma drill. The normal Oklahoma drill took place two days before, but that was prior to Alualu ending his 5-day holdout and signing his Jaguars contract.
The Alualu-Manuwai matchup was a battle of Hawaiians as both players had grew up across the street from each other in a Honolulu housing project. Manuwai requested the matchup of his long-time friend in the drill where an offensive player and defensive player are lined up against each other in a one-on-one battle to see if a running back can run through the hole without being tackled by the defensive player.
The consensus on the showdown between the two Hawaiian 300-pounders was a draw, with both players winning one of the individual battles and the third one being too close to call a win for either side. Nearly 2,000 fans waited through a rain and lightning delay to watch the matchup.
"If I don't get pushed back (it's a success)," said Manuwai who is fighting to retain his starting spot at a guard position.
Added Alualu, "It was fun, just another chance to go up against Vince, someone I grew up next to and looked up to. I had fun doing it."
--Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver continues to express optimism that the team will avoid the blackout issue that haunted the club a year ago. All but one of the regular season games were blacked out in 2009 due to non-sellouts.
"I'm cautiously optimistic we're going to get there," Weaver told The Florida Times-Union this week. "We probably need another 4-to 5,000 season tickets and we think we can do that. And then we have to sell another 5 to 6,000 group sales. If we do things, we're confident we'll get there.
"I think there's a lot of energy in the community. I think people are excited about what we've done in the offseason. The chemistry on this team is the best it's been in the 15 years I can remember."
Weaver added they the team will likely lift the blackouts for the preseason games even if they are not sold out "....because I think we're going to get close enough to sellouts."
--The only skirmish in the first week of the Jaguars training camp was when defensive end Austen Lane and offensive tackle Kevin Haslam had to be separated near the end of Monday night's practice.
Lane left practice with some blood on his face. Afterward he said there were no hard feelings. "It's all part of the game. It's all in fun."
The Jaguars could be in line for a couple more such incidents when they travel to Flowery Branch, Ga. this week for two days of workouts and scrimmaging with the Atlanta Falcons.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's a little bit like my golf game. It's a little bit Clint Eastwood. There's some good, there's some bad and there's some ugly." -- Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio on how training camp has looked after the first five days.
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