Jaguars training camp notes, quotes

Quarterback Byron Leftwich didn't put up good numbers in his first two preseason games for the Jaguars.<p> He completed 4 of 8 passes for 43 yards in Miami in the first one and was 4 of 11 for 55 yards and a 15.3 quarterback rating in the second one against Tampa Bay.<p>

But the numbers have been somewhat misleading. Against Tampa Bay, he had what appeared to be a touchdown pass to Jimmy Smith ruled an incomplete pass by the officials.

Even on instant replay, Smith appeared to catch the ball, but the call stood on replay.

But coach Jack Del Rio isn't worried about the stats.

"Sometimes the full story is not told in the stats," he said.

He's convinced Leftwich is going to have a big second season because of his commitment to the game.

"I just believe that smart, tough football players who have the talent and have made the commitment to work, those people have success in this league. It's not a guarantee, but a high enough percentage (are successful)," he said.

Even great quarterbacks - four-time Super Bowl champions Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw are two examples - sometimes struggle in their second seasons, but Del Rio believes Leftwich will have faster success the way Tom Brady and Dan Marino did.

Of the struggles some quarterbacks have in their second season, Del Rio said, "I'm not going to sit here and say what you're saying is unreasonable. It's just not what I believe."

But he admits it's up to Leftwich to back up his expectations.

"Regardless of how much I convince you with my logic, the proof is in the pudding," he said. Leftwich, naturally, agrees with Del Rio.

"I put high expectations on myself. I really believe I can be successful. It's all truth. It's all really how we feel. We're just telling the guys the truth. My expectations are so far higher than anybody else's anywhere," Leftwich said. "We'll see at the end of the year."


-- When third round draft pick Jorge Cordova came back last week from a pulled quad muscle, coach Jack Del Rio had high hopes he would be a factor this year.

"We're counting on him to be a force on special teams and be a guy who can come off the edge for us and create some pass rush skills," Del Rio said Wednesday afternoon.

All those plans ended in an instant when Cordova, a third round draft choice, suffered a torn ACL in his left knee that will sideline him for the season. He'll have to undergo reconstructive knee surgery.

It was the worst injury the Jaguars have suffered in camp and was devastating for Cordova, who needed time to learn how to make the transition from pass rusher in college to every down linebacker in the NFL. Del Rio said after announcing that Cordova would spend the year on the injured reserve list, "The thing I encouraged him to do, it's hard to do, but he has to try to keep his spirits up and just focus on working hard, getting in shape and working towards next year, and that's all he can do at this point."

The loss of Cordova is another blow to the Jaguars' hopes of improving their pass rush this year. They had hoped that both Cordova and veteran Tony Brackens would make a contribution this year, but now neither will be on the team.

-- It cost the Jaguars $13.6 million to sign their 10 draft picks this year.

According to NFL Players Association figures, the signing bonuses ranged from $8.9 million for their first pick, wide receiver Reggie Williams, to $24,500 for seventh round pick Bobby McCray.

In Williams' 13-page contract, the $8.9 million is paid in five different stages. He got $2 million within 10 days of his signing and gets another $1.2 million on March 31, 2005. He also has a $5.7 million option bonus with $1.9 million coming on the 28th day of the league year in 2005, $2.1 on March 31, 2006 and $1.7 million on March 31, 2007.

If the club should decide not to exercise the option bonus, his base salaries are boosted to cover the same amount so the money is guaranteed.

It also includes what might be called a Ricky Williams clause, specifying how much of the bonus he must return if he retires before the contract expires. For example, if he retires in 2007, he must return $3.42 million.

He has several bonus clauses, including $100,000 if he's named the offensive rookie of the year by the Associated Press. And he has $25,000 workout bonuses each year starting next year.

He also has escalator clauses that can earn him up to $2.75 million.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think when teams load up to stop Fred (Taylor), he's going to be a big threat outside for us," coach Jack Del Rio on rookie running back Greg Jones.


The Jaguars don't have to start cutting the roster until Aug. 31, but they started pruning it a week early when they waived defensive end Tony Brackens and kicker Jeff Chandler.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Tommy Hendricks, who signed a two-year deal with a modest $250,000 signing bonus, is battling veteran Greg Favors for the strong-side linebacker job. Hendricks started the first game against Miami and Favors the second against Tampa Bay and the battle remains close.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Dewayne Washington has moved ahead of Juran Bolden in the battle for a cornerback spot. ... Rookie Reggie Williams is challenging Troy Edwards for a wide receiver slot.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Rookie Greg Jones, who was off to a slow start in camp, carried 18 times for 62 yards against the Bucs and showed he can complement Fred Taylor.

ROOKIE REPORT: Top pick Reggie Williams is improving after a slow start and caught a 26-yard pass against Tampa Bay. ... Linebacker Daryl Smith is fighting for a starting linebacker job at weakside linebacker. ... RB Greg Jones is coming on strong and carried 18 times for 62 yards against Tampa Bay. ... Pass rusher Jorge Cordova is out for the year with a torn ACL. ... DT Anthony Maddox has been disappointing. ... WR Ernest Wilford caught two passes for 24 yards against Tampa Bay and is likely to make the team. K Josh Scobee missed three of his first four field goal attempts and his only chance to make it is as a kickoff specialist. ... CB Chris Thompson has been impressive in camp and could be a nickel back. ... OT Sean Bubin is still learning. ... DE Bobby McCray was an underachiever in college, but is more focused with the Jaguars. ... Undrafted free agent RB Rich Alexis had 10 runs but gained only six yards against Tampa Bay. ... Undrafted free agent Fred Stamps had one catch against Tampa Bay.

INJURY REPORT: K Seth Marler (quad) and pass rusher Jorge Cordova (torn ACL) are out for the season. ... RB Joe Smith (ankle) returned to action. RB LaBrandon Toefield (ankle) and RB David Allen (ankle) are out indefinitely. ... RB Rich Alexis (ankle) hopes to return soon. ... George Wrighster (foot sprain) hopes to return soon.

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