Jaguars Camp Report: Day 5

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
5:30
PM ET
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Jacksonville Jaguars training camp.


  • It wasn’t a good day for the receivers, who dropped four passes during 11-on-11 work – including one in the end zone by Mike Brown. That came on perhaps Blake Bortles’ best throw of camp. He zipped a pass between two defensive backs and hit Brown in the chest, but Brown couldn’t hold on to the ball. Bortles had another good throw down the left sideline that he dropped in over the cornerback that Kerry Taylor dropped. Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson also dropped passes, though cornerback Dwayne Gratz was hanging onto Robinson when he dropped the pass. Tight end Marcedes Lewis also had a pass bounce off his hands, but it would have been a fantastic catch had he hauled it in because Bortles’ pass was behind him.
  • Wednesday was the first day in full pads and we finally got to see some good one-on-one battles between the offensive and defensive linemen. Left tackle Luke Joeckel had a pretty good day. Defensive end Chris Clemons beat him with an inside spin move on their first matchup but Joeckel came right back and locked Clemons down in their next matchup. Joeckel also had the most impressive block during the drills, pancaking rookie defensive end Chris Smith. Another rookie, guard Brandon Linder, drew the unfortunate task of taking on defensive end Red Bryant. The 6-foot-4, 323-pound Bryant pushed the 6-5, 311-pound Linder back, but Linder never let Bryant disengage or get by. A couple other matchups of note: defensive tackle Jordan Miller beat center Mike Brewster with an inside move but Brewster held the block on their rematch; defensive tackle Abry Jones beat center/guard Jacques McClendon twice.
  • The Jaguars were the worst team in the NFL in the red zone in 2013, scoring touchdowns only 43.9 percent of their possessions and scoring points on only 75.6 percent of their possessions. They’ve done red zone work in camp but coach Gus Bradley said the Jaguars may do more of it going forward. “I know we got better the last six or seven games of the season in the red zone, but it was an area of emphasis for us [in OTAs, minicamp and training camp],” Bradley said. “So you might see more and more red zone opportunities for us to at least practice and work.” The Jaguars’ first-team offense had some success on Wednesday. Chad Henne hit Robinson in the end zone for a touchdown. Henne also hooked up with rookie Marqise Lee on a short pass near the goal line and Lee fought into the end zone.
  • Linebacker John Lotulelei practiced for the first time on Wednesday after he passed a physical. He had been on the active/non-football injury list after reporting to camp with a hamstring injury. … Tight end D.J. Tialavea (quad) also returned to practice. … Bradley said cornerback Alan Ball, who is on the PUP list with an ankle injury, may return within the next few days. … Attendance was 1,504.

 
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars are going to make Toby Gerhart their workhorse back, possibly giving him 20-plus touches a game. But he can’t be on the field for every play, and that’s when Jordan Todman is expected to take over.

Todman
Todman
The third-year player from Connecticut has quietly had a good start to training camp. During Wednesday morning's full-pads practice he broke a couple runs, including one in which he accelerated past linebacker Nate Stupar to break free into the secondary. He has made plays like that throughout camp and appears, right now at least, to have a solid hold on the No. 2 spot behind Gerhart.

"You’re seeing him break some," Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said. "The other day he had one where he broke and you saw him accelerate. Today he had another one, and I think that’s what we’re counting on him for -- to give that change-up, that burst that we know he has."

The Jaguars need a change-of-pace back to complement the 6-foot, 235-pound Gerhart, who is a physical, downhill runner who should spend most of his time between the tackles. Having someone who is quicker and can get the edge gives the Jaguars an inside-outside running game.

The 5-10, 198-pound Todman says it feels like he’s even quicker and faster this year because he’s more at ease in his second year in the offense.

"Size isn’t my weapon. It’s my speed," he said. "I feel like I’ve always played full-speed, but more importantly this camp I feel like I’ve been moving and am comfortable at a high level."

Todman was the top backup to Maurice Jones-Drew last season, carrying the ball 76 times for 256 yards and two touchdowns and catching 14 passes for 116 yards and another score. He started against Buffalo because Jones-Drew was hurt and ran for 109 yards on 25 carries.

That gave him somewhat of an edge over second-year player Denard Robinson and seventh-round draft pick Storm Johnson heading into camp, but the competition to be Gerhart’s top backup was wide open. Though Robinson’s ball skills have improved significantly because the nerve damage in his hand has healed and Johnson looked good in organized team activities and minicamp, Todman is still ahead on the depth chart.

He also wants to return kickoffs again. He was seventh in the NFL in kickoff return average in 2013 (27.4 yards per return).

"I love it," Todman said. "I felt like I did okay last year. There’s some returns I wish I could take back, but hopefully this year I’ll be able to get one to the house."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have lost reserve tight end Clay Harbor for a month, and possibly longer.

Harbor
Harbor sustained a calf injury during Monday's practice at Bartram Trail High School and had his lower left leg in a protective boot on Wednesday. He and starter Marcedes Lewis are the only tight ends on the roster that have caught a pass in an NFL game. The other three tight ends are either undrafted rookies or first-year players.

Harbor caught 24 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns last season and has 71 catches in his career as a flex tight end. Coach Gus Bradley said he and general manager David Caldwell have not yet discussed trying to find and add a veteran tight end.

Harbor's absence will mean more reps for undrafted rookies D.J. Tialavea, Reggie Jordan and Marcel Jensen, as well as first-year player Brandon Barden, who played in three games for Tennessee in 2012.

"Those guys will get some opportunities," Bradley said. "I think the H-spot is really what we're looking at. That’s where Clay played, so that would be the spot that we need to discuss."
Reading the coverage of the Jacksonville Jaguars ...

The Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran takes a look at the Jaguars' QB stats through four practices.

Defensive tackle Roy Miller wasn't healthy in 2013. A bad shoulder impacted his play. But he had offseason surgery and the Jaguars are hoping he'll make a bigger impact now that he's healthy, writes the T-U's Vito Stellino.

CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco has Jaguars coach Gus Bradley No. 3 on his list of 10 coaches he finds interesting.

Andrew Thurlow of the Jacksonville Business Journal wonders what the Jaguars have planned for the shipyards.

James F. Bailey Jr., the publisher of the Financial News & Daily Record, writes that Shad Khan's infectious smile and efforts are changing the city.

Rookie WRs impressing Jaguars

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
10:00
AM ET
video
Jacksonville Jaguars reporter Michael DiRocco discusses Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson and how quarterback Chad Henne believes the two rookie receivers are much further along than he thought they would be.

Jaguars wake-up call: Day 5

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
8:00
AM ET
Every day of Jacksonville Jaguars training camp we'll have a wake-up call that previews the day ahead.

9:55 a.m. ET -- Practice (open to the public).
Approx. 12:15 p.m. ET -- Jaguars coach Gus Bradley news conference.

Here are some of the storylines we'll be following:
  • Today is the first day in full pads so we'll finally get a good look at the Jaguars' rebuilt offensive line. I'm eager to see if center Mike Brewster has gotten stronger and whether the middle of the line can handle a group of defensive tackles that has gotten deeper thanks to a healthy Roy Miller and the acquisition of Ziggy Hood. The 1-on-1 drills and work in the running game should be ramped up even more. Being in full pads should help avoid any sluggishness from Tuesday's day off.
  • The defense had its best day of camp Monday, shutting down the offense in 11-on-11 and picking off two passes, nearly intercepting a third and knocking down two at the line of scrimmage. That followed a pretty good day by the offense Sunday. Which unit responds today?
  • Can't wait to see how running back Toby Gerhart looks during a full-pads workout. He's a pounding, physical runner (6-feet, 235 pounds) who should be able to significantly help the Jaguars on first down. Gerhart is faster than he gets credit for being, but he's a between-the-tackles runner. Looking forward to his first collision with middle linebacker Paul Posluszny.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- With the Jaguars having an off day for the first time this training camp, it’s time to take stock of their first four practices:
  • One guy quietly having a good camp is tight end Marcedes Lewis. He said during the spring that this has been his best offseason and he feels the best he has in a long time. That has shown up so far in training camp. He’s catching pretty much everything and it looks like the Jaguars are going to keep him involved in the offense the way he was during the last month of the 2013 season, when he caught 16 passes (four TDs) in the final five games. He remains one of the league’s top blocking tight ends.
  • We won’t know for sure until the Jaguars get into full pads on Wednesday and see how things play out in the preseason, but it looks like GM David Caldwell may have pulled off one of the better moves in free agency by signing running back Toby Gerhart. He doesn’t exactly match up when you compare him to Adrian Peterson, whom he backed up the past four years, but he’s got the look of a guy who can be a workhorse back for the Jaguars. He’s a big (6-foot, 231 pounds) and physical runner, but he has surprised some defensive players with his speed and he has very good hands and will be a factor in the passing game. The player he replaces, Maurice Jones-Drew, was one of the best in the league at picking up blitzes and helping in pass protection, but the coaches are saying Gerhart is pretty good in that aspect, too.
  • Another free-agent signing that appears to be working out well is defensive end Red Bryant. The 6-4, 323-pounder is a load and the offensive line has been having a hard time keeping him out of the backfield. Bryant had some issues with the heat during the spring -- not to be unexpected since he came from Seattle -- but seems to have adjusted to the even hotter temperatures during training camp. Bryant is the perfect fit for the end spot opposite the LEO. He’s hard to move, gets consistent penetration and sets the edge.
  • There has been a lot of talk about safety Johnathan Cyprien after linebacker Paul Posluszny said Cyprien could become the best safety in the league. Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley won’t go that far but they have said Cyprien is certainly talented enough to reach that level if he continues to work hard. The Jaguars drafted him to be a box safety but he turned out to be better in coverage than they thought and Bradley said he has improved even more.
  • There have been relatively few injuries during the four practices, but two have been key players: receiver Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and tight end Clay Harbor (calf). Shorts may still be out for another two weeks or more and it’s unsure how long Harbor will be out. The development of rookie receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson has helped ease the loss of Shorts somewhat, but he is by far the Jaguars’ most experienced receiver and not having him during the regular season will impact the offense. Harbor is the Jaguars’ flex tight end and the only other one on the roster besides Lewis who has caught a pass in a game.
Reading the coverage of the Jacksonville Jaguars ...
  • The Jaguars are getting short on tight ends. Clay Harbor, No. 2 on the depth chart behind Marcedes Lewis, suffered a calf injury during Monday's practice at Bartram Trail High School and will miss a significant amount of time, writes Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union. Undrafted rookie D.J. Tialavea (quad) also is out, which means starter Lewis is the only healthy tight end on the roster who has caught a pass in a game.
  • The Jaguars took their practice on the road on Monday night and more than 3,000 people showed up to watch, writes the T-U's Hays Carlyon. Coach Gus Bradley said the team tried to have fun with the theme of practicing at a high school by showing pictures of some of the players while they were in high school. One of them was Lewis, who admitted to being mystified regarding where they got his picture.
  • NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthall lists Jaguars receivers Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon among the losers of Week 1 of training camps.
  • Bovada has updated its NFL over/under victory totals, and the Jaguars are now at 5. CBSSports.com's Josh Katzowitz says he'd take the over.
Join us today at 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT for ESPN's NFL Nation TV's Spreecast episode No. 16. Host Paul Gutierrez (Oakland Raiders reporter) and guests Jamison Hensley (Baltimore Ravens reporter) and Michael DiRocco (Jacksonville Jaguars reporter) discuss a range of topics from Ray Rice's two-game suspension to the Jaguars staying in Justin Blackmon's corner to a Browns fan desecrating Art Modell’s grave, among other timely issues. Viewers are encouraged to log in and ask the panelists questions as well as contribute in the chat feature.

 
ST JOHNS, Fla. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Jacksonville Jaguars training camp:
  • After an impressive performance by the quarterbacks and receivers on Sunday, the defense rebounded with a strong day in the Jaguars’ practice at Bartram Trail High School. There were two interceptions -- defensive tackle Roy Miller made a diving catch after Chris Clemons deflected Chad Henne's pass and undrafted rookie Rashaad Reynolds snared an errant throw by Stephen Morris and returned it for a TD -- and four pass breakups (including deflections by Clemons and defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks) during 11-on-11. “The other day the offense really came off the ball and did a good job at establishing the line of scrimmage,” coach Gus Bradley said. “The defense came back and said, ‘Alright, not tonight, not tonight.’ They attacked it like that. It went back-and-forth overall, but the defense, I thought, came out really spirited.”
  • Second-year cornerback Demetrius McCray continues to impress while working with the first unit in pace of Alan Ball (ankle). He had another pass breakup in one-on-one drills on Monday. He’s an intriguing player because of his size (6-foot, 185 pounds) and length. If he continues to develop, the Jaguars are going to have an interesting situation after the season. Ball, whom Bradley says may return on Wednesday, has played well as the starter opposite Dwayne Gratz but his contract expires after the season. The team drafted Aaron Colvin in the fourth round despite a torn ACL and the expectation is he would be ready to become the starter in 2015. But McCray may be an option. If neither appears to be ready, the Jaguars may opt to re-sign Ball.
  • Backup tight end Clay Harbor suffered a strained calf and will miss at least several days. He’s the primary backup to Marcedes Lewis and the team’s only flex tight end. He caught 24 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns in his first season with the Jaguars. This will mean more opportunities for undrafted rookies Reggie Jordan, Marcel Jensen, and Brandon Barden. D.J. Tialavea, another undrafted rookie, is out with a quad strain.
  • The Jaguars announced an attendance of 3,239 at Bartram Trail High School, the biggest crowd to watch a training camp practice so far. ... The Jaguars are off on Tuesday and will return to the practice field at 9:55 a.m. ET Wednesday. ... One of the highlights of what was a relatively uneventful practice came during a water break, when Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee tried to hit mascot Jaxson de Ville, who was hanging from the crossbar. He took two playful shots at him but missed both times. ... Here are the QB stats from 11-on-11: Henne was 3-for-8 with an interception; Blake Bortles was 3-for-7; Morris was 3-for-7 with an interception, and Ricky Stanzi was 2-for-2.
ST. JOHNS, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars right guard Zane Beadles finally got to say thank you.

Beadles signed a five-year, $30 million contract ($12.5 million guaranteed) with the Jaguars in March and on Monday he and the school announced that Beadles was donating $750,000 to the University of Utah, the largest financial gift to the school by a former athlete. Beadles has been wanting to do this for years.

"It's something I knew I wanted to do since I got into the league if I ever got to the position where I was able to do something like that," he said. "I'm in that position now. I loved my time at the University of Utah and I don't think I'd be where I'm at today without that experience so I wanted to give back to them."

Beadles was an All-American as a senior and a two-time Mountain West Conference first teamer during his time at Utah, which came after a stellar prep career at Hillcrest (Utah) High School. He earned an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and also earned a post-graduate scholarship from the NCAA.

Beadles, who spent his first five seasons in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, visited the university during his time off in July and was impressed with the school's new football facility, which he admitted includes several pictures of him in action with the Utes.

"I've had a great relationship with the athletic director and a lot of the people in the administration at the University of Utah," Beadles said. "The head coach is still the same head coach when I was there (Kyle Whittingham), so I still know a lot of people there and have a lot of good relationships there. It's been a lot of fun working with them on this and figuring out what we were going to do. I'm excited to be able to do it."

Of the $750,000, $500,000 will go to the sports medicine program and $250,000 to endow a scholarship for offensive linemen. Both will be named in his honor.
video

Is Toby Gerhart the workhorse back you want on your team?

Fresh off signing his first NFL free-agent contract, former Utah offensive lineman Zane Beadles is ready to give back.

Beadles announced Monday that he'll donate $750,000 to Utah's football program, the largest gift ever given to the school by a former player. Of that sum, $500,000 will go to the Zane Beadles' Sports Medicine Center and $250,000 to the Zane Beadles' Offensive Line Scholarship.

Beadles signed a five-year, $30 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars in March that includes $13 million guaranteed. He spent his first five NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos.

"This is something I've known I wanted to do ever since I left school," Beadles said in a statement. "The University of Utah was such a great place for me. I don't think I'd be where I am today without the University of Utah. I am excited to pledge this money to the U and give back to the place that helped shape me into the man I am today."


(Read full post)


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Running back Toby Gerhart's first day in pads went just the way Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley envisioned it would when he signed the former Stanford standout to a free-agent contract in March.

"...He had a gap scheme with a small space, and he stayed true to it and hit it and had good pad level," Bradley said. "I think it was a good sign."

In other words, the 6-foot, 231-pound Gerhart pounded through the hole, which is exactly what the Jaguars want, writes the Florida Times-Union's Vito Stellino.

"I try not to explode and blow up one of my teammates. I’m a bigger back, a power back," Gerhart said. "I’m able to wear defenses down. I feel like the more carries I get, the better rhythm I have. I get lathered up. I think I’m at my best when I get multiple carries in a row."

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

The T-U's Ryan O'Halloran writes that rookie cornerback Aaron Colvin is slowly making his way back from a torn ACL.

Stellino also writes that quarterback Chad Henne has been given the green light to call audibles.

Ken Hornack of Fox Sports Florida writes that Blake Bortles has opened camp with no fear and no delusions about his role.

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