Competition is what it’s about for Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley. It doesn’t start at a specific time, and it’s obvious with him, it never ends.
“Everything counts,” Bradley said after Tuesday's practice. “Everything. They way they walk on the field, they way you handle yourselves in the huddle, the way you talk to your teammates, all those things. Everything counts.”
So it was no surprise that in their first Organized Team Activity (OTA) the Jaguars had loud music, an up-tempo pace and a fairly stressful environment from start to finish.
“We went two periods of no huddle” the Head Coach explained regarding the tempo. “That really strained them. We’re trying to get to the point where we can execute under strain.”
The players run from one drill to the other, in between periods and whenever they’re not in the play, they’re fully engaged. In fact, Bradley and the coaching staff have instituted a couple of “flexibility” periods. It’s a chance to see where guys could play a couple of positions if necessary.
“You saw some of the younger guys are playing multiple positions. We’re looking for position flexibility,” was the explanation when Bradley was asked about moving players around. Offensive linemen were put in multiple positions. Linebackers were moved all over the place. JT Thomas played middle linebacker.
While doing that, Bradley said “the guys with their helmets off” were challenged to become coaches. You saw veteran players teaching and learning from the process.
“It didn’t go as well as we would have liked, but we’ll get there,” Gus explained.
As far as the tempo, it’s part of the learning but part of the conditioning process as well.
“That heat, it’s no joke,” DL Red Bryant said in the locker room peeling off his practice uniform.
“It’s a race to maturity,” according to Bradley. “We’re trying to speed up the learning curve.”
Four players sat out of practice today, including Josh Evans who had a procedure for a bone spur on his foot. Bradley says he’ll be back for training camp. Chris Clemons was not at the “voluntary” practice, the only veteran not in attendance. He had “an issue” according to Bradley and is expected soon.
All four quarterbacks saw action today. All seemed well suited for what they’re being asked to do.
“We’re trying to speed it up and by keeping it simple, we can do that,” Bradley said when asked about the QB’s. Blake Bortles looked like a rookie with a lot of talent, but still a rookie. “It’ll all settle down for him when he knows the offense,” Bradley explained.
The Jaguars also signed fifth round draft pick LB Telvin Smith from FSU. He’s the fifth of nine draftees under contract. That leaves Blake Bortles, Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson and Brandon Linder unsigned.
There was one dust-up in today’s workout. OL Sam Young and Bryant got into a minor skirmish when Young’s helmet went flying in the middle of a play. Both were separated and nothing seemed to come of it.
OTA’s are Wednesday and Thursday of this week and Monday, Tuesday and Thursday of next week with Thursday, June 5th open to the public. The Jaguars are still waiting on an official time for that day (there have been conflicting reports) but right now it’s set for 10:50 -12:50.