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Alualu welcomes depth

Posted May 28, 2014

Jaguars DE Tyson Alualu: “I’m not worried about who’s going to start. I’m just worried about coming in and competing.”


JACKSONVILLE – He understands competition, and he understands what depth and rotation are about, too.

Tyson Alualu knows well the benefits of all three, which is pretty much what you need to know about how the fifth-year defensive end saw the Jaguars’ moves along the defensive line this offseason, including the signing of defensive end Red Bryant.

Yes, Bryant will mean competition for Alualu. And yes, Bryant could start.

But Alualu said there’s no question the Jaguars will be deeper, more experienced and a lot better on the defensive front than a year ago, and he said that’s what matters.

“I’m happy to have him (Bryant) as part of the D-line,” Alualu said Wednesday following Day Two of 2014 organized team practices at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields.

“Just bringing him in definitely makes us better. I’m not worried about who’s going to start. I’m just worried about coming in and competing.”

Alualu, the No. 10 overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, never has missed a start in four NFL seasons. He and retired center Brad Meester were the only players on the Jaguars’ roster to start every game the last four seasons.

But the Jaguars entered this offseason focused on adding depth and upgrading the defensive line. The belief was that last year’s starters – Alualu, end Jason Babin and defensive tackles Sen’Derrick Marks and Roy Miller – played far too many snaps, and that those snaps contributed to the team’s struggles at times late last season.

The goal was to get bigger and deeper, and Bryant (6-feet-4, 323 pounds) – a seven-year veteran who started 47 games for Seattle the past three seasons – was key to that.

If that means Bryant starting, Alualu said he can handle that.

“I’ve always been the kind of guy to come in, work hard and whatever happens, happens,” Alualu said. “My attitude is to come in, work hard and leave the rest in God’s hands.”

Alualu said he believe he’ll benefit from fewer repetitions, and said that goes in lockstep with an improving health situation. After undergoing microfracture knee surgery early in 2012, he said he has felt progressively better each offseason. He said that continues to be the case.

“I know I said that last year, but this year it’s even better than that,” he said. “I’m excited about this year, especially about my health.”

And the more depth up front, Alualu said, the better.

“I just look at it as an opportunity to compete,” Alualu said. “I definitely look at it as an upgrade for our D-line. We saw what they did in Seattle, just getting fresh bodies out there, being able to affect the quarterback and being able to get after him. It’s a non-stop approach, being fresh and able to roll guys, and I’m excited about that. I want to be a part of it.”

Also around the Jaguars Wednesday:

• Rookie wide receiver Allen Hurns and veteran linebacker Geno Hayes did not participate in practice, and wide receiver Marqise Lee jammed his wrist during practice. …

• Quarterback Blake Bortles, Lee and wide receiver Allen Robinson were scheduled to fly to Los Angeles Wednesday evening to participate in the NFLPA Rookie Premiere. Bortles was selected No. 3 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, and Robinson and Lee were second-round selections. The trio won’t participate in the third practice of OTAs Thursday. …

• Safety Josh Evans, one of several players out of OTAs rehabilitating injuries, said Wednesday he expects to return by training camp in late July. Evans, entering his second season, said he underwent offseason foot surgery recently to clean up an issue lingering from last season.  “It’s a little frustrating,” he said. “When you love the sport you want to be out there with your guys. I felt like this was the best decision for me to make. I’d rather go through it now than be out six or seven weeks next season.” …

• Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said he sees a difference early in OTAs from second-year players such as wide receiver Ace Sanders and linebacker LaRoy Reynolds. “They just feel more comfortable in the system and they’re playing freer,” Bradley said. “I don’t know what happened from the last game until now, but sometimes that just happens. They get some time off or time to think about it – in that second year, they know what to expect and they mature a little bit.”…

OTAs DAY 2 GALLERY

• Bradley on second-year left tackle Luke Joeckel, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft who is returning from a fractured ankle that cost him the last 11 games of his rookie season: “He’s a special talent. He’s very athletic, he’s very smart, mature for playing that position; now he just needs game reps. That will be learning in progress but we really feel like he has a really good upside to him.”…

• Defensive end Chris Clemons is the only Jaguars player who hasn’t attended the first two days of voluntary OTAs this week. Bradley on Wednesday called Clemons’ status “day-to-day,” adding, “I did have a good conversation with him. I feel much better about it. It’s unfortunate. I wish he was here, but I understand the reasoning. I didn’t have as clear of reasoning yesterday and that’s why I wanted to find out, but now I understand.” Bradley said Clemons is dealing with personal issues. …

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