What they wanted to get done they got done.
And to Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey, that meant not only a successful three-day mini-camp at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields, but a successful 2012 offseason.
The Jaguars on Thursday held a two-hour practice to close this week’s mandatory mini-camp, and afterward Mularkey said the final practice was a fitting way to wrap up a productive five-practice session.
“Especially here, this last one, we hit on a lot of things,” Mularkey said. “From the first play of practice until the end we were trying to hit on situations. These guys responded great.”
Mularkey, who spoke throughout the off-season of being pleased with the effort, intensity and focus of players as they became accustomed to a new head coach and new staff, said those positives carried through the mini-camp.
“The effort was unbelievable for everybody here,” Mularkey said. “We got really great effort.”
While the Jaguars under defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will run essentially the same defense as last season, the team has spent the offseason installing an offense based largely upon the one Mularkey ran as Falcons offensive coordinator the last four seasons.
The offensive staff essentially has installed the offense three times – in veteran orientation, during organized team activities and in this week’s mini-camp – adding a bit more information each time. Mularkey said the offense is basically installed, and the process will begin again when training camp opens July 27.
“It’s pretty much all in, except for little wrinkles here and there you can’t do until you put the pads on,” Mularkey said. “They got a load of information this offseason.”
Mini-camp also closed as it began – with running back
Jones-Drew, who has told team officials he wants to renegotiate his contract, has not said if he will report to training camp, and Mularkey said while the offense is “user-friendly,” a player who is unfamiliar with the system “isn’t going to pick it up Day One.”
“That’s anybody,” Mularkey said. “That’s the nature of the beast, but it’s very user friendly, and they should be able to pick it up.”
Mularkey said the hope is that by doing things right and being productive and thorough in mini-camp the players will be ready to work at maximum efficiency when they return for training camp, and he spent the offseason emphasizing attention to detail.
Shortly before practice on Thursday, Mularkey did so again. As players stretched, Mularkey was talking to veteran receiver
“We want to look like a team that would like to win a championship, and the way you do that is you do things right,” he said. “Whether it’s stretching, lining up your helmets right or doing jumping jacks together as a team, I tell them, ‘There are 11 guys in that row. Why have one helmet out of whack? You can’t have one out of sync any time when you have 11 guys together, so let’s just do it.’
“It looks professional. It looks like we want to do it the right way. They’re getting it. We had one incident today, so it’s very minor.’’
Mularkey said he spoke with the staff before practice Thursday about finishing camp with a happy feeling, which meant a good final practice.
“We feel good about these guys,” he said. “We wanted to finish today on a good note so they can go away feeling good about themselves and like they did accomplish something, so when we get to training camp it’s not going to be taking a step back at any point.”
They got that done, and because for the last three days – and the last eight weeks, really – the Jaguars got done what they wanted to get done, Mularkey said the feeling leaving camp is a very good one indeed.