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Inside Training Camp, Day 16

Posted Aug 15, 2012

Senior writer John Oehser takes a look at the mounting injuries on the offensive line on Day 16 of the Jaguars 2012 Training Camp.

MONROE INJURED

Jaguars left tackle Eugene Monroe left practice early Wednesday after being hit in the head.

Monroe, a starter in 42 of a possible 48 games in three NFL seasons, was hit in the head in an early period of practice, according to Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey. Monroe’s status is uncertain for Friday night’s preseason game at New Orleans.

“We’re just going to make sure he’s fine,” Mularkey said. “I don’t think it’s anything serious but we’ll check it out. As far as I know he got hit and went in early.”

Mularkey said Monroe could be put into the “concussion program,” in which players undergo tests to determine if a blow to the head indeed is a concussion. A player then typically misses time based on the severity of the situation.

Entering the program does not mean a player has a concussion, but being in the program often means a player missing at least a day or two for precautionary reasons.

“If we have to put him in the program he would probably be held out (against New Orleans),” Mularkey said.

The Jaguars moved right tackle Cameron Bradfield to left tackle when Monroe left, inserting Daniel Baldridge into the lineup at right tackle.

The Jaguars have spent much of training camp dealing with injuries along the line. Monroe missed a few days early with swelling in his knee, and guard Will Rackley is out with a high ankle sprain. Backup guard Jason Spitz is out with a sprained foot and backup center John Estes sustained a knee injury Friday. Estes is expected to miss extended time.

“It’s hard to be stable when we’ve got different line ups in every play,” Mularkey said. “It’s not practices; it’s series that we’re fitting guys in. It’s hard to get any continuity with the injuries we’ve been having. They’ve done a great job of doing what they’ve done to fit in there and allow us to at least practice and get some things done.”

 

COMING ALONG

Justin Blackmon continues to work his way into shape.

Blackmon, the No. 5 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, began practicing in full pads Monday after ending a 10-day holdout to start camp the previous Monday. Mularkey has said throughout the week that conditioning is the major issue regarding Blackmon, because players can’t simulate football conditioning when working out alone.

“He’s getting better,” Mularkey said.

Mularkey said the plan remains to play Blackmon along with the first-team offense for a half against the Saints Friday. Mularkey said he expects Blackmon’s conditioning will be an issue when the team is in two-minute offense.

“That’s hurry up,” he said. “The plays are being called at the line, you’ve got to execute them, get back at the line in a quick fashion and his conditioning will show up there, especially in the game. He’s just got to get in the game condition which we’re trying to do with him.

“That’s why we’re putting him in as quickly as we are.”

 

MULARKEY SAYS

“I was pretty pleased. We got a lot done with three days in pads in the heat. Like I said (Tuesday), this is the fourth quarter of the game. You’ve got to kind of find a way to come out here at 8:30 in the morning and you’re hurting and I thought we got a lot of work done especially the situational, the two minute and the red zone.”

 

DE JEREMY MINCEY SAYS

“It feels better when you come out of the blue and do things no one expects you to do. I like this position we’re in, where we’re not getting the notoriety. It’s going to come. We’re working hard. I watch TV. All they show is our bad highlights on ESPN. It’s going to come. We’re working hard. You can see how the team’s binding. We’re keeping our head down and working.”

 

WHAT WE SAW

Another day, another physical practice. That was pretty much the norm during Jaguars 2012 Training Camp, especially in the last week, and the team closed the week with a third consecutive physical morning. Left guard Eben Britton and defensive end Corvey Irvin tussled in an early pass rush drill, and during that same session tackles C.J. Mosley, Tyson Alualu and D’Anthony Smith all had good pressure. Tight end Marcedes Lewis got open for a couple of touchdowns in a red-zne drill, and wide receiver Brian Robiskie caught a touchdown pass from backup Chad Henne in the same drill. Wide receiver Cecil Shorts also caught two intermediate passes from Henne later in practice.

 

WHAT’S NEXT

Training camp continues Thursday with a 9:15 a.m. walkthrough, after which the Jaguars will leave for New Orleans to play the Saints in the second preseason game Friday. Training camp will conclude with a 1:50 practice Sunday.

 

TODAY’S TAKE

As two-a-days came to an end Wednesday, there was a lot of optimistic talk in the locker room about just what the team accomplished in two weeks. Most notable was talking to guard Uche Nwaneri about the improvement of the passing game. Nwaneri said there were times last season when the line would be blocking, look downfield, see no separation between receiver and defensive back and just know the play wasn’t going to work. The difference during training camp so far? All the difference in the world, according to Nwaneri. He said the line and the offense has confidence in the passing game and the receivers, and from watching camp the last two weeks it’s easy to see why. Wide receiver Laurent Robinson is getting open consistently, as is Shorts, and while Shorts dropped a catchable pass in red-zone drills Wednesday, he made several other catches and it looks like he’s ready to contribute. Mike Thomas also has looked increasingly good in camp, and while Justin Blackmon is still working his way into playing shape, he seems to have the hands and ability to get open to be productive as a rookie. Only the regular season will tell, but the receivers hardly could have made more progress the last two weeks of training camp.

 

QUICK HITS

*Lewis caught two touchdowns in the back of the end zone during an early red-zone drill, with each throw coming from Blaine Gabbert . “They did a good job executing the play and it was the same play both times,” Mularkey said. “Actually, it was a repeat later on in practice. The defense had an idea it was coming and it was still well executed to get him open like that. He’s going to be a force in the red zone with his size and the things that we do down there with the tight ends.”

*Not only did Spitz, Estes and Rackley remain out of practice Wednesday, tight end Zach Miller (pec), cornerback Derek Cox (hamstring), fullback Brock Bolen (knee) and linebacker Daryl Smith (groin) watched from the side. Defensive end Austen Lane (foot) remained out, with cornerback Leigh Torrance still in the concussion program.

*Defensive tackle Tyson Alualu could play eight-to-10 plays against the Saints Friday, Mularkey said. Alualu missed Friday’s preseason opener against the Giants after undergoing offseason knee surgery. Mularkey also said cornerback Rashean Mathis may be held out one more week. He said Mathis, who underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament late last season, could play, but because the game is on artificial turf it may be wise to hold him out. “We’re going to talk through that,” Mularkey said. “I know he wants to play but we’re going to be smart about it.”

*Gabbert tweaked his back in a drill in the morning practice, but Mularkey said Gabbert told him after practice he is fine.

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