MOBILE, Ala. – We know by now that the Jaguars coaching staff has significant advantages by coaching the South team at the Senior Bowl this week.
But NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said that there is an even better opportunity through the Jaguars’ cooperation with the opposition – the North team coaching and personnel staff of the Atlanta Falcons.
“Because (Jaguars GM) David Caldwell and (Falcons GM) Thomas Dimitroff are good friends, they’re also having a little extra (cooperation),” Mayock said following North team practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
Prior to accepting the Jaguars’ General Manager position, Caldwell worked four years with the Atlanta Falcons under Dimitroff, including one season as director of player personnel.
“They’re allowing each other in the meetings and on the practices,” Mayock said.
Every NFL team has access to practice film for the week in Mobile, but Mayock said the obvious advantage is that both coaching staffs get added time with the players, and see how they operate away from the field.
“I think what you get if you’re a Jaguar or a Falcon this week, I think you get an understanding of how hard these kids work, you get to see them in the meeting rooms, you get to evaluate how quickly they process information.”
Three players to watch
Mayock said that three players in particular could improve their standing with a great week in Mobile.
Miami offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson must overcome a “character issue” label after a number of suspensions while playing for the Hurricanes.
“He’s had off-field issues, he’s been inconsistent on tape, but he’s got wonderful natural athletic ability,” Mayock said. “He’s got to convince the scouts both on the field and off the field that he’s an accountable young man. If he does that, if he comes out banging the table saying ‘Hey, I’m a good kid, you can trust me, look what I did this week,’ he’s going to make himself a lot of money because he’s so talented.”
Mayock said that Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas has a lot to prove on the field this week.
“He’s just such an enigma,” Mayock said. “A couple of his tapes he looks like a top-five pick in the draft. Most of his tapes he doesn’t.”
Finally, Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland could make a move with a good week in Mobile.
“He reminds me of Zach Thomas,” Mayock said.
To attend or not to attend
There are a couple of notable senior players who declined the opportunity to participate in the 2014 Reese’s Senior Bowl, which for Mayock leaves some unanswered questions.
The biggest of those names is Mobile native and Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, the 2013 Maxwell Award winner.
“Why would you give up an opportunity to play in your home state and try to show people you’re the number one senior quarterback?” Mayock said. “I don’t understand why he’s not here.”
Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard took home the Jim Thorpe Award in 2013, but decided against playing in Mobile this week.
“I love (him) on tape, great press corner, why aren’t you here?” Mayock said. “You get a chance to show people. The one question on Dennard is his off-man skills. Why wouldn’t you come here and show people you can cover off?”
Mayock said there are only a few exceptions where a player should feel comfortable about foregoing the Senior Bowl.
“You can make an argument that you’re a top-ten pick, you’re the number one guy at your position, and why even worry about an injury or any kind of downside, and I get all that,” Mayock said. “However, if you’re not a top-ten pick, you probably should be here.
“I don’t understand why a guy who is a borderline first-round pick wouldn’t be here trying to bang the table.”
Stroud and Peterson like Jaguars direction
Former Jaguars linebacker Mike Peterson and former defensive lineman Marcus Stroud have been in attendance at Senior Bowl practices this week, each networking while looking for an opportunity in a coaching or personnel capacity in the NFL.
Both have retired from playing but follow the Jaguars organization closely, and are pleased with the direction of the franchise.
“Mr. Khan is doing a good job and especially with the regime of Gus Bradley and Dave Caldwell, I think the franchise is obviously headed in the right direction,” Stroud said. “Not only just coming to places like the Senior Bowl and the combine and evaluate great talent and get some good players in there, but hopefully you can pick up some guys in free agency and use the guys we already have to turn this thing around.”
Peterson said the success of the team starts with the leadership from the coaching staff.
“Everything starts with the head coach, and I had a chance to meet Coach (Gus Bradley), and he is a great guy,” Peterson said. “When the head of the team is pointed in the right direction, it’s easy for the guys after him, the assistant coaches, the players, everybody to talk the same language.
“Being able to meet him and see what he did and the way the team finished the season, that’s a positive for both him and the whole organization.”
Stroud, who signed a one-day contract to retire as a Jaguar in June of 2012, lives in Atlanta, Ga. but returns to Jacksonville often. Peterson returned to the University of Florida in 2013 to work toward completing his degree and work as a student assistant under Gators head coach Will Muschamp.
Senior Bowl Buzz
- Mayock said that the weather contributed to some struggles for the North team quarterbacks on Tuesday. “Logan Thomas had a tough day, Stephen Morris had a tough time in the wind today. Tajh Boyd today (Tuesday) in the wind threw the most tight spiral and was the most accurate.”
- The Wednesday weather forecast in Mobile has a high temperature of 52 degrees with winds from 10-20 mph.
- The North team will practice at 9:30 a.m. while the South team will practice at 1:30 p.m. today at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.