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2014 Training Camp: Caldwell likes depth


JACKSONVILLE – David Caldwell likes what he sees.

That doesn't mean the Jaguars' second-year general manager sees the team as a finished product or even close, but to say the roster is in better shape than this time last year …

Yes, Caldwell absolutely would say that.

Caldwell on Friday spent about 45 minutes talking to writers before the first practice of 2014 Training Camp, covering various topics about the team. Chief among them was that he likes the potential roster battles and depth at positions such as wide receiver, safety, linebacker and cornerback.

Caldwell said the battles at those positions will be significant.

"There are going to be good battles," Caldwell said. "There are no free rides anymore."

Caldwell also addressed the quarterback position, and said he won't necessarily keep three quarterbacks. He said the plan remains for veteran quarterback Chad Henne to start the season, and that ideally he would start all 16 games. He also said rookie quarterback Blake Bortles – the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft – will almost certainly be the top backup and will enter the game if Henne is unavailable.

"I don't think we think too much past Week 1," Caldwell said. "For us it's really going to be our team's maturity and Blake's maturity in terms of when is the right time. I do believe Chad right now gives us the best chance to be successful on the field."

Caldwell said Henne also should benefit from having played in Offensive Coordinator Jedd Fisch's system for a year.

"Hopefully, he'll make a big jump," Caldwell said.

Caldwell also said he doesn't expect a situation at the end of the preseason similar to last season, when the team acquired multiple players off the waiver wire who contributed and started immediately.

"We like our position battles across the board," he said.

Caldwell also said on Friday:

*Linebacker Dekoda Watson, who is starting camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list, is targeting the middle of training camp for a return. Caldwell also said "by Week 1 of the season he should  be ready." ….

*He believes newly acquired running back Toby Gerhart has big-play ability. "I think he has the ability to hit home runs," he said. "He may not be a 60-homerun hitter, but he might have 20-to-25."

*Linebacker Geno Hayes likely will start training camp practicing one day and not practicing the next. Hayes finished last season on injured reserve with a knee injury. …

*He doesn't expect cornerback Alan Ball to miss extensive time. Ball started camp on PUP, but Caldwell said he could return by the middle of next week. …

*He has spoken with representatives of wide receiver Cecil Shorts III and that the team would like Shorts with the Jaguars for the long term. He said the team drafted rookies Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson this past offseason not to replace Shorts but to complement him. "I think Cecil really wants to be here and we want him here," Caldwell said. …

*A decision on cornerback Aaron Colvin (knee) likely will be made Week 6-9,when he will be eligible to come off the Physically Unable to Perform list. He is starting camp on PUP and is expected to start the regular season on it as well. …

*Quarterbacks Ricky Stanzi and Stephen Morris both are practice-squad eligible and could be retained in that capacity. Live Blog 2014 Jaguars Training Camp Social Hub

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