JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser's five takeaways from Day One of the Jaguars' 2015 mandatory minicamp Tuesday at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields …
1. Hot, hot, hot.The Jaguars opened 2015 minicamp in 97 degree temperatures Tuesday, and the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields were notably warmer than at any other time of the 2015 offseason. "Black was not a good idea to wear," left tackle Luke Joeckel half-joked afterward, with tight end Julius Thomas adding, "It was definitely warm enough." How hot was it? Enough that Head Coach Gus Bradley said he emphasized to the team the need to return to training camp conditioned for the heat. "We usually don't talk about the heat at training camp, but I thought today would be a great time to talk about it with our team, just about, 'This is what you can expect in training camp and we have to be ready for it,'" Bradley said afterward. "There's an offseason that happens after the season and another one now, but we have to treat them differently. It's not a time to take a month off and then start to come back and get your workouts in. You can take a few days off, but right after that get back to work. That's what we had the meeting with after, to say, 'All right, you just felt it and some guys tightened up and you know what it can do.' We wanted to take advantage of that. Overall, I was very pleased with the effort."
The Jaguars completed the first day of 2015 mandatory minicamp on a scorching hot day in Jacksonville.
2. Being smart.Wide receiver Marqise Lee did not practice Tuesday and is not expected to practice this week, something that was expected after the second-year veteran missed all three weeks of OTAs with a knee injury. Bradley said Lee's absence this week was a team decision, adding, "I think if it were a game week, he'd be playing." Tight end Clay Harbor (calf) remained out of practice, while wide receiver Bryan Walters (hamstring) returned to do some individual work. Defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks (knee), end Dante Fowler Jr. (knee) and safety James Sample (arm) did not practice, while safety Josh Evans (shoulder) and center Stefen Wisniewski (shoulder) worked limited and defensive tackle Roy Miller (knee) worked limited in individual drills. Running back Storm Johnson and Thomas worked full after being limited last week.
3. Odrick standing out.While it's difficult to judge linemen in unpadded OTA and minicamp work, Bradley said defensive end Jared Odrick has "really come on" in recent practices. "He's really stacked a couple of good practices together," Bradley said of Odrick, a strong-side end who signed as an unrestricted free agent from the Miami Dolphins in March. "I know he started off a little slow, getting used to the tempo of how we do things, but the last couple of weeks now, he's really picked it up and we're very pleased with him." Bradley said overall the defense played well Tuesday, adding that the roster "is just more competitive at every position; that's what I can tell you, I really feel it." Of the final 53-man roster, Bradley said, "We're going to have some tough decisions."
4. Moving forward.Thomas spoke to reporters on Tuesday for likely the final time this offseason, saying that he likes the progress made installing first-year offensive coordinator Greg Olson's offense. "Everybody has done a great job of making sure that they understand what they're doing," said Thomas, a four-year veteran who signed in March as perhaps the team's most high-profile 2015 unrestricted free agent. "This is not an easy offense to learn. There are a lot of different things we can do, a lot of different positions and understanding what we're asking of everybody. … Offensively we're building and working towards it, and that's what it's going to take. It's going to take every day of making mistakes so you can get some new teaching and then making big plays so that you have the confidence." Thomas, who caught 12 touchdown passes each of the last two seasons with Denver, said he also has been impressed during his first offseason with second-year quarterback Blake Bortles. "I'm definitely getting an opportunity to know him as a man on and off the field," he said. "I'm very impressed with his work ethic. He's not cutting corners. He really wants to come out here and play at a high level and he's doing things that it's going to take to do that."
5. Progress made.Joeckel said he has improved in three-plus weeks of on-field offseason work – and as he has done several times in the offseason, he credited assistant head coach-offense/offensive line Doug Marrone as a reason. Marrone joined the Jaguars' staff in January after spending the past two seasons as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills. "Doug's done a great job," Joeckel said. "The attention to detail has been huge: 'In individual (drills) … do it until you do it right.' That has been a huge thing for me and it's definitely showing up. That's exciting. I'm really excited for training camp and this season." Joeckel had added 10-to-15 pounds entering the offseason program and said he has maintained that. "I'm still focusing on consistency, but I definitely have improved," Joeckel said. "I'm excited for these five weeks (between the end of minicamp and start of training camp), to get back in the weight room. I haven't lost any weight, but I want to get back focused on that."