JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser's five takeaways from Day Two of Jaguars 2015 Organized Team Activities …
1.Day Two was better.Not that Tuesday's first day of OTAs was bad, but Head Coach Gus Bradley said Day Two Wednesday absolutely was an improvement. Bradley said the Jaguars "cleaned up" some mistakes from Tuesday, and had a solid day offensively and defensively. "Defensively, I thought (Wednesday was a) better practice compared to (Tuesday) – much better," Bradley said. While the media cannot report on OTA practice specifics, Bradley mentioned second-year safety Craig Loston and rookie undrafted free-agent linebacker Thurston Armbrister as standing out Wednesday. "We had a couple of interceptions and guys were flying around," Bradley said. "We are still in that installation phase so we are learning some new things with some younger guys." Bradley added of the offense, which was in its second day of OTA work under new offensive coordinator Greg Olson, "I see it just more precision; guys lining up, knowing the shifts and motions and right now that's what we're looking at because there is some newness to the offense."
2.Quick impact.The Jaguars' most high-profile free-agent of the 2015 offseason continues to impress. Tight end Julius Thomas made several standout catches in Tuesday's Day One practice, and Bradley said the fifth-year veteran has shown significant leadership qualities for a player in a new environment. "I love his mentality, love his attitude," Bradley said, adding that Thomas "has a strong sense of leadership that he can add." Thomas left practice late Wednesday after being kicked in the calf, but Bradley said the incident was minor and Thomas – who called the kick "no biggie, just a bruise" – spoke to the media shortly thereafter. "This is a different position for me to be in," said Thomas, who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent from Denver in March. "I feel like most of my career I was always looking up and learning from a lot of guys that will be in the Hall of Fame one day. That was greatly appreciated and I was happy for that. Now I'm just going to do what I can to help some more young people along." Thomas said he talked with Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis shortly after signing. At the time, some speculated that Lewis might not return to the team, but he and the Jaguars agreed to a contract renegotiation in April. "I told him, 'I don't know what the organization's plan is, but I would really like to play with you; I have great respect for what you've done in this league," Thomas said. "It's not easy to play a long time in the NFL. I have definitely seen some things that he does really well. I told him I think we could be really tough to defend out there on the field at the same time. He felt the same way and we're very excited for some of the different things we'll be able to do offensively with two tight ends like us."
3.Cool behind center.Neither safety Johnathan Cyprien nor middle linebacker Paul Posluszny will tell you they can offer final judgment on Blake Bortles, but both players said there is a difference in the second-year quarterback this season compared to last. "He's always been cool and calm," Cyprien said. "One thing about him is he's always going to be collected, but it looks like he's maturing in the offense. I like how he's getting everybody in position and making the passes he needs to make." Posluszny said while it's difficult to know if there's a dramatic difference in velocity or accuracy in two days, Bortles' decision-making obviously is quicker. "He's more certain of his throws and more precise in his reads," Posluszny said. "There's definitely a difference there. From this time last year to now, absolutely."
Take a look at images from the Jaguars second day of OTAs held on Wednesday, May 27.
4.Beadles has impressed.Since the Jaguars selected A.J. Cann in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, it has been vogue to say he will push veteran Zane Beadles at starting left guard. That may be, but it's clear Beadles – who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent before the 2014 season – has impressed this offseason. Bradley said Beadles has changed his footwork and his stance and has benefited from the adjustments. "That's hard for somebody to do when they came here as a free agent and got taken care of for what they've done," Bradley said. "I appreciate what he's done and it's helping him. I think he's gaining his confidence back. I think in the middle part of the season it was a little rough. He started to gain it at the end but I think he's back now."
5.Higher expectations.While Bradley said while the offensive line isn't where it needs to be yet "as far as gelling," that's to be expected two days into OTAs. What Bradley emphasized when discussing the group Wednesday was there's little question he expects the group to improve rapidly and that he likes the potential of the unit very much. "I like the pieces," Bradley said. "I think there's some strong personalities in there mixed with the other guys. They're all competitive so it's bringing that group together to be one. I'm seeing signs of it but not where it's at. I think once they understand each other and understand how each one operates, what motivates Luke (Joeckel), what motivates Jermey (Parnell), what motivates (Brandon) Linder, and they get a feel for those things, I think that will start coming together faster than it did last year."