JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser's five takeaways from Day Nine of Jaguars 2015 Organized Team Activities …
1.Finishing strong.Saying that Thursday likely marked the end of 2015 OTAs, Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said he came away pleased overall with the progress made during the nine practices. "I talked to them out on the field," Bradley said late Thursday morning after OTA Day Nine at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields. "I thought we've had a great OTA session. I really appreciate how they practice. I'm excited now and I told them that. I said, 'I think you do it with humility.' We still have a long ways to go but their mentality, their attitude, how we practiced day after day, their position groups, the players, the coaches – there are a lot of things to be excited about and now we go into minicamp to carry that momentum into that. I think we keep challenging our guys that way, feed them a little sugar and tell them how they're doing to see how they respond and then go about our next day's work when we get to minicamp." The Jaguars are scheduled to hold a three-day mandatory minicamp Tuesday-Thursday that will mark the end of the team's month-long on-field portion of the 2015 offseason program.
2.Making the adjustment.What the Jaguars are asking of guard Zane Beadles isn't easy, but Doug Marrone likes how he is approaching the task. With Marrone – the head coach of the Buffalo Bills the past two seasons – taking over as assistant head coach-offense/offensive line coach this offseason, the Jaguars are becoming more of a gap-blocking line than the zone-blocking-oriented scheme they used the last two seasons. That means an adjustment in technique for some linemen, including Beadles, who signed with the team as an unrestricted free agent from Denver before the 2014 season. Beadles is playing with a wider stance than years past, something Marrone said is designed to create more power. "Not to speak for other coaches, but when you come from a team that may be primarily an outside zone team, sometimes they narrow their stance a little so they can gain a little more leverage in their first step," Marrone said. "That tends to hurt you a little bit in pass pro (protection). We're just training him to be a little bit wider to create more power. A lot of times you think, 'Hey, this is a player who's played X amount of games; what you see is what you get.' That has not been the case. I've seen him progress rapidly."
Take a look at images from the Jaguars ninth day of OTAs held on Thursday, June 11.
3."Great progress" for Joeckel. Marrone also on Thursday addressed the offseason of Luke Joeckel, who struggled at times last season in his first NFL season starting at left tackle. Joeckel has added about 10-to-15 pounds since last season, and Marrone said he sees "great progress" from the No. 2 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft. "He's put on some extra weight, which has been good weight – some lean muscle mass," Marrone said. "Obviously, it's a challenge for all of us, learning a new system, but I see him progressing and getting better each day. I'm excited with the direction that he's going. I think he feels the same way, with the confidence that you see out there. There's still a level of inconsistency. We understand that right now, but again, it's progressing in the right direction."
4.Getting closer.If Roy Miller has his way, he'll be on the field for mandatory minicamp next week. And while the veteran defensive tackle said he figures that's unlikely, he said he's pleased his rehabilitation/return from postseason knee surgery. Miller has worked in individual drills in recent practices, and said he is increasing his work in that area. "It's starting to feel like I'm coming back," he said. "I feel good. I feel like I'm ready to take some reps. I don't know if they'll allow me to do so. I'll be advocating for it, but at the same time, I don't want this to happen again, so I'm listening to what they have to say." Miller, who signed a contract extension late last season, said he feels stronger this offseason than he has in two years. After being unable to strengthen his upper body last offseason because of labrum surgery, he said he has added about 10 pounds of upper-body muscle this offseason. "I was able to work my upper body this year," he said. "I'm doing things I haven't done in a while. It's giving me a lot of confidence going into this year."
5.A welcome asset.While longtime NFL defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has been a familiar face around Jaguars 2015 OTAs, Bradley on Thursday said there are no plans to add Kiffin to the staff. Kiffin attended Jaguars practice Thursday and has spent time watching tape and meeting with younger Jaguars coaches this offseason. "I can understand the questions about that," Bradley said. "Coaches that have given so much to the league … if you have an opportunity to give back to them, try to do that. That's where Kiff falls in. We don't have a position open for him, but just to have him around our guys in an OTA setting … he meets with our younger coaches. They get everything they can out of him. He watches practice tape and he's around. I told him, 'Anytime during OTAs you can come up, you're more than welcome to be around and we'll put you in gear and let you walk around, but no commitment on our end.' I think it's always good. I think more or less the guy can still coach and to give him an opportunity to be around the game I think is awesome." …