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2015 OTAs: Five takeaways, Day Six


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JACKSONVILLE – Senior correspondent Brian Sexton and reporter/editor J.P. Shadrick's five takeaways from Day Six of Jaguars 2015 Organized Team Activities…

1.Offense ahead of the game. With offensive players learning a new scheme under new offensive coordinator Greg Olson, Head Coach Gus Bradley said the group has shown an ability to adjust to a new look at a rapid pace. "Offensively, we're progressing faster than I thought we would learning a new offense," Bradley said. The maturity of the core group of players on offense from the first two years of Gus Bradley's tenure as head coach has helped level the learning curve. "I think (with) a lot of guys in the second year and third year, it just seems to be coming faster to them. If you talk to our coaches they'd say, 'without a doubt we have guys that are really sharp, really sharp intellectually in knowing football.' That is not an issue. The number of busts on offense has been minimal, and that's a great sign." – J.P. Shadrick

2.Bortles leads the way. The offense being ahead of where the coaching staff thought it would be through two weeks of OTAs sits mostly on the development of second-year quarterback Blake Bortles, who has looked sharp in a new offense with updated mechanics. "I think he's just really done a good job owning this offense," Bradley said. "He's not there yet, but (I) definitely should make note of the progress he's making." Bortles spent part of the offseason working with quarterback guru Tom House, working on refining his throwing mechanics. That, combined with a new offensive coordinator and new quarterbacks coach, is a lot new for a second-year quarterback, but Bradley said he has adjusted well through two weeks of OTAs. "You sense his demeanor, but he's always been really hard on himself. And I think if he struggles, he takes it personal. I think he's dealing with that part much better. He just seems more mature, and I know he's enjoying the coaching staff he's working with. They're always challenging him… I think that's what Blake loves about it." – J.P. Shadrick

3.Allen Robinson is happy to contribute. Following the Jaguars' loss in London last season, Robinson sat in front of his locker after a broken bone in his foot required surgery. "That was a tough day," Robinson said. "This is a much better day. It feels good to be back playing football instead of working out and watching football." The Jaguars are confident in what Robinson can become after a 48-catch season that looked like it was headed toward breaking the Jaguars rookie receiving records. "Sometimes you come back from an injury like that and you wonder the confidence level," Bradley said. "He's playing with a lot of confidence right now. He jumped right to the front of the line the first day he was back. He has some ownership and he's going to take advantage of his opportunity. I think he missed being out and he's not going to miss it. He's a guy that's really had a couple of good days." He's a big target and one that quarterback Blake Bortles was clearly developing confidence in. Robinson said the receivers are equally confident in Bortles and that made his desire to get back in the game even greater. "Blake looks great," Robinson said. "You can see he's gotten better and that makes everyone want to step their game up and help get this offense to where it can be." - Brian Sexton

4.James Sample looking for reps. In free agency the Jaguars signed Sergio Brown, who started eight games for the Colts and flashed enough ability for the Jags to feel comfortable with him next to Johnathan Cyprien in the back of the Jaguars' defense. But James Sample, the rookie safety from Louisville who is making the jump from strong safety in college to free safety in the NFL, brings great size at nearly 6-3 and almost 210 pounds and has impressed the coaching staff. "Sample has progressively gotten better," Bradley said. "He's caught our attention, we're going to try and get him more reps. You may see him get some reps with the ones (first team) next week just to see how that shakes out. When we're starting to do that it means he's showing up." What's clear about the rookie safety watching him on the practice field is that he has great awareness in coverage and the range to make plays. When you talk to football folks who have studied his college tape the word is he is an excellent open field tackler, which is exactly what the Jaguars are counting on. – Brian Sexton

Take a look at images from the Jaguars sixth day of OTAs held on Thursday, June 4.

5.Jeremiah George could be No. 4 linebacker.The second-year linebacker from Iowa State joined the Jaguars midway through the 2014 season, but suffered a high-ankle sprain at Cincinnati that essentially cost him the rest of the season and slowed his growth. "That's really been my focus this offseason; making sure I was healthy and ready to get out on the field and so I could get back to getting better," George said. He is powerfully built and looks like a middle linebacker, but he's also working on the weak side where Telvin Smith plays and which requires more coverage ability. "I think Jeremiah George has a better understanding of the defense," Bradley said earlier this week. "We're locking him in to play more of our Will linebacker spot; he's doing a good job there." Though the Will position is an inside look that might have some middle linebacker similarities, George said there are differences. "It's very similar but it's different also, I have to get comfortable with the responsibilities in coverage," George said. "I'm getting better at it every day." The place where George is most likely to excel is on special teams, where linebackers can excel in coverage. "Tackling is the key there, open field tackling," said George. "Now is the time to get the mental reps in and work on being in the right place consistently so that when it's time to run and hit everything falls into place." It's a pretty good bet that George will grow into one of the Jaguars' top special teams performers based on what he's shown thus far and his natural inclination to hit whatever moves. – Brian Sexton

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