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2019 OTAs: On Cole, tight ends and chemistry

JACKSONVILLE – Keelan Cole sees his 2019 offseason his way.

If that doesn't necessarily mesh with how observers and fans see his 2019 offseason, that's OK with the third-year wide receiver.

Think Cole is thinking about a rebound season? Proving people wrong? Not exactly.

"Every year's a rebound year," Cole said Tuesday following the Jaguars' first practice of 2019 organized team activities at the Dream Finders Home Practice Complex outside TIAA Bank Field.

"Nobody has the best year, because you've yet to have the best year if you're still working as hard as you can. Honestly, I'm always trying to be the best in the league just like everyone else is trying to be the best in the league. It's just last year wasn't that year.

"I'm going to come back and try to be the best in the league. Everybody has zero stats. Let's work, try to get the wins and be the best receiver I can be."

Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone on Tuesday was asked if Cole could bounce back from what at times was a difficult second NFL season.

"Absolutely," Marrone said. "He's working extremely hard."

Cole, who originally signed as a collegiate free agent from Kentucky Wesleyan following the 2017 NFL Draft, surprised many with a 748-yard, three-touchdown season as a rookie. He started strong last season with 10 receptions for 170 yards in the first two games, but a 116-yard game in a Week 2 victory over New England marked his lone 100-yard game of the season.

Cole, after starting the first seven games of the season, started just three after that and finished with 38 receptions for 491 yards and a touchdown.

"I work hard regardless of how I did the year before," Cole said. "I didn't take a year off, I didn't take the offseason off after my rookie year. I kept trying to work trying to get better.

"Things happen and you just have to keep moving and trying to get better."

The 2019 offseason figures to be a key time not only for Cole, but for the entire Jaguars receiving corps – and for new quarterback Nick Foles. OTA Day 1 Tuesday marked the group's first time working in an 11-on-11 situation.

Foles and the receivers spent time talking on the field after practice, with Cole the last of the receivers to leave the group.

"It's important, because you don't live together," Cole said. "When we're out here, we get limited time. So, when you're out here, you've got to ask as many questions – get as many mental reps, or however reps you can get. However you're going to get it, you've got to get it out here.

"That's the most important time. It's a start. It's all about getting ahead."


With Tuesday having been the offseason's first 11-on-11 work, Head Coach Doug Marrone when speaking to the media that day expectedly kept most comments relatively unspecific. He did address the tight-end position, calling the group "a work in progress" and saying unrestricted free-agent tight end Geoff Swaim "has come in and he has done a really good job." Swaim signed from Dallas. "He looks well-rounded," Marrone said. "He looks like he may be able to do a lot of things for us." The Jaguars also addressed the position this offseason by selecting Josh Oliver from San Jose State in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. "He's a heck of an athlete that can run and catch," Marrone said of Oliver. "We're just going to keep progressing with him and keep getting him better. I think a lot of it will depend on them and what they can do and how much they can do. Right now, they have done a good job of showing us that they can do a lot of things, so it will be interesting to see how they progress during these OTAs."


"I see a little of myself in him. I definitely want to get with him each and every day and try to get him better. The better he is, the more he can take double teams off him and myself."

--- Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue on rookie edge defender Josh Allen


"Chemistry is defined many different ways by a lot of different people. … When I think of team chemistry it's a team creating standards for themselves about how they are going to be in meetings, how they are going to practice, things of that nature. I think we've done a very good job in that, and that's what we're working to strive for is this standard or this identity. A lot of times you get this question as a coach, 'Hey, what's this team's identity?' The team's identity is going to be built from within itself, being out there. As a coach you can talk about all that stuff, but we'll see what happens and what goes on on the field as we work our way into the season."

--- Marrone

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