First things first, and Mike Mularkey's first impression was a good one.
Mularkey on Tuesday afternoon put the team through an on-field practice for the first time as the Jaguars' head coach. It was two-hour, fifteen-minute session at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields adjacent to EverBank Field.
"I was extremely pleased with the focus and I really liked the tempo," Mularkey said late Tuesday afternoon after the first practice of a three-day voluntary mini-camp that he is calling a veteran orientation.
"I talk about energy a lot, and these guys had great energy out there. For April 17, we got a lot accomplished."
Mularkey said the team accomplished more than the coaching staff expected, and actually finished the session a few minutes early.
The idea of the three-day mini-camp is to get the Jaguars used to practicing under a new coaching staff, and to begin installing an offense that a new offensive staff has spent much of the last three months designing.
"We had a couple of glitches here and there, but that's going to happen the first day," Mularkey said. "I was very pleased with the offense."
Also around the Jaguars Tuesday:
*Running back Maurice Jones-Drew, kicker Josh Scobee and defensive tackle Terrance Knighton were the only three players not attending the voluntary session. Knighton is recovering from eye surgery and Scobee is the team's franchise player and is seeking a long-term contract. Mularkey said he had an idea before the camp that Jones-Drew wouldn't be in attendance after he hadn't attended the "Phase One," conditioning phase of the off-season program. "I had a feeling, but I didn't make any extra phone calls," Mularkey said. "If he was in there, great. If he wasn't, there wasn't anything I could do about it based on the way the CBA is read." Jones-Drew got married in early April. "Maybe he's on a really good honeymoon," Mularkey said. "It would have been nice to have Maurice Jones-Drew here, but we can't ask any of them to be here."
*Mularkey said while every season he has played or coached his team has had two practices on the first day of mini-camp, he opted to have one practice Tuesday. The reason is the camp's emphasis is on teaching and ensuring the players are familiar with how he wants practices run and what he wants done through the course of a day. "I just made the decision that instead of rushing to put something in, and instead of running on the field just to get practice in, I wanted to put the information in correctly and at a pace that is comfortable for our players," Mularkey said. He said that could be done because this essentially is an extra camp allowed because he is a new head coach. The Jaguars will hold two practices Wednesday – a practice and a walk through – and close this mini-camp with a practice Thursday morning.
*Quarterback Blaine Gabbert on the absence of Jones-Drew: "Regardless of when Maurice comes back he's going to be prepared to go. You know what you're going to get from Mo every day."
*Jaguars wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan missed practice to attend funeral services for former Dallas Cowboys special teams coach Joe Avezzano, who died of a heart attack last week. Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski and offensive assistant Charlie Skalaski worked with the receivers during much of Tuesday's session.
*Among the notable players working Tuesday were defensive tackle D'Anthony Smith, cornerback Derek Cox and offensive tackle Eben Britton. All finished the season on injured reserve last season and Smith has spent the last two seasons on injured reserve.
*Linebacker Clint Session worked on a limited basis and had a shoulder wrapped, and defensive end Austen Lane also was limited in part of practice. Among those out still rehabilitating were linebacker Paul Posluszny, cornerback Rashean Mathis, cornerback Ashton Youboty, cornerback T.J. Heath, defensive end Aaron Kampman and Tyson Alualu. Those six players attended practice, while defensive end John Chick did not. Players such as Kampman and Alualu worked with their position groups on a very limited basis early in practice.