JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines Day Two of the joint practices with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday – with an eye on QB Blake Bortles, WR Marqise Lee and DT Sheldon Day
Good week of work
All in all, the week was good.
That was the consensus from Head Coach Gus Bradley Thursday afternoon following the second of two joint practices with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and quarterback Blake Bortles agreed.
The idea was to work against an unfamiliar opponent, and to get new looks both offensively and defensively against different personnel. The idea was to do so with no unnecessary altercations, and with the exception of a Thursday scrap involving Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., that was accomplished.
So yeah … a good week.
"I think it was good," Bortles said Thursday following a two-and-half-hour practice at the practice fields adjacent to EverBank Field. "It was good really to see different stuff for us – different pressures, different coverages, different fronts, different guys, different personnel. …
"It was something that I think we got a lot out of and I thought it went well the past two days."
Bradley said while he wasn't thrilled with the offense during two-minute work Thursday – "not the standard we hoped for," he said – the intensity and execution improved during a later red-zone drill in which Bortles threw four touchdown passes. Bortles and the offense also performed well in red-zone work Wednesday.
"We played with[out] a lot of intensity there or as much as we needed to, but to see us come back in the red zone and get back out was good," Bradley said.
Bortles, speaking publicly for the first time this week, said he likes the state of the offensive line entering Saturday's Preseason Week 2 game against Tampa Bay.
Center Brandon Linder is expected to start after missing Preseason Week 1 against the New York Jets with a groin injury, though offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum – expected to start at either left guard or tackle – is expected to miss a second consecutive preseason game as the team remains cautious with his return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained in Week 6 last season with Pittsburgh.
"I feel good with it," Bortles said. "Obviously there's still some things being worked out but I think it's giving guys a chance to play. [Guard] Chris Reed got a chance to play the whole game last week and I thought he did a great job. [Center/guard] Tyler Shatley got a chance to play a bunch. A bunch of guys are getting opportunities and I think that's really cool and it's only going to make everybody better and more competitive."
Bortles said he doesn't yet know how much he will play Saturday. He played two series against the Jets Thursday.
"I don't care; I'll play as long as they tell me to," Bortles said, adding that the offensive goals for Preseason Week 2 are essentially the same as Preseason Week 1. "It's called a dress rehearsal. Call it whatever you want, but you want no stupid stuff to happen. You want to be sharp in and out of the huddle, the formations and shifts, nobody running the wrong route or making stupid decisions from the quarterback position – and I think, having a good tempo. That would probably be kind of the same things carried over."
Take a look at some of the best images form the second joint practice with the Tampa Bay Bucs on Thursday.
The Jaguars haven't given up on Sheldon Day this season. After impressing throughout the offseason and early in training camp, the rookie defensive tackle has been out since early in the second week of camp with a back injury. Bradley on Thursday said while Day will miss a second consecutive preseason game Saturday, his situation isn't thought long term. "Our hope is to get him back early next week," Bradley said.
"Everybody wants to play the first regular-season game right now, but I'm glad we have a couple of weeks left. We have some work to do, but it's a good kind of work."
Marqise Lee continues to impress. After missing much of the first week and a half of training camp with a hamstring issue, the third-year receiver caught four passes for 49 yards in the preseason opener and followed that up with two strong practices against Tampa Bay. "His suddenness and speed shows up, the way he accelerates," Bradley said. "He is really – just like we talked in OTAs [offseason organized team activities] – starting to stack them up now. I think every practice he is gaining confidence with every rep that he gets. So he is in a pretty good place right now."
"Marqise has been awesome. I think he's shown that when he's healthy he's got an unbelievable ability to make plays. … He's a professional and understands that and knows what to do in order to stay on the field. He's kind of done that and been able to do it and looks really good."
--- Bortles on Lee
Jaguars veteran defensive tackle Malik Jackson on Thursday was asked what he learned about the defensive line in two practices against Tampa Bay. "I guess I'm really just starting to see the depth we have," Jackson said. "A few guys went down, but a lot of guys are stepping up to fully fill those roles. That's what a good defense is – where the twos and threes are just as good as the ones."