JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines the Monday that was as the Jaguars begin preparing for the 2016 regular-season opener against the Green Bay Packers at EverBank Field Sunday …
This is a good roster.
Gus Bradley made it clear he felt that way Monday, calling this the best personnel the Jaguars have had in his four seasons as head coach.
The Jaguars' 53-man roster – a number reached through two days of roster moves Saturday and Sunday – also is something else as the 2016 regular-season opener approaches: healthy, strikingly so.
The Jaguars on Monday went through a comparatively light practice on what Bradley called a Bonus Monday, working in shorts and shoulder pads as they began preparations to play the Green Bay Packers in the 2016 regular-season opener at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
All 53 players on the active roster participated.
"Health-wise, we're in good shape – very good," Bradley said. "The health of our team … what we'd hoped getting through training camp, so that's worked out really well."
The Jaguars placed offensive tackle Josh Wells (thumb) and defensive tackle Michael Bennett (calf) on injured reserve over the weekend, also placing safety James Sample (shoulder) on injured reserve earlier in the week.
Defensive tackle Roy Miller III, who missed the final three preseason games, participated in practice Monday. His presence at nose tackle is key to the run defense.
Bradley on Monday also discussed linebacker Myles Jack, saying the rookie continued working at the weak-side linebacker position in practice Monday. Jack, the Jaguars' second-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, started at weak-side linebacker against Atlanta in the preseason finale after working at second-team middle linebacker in the first three preseason games.
Bradley said Jack will certainly play a significant special teams role Sunday – and that his defensive role has yet to be determined.
"We'll just see how much he progresses," Bradley said. "If he continues to play [well], then we have to find a role for him. Where he fits in defensively right now … ask me more toward the end of the week."…
The team introduced the beginnings of preparation for Green Bay in meetings Monday.
"We'll get into more detail on Wednesday," Bradley said. "We kind of split up what we normally do on Wednesday."
Images from Monday's practice as the Jaguars begin preparations for Green Bay.
CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN
Jaguars players voted on their team captains Sunday. Quarterback Blake Bortles was named the offensive captain with middle linebacker Paul Posluszny defensive captain and long snapper Carson Tinker special teams captain. "Three great picks," Bradley called them. "Those guys are well-deserved." Bradley said 25 players received votes.
Bradley said second-year defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. has improved his conditioning in the last two weeks. Fowler, who missed his rookie season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, stood out in the early stages of training camp but did not have a sack in three preseason games. "In the beginning of training camp, he was getting two reps a set," Bradley said. "So we felt his conditioning wasn't where it needed to be. Today, he looked really good again. It's something that he's worked on."
Bradley discussed several of the weekend's roster moves, including:
*The re-signing of wide receiver Arrelious Benn Sunday after he originally was released Saturday. "Very good on special teams," Bradley said of Benn. "He's a different style of wide receiver for us, too – a more physical-type wide receiver. But the big part was special teams."
*The waiver-wire claims Sunday of linebacker Arthur Brown (Baltimore) and safety Marqueston Huff (Tennessee), saying those moves also were based on special teams. Bradley said Brown will play Otto linebacker.
*The decision to keep cornerback Josh Johnson, saying the first-year veteran has the ability to play nickel and corner. He is a valuable special teams player and also could play safety at some point in the future.
*The decision to keep safety Jarrod Wilson, saying the rookie from Michigan was able to learn both strong and free safety quickly during the offseason. "His instincts are very good," Bradley said. "The ability to go out there and play with instincts – that's what caught our eye."
"For us, the important part is to stay on schedule offensively. In the preseason we had some first-and-20s, first-and-15s. That's what we don't want to do. We want to make sure we stay on schedule."
---Bradley on the Jaguars' offense entering the season
"We had some very tough decisions. To us, that's a good thing – when you're getting down to the last four or five cuts and you're having multiple discussions, what role everybody can play."
---Bradley on the weekend's cut to 53 players