JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines the Thursday that was as the Jaguars continue preparing for the 2016 regular-season opener against the Green Bay Packers at EverBank Field Sunday …
ODRICK BELIEVES HE'S OK
Gus Bradley believes Jared Odrick will play Sunday.
That's what the Jaguars' head coach said Thursday shortly after Odrick – the team's starting strong-side defensive end – was held out of practice after being placed in the NFL's concussion protocol.
"It keeps getting evaluated, but it looks good," Bradley said of Odrick's prognosis to play in the 2016 regular-season opener against the Green Bay Packers at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
Odrick had been removed from practice Wednesday immediately after sustaining a hit to the jaw during two-on-two drills.
"A little friendly fire," Odrick called it.
Odrick said Jaguars head athletic trainer Scott Trulock removed him from practice as a precautionary measure. Odrick said Thursday he has little question he's fine.
"With injuries like this or potential injuries like this, I understand the climate," Odrick said. "I respect the process of the protocol. … It's in place to protect us, project myself, players and everyone else.
"I'm still going through things that are part of the protocol. I respect it, but at the same time it's tough to sit there and go through it when you know you're OK."
Running back Chris Ivory was the lone player other than Odrick listed on the team's Thursday injury report. He was listed as limited with a calf injury for a second consecutive day.
Luke Joeckel's recent move from tackle to guard remains a topic as the regular-season opener approaches, and Jaguars offensive coordinator Greg Olson was clear about his thoughts on the matter Thursday: "The guy's still learning the position, but I'm very, very comfortable, very confident in him going forward." Olson outlined why that's the case: "Where Luke is good – and he's good at a lot of different things – but he's good at short-area, when he's in his short-area and there's not a lot of distance between him and the defender and he can get his hands on the guy and lock up on the guy because he's got great balance, he's got good initial strike." Olson echoed what many said about Joeckel when the No. 2 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft was playing tackle – that his weakness there was playing in space. Olson also said while Joeckel improved at guard and tackle during training camp this season "we really like some of the things we saw at guard."
Take a look inside Thursday's practice as the Jaguars prepare for the Green Bay Packers.
GOOD TO GO
Through it all, Kelvin Beachum had faith. "I knew it was going to happen; I just didn't know how it was going to happen," Beachum said Thursday. The veteran left tackle was discussing being ready for Sunday's regular-season opener against Green Bay. Some believed during the offseason that that might be in doubt as Beachum returned from a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained while with Pittsburgh last season. Beachum signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in March and was named starting left tackle shortly after Preseason Week 3. Beachum said he maintained faith throughout the process and that the team surrounded him with resources to return to health. "I told them what I wanted to accomplish and they said, 'All right, we're going to find a way to get it done," he said, adding that while "you're never where you need to be," he feels ready for Sunday. "It's a great opportunity to go perform," Beachum said. "There are going to be some lumps and bruises. I understand that. I'm mentally strong and I'm excited about. Everything is starting to get rolling, starting to jell, at the right time."
"He made the position change [from guard], which we're extremely excited about. There is no question [center] Brandon Linder provides a physical presence up front. You can't replace that."
--Jaguars OC Greg Olson
"How we come together as a team, how we come together as an offense or defense … ask me in October. It takes some time. We have to be at our best. That's what we expect. But this team is going to keep getting better and keep improving the more that we play with each other."
"I feel great. I had a great offseason and I'm healthy now. I don't have to worry about playing with injuries and this offense is fun to play in. We have a lot of playmakers and our running game is evolving. That's going to be great for us, getting that implemented. Toward the end of last season when teams were scouting us they were probably saying, 'We have to take away the pass.' Now, it has to be both ways."
---Jaguars WR Allen Hurns