JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars worked for a little more than two hours Tuesday.
But they did so after the news Monday evening that former offensive line coach George Yarno had died after a three-year battle with Stage IV cancer, and that made Tuesday a difficult day.
Yarno, one of Gus Bradley's first hires upon taking over as Jaguars head coach in January 2013, coached the Jaguars' offensive line in 2013. He had worked in the NFL five years before that and spent 2009-2012 as the Lions' offensive line coach. He was 58.
"We had a tough night last night," Bradley said following Tuesday's practice. "It's just tough."
Bradley, who worked with Yarno in Tampa Bay when Yarno was the assistant offensive line coach there in 2008, called the former coach "a dear friend of ours."
"A lot of our coaches had the opportunity to coach with him," Bradley said. "Our thoughts and prayers go to his wife, Cindy, his three children and eight grandchildren. He touched so many peoples' lives, so many players' lives in the NFL and college … wherever he coached.
"He left a legacy. He inspired a lot of people and people really appreciated him."
Jaguars offensive tackle Luke Joeckel played for Yarno in 2013, Joeckel's rookie season and Yarno's lone season with the organization.
"To hear he passed is definitely sad," Joeckel said. "It kind of puts in perspective what we're going through. We kind of complain sometimes about going through training camp and the grind of it, but that's a man who has been battling cancer every single day for the last three years. Thought and prayers are with his family, but he fought for a long time."
Also Tuesday, Bradley said reserve offensive tackle Josh Wells has sustained a thumb injury and is expected to undergo surgery Thursday. Wells had been working as the reserve/swing tackle behind left tackle and right tackle. Bradley said Wells' status moving forward will be determined after surgery.
"We'll know after that the length of time he'll be out," Bradley said.
The Jaguars worked in shorts and helmets Tuesday two days before the preseason opener against the New York Jets Thursday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Bradley said playing time and injury statuses for the Jets game will be decided Tuesday. The Jaguars will leave for the game Wednesday.
Bradley said Joeckel – competing with Kelvin Beachum for the starting left-tackle position – could get repetitions at guard and tackle. Beachum is not expected to play as the team continues to be cautious in his return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained in Week 6 with Pittsburgh last season.
Defensive end Jared Odrick (foot) and defensive tackle Malik Jackson (ankle) returned to practice Monday after missing Monday. Neither was thought to be serious.
Wide receiver Marqise Lee (hamstring) worked on the side Tuesday after returning to practice Monday after a week-and-half absence. Bradley said the absence was expected with the idea being to gauge Lee's status after Monday's practice.
"Everything looks good and positive for him," Bradley said of Lee, adding that Lee will run Wednesday to determine if he can play Thursday.
Wide receiver Allen Hurns, tight end Marcedes Lewis, middle linebacker Paul Posluszny and defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks all had planned days off Tuesday. Offensive lineman Luke Bowanko (ankle) and defensive end Jonathan Woodard (Achilles) remain on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
"We've got to start fast this year. It was one of the biggest things we weren't good at last year and something we focused on all offseason through OTAs and through training camp. It's something we need to fix and I think we've been doing a good job of it."
---Joeckel on improving the offense's need to start faster
"We want to have smooth operation – to get in and out of huddle with good communication and to have no pre-snap errors. We want to have good decision-making."
---Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles on goals for preseason opener
PLAY OF THE DAY
The last day of camp before the preseason opener featured the most-extended fight of 2016 training camp with Joeckel, offensive lineman Chris Reed, defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., right tackle Jermey Parnell and defensive tackle Malik Jackson involved in an extended skirmish that ended with players on the ground. "At this time in practice, you go against each other, you go against each other and those things happen," Bradley said. "We made some wrong choices in the fight. It's one thing to get a player off, but you can't throw a punch and you can't hit somebody from behind. I told them, 'Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places,' so we'll use that. We'll look at it on tape. We need to talk about it."