The first week of the first training camp of this new era in Jaguars football will be forever remembered for Larry Smith's and John Henderson's heat-related incidents. After all, they produced the first night practice in team history and may even give Jack Del Rio in four days what Tom Coughlin couldn't get in eight years; a practice bubble.
OK, heat stories sell. Everybody is into the heat thing. But this reporter thinks something far more important happened on the practice field this week.
What happened? Well, maybe, just maybe, the Jaguars made the switch from a seven-on-seven to a nine-on-seven football team.
Come on, Ketchman, give it to us in plain English.
Alright, here it is.
With all due respect to Wayne Weaver and the infamous "no more three yards and a cloud of dust" comment he made in introducing Jack Del Rio to Jaguars fans as the team's new head coach on Jan. 17, all indications are Del Rio has a healthy respect for, gulp, ah, running the ball. Why else would the new man put so much emphasis on nine-on-seven, a practice staple that features the running game?
Tom Coughlin's practices were always extra heavy on seven-on-seven, a passing-game exercise. Meanwhile, Coughlin's nine-on-seven drills were done sideways on the field, were brief, and usually didn't include the "ones" for more than a few plays.
This week, Del Rio's regimen included spirited, mid-field nine-on-seven drills that identified a new starting left offensive tackle and moved a rookie in at left guard. How did that happen? Reps, folks; lots and lots of reps.
"There are a lot of high-intensity drills intended to simulate a game. It's like playing a game a day," offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said of Del Rio's practice regimen.
Now, we've been led to believe Musgrave is going to give us a wide-open offense which, in Florida parlance, means something between 60-70 pass attempts a game. But this reporter thinks not. Call it reporter's instinct, but I have a feeling a "West Coast offense" coordinator who grew up in a Denver offense that featured Terrell Davis, and a head coach whose playing career was spent as a grunt linebacker, probably ascribe to a different definition of "wide open."
And wouldn't that be a big story?