JACKSONVILLE – Blaine Gabbert came back Wednesday.
He just didn't come all the way back. Yet.
Gabbert, competing with Chad Henne for the Jaguars' starting quarterback role, returned to training camp practice in full pads Wednesday two days after leaving practice early with what Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley at the time called a right ankle sprain.
But while Gabbert worked in position-group drills and in 7 on 7 Wednesday, he did not participate in team drills that involved offensive and defensive linemen.
Gabbert worked with his right ankle heavily wrapped Wednesday.
"He came up to us and felt like he was in good shape," Bradley said after the two-and-half-hour workout at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness practice fields.
"He really wanted to go. We came up with a plan to limit his reps. We'll go in and see how it turned out. We were very cautious with the reps and which period he was going to get the reps, but he said it felt pretty good."
Gabbert said the ankle was doing "a lot better."
"The biggest thing right now is managing it," Gabbert said. "I'm feeling a lot better."
Gabbert called the play on which he was injured "a freak play." On the play, guard Uche Nwaneri was pushed back into the pocket at Gabbert moved forward.
"It was a matter of a couple of inches," Gabbert said. "Luckily it happened in Practice 4, so we don't have much to worry about. I'll be ready to go tomorrow."
Gabbert said he is working with trainers to see how to tape the ankle.
"I felt good in the limited things I did do," Gabbert said.
Gabbert worked early and appeared to throw well, but did not participate in any of the Jaguars' 11-on-11 drills. Henne worked with the starters in those drills, with veteran Mike Kafka working with the backups and Matt appearing to work with the third unit.
It was the most extensive work Kafka had gotten since signing joining the team late in the team's offseason program.
Wednesday marked the Jaguars' first practice in full pads after working in shoulder pads Sunday and Monday. Wednesday was the fifth practice of training camp.
Bradley said the team has reached the point where it needs some live work and that the coaches will work on getting that into practice Thursday.
"I do think we need some live work," he said. "We'll look at that as a possibility of getting that in tomorrow. It just helps our pad level and helps our tackling on the perimeter and on the inside. We've just reached a point where we can use a period of that."
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew, defensive end Jason Babin, defensive tackle Roy Miller and center Brad Meester all practiced a second consecutive practice day Wednesday after getting a "veterans" day off on the third day of training camp Sunday.
The Jaguars are scheduled to go through a walk-through Wednesday evening, and will resume practice Thursday at 9:55 a.m. at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness practice fields.
Safety Johnathan Cyprien (hamstring) remained on the reserve non-football injury list on the fifth practice day of camp. Wide receiver Justin Blackmon (groin), wide receiver Taylor Price (foot) and offensive guard Stephane Milhim (knee) remained on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
Safety Steven Terrell returned to practice after missing two days with a sprained arch and wide receiver Tobais Palmer returned after missing two practices with a sprained ankle.
Bradley said the hope is to get Cyprien back next week and he said Blackmon is ahead of schedule and doing well.
PLAY OF THE DAY
The play of the day was almost very, very effective.
With the Jaguars revealing a bit more of the offense on Wednesday – at least a bit more that they didn't mind fans seeing – the team unveiled the trickiest play of training camp to date.
On the play, wide receiver Mike Brown – who played quarterback at Liberty – caught a lateral behind the line of scrimmage on the left side of the field. He threw deep down the right side and appeared to have running back Jordan Todman open, with the pass long and incomplete by a few inches.
1.Ace Sanders continues to impress in practice. He caught a touchdown from Gabbert in 7 on 7, and appears to get open and catch the ball efficiently.
2.Ona day when the run was emphasized as the team moved into full pads, Maurice Jones-Drew continued to work with the starters, and had a touchdown in a red-zone situation late in practice.
3.Wide receiver Cecil Shorts III continues to be a standout player in camp, catching a pair of touchdowns in red-zone situations late in practice.
4.Rookie quarterback Matt Scott had one of the best throws of camp, hitting Palmer in stride for what would have been a 25-yard touchdown. The ball hit Palmer in the chest and he couldn't hold the pass.
5.Rookie Denard Robinson continued to work heavily in the Wildcat formation, taking five snaps from center in the shotgun formation. He also carried several times on pitches from the quarterback.
6.Henne ran the option late in practice, pitching to Jones-Drew after running to his left.
7.Rookie fullback Lonnie Pryor had one of his best runs of camp, breaking through the right side of the line for a 10-yard gain.
8.Tight end Allen Reisner continued a solid camp, catching a touchdown pass.
9.Defensive end Jeremy Mincey got his most extensive group with the first team as the Jaguars continue to rotate on the defensive line.
10.Rookie safety Josh Evans defenses a pass late in team drills late in practice.
LOOKING ON . . .
*It's hard to look at the Jaguars and not see the chances for an improved offense – at the very least, the chances for a significantly improved receiving corps. Much will still depend on the development of the quarterback position, but third-year veteran Shorts looks as if he has a chance to be a legitimate No. 1 receiver and rookie Sanders has surprised many observers in camp by looking as he can contribute offensively immediately. Brown has impressed in camp, and although he and Sanders each must show they can perform in games, the unit has the look of one of the better Jaguars receiving corps in some time – all without Blackmon, the No. 5 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft who has yet to practice while on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
*The difference at practice Wednesday was notable, which made sense in the first day without pads. Linemen went through one-one-one run blocking drills early and even drills against pads had a different energy. Look for that to get more intense on Thursday as Bradley works in more live action.