JACKSONVILLE – This was absolutely worth it.
That was Head Coach Gus Bradley's assessment following the Jaguars' joint practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the practice fields adjacent to EverBank Field Wednesday.
The two-and-a-half-hour session marked the first time in Bradley's four seasons the Jaguars had practiced against another team. The Jaguars and Buccaneers will practice again Thursday and will play a preseason game at EverBank Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Bradley said the practice reached "a more heightened environment" than a normal practice.
"Without a doubt, it was really good," Bradley said after the Buccaneers and Jaguars worked in 89-degree temperatures that felt like 99. "I'm glad we had it. For our team, where we're at, we needed to go through that. It will be great lessons for us."
Bradley worked primarily with the Jaguars' offense as it worked against the Buccaneers' defense on the middle field. Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter, the Jaguars' offensive coordinator from 2007-2011, ran the work between the Tampa Bay offense and Jaguars defense on the field closest to the stands.
Bradley said while the offense struggled early in practice with three penalties on the first five plays of nine on seven, the unit improved after that. Bradley said it appeared the defense fared well throughout practice.
"There were some signs that we weren't quite locked in to where we needed to be, but those are the lessons you learned," Bradley said.
Bradley and players all said the chance to work against another team incorporating different offensive and defensive schemes was as beneficial as expected.
"The looks that he saw today, he hasn't seen," Bradley said of quarterback Blake Bortles. "To be able to go in and handle it, I thought it he did pretty well."
Bradley said the coaches had spoken extensively with players about poise during the joint sessions, and there were no noticeable skirmishes between the teams.
Also on Thursday, former Jaguars Head Coach Tom Coughlin attended practice, as did former University of Central Florida Head Coach George O'Leary. Coughlin spoke extensively early practice with former Jaguars players Jeff Lageman, Mark Brunell and Tony Boselli, all of whom played for Coughlin during his tenure in Jacksonville from 1995-2002.
O'Leary talked before practice with Bortles, who played collegiately for O'Leary before being selected No. 3 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft.
BACK AT IT
Jaguars cornerback Aaron Colvin returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time since sustaining an ankle injury against the Jets in the preseason opener Thursday.
Wide receiver Shaq Evans (lower leg) practiced for the first time since early training camp.
Wide receiver Allen Hurns missed Wednesday's practice with a knee injury.
Other Jaguars players out of practice:
Safety James Sample (shoulder), running back Jonas Gray (quad), offensive tackle Josh Wells (thumb), offensive lineman Kadeem Edwards (ankle), defensive tackle Sheldon Day (back) and defensive tackle Michael Bennett (hip).
PLAY OF THE DAY
The day wasn't as stuffed with highlight plays as might have been anticipated, but Jaguar safety Josh Evans and linebacker Hayes Pullard III both had interceptions during the team portion of practice. Neither team appeared to stand out during one-on-one pass rush drills, and neither team seemed to have a significant advantage overall. The Jaguars' offense appeared to have its best success late in practice in red-zone team work.
*Jaguars safety Johnathan Cyprien had a pass breakup on a pass from Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston to wide receiver Mike Evans …
*Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis had one of the highlight plays of practice with a leaping touchdown reception from backup quarterback Chad Henne over safety Major Wright. …
*Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson had a leaping touchdown reception in the middle of the end zone in team red-zone work. …
*Jaguars wide receiver Rashad Lawrence had a touchdown reception from Henne beating cornerback Johnathan Banks in team red-zone work. …
*Evans had a touchdown reception from Bortles beating cornerback Alterraun Verner early in red-zone work. …