JACKSONVILLE – The sun shone bright, and the heat was real.
But while that was part of the story outside EverBank Field Thursday morning, the real story was that Jaguars 2016 Training Camp indeed had begun.
That meant there was football. And smiles. And sweat.
And that meant another official step had been taken toward an anticipated 2016 Jaguars season.
"I thought it was a good practice," Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said early Thursday afternoon after the Jaguars worked for about two hours, 30 minutes in 93-degree temperatures that felt like 102 at the team's practice facility adjacent to EverBank Field.
"I saw a lot of big plays. Guys were making big plays – both offense and defense. Then there were some areas of sloppiness. A big emphasis for us was starting fast. We talked about that. There was some sloppiness at the start of periods, but we'll use it as a measuring stick and learn from the good and the bad."
Bradley said the intensity of camp's first practice was good.
"We really want to teach these guys the level of expectation," Bradley said. "We really want to drive that home in team meetings. … Overall – pretty good … we just have some areas we need to improve."
Thursday's work was non-padded and featured several expected personnel groupings.
Third-year veteran Luke Joeckel worked with the starters at offensive left tackle alongside veteran Mackenzy Bernadeau at left guard. Joeckel is expected to compete with Kelvin Beachum at left tackle for the starting position and those two are both expected to play guard and tackle extensively in camp. Beachum did not work team drills Thursday while returning from a knee injury.
Also, second-year defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. worked with the first-team defense at the Leo position. The No. 3 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft missed his rookie season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey participated in practice and worked at the nickel cornerback position and at outside corner. The No. 5 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft had missed organized team activities and minicamp with a small meniscus tear.
Rookie linebacker Myles Jack participated in practice mostly at second-team linebacker. He missed OTAs because of an NFL rule prohibiting rookies whose college hadn't finished the spring semester from participating. He practiced during the team's three-day mid-June minicamp.
Thursday's practice was open to season-ticket holders. The Jaguars will have a practice Friday at 10 a.m. free and open to the public. Thursday's crowd was announced at 1,425.
The Jaguars opened camp as anticipated on the injury front, monitoring and being careful Beachum.
Beachum, who signed with the team as an unrestricted free agent from the Pittsburgh Steelers, spent the offseason rehabilitating from a torn ACL sustained in Week 6 of last season. He participated in individual drills early in practice Thursday but did not work in team drills.
Offensive lineman Luke Bowanko (hip) and defensive end Jonathan Woodard (Achilles) as expected opened camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
PLAY OF THE DAY
The first day of camp was non-padded work. That will be the case the next three days, but there were memorable plays in team and 7-on-7 work Thursday – perhaps most notably from wide receiver Allen Robinson. During team drills toward the end of practice, Robinson caught a perfectly thrown back-shoulder pass from quarterback Blake Bortles. Despite tight coverage from cornerback Davon House, Robinson twisted his body near the sideline and got his feet in bounds for a 15-to-20-yard reception.
*Covering tight end Julius Thomas on the sideline, House leaped to intercept an underthrown pass from Bortles. House, who set a franchise record for passes defenses last season, is expected to start this season opposite either Ramsey or Prince Amukamara. …
*Tight end Marcedes Lewis had a nice catch on the sideline late in practice. …
*Free safety Tashaun Gipson, singed as an unrestricted free agent from the Cleveland Browns in the offseason, had an interception midway through practice in which he caught a deflection inches from the ground. …
*Second-year running back Corey Grant showed good speed on a long run early in practice. …
*Second-year wide receiver Rashad Greene caught a long slant over the middle early in practice. …
*Second-year running back T.J. Yeldon ran with the first team on the first play of run drills Thursday, but he and unrestricted free agent Chris Ivory essentially split repetitions. The two are expected to split carries much of the season. …
*Wide receiver Rashad Lawrence had a long reception from backup quarterback Chad Henne late in practice. …
*Wide receiver Tony Washington had a nice reception from rookie quarterback Brandon Allen over the middle in team drills late in practice. …