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First off the field: New era dawns


JACKSONVILLE – The day began under partially cloudy skies and ended in a downpour.

Whatever the weather, when it was over, a new era – and a new year – officially had begun around the Jaguars.

That was the scene Thursday morning for the first practice of Jaguars 2017 Training Camp, a two-hour-plus session in 84-degree temperatures – and in the end, a driving rain – that was the team's first training camp practice under first-year head coach Doug Marrone.

"We didn't complete the practice, so there are a couple of things we have to get done there – that was more toward the weather," Marrone said.
An estimated 1,900 fans attended the session on the practice fields adjacent to EverBank Field.

The Jaguars worked in helmets and shorts with no pads. The first padded practice of '17 camp scheduled for Saturday. Several players experienced cramping during Thursday's work.

"Other teams that I've been with – that has happened," Marrone said. "That's not something we look at that's out of the ordinary. You have to get acclimated to it. It's very important for our football team because we feel like that's going to give us an advantage when we start playing in September.

"I want to push them more. I want to see them finish more. The first day in a new environment, players try to see what practice is like – to save themselves and things of that nature. But that's not going to help us become a better football team. That's what I'm going to talk to them about tonight."

The Jaguars' indoor practice facility – a flex field adjacent to EverBank – is near completion. Marrone said he didn't consider moving inside to finish Thursday's session.

"The thing obviously is lightning for player safety," Marrone said. "In my mind, if it's raining, I like to get that stuff out early. Then it's a natural element that you're playing in, whereas if you don't get a lot of rain then you have to get buckets with wet balls [to get accustomed to rainy conditions] and things of that nature."
Here's a look at Day 1 practice:

*Wide receiver Allen Robinson had a productive day, catching several intermediate routes from quarterback Blake Bortles and also catching a long 50-50-ish pass from Bortles. …
*Strong-side linebacker Paul Posluszny had a pass deflection midway through practice. …
*Third-year defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. had a strong outside move for what likely would have been a sack early in practice. …
*Wide receiver Arrelious Benn had a nice, sliding catch over the middle midway through practice. …
*Cornerback Taurean Nixon had a pass deflection midway through practice. …

This came from Bortles, with a nod to fourth-year wide receiver Marqise Lee. Midway through practice, Bortles threw a deep pass down the left sideline. He hit Lee a few yards behind the defender, and Lee eased into the end zone for what would have been a touchdown. Bortles also hit rookie running back Leonard Fournette on a similar play in the same drill.

Marrone said after practice he liked what he saw from Bortles in terms of fundamentals, footwork and progression; Marrone noted that it appeared Bortles had picked up in those areas where he left off late in the team's offseason program.

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey as expected missed Day 1 of camp. He entered camp on the Physically Unable to Perform List, as are cornerback Aaron Colvin and fullback Marquez Williams.
Running back T.J. Yeldon, safety Barry Church and safety Tashaun Gipson participated in practice Thursday. All three players missed the on-field portion of the team's offseason program. Church and Gipson as expected worked with the starters.

*Brandon Albert worked with the first team at left tackle through a large part of Day 1 practice, with Tyler Shatley working at left guard. Brandon Linder worked at center, with A.J. Cann and Jermey Parnell working at right guard and tackle, respectively. Marrone said Wednesday he expects to have a good idea about the makeup of the offensive line in the first week and a half of training camp. …
*Second-year veteran Brandon Allen and 10-year veteran Chad Henne shared repetitions at the backup quarterback position. Henne has been Bortles' backup the last three seasons; Allen was a sixth-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2016 NFL Draft. Allen hit Keelan Cole with a long touchdown pass midway through practice. …
*Doran Grant took reps with the first team at cornerback. Ramsey and Colvin are out to start camp on PUP. …

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