JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser's five takeaways Monday as Jaguars quarterbacks and rookies gathered in advance of 2015 Training Camp …
1)Blake Bortles looks ready.This is no scientific assessment, but second-year quarterback Blake Bortles had the right look Monday. This was the day rookies and quarterbacks reported for 2015 Jaguars Training Camp, which officially begins Friday – and because of Bortles' status as a young, highly-drafted player who could be the team's franchise quarterback, he begins training camp under intense scrutiny. It was fitting, then, that he was the first Jaguars players to speak to the media Monday, and he said the right things – that he feels more ready than he did last season, that he's more comfortable, that his offseason work on fundamentals went well. Bortles on Monday appeared relaxed, ready and prepared for an important training camp – and an important season. He appears more comfortable in the leadership role, a role he embraced quickly last season. You can't tell much from five minutes with the media, but from a first observation, it appeared to be a good start.
2)Rashad Greene wants a diverse role.If the rookie wide receiver has his way, he's going to be busy in camp and into the regular season. Not only is Greene expected to compete for the punt returner role, he wants to work as an outside and inside receiver, too. "I want to win every job I'm competing for," Greene said. "It's that competitive side of me. I want to go into it aggressively." Greene returned two punts for touchdowns at Florida State in 2012, finishing that season with a 15.35-yard average on punt returns. He returned 15 punts for a 10.67-yard average this past season. "It's been a while since I caught punts in a game, but I still feel like I have that ability," Greene said. Greene, selected by the Jaguars in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, likely will be used mostly in the slot offensively, though he said he will work on the outside in camp, too. "I want to be very versatile," Greene said. "I personally feel like I can." Greene spent much of the five weeks since the end of the offseason program working with Bortles and the Jaguars' wide receivers at Bishop Kenny High School. "It's grown a good amount," Greene said of his chemistry with Bortles.
3)Ready for the heat?As Michael Bennett sees it, you can't really prepare for practice in the Northeast Florida heat. But you can do as much as you can. Toward that end, the rookie sixth-round defensive tackle returned to Jacksonville two weeks ago after working out at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, the first three weeks after the team's mid-June minicamp. Bennett worked out outside at EverBank Field the past two weeks wearing a black Jaguars-issued sweatshirt. While that won't simulate the helmets and pads players will don next week, Bennett said it was better than doing nothing. "I tried to go out during the hotter parts of the day, wear a sweatshirt and have the hood up – just so I could feel the heat trapped around me," Bennett said. "I know it's not the same as having the helmet and shoulder pads on, but it's better than working out with my shirt off and letting your body adjust to it."
4)When is the future?OK, this isn't a "takeaway," exactly, but a big part of the future of the Jaguars' running game reported and spoke to the media on Monday. That was not only running back T.J. Yeldon, but offensive guard A.J. Cann as well. Yeldon, the No. 36 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft from Alabama, is expected to be the Jaguars' feature back sooner rather than later. That may nor may not mean being the Week 1 starter, but he was impressive in organized team activities and minicamp and his presence not only gives the Jaguars a potential every-down back, it makes the running back position much deeper than last season. Cann, the Jaguars' third-round selection from South Carolina, will open camp behind veteran Zane Beadles, but that's expected to be a competitive position sooner rather than later – and perhaps in training camp. Cann, a physical, mauling run-blocker, appears to be a good fit as the Jaguars move from a zone-blocking to a gap-blocking approach under assistant head coach-offense/offensive line coach Doug Marrone. Cann worked mostly with the second-team during OTAs and minicamp. "Whoever the coaches think is the better player, they'll figure it out," he said.
5)It's time.Yes, it's time – and while this was a light "takeaways" with rookies and quarterbacks reporting Monday, things will be more urgent and intense soon. Jaguars veterans report to EverBank Field Thursday, and Head Coach Gus Bradley and a few other veterans will address the media that day. The first training camp practice is scheduled for 9:55 a.m. Friday at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields. The offseason is behind us. Training camp is upon us. It's time.