JACKSONVILLE -- Senior writer John Oehser's five takeaways from Jaguars 2015 Training Camp Tuesday at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields …
1)All not lost.We begin this 2015 training camp takeaways with what for the Jaguars must be described as a relief – the sight of safety Johnathan Cyprien and tight end Julius Thomas in full pads. Yes, each wore a red, non-contact jersey Tuesday, but to see them practicing is to know the injuries they sustained Friday are indeed relatively minor. Cyprien sustained a fractured finger and Thomas sustained a fractured hand, but after being held out Monday, each worked without contact Tuesday. "I think we kind of knew from the start that we could do that," Head Coach Gus Bradley said. "The way they're moving around, there's not much pain." Neither Thomas nor Cyprien is expected to play in the final three preseason games, but Cyprien on Tuesday said he doesn't believe he will lose ground. "I'm real optimistic about it," Cyprien said. "I'm happy because now is the least I'll be doing. As time goes on and my finger heals a little bit more, I'll be able to be even more involved. I'm definitely taking advantage of the opportunity I do have instead of being worried about the downside of this."
2)Full support.While observers have expressed concern over the left side of the Jaguars' offensive line in preseason, that concern hasn't been shared by Head Coach Gus Bradley. Bradley on Tuesday said he believes the line's right side – tackle Jermey Parnell and guard Brandon Linder – is a strength, adding that left guard Zane Beadles "played good against Pittsburgh." As for left tackle Luke Joeckel, who allowed an early sack against Pittsburgh, Bradley discussed the danger of judging players off one play. The consensus on Joeckel around the organization is he is improving after adding weight and strength in the offseason and Bradley voiced that consensus Tuesday, saying, "I guess there's the judging based off one play here and there, but as coaches we try to look at the body of work and we are pleased with his progress."
3)Maintaining his level.Tight end Marcedes Lewis continues to be a camp storyline, with the veteran continuing to appear poised for a productive season. Bradley this past weekend told reporters Lewis was having the best camp of the three in which Bradley has been the head coach. Bradley on Tuesday reiterated that, emphasizing the 10-year veteran's blocking and playmaking during camp. "He looks good, he looks strong, he looks faster and maybe it's because of his body – he feels good about it," Bradley said. "We try to manage these guys and give them days off at certain times and I think he feels like it's really helped him. I think it shows up on film. Not only our coaches but the scouts that are watching it – they recognize it, too."
4)So far, so good.The second week of the NFL preseason is when injuries typically begin being weekly issues, but while the Jaguars had injuries in the preseason opener, it would be hard to argue the team has been ravaged by injuries. While rookie Leo Dante Fowler Jr. is out for the season with a knee injury, the rest of the team's injuries have been comparatively minor. Both wide receiver Marqise Lee (hamstring) and running back T.J. Yeldon (finger) appear likely to play in the preseason, as does end Chris Clemons and safety James Sample (arm). Yeldon has been able to practice in a red non-contact jersey, and even Cyprien and Thomas have been able to practice on some level after injuries. Would you like to have the aforementioned players on the field working full? Of course. But there is no player on the roster aside from Fowler who definitely will miss a regular-season game, so this qualifies as a relatively healthy team by normal preseason standards.
5)Keep an eye on … Denard Robinson.When the Jaguars selected Yeldon in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, many assumed that would move Robinson down the depth chart. And yes, Yeldon appears likely to be the feature, go-to back soon. But the Jaguars seem likely to use a heavy rotation at running back this season, partly because of the offseason and training camp performance of Robinson. He has looked good as a kickoff returner and has looked fast and decisive as a running back. Part of the reason the running back position looks deeper and stronger than last season is Yeldon. But a huge part, too, is Robinson, who looks far better as a running back than many could have imagined two seasons ago.