Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin closed mini-camp this morning with the last of five practices, then met at midfield to caution his rookies about what's ahead.
"You got two weeks and you're back. Make sure you use it well," Coughlin told his newcomers, who will return to Alltel Stadium on May 15th to begin their first official Jaguars strength and conditioning program.
This weekend's mini-camp was a get-acquainted event for a football team that is undergoing major roster reconstruction. Clearly, the focus was on important newcomers, such as first-round defensive tackle John Henderson, second-round offensive tackle Mike Pearson and fourth-round quarterback David Garrard.
"John Henderson, in his one-on-one pass-rush, was outstanding," Coughlin said. "Mike Pearson learned some things that'll really help him."
Garrard quickly became the number one player of interest yesterday afternoon, when he was moved into the number two position behind Mark Brunell. This morning, Garrard turned in what may have been his best of five practice performances.
"He's poised, he's confident, he takes coaching very well, he has a persona about him, he's the same in good plays and bad, and he has a little more fire in him than for which people have given him credit," Coughlin said of Garrard. "I'm excited about David. He's shown me some things."
The Jaguars are expected to sign a veteran backup to Brunell, and Garrard's move up the depth chart this weekend would seem to have paved the way for that move.
"If there's a player who can help our team and we can do it, we're going to go get that player," Coughlin said when asked if we will try to sign a veteran passer.
The mini-camp revealed little more than players' basic talents, and the fact Coughlin's young team has much learning to accomplish. He stressed the latter fact to his team and told veterans they will be under close examination from the rookies.
"With every action, with every word, they speak. Young players want to follow somebody who gives them hope. Some of these (veterans) are held in that position because they've been in the league long enough," Coughlin said.
"You have to act like you're being threatened," he said of those players whose job security isn't likely to be challenged. "It doesn't have to come from an outside force; it has to come from an inside force."
"I'm very happy we don't play tomorrow, but it's there and it'll come. It's about football now," Coughlin added.