Lee Evans won't say he feels exactly like the old Lee Evans. Not yet.
But he said he's generally feeling better – and playing better – each week, and he's getting used to his new surroundings. For now, the veteran wide receiver said, he'll take that.
"I feel all right," Evans said Wednesday. "It's still early. I'm still getting accustomed to the language, but it's coming good."
Evans, a nine-year veteran, signed with the Jaguars last month after spending an injury-plagued season with the Baltimore Ravens last season. The Ravens acquired Evans in a trade from Buffalo shortly before last season.
"We're still getting there (physically)," Evans said. "Right now, I'm just trying to have a plan and work it progressively. Right now, I'm going along getting a little better and a little better each day."
Evans, who missed much of last season with an ankle injury, began his career under Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey in Buffalo in 2004, and said Wednesday he sees Mularkey building a foundation in Jacksonville.
"That's one of the reasons why I wanted to come here, to be a part of something I felt was going to be a contender come playoff time," Evans said. "I wanted to be a part of the building process for that."
HIGH STANDARDS, LOFTY EXPECTATIONS
The good feeling is more than a good feeling to Uche Nwaneri .
Nwaneri, the Jaguars' sixth-year veteran guard, has been one of the more vocal players in discussing just how the team should be improved next season. He said Wednesday the reasons go a bit beyond a new coach and new owner.
But he said those are definitely factors.
"I just think it's a breath of fresh air," Nwaneri said. "Everybody's buying into what Coach Mularkey demands of the team and wants from us in terms of intensity and focus. With Mr. (Jaguars Owner Shad) Khan, there's a new energy because of how he's trying to get the Jaguars out there. He's doing a lot of things here at the stadium, and that matters.
"The attitude of trying to win a championship just brings a new attitude to everybody."
Nwaneri said that change was needed.
"When you get used to the same thing, it wears on you as a player," he said. "When the same thing happens year in and year out, it wears on you. You believe in what you're trying to accomplish, but when you get the same result, you're like, 'Is there something more we can do to get over thus hump?'
"With coach Mularkey and the new coaching staff, they've set the expectations and the standard so high. Everybody here wants to be a champion."
WHAT LB BRANDON MARSHALL SAYS
"It is an eye-opener. We've just got to try and learn from the vets and take the coaches' points that the coaches give you and just work hard. . . . Everybody's fast, everybody's quick and everybody's hungry. If you don't match that intensity you're going to be left behind."
WHAT DT JERIS PENDLETON SAYS
"There's so much that's being thrown out there. All you can do is just do what you remember and go full speed. That's basically what you can do. . . . It's a fun experience, just to get out here and run around and do something that I love to do. It's a good experience. I'm loving it."
WHAT CB RASHEAN MATHIS SAYS
"He (strength and conditioning coach Tom Myslinski) is an ex-player so he knows what it takes, even though it's a different position. He knows that you need to listen to your body. That's one of his main things. Tell me what your body is saying. He's always stressing that. Me being a veteran guy and knowing my body, it's always good to have."
WHAT WE SAW
The media access is limited to 50 minutes during Jaguars OTAs, so much of what it seen is limited. But on Tuesday, the Jaguars spent a lot of time during the open period with receivers and quarterbacks working together. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert had a couple of early errant throws in a team-oriented drill, but for the most part appeared to be accurate and confident during the open period. He and backup Chad Henne worked with the receivers while third-team quarterback Jordan Palmer worked with the running backs. Both Gabbert and Henne appeared accurate, and rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon also continued to stand out. He made one leaping catch in the end zone and while it was uncovered, it showed the athleticism that made him the No. 5 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft. Tight end Marcedes Lewis also had a one-handed reception.
One area of focus around the Jaguars this off-season is the return of RT Eben Britton. He missed half of the 2010 season with a torn labrum, then missed most of last season with a back injury. Largely because of the back injury, there has been a rush in some circles to assume Britton won't ever be right again, but thus far in OTAs he has shown no ill-effects. He said last week he essentially has been cleared to practice fully, and that although the team is not working full-contract in pads, he could do so if the rules permitted. As has been the case throughout OTAs, Britton worked full speed Wednesday, and to the naked eye he appeared to not be limited or favoring the back while hitting heavy pads during blocking drills. Obviously, what Britton does now isn't nearly as important as what happens when the pads go on in camp, but so far Britton appears to have a real chance to return to full effectiveness next season.
Most of the 90 Jaguars players on the off-season roster will participate in organized team activities practice on Thursday, then finish OTAs with practices next Tuesday through Friday. The team's mandatory mini-camp is scheduled to run June 12-14. Training camp is scheduled to begin in late July.
*Defensive end Jeremy Mincey remained out with an illness for a second consecutive day on Wednesday, while linebacker Clint Session and cornerback Aaron Ross missed practice. All OTA practices are voluntary under the rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
*Cornerback Derek Cox appeared to work on a limited basis during the part of practice open to the media, and running back Richard Murphy also was limited. Cornerback Rashean Mathis (knee), defensive end Aaron Kampman (knee), defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (eye), middle linebacker Paul Posluszny (shoulder) defensive tackle Tyson Alualu (knee) remained among those limited, out or working on the side.
*Pendleton has been working more extensively than he might otherwise during OTAs because of the absence of Knighton and Alualu. With the two starters out, D'Anthony Smith and C.J. Mosley are working with the first team with Pendleton working with the second, and Pendleton said the extra time should be a positive. "I actually get the chance to run around instead and do it of just seeing them write it on the board and not actually getting a hands-on experience," Pendleton said. "That helps a whole lot with those guys being out and me being out there running around, actually doing it, seeing how it all develops. That helps a whole lot." Pendleton likely will focus on a run-defending role.