JACKSONVILLE – Sen'Derrick Marks thought this would work. Absolutely.
"I saw that when I came in and talked with the coaches," Marks said of his March free-agency visit to Jacksonville.
The verdict? So far, so good.
Marks, a defensive tackle who signed as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason, registered a sack and two pressures in his preseason debut with the Jaguars this past Friday. And though that was only the preseason opener, Marks said it confirms what he believed this past offseason:
That he would be an ideal fit for what the coaching staff wanted.
Marks, a second-round selection in the 2009 NFL Draft who spent four seasons with the Tennessee Titans, met with coaches in March about what the staff wanted from a three-technique player, and exactly what they wanted from the defensive line. He felt comfortable after that conversation, and said he felt more comfortable after meeting with Head Coach Gus Bradley and hearing how he believed the front and secondary should work together.
"I feel like it was exactly the way I wanted to play," Marks said this week during Jaguars 2013 Training Camp, which concludes Thursday at the Florida Blue practice fields. "It showed Friday."
Marks said while there was nothing wrong with how Tennessee played, he said the fit for him was wrong. He played the nose-guard position with Jurrell Casey playing the three technique, where Marks originally was drafted to play out of Auburn.
"It's no knock on them," Marks said. "The defense was good there, and Jurrell was a very good player. I was just in a totally different role than what I am here. I had enough strength in the body to play nose guard, but I have the quickness and athletic ability to play the three-technique."
Marks said he also has been helped this offseason by the presence of defensive end Jason Babin. The two played together in Tennessee in 2010 under defensive line coach Jim Washburn, and two of Marks' pressures Friday came on moves that played off rushes by Babin.
"Me and Babin learned pass rush together under Washburn," Marks said. "Some of the techniques (Defensive Line) Coach (Todd) Wash does here are some of the things we learned under Washburn. We can work together because we learned that together.
"All of the games we run, the way he wants pass rush to be, we learned that in Tennessee. It's the same thing Coach Wash wanted here."
The result, Marks said, is a chance to rush the passer and play aggressive in a fashion he long believed he could play.
"I didn't have the opportunity to do it in Tennessee because I was playing the nose guard position, and Jurrell Casey was pretty good," he said. "When I came here I was like, 'Man, this will be a great fit for me.' It's exactly what I was built on and exactly the way I want to play.
"I'm having fun with it. It's very comfortable for me."
Also around the Jaguars Wednesday:
*Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert continue to split repetitions equally in the starting quarterback competition. Bradley said while observers may be keeping a day-to-day scorecard on the battle, he and the coaching staff continue to view it differently. "This evaluation with the quarterbacks is not just attempts and completions," Bradley said. "It's how do you bounce back from adversity, how do you hang on to prosperity, how do you lead this team, how are you in individual, what's your demeanor like in meetings, how are you handling team meeting situations, how's your leadership? There's so much that is involved in this, other than the things that are obvious to the human eye." Bradley said he and the staff will make a decision on starting quarterback Wednesday night. Gabbert started in the preseason opener against Miami. . . .
*Bradley on the quarterback competition, continued: "It's our job to find the strengths of our guys; what do they do well? Then, if they do something not very well, don't keep practicing that with the hopes of it getting better; do something that he's doing really well and try to get him great at that. If I looked at a specific route and a quarterback was one for eight and he was seven for eight in another route, well I'm going to go practice the one where he's seven for eight. Let's get great and let's get that precision and not go to the one where he's one for eight and say, 'Well let's just try to get that better,' and be so stubborn as a coach to do that…
*Bradley said rookie free agent LaRoy Reynolds could get work at strong-side linebacker on Saturday. Reynolds had been working at middle linebacker, but has worked with the first-team this week with veteran Russell Allen out with an ankle injury. "It's going to be a new position for him," Bradley said of Reynolds. "He's gotten two days of reps at it, but we like what we see in him and we want to give him an opportunity to compete there."
*Third-year veteran Cameron Bradfield continued working at right tackle with rookie Luke Joeckel out with a hip flexor injury. Bradley said Joeckel and wide receiver Cecil Shorts III (calf) remain day-to-day.
*Bradley on Jaguars safety Dwight Lowery: "He's been great. He lost weight, he came in leaner, he came in faster, he's taking the task at hand and I think the young guys look to him because he's a true pro."