JACKSONVILLE – Todd Wash won't say Myles Jack's transition always was smooth.
What the Jaguars' defensive coordinator will say is that Jack – the team's second-year linebacker – made significant progress in his move to the middle during the 2017 offseason program.
"Myles has done a really nice job," Wash said.
Wash, like the rest of the Jaguars' coaching staff, on Thursday spoke to the media on the final day of 2017 minicamp. It marked the first public comments this offseason for most of the team's assistant coaches, and what follows are some of the highlights from the interviews.
More will follow on Jaguars.com as the offseason continues.
Wash discussed several topics, saying that while the defense will remain much the same in his second season as coordinator, there will be significant changes in how the strong-side linebacker is used, as well as significant changes in coverage schemes.
"It's going to still be some single-safety stuff, but we have a little more versatility with some players," Wash said. "You'll see some change – for sure, you'll see some change. We look forward to seeing it and I think it will make us better."
He also discussed Jack, a second-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft who moved to middle linebacker this offseason after starting 10 games at strong-side backer as a rookie.
"There were some learning curves early on, and you can see now he's really understanding what we're asking of him," Wash said. "He has become a leader in the huddle. We're excited with the position change in Myles."
Wash also discussed the role of the strong-side "Sam" linebacker, with former middle linebacker Paul Posluszny moving to the spot. He said the position now will be more of a traditional strong-side backer as opposed to the Jaguars' "Otto" linebacker position of recent seasons.
"What we ask the Sam to do and what the Otto was asked to go last year is quite a bit different," Wash said. "He's a true 'Stack' backer. I feel comfortable calling him a 'Sam," and we're asking him to do linebacker stuff, which is what a 'Sam' linebacker is.''
Elsewhere around Thursday's coaches' access:
*Quarterback Blake Bortles as expected was a major topic Thursday, with quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich saying he liked Bortles' mechanics as the offseason ends. Bortles spent two months in California early in the offseason working with his personal quarterbacks coaches and plans to spend another month there before training camp begins in late July. "I think it's been a great offseason," said Milanovich, the head coach of the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL from 2012-2016. "I watched every play he had last year. … He did a great job of working on his release in the offseason, and it has really stuck through this camp. That's one of the concerns when you make a change like that – is it something you have to think about? I think it has become second-nature to him." …
*The staff loves defensive end Calais Campbell. "I was just talking with Coach [Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operation] Tom Coughlin about it: he reminds me of Derrick Brooks as a person and a leader within our team," Wash said. Brooks, a Hall of Fame linebacker with Tampa Bay from 1995-2008 had a reputation on and off field matched by few players in recent memory. "He's a tremendous leader, and when he gets on the grass, he's a physical presence," Wash said of Campbell. The Jaguars signed the veteran defensive end as an unrestricted free agent from Arizona in March with the idea he would contribute on the field and as a locker-room leader. He thus far has done just that. "We're very fortunate we were able to sign him," Wash said. …
Images from the final day of Jaguars mandatory minicamp.
*Run-blocking will matter, and offensive line coach Pat Flaherty is confident this group can do it. Flaherty, like Head Coach Doug Marrone, said few conclusions can be made about the line until padded practice in training camp. "I'm excited to see how it's going to transfer out to the field," Flaherty said. "I'm excited about this group." He also clearly knows the importance of the running game. "Oh, we'll run block – no question," he said. "I'm not stuttering. We will run block." …
*Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said he likes the team's commitment to acquiring experienced special teams players and also said he likes that Marrone is willing to play front-line offensive and defensive players on special teams. The latter is not a trait shared by every NFL head coach. DeCamillis on Friday also spoke highly of third-year kicker Jason Myers. "I don't know that his reputation is as good as it should be," DeCamillis said. "I think he's going to be one of the good ones going forward "He's a younger guy who has a chance to ascend." …