JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars went back to work Sunday.
And that was very much the message when Head Coach Doug Marrone spoke to the media just before the ninth practice of Jaguars 2018 Training Camp:
There's still a lot of camp to go. And there's still a lot of work to be done.
"Now, it's the next phase of it," Marrone said Sunday morning.
The Jaguars were scheduled to practice for about two-and-half hours at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex Sunday. This came in the wake of five consecutive padded practices last week that ended with a practice inside TIAA Bank Field Friday.
Players had the day off Saturday.
"I think it was fine," Marrone said of the first full week of padded work last week. "I wasn't really looking for anything out of it. I was just looking to try to get a lot of work days back in a row – that physical, where your body is saying, 'I really don't want go' and your mind has to take over.
"That was what I was looking for, but I never ask any of the players that."
The Jaguars will practice Sunday, Monday and Tuesday before playing host to the New Orleans Saints in the 2018 preseason opener at TIAA Bank Field Thursday at 7 p.m.
"The challenge is we'll keep practicing like it's training camp, but we have a game coming up," Marrone said. "We really won't do a lot in preparation for the game until actually the day before the game. For us, it will be just like training camp and we'll be in that mentality probably until the third preseason game."
Marrone also on Sunday discussed the early camp performances of several players, including rookie wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. The second-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft looked impressive in consecutive days of practice last week, and capped the week with a strong performance late in the Florida Blue Family Night practice at TIAA Bank Field Friday.
"He made plays; he still has a way to go for what we're looking for," Marrone said. "He has done a pretty good job on [special] teams and he has made some plays. It will be interesting to see if those same type of plays carry over into a game atmosphere.
"I still think we can get a lot more out of him. We sat down and spoke to him about a couple of things we're looking for, so hopefully we'll be able to see it this week."
Multiple receivers have stood out at times early in camp, with second-year veterans Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook both having strong practices last week – and with Westbrook capping Friday night's work with an over-the-shoulder, sliding touchdown reception on a pass from quarterback Blake Bortles. Veteran Marqise Lee missed much of last week, then caught three passes from Bortles Friday.
"You really like to see it separate," Marrone said. "If it doesn't separate, then you hope that the level of play is at a high level that's consistent to where now you have to make a tough decision. When it goes up and down, it's tough. I always try to tell the team we're looking for consistency of performance."
*Defensive end Calais Campbell returned to practice after missing Thursday and Friday.
*Four players were ruled out of practice: nose tackle Eli Ankou, linebacker Brooks Ellis, wide receiver DeAndre Smelter and offensive lineman Brandon Smith.
*Defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (shoulder) remained on the physically unable to perform list. The fourth-year veteran has been on PUP since the beginning of training camp.