MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – This is a long day in a long camp.
Scratch that: This Wednesday is perhaps the longest day of Jaguars 2018 Training Camp, because it's a lot of waiting around for the team's dual practice against the Minnesota Vikings.
So, what to do until these teams get going at 2:45 p.m. – 3:45 eastern time?
What could possibly keep loyal readers of jaguars.com occupied until coverage Head Coach Doug Marrone kicks this thing off with a media availability at 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. Eastern time?
You could read a few O-Zones, or watch a few old Marrone press conferences. Or check out Jaguars Drive Time. It's all available on this free website. Or you could close your eyes and think how awesome it will be this afternoon when we stream Marrone's availability live, or when we stream Jaguars Happy Hour live from practice at 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. Eastern time.
But that's for later. For now, let's take a look at the Jaguars' offensive roster and how it looks through three weeks of '18 training camp:
Starter: Blake Bortles
Reserves: Cody Kessler, Tanner Lee.
Comment: The depth chart here hasn't changed since the draft in April, and it's unlikely to change soon. What has changed is the level of confidence the trio has inspired, particularly Bortles and Kessler. Bortles throughout camp has shown the same improved confidence, accuracy, leadership and poise he showed throughout the on-field portion of the offseason program. He then completed six of nine passes for 53 yards on a 79-yard game-opening touchdown drive in the preseason opener against New Orleans last Thursday – and maybe the best thing for Bortles on that drive was he seemed to play absolutely within himself; he didn't look spectacular, but he looked very capable of routinely playing as he did on that series. That bodes well for the offense. Kessler had played far better in camp than he did while learning and becoming acclimated with the offseason during the offseason – and his 14-of-17 passing for 135 yards and a touchdown in the preseason opener looked like the performance of a player capable of winning games if Bortles is unavailable. Lee must improve the pocket presence that led to five sacks in a quarter in the opener, but overall this has been a good few weeks for this once-maligned position.
Running backs (6)
Starter: Leonard Fournette.
Reserves: T.J. Yeldon, Corey Grant, Tim Cook, Brandon Wilds, Tommy Bohanon (fullback).
Comment: Fournette as advertised has looked faster and quicker to the hole after reporting to camp lighter than he played as a rookie. He is the unquestioned starter and appears poised to improve on his 1,040-yard, nine touchdown rookie season. Yeldon has been consistent in camp, and Grant continues to show the speed and quickness that made him a special teams ace last season. Look for Grant to be far more involved in the offense as a package weapon this season. Cook appears the likely choice as the fourth back, but Wilds has shown up and flashed in practice.
Wide receivers (12)
Starters: Marqise Lee, Keelan Cole.
Reserves: Donte Moncrief, Dede Westbrook, DJ Chark Jr., Rashad Greene Sr., Shane Wynn, Jaydon Mickens, Allen Lazard, DeAndre Smelter, Dorren Miller, Montay Crockett.
Comment: The competition here is real at all levels. Lee, Cole, Moncrief, Westbrook and Chark appear the clear top five receivers. While Westbrook and Chark have perhaps had the best camps of those players, the difference between the first five appears small; roles and playing time likely will be determined in large part by the rest of the preseason. The other mystery here: who will make the roster after the first five. Greene, Wynn, Mickens and Lazard all are good enough to contribute. A major factor could be punt returner: If Westbrook plays that role, that could mean the Jaguars keeping Greene as the sixth receiver. If Mickens – who played the role last season – returns punts, he likely will be the sixth receiver. This could be the most intriguing position to watch the rest of the preseason.
Tight ends (7)
Starter: Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Reserves: Ben Koyack, James O'Shaughnessy, Niles Paul, David Grinnage, Scott Orndoff, DeAndre Goolsby.
Comment: This area largely has looked as expected entering camp, with Seferian-Jenkins a threat for Bortles in the middle of the field and O'Shaughnessy emerging as the most consistent receiving threat among the other tight ends. Paul, signed as a special teams ace in the offseason, has made plays in the passing game and Orndoff caught a touchdown pass from Kessler in the third quarter Thursday.
Offensive line (15)
Starters: Left tackle Cam Robinson, left guard Andrew Norwell, center Brandon Linder, right guard A.J. Cann, right tackle Jermey Parnell.
Reserves: Guard/center Tyler Shatley, tackle Josh Wells, guard Chris Reed, tackle William Poehls, tackle Will Richardson Jr., guard Josh Walker, tackle Brandon Smith, center Tony Adams, guard Kc McDermott, guard Michael Dunn.
Comment: This has been remarkably stable camp for the starters, with Robinson/Norwell/Linder/Cann/Parnell taking virtually all snaps when healthy. That's a contrast to last year's training camp, when coaches spent much of camp searching for the right combination of starters – particularly at left guard. Shatley's ability to start at either interior position makes him valuable, and Wells' ability to play both left and right tackle could earn him a roster spot. How many linemen will the team keep? That will be a discussion as the cutdown to the 53-man roster approaches, with Richardson, Walker, Reed and Poehls perhaps battling for the final couple of roster spots.