The Jaguars began their seventh training camp today, with two practices at Ferrell Fields. Ninety players took part in the sessions. Center/guard John Wade was placed on the active/physically unable to perform list and did not participate.
"It was a fine first day," said Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin. "We made our share of mistakes. Offensively, we had some illegal procedure penalties that were foolish. We had some people jump around; I didn't like that. We had a couple errors on special teams. But, overall, the enthusiasm was good. It was pretty good as far as running to the ball, assignments, and defensively."
Wide receiver Jimmy Smith returned to practice after having undergone three abdominal procedures in the spring and spending 28 days in the hospital. He participated in individual drills. Of Smith, Coughlin said, "He's going to work slowly into it. Jimmy actually wanted to do a little bit more, which is not going to be for awhile, but it's good for everybody to have him out here."
Smith remarked that it won't take long for him to be at 100 percent. "I didn't expect to be this far ahead so soon," he commented. "I feel good. Today I got to go out and get some work in. I ran my routes well and caught the ball well. I feel like I am well ahead of where I thought I would be. But the team has a reason to be overcautious. When I am out of the lineup, it affects the whole team. Defenses can load up eight men on the line of scrimmage to stop Fred Taylor and put two people on Keenan McCardell. I have to be in there."
Returning for his seventh training camp, quarterback Mark Brunell said, "Everybody is fired up and excited right now. We're excited about what's ahead of us."
Although 31 rookies reported to the team's training camp (10 draft choices and 21 undrafted players), Brunell said, "I think we have enough leadership on this team. We just need more young players to step up and play. We do have a lot of rookies, and we're going to have to count on some younger players. But there's so much experience on the field. We have a lot of talent. I think this team can do some really good things."
Wade had undergone surgery on June 25 to repair a fracture in his right foot. A fourth-year player, he missed all but two games in the 2000 season due to a similar fracture in the same foot. Through the preseason, he will count against the team's roster limit. Once the team cuts to 53 players on Sept. 2, if Wade is still not ready to practice, he will not count against the roster limit.
The Jaguars will also have two-a-day sessions on Saturday at 8:40 a.m. and 3:20 p.m., and players will be off on Sunday.