The Jaguars began their sixth training camp today, with two practices at Ferrell Fields. Eighty-three players took part in the sessions, with unsigned defensive end Tony Brackens, the team's designated franchise player, the only player missing.
"We got the first one in, that's all I can tell you," said head coach Tom Coughlin. "It doesn't matter how long they've been away. They could be away two weeks, I guess, and it'll still be an adjustment period. The tempo could be better. It was a little bit sluggish, but it was our first practice."
Many of the Jaguars' rookies saw extensive action in the two practice sessions, and Coughlin said, "They're going to get plenty of work. We're going to find out about the young guys. Like or not, in preseason this year we're going to find out about them. Their heads were spinning because they're learning a lot, and it'll get a little more complicated in about another four days."
As the two-time AFC Central Division champions went to work for the first time, Coughlin added, "We're still chasing that crown. But as much as everybody wants to chastise and remember the three losses, the character of this team will be the difference. I think they're hungry. I think they want it. That's what they all want to talk about. That's the greatest motivation of all. We didn't get it, so we have to put ourselves back in position where we can, and the only way to do it is right here on the practice field."
Quarterback Mark Brunell added, "We're laying the foundation now for what we hope to be a very good December and January. There's a lot of work to do before we get down the road. I think the smart thing to do right now is take them one day at a time. As Tom said yesterday in our meetings: It's a marathon, it's not a sprint. And you have to approach it that way."
On the upcoming season, Brunell said, "We know what we accomplished last year. We won 15 games, and we're proud of that. But, certainly, we have no reason to be satisfied. We have a lot of work to do. This is a new season. Everyone is different. Some guys, when they wake up, they think of how we lost the AFC Championship game (last year). Me, I look to the future. I look ahead and realize there are some great things ahead of us for this football team. We are a good football team. We have some improving to do, but that will come as training camp progresses."
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.