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Jaguars get physical on Monday


They had a scrimmage at training camp on Monday morning and this one was a real scrimmage with real hitting in a spirited, practice-ending goal line drill.

"Today was designed to be uncomfortable," coach Jack Del Rio said following the most physical and intense practice of training camp.

Del Rio warned his players before they went onto the field. "I said in a few hours we're going to have some live contact, so be ready," he said.

They were ready. The hitting was pad-popping, with offense and defense exchanging high moments. The practice concluded with rookie running back Rashad Jennings fumbling at the goal line, one play after bouncing outside to score a touchdown.

Why the especially grueling practice to open the second week of training camp?

"Are we all in when it's hot and we're tired and it's uncomfortable?" Del Rio asked.

The answer would seem to be yes.

Meanwhile, something else important happened in Monday morning's practice: quarterback David Garrard caught fire in a red-zone drill that made up for the passing game's failings in Saturday night's exhibition, which was scrimmage light compared to what transpired on Monday.

In Monday's red zone drill, Garrard completed eight of nine passes, including touchdown tosses to wide receivers Nate Hughes and Tiquan Underwood. Garrard would've thrown three touchdown passes had undrafted rookie tight end Tyler Lorenzen caught a perfectly-throw ball in the corner of the end zone.

"He turned the protection the opposite way twice, which never shows in the stats sheet. That got me fired up," Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter said of Garrard's field generalship in the red-zone drill.

Koetter said the practice script on Monday was heavy with goal-line and short-yardage drills, which was the reason for the heavy concentration of short pass attempts in 11 on 11. Garrard was just as sharp in 11 on 11 as he was in red-zone drills. It must be remembered, of course, there is no pass-rush.

"This was a mentally challenging day for the players. It's very humid, the goal line and short yardage was live," Koetter added.

The consensus of opinion was that Monday's conditions were the hottest and buggiest of training camp, and the players were in full pads. This was an old-school training camp practice.

Garrard began the practice with an unimpressive performance in one-on-one passing drills. He and backup Todd Bouman were each four of nine, as their receivers failed to get a lot of separation or display sure hands.

"My guess is what that could mean is guys were a little hot, a little tired and they were saving it," Koetter said.

The offense was certain to come under media and fan scrutiny this week, following a performance Saturday night that resulted in four interceptions, two having been thrown by Garrard.

"He just overthrew it," Koetter said of a Garrard pass that was intercepted by rookie cornerback Derek Cox on Saturday. "He does that once out of 100 throws. On the second interception, Dave anticipated the receiver breaking one way and the receiver broke the other way. The culprit shall remain nameless."

Monday morning's practice should ease any concerns lingering from Saturday night.

"There are no alarm bells until you're playing for real," Koetter said.

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