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Jaguars minicamp report: Kafka gets to work


JACKSONVILLE – When it comes to the NFL, Mike Kafka said he's beyond being surprised.

So, when the Jaguars claimed the third-year quarterback off waivers from the New England Patriots on Tuesday, he did what anyone would do.

He got to Jacksonville in a hurry, and he went to work.

"You just take it one day at a time," Kafka said Wednesday following the second of three 2013 minicamp practices the Jaguars are holding this week at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields adjacent to EverBank Field. "You take it step-by-step."

The first step for Kafka was getting a playbook, and working fundamentals. And while minicamp's end on Thursday marks the end of the veterans' offseason, Head Coach Gus Bradley said all five quarterbacks now on the roster could be there when training camp begins July 26.

The Jaguars currently have three veteran quarterbacks on the roster – Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne and Kafka – along with undrafted rookie free agents Matt Scott and Jordan Rodgers.

"We're still discussing that right now," Bradley said. "There are a couple other teams that have five quarterbacks at this point in time. It's something we'll discuss, but it's not far-fetched."

Kafka (6-feet-3, 225 pounds), originally selected in the fourth round by the Eagles in the 2010 NFL Draft, has played in four NFL games, completing 11 of 16 passes for 107 yards in two seasons with Philadelphia. He spent the 2012 preseason with Philadelphia and was waived following the preseason.

He signed with the Patriots in January and was waived Monday.

"I'm really thankful to be here, and I'm happy to be here," Kafka said. "Now, it's time to get to work. Nothing really surprises me in this league. That (releasing him) was their decision and now I'm happy to be here. I'm looking forward to getting to work."


Of the many unknowns around the Jaguars entering 2013, perhaps the most intriguing is Jason Babin – and that was true even before he underwent groin surgery recently. In seven months, he has gone from the waiver wire to being counted on to revive a long-dormant pass rush. A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Babin is a prototypical outside speed rusher. As such, Bradley and defensive line coach Todd Wash installed him immediately at Leo, a hybrid end/linebacker position whose role is simple: pressure the quarterback. When Babin has been good in the NFL, he has been very, very good. He had 12 sacks with Tennessee in 2010 and 18 with the Eagles in 2011. Last season, he had seven splitting time between Philadelphia and Jacksonville. Babin added speed and suddenness to the pass rush after joining the Jaguars last season – and when asked about the Leo role a few weeks ago, he said it fits his skill set perfectly. The Jaguars have spent the past several seasons looking for a pass rush. It's a top priority short- and long-term for Bradley and General Manager David Caldwell. If the Leo fits Babin as well as him and the team believes, the short-term solution may already be on the roster.


"It was a challenging practice – very challenging. Both sides of the ball competed extremely hard, and it started with special teams. They set the tone for the whole practice. It was going back and forth. I saw some guys really competing. It was extremely taxing, but that's what we meant it to be."

--- Head Coach Gus Bradley


"I'm worried about the things that I control. I'm worried about myself and the guys that are out there on the field with me and just let my play speak for itself. Every quarterback in the NFL has to have that self-confidence. That can never waiver because you never know what happens. The decision is in their hands but what you do on the field affects their decision so I'm just going to go out there and put my best foot forward and keep improving every day."

---Jaguars Quarterback Blaine Gabbert


The Jaguars will hold the third of three 2013 mandatory minicamp practices at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields Thursday at 11 a.m. The session is open to the public.


*Running back Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) did not practice Wednesday, with quarterback Jordan Rodgers (sports hernia) and Babin (groin) also missing practice. Rookie wide receiver Tobais Palmer missed a second consecutive day because of a personal issue.

*Bradley on cornerback Marcus Trufant, a 10-year veteran who signed as an unrestricted free agent earlier this offseason: "He's been really good. I see some of the younger players gravitating toward him. He's played a lot of years and he has a lot of wisdom."

*Tight end Brent Brackett underwent groin surgery Tuesday, Bradley said. Bradley said Brackett could attend practice Thursday, and should be back for training camp. "That's why we did it now," Bradley said.

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