The Jacksonville Jaguars opened their 2008 training camp with two practice sessions today in front of 3,346 fans. With 80 players under contract, excluding first round draft pick Derrick Harvey, the team held the first of 18 practice sessions that will be open to the public through August 6.
"It's great to open camp. We're obviously still working on Derrick Harvey; he remains a holdout at this point. We'll work the rest of the squad and let the business people work on the contract, hopefully we'll get him in soon," said head coach Jack Del Rio. "We do open up camp with high expectations. We believe we're a good football team. We're in this for a long, grinding marathon of a season because we want it to be a great one, and that means you have a long season. So we're excited about getting started."
Five Jaguars – tight end George Wrighster, wide receivers Jerry Porter and Reggie Williams, defensive back Chad Nkang and defensive end Jeremy Mincey – did not participate in practice after being placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Running back Fred Taylor was excused for personal reasons but is expected to practice on Sunday.
Quarterback David Garrard led the Jaguars offense in practice as he began his first training camp as the starting signal caller. In his seventh NFL season, Garrard and his fellow teammates have set their goals high after last year's playoff run.
"I feel like we are right up there with the best of them," remarked Garrard on where the Jaguars rank among the AFC's elite teams. "We can do a lot of good things here and we have to make sure we keep playing at a high level and try to make sure we are one of those teams that is always mentioned with the playoffs and always going back each year, year in and year out, giving themselves a chance to win a title."
The Jaguars held their second practice session at 7:00 p.m. tonight under the lights on the practice fields at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. Camp will continue on Sunday with two practice sessions at 10:15 a.m. (shorts) and 7:00 p.m. (shells). The first full-pads practice will be Monday evening at 7:00 p.m.