Tuesday's "Oklahoma" drill wasn't Anthony Maddox's coming-out party. That actually occurred in the final minutes of last year's season-finale, in the rain and gloom of a non-descript win at Oakland.
Maddox, you may not know, was one of the stars of the Jaguars' goal-line stand to win that game. He literally had his way with the interior of the Raiders' offensive line.
It was an encouraging way to finish a discouraging rookie season. Up to that point, Maddox appeared to be a fourth-round bust. Coach Jack Del Rio told reporters on draft day to watch out for the surprise pick from tiny Delta State, but it wasn't until that final game of the season that Maddox caught anybody's eye.
Well, he caught everybody's eye on Tuesday. In the second round of a two-round KO of offensive lineman Brett Romberg, Maddox executed the "Oklahoma" to defensive tackle perfection. He stood Romberg up, shed Romberg's block, then penetrated the line of scrimmage to stop running back Derrick Wimbush in the backfield.
All of a sudden – or maybe not so all of a sudden – the squatty guy with the checkered football past was at the head of the class competing to become the number one backup to Marcus Stroud and John Henderson. Maybe Del Rio was right about Maddox.
"It means a lot to me," Maddox said of his success in the "Oklahoma" drill. "I feel a whole lot further along in the game than I was last year. Last year at this time I didn't have a clue what was going on. At the end of the season I knew what to do; I knew the plays. I felt real good and feels good now."
If his performance on Tuesday is a statement about where Maddox is in his career in year two, then the strongest position on the Jaguars' roster just got stronger. Stroud and Henderson are Pro-Bowlers. Tony Williams is an accomplished veteran. So are Rob Meier, Derrick Ransom and Martin Chase. Four guys, maybe five, will stay.
Wide receiver? No, defensive tackle is where the Jaguars are deepest.
"I just want to be productive. I just want to be here," Maddox said.
Del Rio made a point in his post-practice comments to the media on Wednesday of addressing the development of young players in this training camp. Maddox, of course, is one of those young players.
"I think, in training camp, it's always important to have some kind of team message, and for us it's 'develop our players, especially our young players,'" Del Rio said. "We work with purpose."
Maddox will try to make a second impression in the first full week of training camp when the Jaguars conduct an intrasquad scrimmage inside Alltel Stadium this Friday evening, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
In other news from this morning's practice, wide receiver Reggie Williams caught a couple of touchdown passes on post routes and was the morning's stand-out performer. Following his second TD grab, Williams began a touchdown celebration that included wrapping himself around the base of the goalpost.
"Football is a fun sport. When you get a chance to celebrate, why not?" Williams said.
"I love it," quarterback Byron Leftwich said of Williams' penchant for post-catch celebrations. "I hope he does it about 15 times (this season)."