Rookie Josh Scobee would appear to be the leader in the kicker competition, following incumbent kicker Seth Marler's injury in Monday night's practice.
Marler re-injured his right quad muscle as he attempted a 52-yard field goal. The kick was good but Marler fears it could be his last kick of this training camp.
"I'll be out for awhile because it's really bothering me," Marler told reporters following this morning's special teams-only practice, at which Marler was a uniformed bystander. His right quad was bandaged following a morning of ice treatment.
"I had a rough night. It's still real sore," he said.
Marler originally sustained the injury while kicking in March. The injury lingered until Marler was forced to suspend kicking in June. He spent the remainder of the pre-training camp period in Jacksonville rehabilitating the injury and was cleared medically for the start of training camp.
"It's really frustrating because I really worked hard the last couple of months. I was really hitting the ball well. I've been killing the ball. Everything is down the middle. My confidence was sky-high because this is the best I've ever kicked," Marler said.
Marler was hardly a lock to retain his kicker's job, following a rookie season in which the Jaguars were last in the league in field goal percentage. Marler converted only 20 of 34 field goal attempts, and his kickoffs became a major problem in the second half of the season.
That having been said, Marler would seem to have moved back into the lead in the three-way competition for the job this summer. The third kicker is local product Jeff Chandler, a former fourth-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers.
"He was kicking the ball really well. I thought Seth had responded to the challenge," special teams coach Pete Rodriguez said of Marler.
"We still have two kickers who are healthy. I'm pleased with both of them. The young kid is starting to step up," Rodriguez added of Scobee, a fifth-round pick from Louisiana Tech.
Rodriguez said he would not be afraid to enter the season with a rookie kicker. The veteran special teams coach has coached three rookie kickers – Scott Blanton, Rian Lindell and Josh Brown – in the past and "they've all done well. I don't think that's a factor. If a guy's talented and mentally strong, it doesn't make a difference" that he's a rookie, Rodriguez said.
"He's the most talented rookie I've had," the coach added of Scobee.
Chandler suffered through the spring and now into training camp with inconsistency in his field-goal kicking. His kickoffs, previously a weakness, is now his strength.
"He knows his opportunities are running out. He wants so badly to be successful," Rodriguez said of Chandler. "I've never been around anyone who works as hard as Jeff. I root for him. At the same time, I want him to relax a little bit."
Scobee hasn't had a problem staying loose. "He's real loose; sometimes too loose," Rodriguez said.
The rookie may have enjoyed his best day on Monday. He booted two 58-yarders, downwind, during a time yesterday when Rodriguez was working exclusively with his kickers. Rodriguez was charting kicks when Scobee knocked the two bombs between the uprights.
Marler was awaiting further examination of his injury, before a prognosis could be made. At that point, the Jaguars' kicking picture might clear, for the time being.