JACKSONVILLE – It's time to get this thing going.
That was the feel around the Jaguars Thursday morning, and it was the tone when Head Coach Doug Marrone spoke to the media shortly before the first practice of Jaguars 2018 Training Camp.
Marrone, entering his second full season as the Jaguars' head coach, spoke for about 15 minutes and laid out what he hopes to accomplish in the first few days of camp.
"We just want to build up; we want to build up and go," Marrone said shortly before the Jaguars were to practice for about two and a half hours at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex late Thursday morning.
That's the focus of the first two days of camp, days that under the rules of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement will be held without pads. The first padded practice of camp will be held Saturday at 6:30, a practice that is open to Jaguars season-ticket members.
Marrone often has said there is a limit to the amount of evaluation that can be done in non-padded work, but he said Thursday the first two practices of camp still matter.
"We're conscious of the players being able to go out and just turn it on right now and go 110 miles per hour," said Marrone, who last season coached the Jaguars to the AFC South title and an appearance in the AFC Championship Game.
"We're going to gradually build it up. That's why the affirmation period we're having now is a good period, so we can get a chance to go run around and get ourselves going and used to the way we want to practice again. Then obviously when the pads come on it's not a big shock to us."
As reported Wednesday, cornerback Jalen Ramsey was not expected to practice Thursday. The third-year All-Pro cornerback was expected to be in Nashville, Tennessee, following the birth of his daughter.
The Jaguars also announced that four players were not expected to practice Thursday, including three players who will begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list: defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (left shoulder), tight end David Grinnage (knee), offensive guard Brandon Thomas.
Offensive tackle Brandon Smith will begin camp on the reserve/non-football injury list.
Marrone also discussed right guard, a position that is expected to feature a training-camp competition. He said fourth-year veteran A.J. Cann will begin training camp as the starter.
"The one thing about training camp is we'll move some people around," Marrone said. "A.J. will be the first one out there, and then we'll see how it goes. We'll put people in there. It's early in camp. You're going to have to perform and if you're not performing at a high level we're going to put someone else in there.
"We feel like we have good competition there, but you never know. I don't want to lose sight of maybe someone that's a backup on the left side or someone along the line that can plug in and play – or maybe there's a better combination up front with the five. I want to make sure I keep all that stuff open."