JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone’s assessment was as expected.
Yes, the Jaguars got a lot done during the 2018 offseason program – and yes, progress has been made compared to the past. But the Jaguars’ head coach said something else was just as true as the on-field portion of the offseason program closed Thursday.
“There’s still a long way to go to be ready to start playing; we haven’t even put the pads on yet,” Marrone said Thursday shortly before the last of three Jaguars 2018 Veteran Mandatory Minicamp practices at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex.
Marrone, entering his second full season as the Jaguars’ head coach, said he liked a lot about the overall progress made by the team in Phase 3 of the offseason program – a phase that included 10 voluntary organized team activities over the past three weeks and this week’s mandatory minicamp.
“We have really put in two really good work days,” Marrone said of the first two days of minicamp Tuesday and Wednesday. “We had more progress in these two days than maybe in times before, being able to do more things and get into more situations just because I think the players have done a good job of becoming aware of that.
“I don’t think that it is any indication or it is going to show you, ‘Hey, listen, this is who you are going to be when you start playing.’’’
Marrone on Thursday also discussed the status of three players who dealt with injury issues during the offseason, saying that safety Tashaun Gipson worked 100 percent this week and that the team opted to keep linebacker Myles Jack out of team work this week. Marrone said he expects Jack to be 100 percent entering training camp.
“He hasn’t had a lot of time to condition as much as I would like him to do to put him in there,” Marrone said of Jack. “I think he’s ready to go and I just didn’t want to take a chance.”
He also discussed defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., saying “we’ll just see” if the fourth-year veteran will be 100 percent entering training camp.
“I can’t answer that,” Marrone said. “I’m expecting him to be ready to go. I really am.”
Marrone also on Thursday discussed the offseason program of quarterback Blake Bortles, who underwent wrist surgery in February and who appeared to have the most consistent of his five NFL offseasons.
“I think he came in with a good plan of what he wanted to work on,” Marrone said. “Health was one thing, and we had no issues with that. We had a good plan for how to warm him up and get him ready to go. We have a good plan now to get him ready to go.
“I think some of the practices you’ve seen him do some things that we weren’t able to do in the past, and make some plays from that end. I thought he came in and worked extremely hard, and he knows we are just touching the surface right now.”
The on-field practice portion of the offseason program ends Thursday, with the first practice of Jaguars 2018 Training Camp scheduled for July 26. Players are scheduled to report for training camp on July 25.
“If we can come in and have the type of practices we’ve had the last couple of days and be consistent throughout training camp, I think we’ll be on the right track,” Marrone said. “I told the players today, ‘When you leave here today, that’s when the real work has to really start.’
“When you go out and you’re home or away, we have to make sure we’re doing what we have to do to be ready. That point starts now. We’re healthy and in pretty good shape coming into this thing. You don’t want to have any setbacks when you come into training camp.”