JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars are healthy.
The players have chosen their leaders, too – and those were the two major storylines when Head Coach Doug Marrone met the media Monday.
The first topic was health.
Marrone said all active players are expected to participate fully on Monday when the Jaguars hold their first practice of the week, six days before the 2018 regular-season opener. That means the Jaguars are as fully healthy as possible entering the '18 season.
"That's always a good start," Marrone said Monday morning, shortly before the Jaguars' scheduled practice at the Dream Finders Home Flex Field at Daily's Place. "We have a lot of work to do this week, and as you guys know: we're just trying to take things one day at a time.
"We're going to get ourselves ready to do the best job we can."
Included among the players expected to practice this week: starting center Brandon Linder, who missed the last two preseason games with a knee injury sustained in the Jaguars' Preseason Week 2 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
Marrone said Linder could have played in the 2018 preseason finale had it been a regular-season game. The Jaguars play the New York Giants in the regular-season opener at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Sunday at 1 p.m.
The second major topic Monday was leadership, with the Jaguars announcing their captains for the 2018 regular season. They are:
*Offense: Quarterback Blake Bortles, running back Leonard Fournette and Linder.
*Defense: End Calais Campbell, linebacker Telvin Smith.
*Special teams: Defensive end Lerentee McCray.
NFL teams allow teams to name six captains. Marrone said Jaguars players voted on captains over the weekend, and he announced them to the team Monday morning.
"I try to put a lot of responsibility on them as the voice of the team," Marrone said.
Marrone also was asked about the team's decision to keep three running backs – Leonard Fournette, T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant – on the 53-man regular-season roster in addition to fullback Tommy Bohanon. The Jaguars carried four running backs – Fournette, Yeldon, Grant and Chris Ivory – last season in addition to Yeldon.
The team released first-year veterans Tim Cook and Brandon Wilds in the move to 53 on Saturday, re-signing Wilds along with nine other players to the 10-man practice squad on Sunday.
"It's normal around the league; it's pretty much standard," Marrone said of carrying three running backs. "I don't really worry about the numbers, per se, as long as we have enough people that I think you're going to have to play.
"We're trying to make sure we put the 53 best players on the roster for us to go play."