JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser's notes and observations from Thursday: RB Leonard Fournette talks captaincy and Saquon Barkley, OC Nathaniel Hackett talks efficiency and versatility, and Jaguars appear healthy entering Sunday
1.The honor absolutely was an honor, but Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette said in no way was it expected. "It's major, man," the second-year running back said of his teammates voting him an offensive captain, an honor Head Coach Doug Marrone announced this past Monday. "It surprised me," Fournette said. "It shows a lot. In the locker room I play around and stuff – but when it comes to the football field, I expect a lot of everybody. Not just the offense, defense and special teams, but even the coaches." Fournette during his weekly media availability Thursday afternoon also discussed Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley, who was the No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft a year after the Jaguars selected Fournette No. 4 overall in '17. "He's blessed to be in the position, just like I am," Fournette said. "I can't wait to play him." Fournette said he and Barkley, who have the same management team, worked out together once this past offseason. Asked what he told Barkley, Fournette said: "I just told him, 'A baller's going to ball.'''
2.Efficiency is a buzzword around Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles entering this season, and it was a topic when offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett spoke to the media Thursday. Both Head Coach Doug Marrone and Bortles this week discussed the importance of minimizing turnovers, saying that reducing interceptions is more important than increasing touchdown passes. Hackett agreed. "We take care of the football," Hackett said. "That's the No. 1 most important thing. One of the best things about Blake is he doesn't care how we get the win; he just wants to win. If he doesn't throw one touchdown the whole year, as long as we're winning he's going to be happy. … The challenge with Blake always has been, 'Just be more efficient; play the game.' Whatever that is … whether he has to use his legs or whether he has to throw 50 times. We just always want to take care of the ball. If we take care of the ball, we're going to have a chance to win a lot of games." Bortles said this week he feels he's better in areas of efficiency than at any point in his career, and Hackett agreed. "He's now learning how to play the game, why we're calling certain things at certain levels," Hackett said.
3.Hackett had this to say Thursday when asked Fournette's ideal carry total for a game or season: "However much he can handle." Hackett said more important to the Jaguars offensively this season than getting Fournette a certain number of touches is maintaining the offensive versatility displayed throughout the preseason. Fournette rushed for 93 yards in the preseason with 35 yards receiving while T.J. Yeldon rushed for 77 yards with 96 receiving yards and Corey Grant rushing for 42 yards with 93 receiving yards. "We want to be sure everybody's able to touch the ball because we want to be sure a defense can't just line up and just focus on one guy," Hackett said. "We want to be able to have a threat of all the guys who are on the field, except obviously the linemen. You want to continue to feed the hot hand and go from there and as long as he can stay rolling, that's who we want to feature."
4.The Jaguars appear healthy entering the regular-season opener after all. The team on Thursday released its second injury report of the week, with four players listed as limited: cornerback Jalen Ramsey (ankle), center Brandon Linder (knee), right tackle Jermey Parnell (knee) and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (core muscle injury). Ramsey was added to the injury report Thursday, with the team announcing that while Ramsey hadn't sustained an injury some soreness had led to limited practice repetitions. Seferian-Jenkins returned to practice Thursday after missing practice Wednesday. Marrone had said Wednesday he felt Seferian-Jenkins would play Sunday. "I don't know why there's be anything to be worried about," Seferian-Jenkins said. "I can't think of anything to be worried about."