JACKSONVILLE -- Senior writer John Oehser's notes and observations from Wednesday's Day 19 of Jaguars 2018 Training Camp at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex …
1.He likes the group – and he likes his role in it, too. "We know people aren't giving us too much credit," Marqise Lee said Wednesday of the Jaguars' wide receivers. "That's the least of our worries." Lee, a second-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, enters 2018 as the most-tenured member of a receiving corps that includes fourth-year veteran Rashad Greene Sr., second-year veterans Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole and rookie DJ Chark Jr. – as well as fellow fifth-year veteran Donte Moncrief, who signed in March with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent from the Indianapolis Colts. "It's little bit harder on me in a sense," Lee said. "I had to make sure the other receivers are up to par. I had to make sure they're straight and know what they're doing so we all can be on one accord out there. That's been the biggest thing for me – stepping up and being that leader I need to be." Added Lee, "I enjoy it. I'm not old, but having the opportunity to have some players look up to me … and me putting the pressure on myself to get the job done as far as setting an example … it's important for me."
2.Saturday could be the 2018 Jaguars debut for several key players – defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., defensive lineman Taven Bryan, right tackle Jermey Parnell and guard Andrew Norwell among them. If that's the case it would be the first time playing in a Jaguars uniform for Norwell, a 2017 Associated Press first-team All-Pro selection for the Carolina Panthers who signed with the Jaguars an unrestricted free agent in March. Norwell missed the first two preseason games after sustaining a calf injury hours before the Jaguars' Preseason Week 1 loss to the New Orleans Saints. "I definitely want to play and get out there with my guys," Norwell said. "I look forward to it, suiting up. I've been missing it the last couple of weeks. I'm ready for my opportunity to get out there, fly around and have fun." With Parnell and Norwell each practicing full this week, the Jaguars have a chance to get four of their five starters in the lineup: left tackle Cam Robinson, Norwell, right guard A.J. Cann and Parnell. Center Brandon Linder left a Preseason Week 2 victory over Minnesota Saturday.
3.If you sense a dramatic difference in the Jaguars now compared to a year ago, you're not alone. Linebacker Telvin Smith, as a fifth-year veteran and one of the Jaguars' most-tenured starters, on Wednesday talked of a more mature team than in years past. "That's just this team getting older as a team," Smith said. "I don't want to say the players are getting more comfortable, but we're settling into our spots in this organization and we're working and we're pushing each other. Now, the core players are doing what they have to do to make sure we're the core – and outside of that, we're making sure the other guys are understanding the expectation and what this team expects – and where we expect to go. That, I think, is what's bringing us along."
4.Smith, a Pro Bowl selection last season, said he expects the defensive starters to play a bit longer Saturday than the half they played Saturday, noting that Saturday will mark the first time for most of the starters to play together this season. Not only have Bryan and Fowler yet to play in the preseason, three defensive starters – cornerback Jalen Ramsey, safety Tashaun Gipson and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus – did not play in the team's Preseason Week 2 victory over Minnesota last Saturday. "Obviously, we want to win," Smith said. "Winning is important, but just to go out there and get a feel for the game. We're going to be out there a little longer as a core group. We definitely have to go out and play well." Most Jaguars offensive and defensive starters played about a series in Preseason Week 1 against New Orleans, with most playing through halftime against Minnesota. Preseason Week 3 typically is considered a "dress-rehearsal" game for most NFL teams, with more game-planning than any other preseason game and starters often playing a series into the third quarter. Teams typically play few starters in the preseason finale.