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Notes and observations: Day 2, Cole/Campbell speak


JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser's notes and observations Friday as DE Calais Campbell and WR Keelan Cole spoke to media on Day 2 of Jaguars 2018 Training Camp at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex …

1.Keelan Cole on Friday became the second offensive player after quarterback Blake Bortles to speak in a press conference at Jaguars 2018 Training Camp. While this doesn't make Cole the second-most important Jaguars offensive player, it reflects what has become obvious: The Jaguars like the second-year wide receiver from Kentucky Wesleyan, and there is strong belief inside TIAA Bank Field he can be a big-time presence in the receiving corps. Cole as a rookie last season started slowly as he transitioned from Division II to the NFL, but developed quickly and finished with 42 receptions for a team-high 748 yards and three touchdowns. Cole said while he came in "open-eyed" last season, he expects to take a jump in his second NFL season. "Of course I expect to get better because I worked in the offseason in order for that to happen," Cole said. "In my eyes, I feel like I'm better in everything, but it only has been two days so you can't picture that yet."

2.Cole throughout last season credited Jaguars wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell for his development, and he left no doubt Friday that McCardell remains a strong influence. The same goes for Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin. McCardell was known during a 17-year NFL career for a tireless work ethic and attention to detail, traits that Cole said come across in his coaching style. "That's the head dog; whatever we know, he knows," Cole said of McCardell, who played for the Jaguars under Coughlin from 1996-2001. "He's on me – and I like it. You can't get better unless you're learning. If I drop it, he's on me. If I catch it, he's on me. If I run a good route, it's always something new. I'm just listening." Cole also was asked what Coughlin had told him about his rookie year entering his second NFL season. "If y'all know Coughlin, he's all about moving forward and getting better," Cole said. "Coach McCardell's the same way. They worked together for a reason. Coach McCardell definitely gets traits from him. That (Coughlin) is a person that when he talks to you, he means business. That's open ears right there." …

3.Defensive end Calais Campbell liked what he saw from the Jaguars last offseason, and said often he believed the team had a chance to be very good. The veteran leader sounded even more optimistic Friday during his first media availability of 2018 Training Camp. Whereas the Jaguars had a slew of new players last offseason – including Campbell, safety Barry Church and cornerback A.J. Bouye – as well as a largely new coaching staff, the coaching staff this offseason returned largely intact along with all most starters on offense and defense. Campbell said that familiarity is obvious thus far in camp. "I think we got better," Campbell said. "Guys have come in focused and ready and mentally sharp. As far as compared to last year when there was a whole lot more mistakes, everybody is a lot more comfortable, the system is a whole lot better. Especially myself, I'm a whole lot more comfortable then I was last year at this time. It's a good feeling to have." …

4.This much is clear through a week of Jaguars 2018 Training Camp: getting off the field in key situations is a major focus for the defense. Linebacker Telvin Smith mentioned it as a priority on Wednesday during his pre-camp media availability, referencing a conversation between him and Campbell about the issue. Asked Friday about where he wants to see progress defensively this season, Campbell referenced the same issue. "The biggest thing is just being situationally smart and finishing games," Campbell said. "There were a couple of times last year where we had the game on the line and we let them get a first down. Our defense, as talented as we are and as tough as we are, that can't happen. We've got some work to do, and we've been talking about it." Smith on Wednesday said he and Campbell had discussed four specific games last season in which the defense failed to get stops in key situations. Campbell said those games stood out when he reviewed video from last season during the offseason. "When I study the tape and those situations I realize that as good as we are, we have so much room for growth," Campbell said.

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