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Notes and observations: Minicamp Day One

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette smiles after a run with the ball during an NFL football practice Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser’s notes and observations Tuesday from Day One of Jaguars 2018 Veteran Mandatory Minicamp at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex …

1.He’s leaner – and running back Leonard Fournette likes it that way. Fournette, speaking after minicamp practice Tuesday, said he currently weighs a little less than 225 pounds after playing his rookie season around 235. “I feel like I play my best where I played in college – 223, 224,” said Fournette, who rushed for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns last season after being selected No. 4 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. “Why not? I don’t want to be average. I want to be above average. I want to be one of the greatest ones to play this game. I feel quicker. I have a burst. I feel it a lot.” Fournette missed the last two weeks of voluntary OTAs after attending the first week in early May. “I had to take care of some family issues,” he said, “and I’m happy to be back with the team. I wanted to come back in tip-top shape.” Fournette on goals for ’18: “Just winning the Super Bowl. We have the team, the coaches, the leadership. We have everything you want in a football team. We just have to put the pieces together.” …

2.Fournette was a topic when Doug Marrone spoke Tuesday, with the head coach praising Fournette’s progress in his rookie season in pass protection. That’s often the toughest transition for rookie running backs, something Marrone noted while saying “I thought he did a very job at the end of the year in the protection phase of things – really stepping up there with blitzing linebackers and really taking them on. As far as college, a lot of stuff comes from the field or the corner from the boundary from a pressure standpoint. But in the NFL week-to-week, each team has their own little unique package that you really have to study and try to get a bead on to be able to [have] pass protection pick-up. I really saw him at the end of the year do a great job of that.” Improving in pass protection is important for Fournette because it could allow him to be on the field more in third-down situations. “You want to see where he was at with that, doing that,” Marrone said. “Obviously, anyone who is on our team that can make plays; we want them out there on the field as much as we can and we also want them out there when the game is on the line.” …

3.Quick: who’s the Jaguars’ most-tenured player? The answer is no longer tight end Marcedes Lewis, who was released in mid-March after 12 seasons with the team. And it’s not middle linebacker Paul Posluszny, who retired in early March after seven seasons with the team. No, the most-tenured Jaguars player is now a tie between defensive tackle Abry Jones and long-snapper Carson Tinker, each of whom signed as undrafted rookie free agents following the 2013 NFL Draft “It seems very weird,” Jones said. “I always wanted to be here a long time, but I never saw myself being here without Marcedes being here. I thought Marcedes would be like a lifetime guy here. It’s still some getting used to and when people say it out of the blue, it still kind of catches me off guard. It’s a pretty good feeling. When we talk about the past, I get referenced, so it’s a good feeling.”

4.Marrone on Tuesday reiterated a point he has made multiple times this offseason, that guard Andrew Norwell appears a good fit for the organization. Norwell, a first-team Associated Press All-Pro selection with Carolina last season, signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in March. While Marrone consistently emphasizes that it’s difficult to evaluate offensive linemen until padded practices in July, he said on Tuesday he believes Norwell will be “a great asset to our team.” Marrone called Norwell “a lunch-pail guy,” adding that Norwell having entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie is evidence of his work ethic and approach. “That’s what you see in practice,” Marrone said. “[He is] a guy that takes a lot of pride in what he does, a guy that gets out there, does not really say much and really just goes to work and really works on his skill constantly as it goes on. He has been here the whole [offseason]. His commitment to being the best is at a high level, which is what we want with all of our players. I am excited that we have him on our team. I think he’s going to be a good piece for us. I think it fits into the philosophy of what we have with toughness and building up front.”

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