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Notes and observations: OTAs Day 9

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JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser’s notes and observations from Thursday’s ninth day of Jaguars 2018 Organized Team Activities at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex …

1.One of Perry Fewell’s best comments Thursday when discussing his guys was about a player who’s not really his guy at all. Still, it may be best not to tell Fewell linebacker Myles Jack doesn’t play in the Jaguars’ secondary. “He’s a member of the family – he and Telvin Smith,” Fewell, the Jaguars’ defensive backs coach, said of the linebackers. “We love both of those guys because they do cover up a lot of our inadequacies back there.” Speaking to the media before OTA Practice No. 9 Thursday, Fewell spoke in detail about the importance of Jack’s coverage ability to the secondary, focusing on Jack’s “ability to play the run and then on the play-action pass be able and go back and cover a speed receiver, cover a tight end to cover up some of the zones that we have and flash in those zones when we are sometimes out of position. … Myles makes up for a lot of our inadequacies in the back row. He is just like a defensive back.”

2.Safety Ronnie Harrison has drawn praise throughout OTAs, with Fewell also praising the third-round rookie from the University of Alabama Thursday. Fewell said Harrison’s football intelligence stood out quickly, calling him “a very good student, attentive to football. He is a good communicator and that transfers on the field also.” While Fewell said Harrison can play both strong and free safety, the plan is to have Harrison begin at strong. “Obviously, he has some formations, motions and shifts with our defense that he needs to experience and work on his communication with adjustments, but we see a good athlete, an instinctive athlete,” Fewell said. “He is very long. I like the length that he has. I like the size that he has. I think he is going to be a very physical football player. We do not know that until pads come on, but he has the traits of having the height, weight, size and speed that you look for in a good football player.” …

3.Fewell also on Thursday discussed the progress of nickel back D.J. Hayden, who likely will be a major Jaguars storyline during training camp and next season. “He has looked really well,” Fewell said of Hayden, a first-round selection by Oakland in the 2013 NFL Draft who signed in March as an unrestricted free agent from the Detroit Lions. Hayden is replacing Aaron Colvin in the nickel position, a key transition because of Colvin’s importance to the secondary and the overall defense last season. “Initially, it was a rough start because he did not know the defense, but he grew every day, especially in our Phase 2 sessions,” Fewell said of Hayden. “He has really grown in our OTA sessions. There are still some zone-coverage responsibilities that he has not seen enough of, so he needs as many reps as he possibly can take so that it becomes rote memory for him. We like what we have seen out of him so far. We really like his man coverage skills, too.” …

4.Fewell perhaps stated the obvious on Thursday when discussing cornerback Jalen Ramsey, saying that it’s fun “to coach a guy like Jalen because those kind of guys don’t come around very often.” Fewell cited Ramsey’s elite physical ability, his confidence and intelligence, adding with a smile that while Ramsey “isn’t always easy to deal with … on game day, he’s ready and you know that he is ready.” Ramsey, an Associated Press first-team All-Pro selection last season, is not attending the voluntary OTA sessions but he is expected to attend the team’s three-day mandatory veteran minicamp next week. Fewell said he has no worries that Ramsey won’t be ready for the minicamp, training camp or the regular season. “The thing that is really probably the most exciting is that if that young man tells you something during the week, like if we have set this goal and he is going to do this, it’s going to happen,” Fewell said. “He is going to make it happen. He wills himself to make it happen. You would much rather have a guy like that then a guy that can’t play that you are constantly trying to get in the right position. It has really been a good experience for me. I have not had very many like him in my coaching career.”

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