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OTA 7: Marrone weighs in


JACKSONVILLE – As Doug Marrone sees it …

Actually, many Jaguars observers probably know by now that as the Jaguars' head coach sees it, there's little definitive to be seen during organized team activities.

That's because players don't practice in pads during OTAs or during next week's mandatory minicamp. As Marrone said last Friday, that means he doesn't really consider what's going on at EverBank Field right now practice, which in turns means there's a limit to what can be evaluated.

But Marrone on Monday during his post-OTA press conference addressed several key Jaguars players who are major storylines entering the 2017 season: wide receiver Marqise Lee, middle linebacker Myles Jack and defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. That qualifies as newsworthy even in a time when little definitive can be said.

Here's a look at what Marrone had to say about each player.

*Jack,a second-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft from UCLA, is perhaps the major Jaguars 2017 OTA storyline on defense. After starting 10 games at strong-side linebacker as a rookie, Jack this season is moving to the middle where he will replace longtime starter Paul Posluszny. Jack will be responsible in the middle for making defensive calls, an area that could be the biggest transition. "It could be better," Marrone said when asked about Jack's transition calling the defense. "I think he works extremely hard, but again: I'm going to be a lot harder on him, obviously – as someone who's calling the defense in there in the middle. I think it helps to have a lot of experienced people around him. Obviously [weak-side] linebacker Telvin [Smith] is there, and Poz [Posluszny] is there [at strong-side backer]. He [Jack] has put in the extra work. He has done a nice job. But I'm always on Myles. I'm never going to publicly say I'm happy with Myles. I'm always going to try to push Myles to be where he can be. That's the way I like to coach him, and I think he knows that. Not to say he needs that. He's a very competitive kid, but I'm always looking for him to do better, especially in that position when you're talking about communication." …

*Lee,a second-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft from Southern California, played 16 games for the first time last offseason. The result was the best of his three NFL seasons: 63 receptions for 851 yards and three touchdowns. Marrone said while Lee certainly would like to use 2016 as a starting point for 2017, "I never like to say – whether you're a team or an individual – that you're going to pick up right where you left off. I believe you go back to the foundation, and sometimes you can go back to the foundation quicker [when you're a veteran]." Marrone said Lee has done a good job this offseason keeping his weight up, and he said that will be key for the fourth-year veteran between the end of next week's mandatory minicamp and the start of training camp in late July. "The key for him is the next two weeks, and really the second offseason," Marrone said. "He's coachable, so if he's available – staying healthy and being where he needs to be – I think he has the opportunity to do some good things." …

*Fowler,the No. 3 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft from Florida, missed his rookie season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and registered four sacks in 2016 while playing largely a reserve role behind then-rookie Yannick Ngakoue. "I've seen him getting better and better," Marrone said, adding that for Fowler – like Lee and many players – returning ready for training camp will be key. "He's done a very good job while he has been here of gaining strength, flashing and doing a good job nutritionally,'' Marrone said. "If he reports where his lifting and his weight and all of that stuff is in the right spot and all we have to worry about is football, then I think he'll have a great chance to contribute. But if we have to say, 'Hold on a second here … we have to add more weight and make sure we're in better shape – and I'm saying this about anyone, not just Dante – if you have to do that with any of the players, then you're not really getting better and you're not putting yourself in position to help the team win. What you're doing is taking up valuable time to get yourself in position just to step on the field. That's what we can't have as a team. That's going to be a big message to our team after mandatory minicamp."

Images from Monday's practice as the Jaguars returned to the practice field.

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