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OTA5: Linder working at guard, Bouye practices

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JACKSONVILLE – Brandon Linder is working at multiple positions, and A.J. Bouye practiced.

Those were the two top stories on Day 5 of Jaguars 2017 organized team activities Thursday, with Linder – the Jaguars' starting center last season – saying he is working mostly at guard thus far in the team's offseason program.

"I've been taking some center snaps in the drills and before practice, but yeah I've been mostly at guard," Linder said following Thursday's practice at EverBank Field.

Bouye practicing was news Thursday, too. One of the Jaguars top unrestricted free agent signees in March, the five-year veteran corner had worked on the side in the first four OTA practices. Look for more on Bouye later Thursday on jaguars.com.

Quickly, other highlights around Jaguars OTA Day 5:

*Defensive end Calais Campbell and safety James Sample, both of whom practiced in the first four OTA sessions, missed practice for personal reasons. …

*Wide receiver Marqise Lee practiced Thursday after not practicing Tuesday. …

*Wide receiver Dede Westbrook, running back T.J. Yeldon, tight end Marcedes Lewis, tight end Neal Sterling, cornerback Tyler Patmon, defensive tackle Stefan Charles, cornerback Aaron Colvin, safety Tashaun Gipson and safety Barry Church also did not practice with most of those players working on the side Thursday.

*Rookie running back Tim Cook and rookie wide receiver Kenneth Walker are not in attendance because of NCAA rules prohibiting players from participating in offseason programs until their schools finish spring classes. …

*Left tackle Branden Albert continued to remain away from OTAs. The Jaguars acquired Albert in a trade with the Miami Dolphins in March and he has yet to participate in the team's offseason program. Offseason activities are voluntary until the team's mandatory June 13-15 minicamp. …

But it was Linder discussing his position that got the most post-practice discussion. A four-year veteran and a third-round selection from Miami in the 2014 NFL Draft, Linder played guard his first two NFL seasons before moving to center last season.

Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone earlier in OTAs had discussed the team's offseason approach of working multiple offensive linemen – including Linder – at multiple positions.

"We can't pigeon hole ourselves," Marrone said early in OTAs. "It is not like we can sit here and say, 'We know we are good enough to do this. Let's just do it and go.' We are not there yet, nor does anyone feel comfortable – whether it is coaches or players – being able to say, 'This is our best five.'

"We want to make sure we are in position to put the best guys out there and just let them compete and let's see who wins it. People come back and will say, 'What about chemistry and continuity?' Listen, would you rather have good chemistry and stink or would you rather have less chemistry and be better? We are just trying to be better and see what we can do there."

Linder, who said he does not know where expects to play Week 1 next season, was asked if playing guard again came naturally.

"Yeah, it's just something I have to continue to work at and now I have to perfect my guard set and get back to honing in on my guard techniques," Linder said. "That is what OTAs are for and the summer."

Linder said he has studied some of the league's top centers such as Alex Mack of Atlanta and Rodney Hudson of Oakland this offseason.

"There's a ton of improvement for center and we'll see what position I'm working at," he said, adding. "I mean I've been playing both so I don't know where that mark is going. I mean, I'm playing guard so we'll see."

Linder also said he believed he made strides toward becoming one of the better centers in the league last season.

"I think I was getting with them," he said. "Again, that was my first year playing center in the NFL getting another year under my belt, I can reach that. … Whatever the position you are you go at it the same way every day.

"The technique might be different but it's the same process during that week and during that day. It's just your mental state, I think, is how you can be great at multiple positions."

Go inside Thursday's practice as the Jaguars continue organized team activities.

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