OTAs Day 8: “I’m excited about the group…”

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JACKSONVILLE – It’s simple and maddeningly difficult at the same time.

“I tell guys, ‘If you want to be on the same page as the quarterback, all you have to do is be open and run the right routes,’’’ Keenan McCardell said Tuesday.

A major offseason question is whether the Jaguars’ wide receivers can do that.

McCardell said he has confidence they can.

“I’m really excited about the group,” McCardell said Tuesday before practice on Day 10 of 2019 Jaguars organized team activities at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex adjacent to TIAA Bank Field.

McCardell, in his third season as the Jaguars’ receivers coach, said the primary reason that’s true is the group’s versatility. He spoke Tuesday of liking that the group has receivers with size, receivers with speed and receivers who can run routes.

“It’s a mixed bag for me,” he said. “I’ve got a little size. I’ve got small guys with great quickness, small guys that can make people miss, small guys who can play big, big guys who can play small and big guys who can play big.

“We’ve got a quarterback who likes the group, too, so that’s really good.”

That quarterback, Nick Foles, is working with the Jaguars’ receivers for the first time this offseason after signing with the team as an unrestricted free agent in March.

The Jaguars, who signed eighth-year veteran wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr., Monday morning, are for the most part a young group with sixth-year veterans Marqise Lee and Chris Conley the only receivers on the roster besides Pryor with more than two seasons of NFL experience.

McCardell said time with Foles during OTAs has benefitted the group.

“It’s great because he’s explaining what he wants, how he wants it: ‘Did you see coverage that I saw?’’’ McCardell said. “That helps a young receiver. It helps the group because everyone’s listening when Nick’s talking to one receiver. The next time he gets in with Nick, he’ll understand what Nick’s thinking and they’re on the same page.

“Being a great receiver-quarterback tandem is about being on the same page. If I’m on Page 10 and the quarterback’s on Page 50, we’re going to have a bad reading. We’ve just got to be on the same page, and once we get on the same page, it clicks.

“I’m looking forward to it. I think they’re receptive to what Nick’s telling them and they understand it’s for the best of the offense.”

McCardell on Tuesday also discussed the addition of Pryor, who has 115 career receptions for 1,563 yards and seven touchdowns – and whose best season came in 2016, when he caught 77 passes for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns with Cleveland.

Pryor also played for Cleveland in 2015, when Jaguars offensive coordinator John DeFilippo was the Browns’ offensive coordinator.

“We just needed another body – another veteran who can play,” McCardell said. “Not to say that my young guys, my rookies, aren’t coming. But you always want competition. I want competition. I want the best guys out there. If I could have five No. 1 receivers, I would have five No. 1 receivers on my team.

“I know if I take one out, I can put another one in and he’s going to produce. Just to have another veteran guy that has played the game and has some experience with this offense and understands how to play the game … that was the only reason we signed him.”

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