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OTAs Day 9: Fewell speaks, practice continues

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JACKSONVILLE – Improvement is not only possible, it's necessary.

If there was a theme when secondary coach Perry Fewell met with the media Thursday morning during Jaguars 2018 Organized Team Activities, that may have been it.

Yes, the unit was very good last season -- and yes, it helped the Jaguars' defense set a franchise record with 21 interceptions. But Fewell said there is plenty of room to grow.

"You always want to get better and improve," Fewell said Thursday shortly before the ninth Jaguars 2018 Organized Team Activities practice at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex.

Fewell, now in his second season as the Jaguars' secondary coach, covered topics Thursday including All-Pro cornerbacks A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey – saying that he has no concerns about Ramsey being prepared entering next week's three-day veteran mandatory minicamp.

"Oh yeah … very confident," Fewell said.

Ramsey, a first-team All-Pro selection last season, has not attended the team's voluntary OTAs the past three weeks. He is expected to participate in minicamp next Tuesday through Thursday.

Fewell said he and Ramsey "talk constantly during the offseason."

"He has some things we talked about at the end of the season that he needs to work on," Fewell said. "It's constant communication."

Fewell also said he expects starting free safety Tashaun Gipson to participate fully in next week's minicamp. 

"We do anticipate him being full-go," Fewell said of Gipson. "You never know with the type of problems that he's having. But he came out and practiced Tuesday. He really looked good. He was excited to be back and play football."

The Jaguars' secondary last season had perhaps the best overall season for a secondary in franchise history, with all four starters registering at least four interceptions and seven passes defensed. 

Bouye, a second-team AP All-Pro selection, led the team in both categories with six interceptions and 18 passes defensed. Ramsey had four interceptions and 17 passes defensed, with safety Barry Church registering four interceptions and eight passes defensed and Gipson finishing with four interceptions and seven passes defensed.

Fewell said improvement can be made by the group in specific situations.

"On first and second downs we can be a lot better," he said. "We weren't as good as we could have been on second downs and sometimes when we had a two-score lead we didn't play as tight a coverage as we could have played."

Fewell said emphasis will be made on "some of the little things."

"We've got to have that killer instinct," Fewell said. "We've got to tighten up. Even in second-and-15, we've got to tighten up our coverage. We've got to be more focused. Those are some of the little things we've been trying to get better at, as well as just technique."

The secondary as a group underwent offseason change, with veteran nickel corner Aaron Colvin signing with the Houston Texans as unrestricted free agent and the Jaguars signing veteran D.J. Hayden from the Detroit Lions as an unrestricted free agent to play nickel. Rookie third-round selection Ronnie Harrison and free-agent signee Cody Davis also could play roles as reserves at safety.

"I have to wait until camp when they're all together as a group and we're all working together as a group," Fewell said. "With time, cohesion and chemistry comes together. I think that's a camp question."

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