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OTAs Day Two: So far, so good for Bortles


JACKSONVILLE – So far, so good.

And when Blake Bortles says that about the 2016 offseason, he means that so far he feels a whole lot better about the Jaguars' offense than he did a year ago.

Bortles, the Jaguars' third-year veteran quarterback, said the idea this offseason is to become immersed in the offense – and to have the unit show it has a more comprehensive understanding of second-year offensive coordinator Greg Olson's scheme.

So far, so good.

"It's night and day this time this year compared to this time last year," Bortles said Tuesday shortly after the Day Two Organized Team Activities practice at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields.

"It's cool to see how much further along we are and how much more guys know the offense and are still continuing to learn it."

Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said it's as if Bortles is now learning "Football 301 and Football 401."

"I think that's pretty cool," Bradley said.

When Bortles says "night-and-day" difference, he means it.

"Everything's just sharper," Bortles said. "Turn on OTA One and Two from last year … there were all kinds of mental errors, guys messing up, doing stupid things … We were trying not to completely look like idiots while practicing. Now, guys are kind of flowing. They understand the offense.

"Guys are making calls, making adjustments and doing things. Guys have a good understanding and a good base of knowledge of the offense, so it's developing a lot faster."

Bortles, who set franchise records for touchdown passes (35) and passing yards (4,428) in 2015 in Olson's first season as coordinator, was asked if he felt that in his own base of knowledge.

"It's definitely coming a lot easier as far as making reads and going through things," he said. "There's not nearly as much thinking. It's kind of just playing football."

Bortles said one particularly important aspect of '16 OTAs is working with third-year wide receiver Marqise Lee, a 2014 second-round draft selection whose playing time has been limited by offseason and in-season injuries.

Take a look at images from the Jaguars second day of organized team activities.

"It's been good," Bortles said. "He does a lot of things that not a whole lot of people who can do. The way he comes in and out of cuts, and the ability to run with the ball in his hands after the catch … he definitely has a lot of added value. It's cool to see him healthy, feeling good and running around."

Also around the Jaguars Tuesday:

*Bradley called OTAs Day Two a "much better practice" than Day One. He said while Day One was good it wasn't great, and said that is often the case as young players acclimate to a new environment. "I think it's just us figuring out the tempo and getting back in line," Bradley said Tuesday. "As I said, [Monday] was a lot of the younger players. Having a chance to meet with them and showing on tape what we're asking … it was just much cleaner today." …

*Bradley said he sees signs of a more mature team this offseason, particularly on offense. "You can only be young once, right?" he said. "For us to keep saying that, 'Hey, we're young – or young in certain spots,' I think that's no longer us." …

*Bradley also said free-agent safety Tashaun Gipson has "shown up" in the first two days of OTAS. "For him to come in and learn a new system and play as fast as he is, the arrow's pointing up definitely with him," Bradley said of Gipson, who spent his first four seasons with the Cleveland Browns. …

*Bradley discussed free-agent running back Chris Ivory's acclimation to the team. "I'm not saying he's real talkative," Bradley said. "He's got a quiet disposition, but people gravitate toward him. He has that factor where people go to him, talk to him and ask him a lot of questions. He's really a pro. I think people recognize his past success and gravitate toward him because of his personality. He's been a welcome addition." Ivory signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent after making the Pro Bowl last season as a member of the New York Jets.

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