Rookie Premiere: Scott, Rodgers ready for opportunity
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie QBs Matt Scott and Jordan Rodgers ready to compete for roster position
JACKSONVILLE – Matt Scott didn't want to come across as overeager, necessarily.
Still, he's in the NFL now, and that NFL career in a very real sense begins Friday. The time is now for Scott and the other 49 rookies in camp to start showing they belong.
And that's what Scott said he's here to do.
"I just want to take it step by step," Scott said Thursday as the Jaguars' rookies gathered to prepare for the team's three-day rookie minicamp, which will be open to the public at EverBank Field Friday through Sunday.
"The first thing I want to do is learn the offense. I'm not coming in to step on anybody's toes or anything like that, but I'm a competitor, so I'm not going to say I won't compete. That wouldn't even be true.
"I'm a big competitor and that's what I've come here to do."
Scott, a quarterback from Arizona, was one of two quarterbacks signed by the Jaguars following the 2013 NFL Draft last weekend. The other was Jordan Rodgers, the brother of Green Bay Packers perennial Pro Bowl selection Aaron Rodgers.
"Jacksonville presents a great opportunity," Rodgers said. "Everyone's kind of on an even playing field. Obviously, the veterans have an upper hand, but it's a great opportunity."
The duo is expected to compete for a roster spot on a team with two veteran quarterbacks, third-year veteran and 2010 first-round draft choice Blaine Gabbert and veteran Chad Henne.
Gabbert is generally considered the front-runner for the position, having started the first 10 games of last season with Henne starting the final six. But Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley stresses open competition and the Jaguars have struggled at the quarterback position in recent seasons.
Those struggles prompted many to believe the team would select a quarterback in last weekend's draft. Instead they waited to address the spot in collegiate free agency.
Scott, projected by many as a third-to-fourth-round selection, said he was "honestly surprised" to go undrafted. At the same time, he said the chance to play for his former college quarterbacks coach, Jaguars Quarterbacks Coach Frank Scelfo, made Jacksonville the right alternative.
"At the time, I was pretty frustrated," Scott said. "Then teams started calling and talking about free agency and I got to sort of pick and choose where I wanted to do. At a certain point, it's better to go to a certain place where you're a fit."
Rodgers said he had quite a few opportunities to sign elsewhere.
"I just felt like this one was the best," he said. "There are only two quarterbacks on the roster. It's probably the most even playing field it's going to be (anywhere in the NFL)."
Also around the Jaguars:
*Scott said the chance to work with Scelfo influenced his decision to sign with the Jaguars: "It's a big reason I ended up coming here," he said. "Before he got there, I never really thought about ending up in the NFL. He's the guy who opened up my eyes to maybe playing in the NFL."
*Wide receiver/punt returner Ace Sanders said he weighed in at 175 pounds. "I've got a little pep to my step," he said. "I'm ready to get on the field." Sanders could have a chance at a larger-than-expected role offensively early because of the recently-announced four-game suspension to be served by second-year veteran Justin Blackmon to start the season. "It may," he said, "but it does hurt the team because he's a big part of the offense. Hopefully, when he comes back he's ready to go."
*Former Florida State fullback Lonnie Pryor said he spoke with Tampa Bay, Denver, St. Louis and Houston late in the draft, but signed with the Jaguars as a college free agent because of the opportunity to make the team. Longtime Jaguars fullback Greg Jones signed with Houston as a free agent this offseason. "I felt like if I had to go anywhere to get a starting position, this was the best way to go," he said.
*Second-round safety Johnathan Cyprien said he likes the idea of playing in Head Coach Gus Bradley's scheme. He likely will play strong safety in the system. "Coming out, I could have played both positions (free and strong)," he said. "I've been in the playbook and I like what I see so far."
*Rodgers said he spoke to his brother, Aaron, on Thursday, who told him to be himself upon arriving. "First impressions are huge," Rodgers said, adding that Aaron also told him to immerse himself in the offense and the playbook. "He just told me to absorb as much as I can," Rodgers said.