Sexton-Oehser quick thoughts: Jaguars-Ravens, Joint Practice No. 1

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Senior writer John Oehser and senior correspondent Brian Sexton offer three quick thoughts on Monday’s joint practice between the Jaguars and Ravens at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, Maryland …

Oehser …

1.Leonard Fournette is going to be a factor in the passing game. This has been increasingly evident during 2019 Training Camp, and Monday continued to confirm that. Fournette, the Jaguars’ third-year running back and a player trying to put a difficult season behind him, stood out in practice Monday – scoring a couple of touchdowns in red-zone work and catching at least three passes from starting quarterback Nick Foles. “He’s very talented catching the ball,” Foles said of Fournette. “He caught three balls today and he’s catching balls in practice every single day. He’s a special back and we need to get him the ball.” Foles also made a point of mentioning the offensive line on a late touchdown run by the No. 4 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft: “The guys up front made some nice holes for him where he could get through the line. The touchdown run he had later in practice I don’t think one guy touched him and they loaded the box.”

2.The offense continues to look improved. Monday wasn’t the crispest Jaguars practice of camp, a fact that likely can be largely attributed to a late travel day Sunday. But this “non-crisp” version continues to show improvement from last season – and lot of good signs. Wide receivers Chris Conley, DJ Chark Jr. and Dede Westbrook continue to benefit from Foles’ accuracy, and the Jaguars appeared particularly effective both running and throwing in red-zone work Monday. “I think we were just executing the play,” Foles said. “We talk a lot about, ‘The only thing we have to worry about is this play that’s called, just executing this and not thinking ahead.’ The red-zone scenarios … I thought our guys did a really nice job blocking everything up. Our receivers did a great job running routes. Everything happens faster down there. There are tighter windows. They were covering our guys well, but we were able to make some plays.”

3.The inevitable appears to be happening on the Jaguars’ offensive line, with rookie right tackle Jawaan Taylor getting his most-extensive work yet with the starters Monday. Taylor, a second-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, has worked solely at right tackle during training camp and he seems increasingly likely to start Week 1. That meant four of five likely Week 1 starting linemen worked extensively with the first team on Monday: Taylor at right tackle, A.J. Cann at right guard, Brandon Linder at center and Andrew Norwell at left guard. The major remaining question is left tackle. Cedric Ogbuehi, Josh Wells and Leonard Wester have worked at left tackle during camp with projected starter Cam Robinson still out while returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained last season. Head Coach Doug Marrone has said he plans to update Robinson’s return plan later this week. It’s normal for a player returning from a torn ACL the previous season to begin the following camp on the side, but Robinson needs to begin working soon to be ready for the regular-season opener.

1.Sexton …

1.I thought the Jaguars looked like a team that travelled on Sunday and disrupted the rhythm built in training camp in Jacksonville over the last 10 days. I expected the Ravens to appear a bit sharper, but there was more contrast than anyone from the Jaguars would have liked. Baltimore always has a talented roster and the Ravens are very well-coached, so they were supposed to look like the home team. It's usually tough to say one team looked better or performed better in a joint practice because so much of the day is situational and played to the whistle instead of live and full speed. Still, the team from Florida left the field Monday knowing they can do better.

2.Having said that, there were a few places Monday where the Jaguars looked like a team with playoff ability. The defensive line had its way with the Ravens’ offensive line in pass-rush drills. Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell looked overpowering, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue was so fast the offensive linemen could barely see him and edge defender Josh Allen was disruptive any chance he had; the guy has a whole arsenal of pass rush moves and the skills to use them. I thought Foles and the offense had a good day in the passing game, which was confirmed by wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell. The receivers won more than their share of one-on-one battles and Fournette displayed a certain chemistry with Foles for a couple of nice plays out of the backfield.

3.One very good sign was the play of guys like Westbrook and Chark, who were starting to come on strong in Jacksonville. Chark in particular looked sharp; he looked more like a receiver than an athlete, which was far too often the case in 2018. And Westbrook is so clearly this team's No.1 receiver that it's beyond dispute. We knew it might take some time for Foles to build chemistry with the number of unproven assets on his side of the field, but with these guys – plus Terrelle Pryor and Conley – there is a sense that the offense will absolutely be improved if not much better this fall.

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