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Sexton-Oehser quick thoughts: OTAs Week 1

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith (50) talks with defensive coordinator Todd Wash during organized team activities, Tuesday, May. 22, 2018 in Jacksonville, Fla. (Logan Bowles / AP)

Sexton-Oehser quick thoughts: OTAs Week 1

Senior writer John Oehser and senior correspondent Brian Sexton with three quick thoughts during the first week of Jaguars 2018 Organized Team Activities …

JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser and senior correspondent Brian Sexton with three quick thoughts during the first week of Jaguars 2018 Organized Team Activities …

Oehser …

1.It was Day One of OTAs. But it almost wouldn't be OTAs without fan angst and anger over attendance. Cornerbacks A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey were absent from Tuesday's first day of OTAs, and it's unclear when or if either will attend a 2018 OTA session. The thought here is it would be sort of surprising if Bouye doesn't attend part of the OTAs; it would be equally surprising if Ramsey attends much offseason work other than the three-day veteran minicamp in mid-June. And that's OK. All of it. Offseason work is voluntary except for minicamp – and voluntary does means voluntary. Bouye and Ramsey were second- and first-team All Pro selections last season, respectively. They are as good or better as/than any player on the Jaguars' roster. The guess here is both will be ready to perform when they report to 2018 Training Camp. Their absence doesn't make them selfish and it doesn't mean there's trouble within the team. It's the NFL and in the NFL, voluntary means voluntary until they change the definition – or the offseason rules.

2.It was Day One of OTAs. But there was no mistaking the positive feel around Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles Tuesday. He looked accurate, poised and in command of the offense – all of the things you want a veteran quarterback to show during the offseason. Quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich said multiple times when speaking to the media that Bortles looked improved over last offseason, particularly his command of the offense. Head Coach Doug Marrone also lauded Bortles' command of the offense, but perhaps the most notable thing Wednesday was Milanovich reminding observers that for a three-week stretch last December Bortles played at as a high a level as any quarterback in the NFL. That's worth remembering in the coming weeks as we analyze Bortles' OTAs. He showed during a stretch late last regular season – and again in the postseason – he is capable of playing at a high level. It perhaps shouldn't be surprising or even notable that he looked good early in OTAs.

3.It was Day One of OTAs. But there were good signs from the receivers Tuesday. OTA analysis always skews toward skill positions because of the non-contact nature of the work, and a few receivers stood out Tuesday. Second-year veteran Keelan Cole showed deep speed with a long reception down the sideline, and rookie second-round selection DJ Chark showed an impressive gear on a long reception from backup Cody Kessler. Free-agent acquisition Donte Moncrief also looked comfortable and seemed in sync with Bortles. A non-skill position note: rookie defensive tackle Taven Bryan showed the athleticism, size and quickness that made him the No. 29 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. Little can truly be gleaned from line play in OTAs, but Bryan flashing wasn't a bad thing.

Sexton …

1.It was Day One of OTAs. But the Jaguars don't look like a team that lost key contributors from last season. The absence of wide receiver Allen Robinson, middle linebacker Paul Posluszny and cornerback Aaron Colvin may be felt this season but it won't be for a lack of players to try and fill their spots. Chark and Moncrief are good looking prospects with size, length and speed; combined with Cole, Dede Westbrook and Marqise Lee, the Jaguars have size, speed, youth and experience in their receiving corps. The cupboard isn't bare in Keenan McCardell's classroom, and in fact it might be more loaded than it has been in years. At linebacker, Telvin Smith and Myles Jack ran the show last year and it's second nature to them this spring; plus, you could see the speed and natural ability of Blair Brown in Day One of OTAs. Watching former first-round pick D.J. Hayden turn and run with Lee in the slot made it seem as if they've found a reasonable replacement for Colvin. I recall standing on the practice field last November as the Jags made their move towards the AFC South title and marveling at how much quality depth the roster had on display. Six months later I didn't get the sense that it had changed all that much, which is a very good sign for Marrone and his staff.

2.It was Day One of OTAs. But I liked the combination of tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins with Bortles. He's a big body who can get down the seam and it was clear Tuesday Bortles was looking for him early and often. Seferian-Jenkins' longest reception of 2017 for the New York Jets was a 27-yard catch against the Jaguars in New York. Not surprisingly, the Jaguars ran him on the same route Tuesday and he made a heck of a catch in front of the safety just as he did that day at MetLife Stadium. Early indications are he is going to be able to take advantage of the speed of the receivers and the power of running back Leonard Fournette and be the guy for whom defenses could struggle to account this fall. Now if the Jaguars can identify another dimension to the room, a move tight end like former Colts tight end Dallas Clark, the guy who is impossible to cover on third-and-4 … the tight ends could be the missing ingredient for coordinator Nate Hackett's offense.

3.It was Day One of OTAs. But Bortles looks … different. I don't know if it's the run through December and the playoffs last season or the new contract or the new talent or what. But I know he looks comfortable, in command, like this is now his offense – which is exactly where Hackett thought he could be in Year Two. It might be too early to say, but I've heard he has been keenly focused working in California and completely comfortable as the veteran in the quarterbacks room, and it showed on Tuesday.

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