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Sexton-Oehser quick thoughts: OTAs Week 2

Jacksonville Jaguars during an OTA practice session Thursday, May, 24, 2018 in Jacksonville, Fl. (Rick Wilson/Jacksonville Jaguars)
Jacksonville Jaguars during an OTA practice session Thursday, May, 24, 2018 in Jacksonville, Fl. (Rick Wilson/Jacksonville Jaguars)

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

Oehser ...

1. Their non-padded nature makes May and June tricky months for NFL analysis, but a couple of choices for top Jaguars stories through a week and a half of OTAs? Wide receiver Donte Moncrief and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. They both have shown encouraging speed and athleticism during four OTA practices, and appear to be developing a good early rapport with quarterback Blake Bortles; it's not easy getting in synch in a new offense so quickly. But the biggest reason they're top early stories is the first four OTA practices have shown the Jaguars shopped for the two players for a reason: they plan to use them. They have shown traits that make it clear they will heavily involved in the offense, and the good news for the Jaguars is they have shown early signs that they have a good chance to be productive when called upon. 

2. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone's approach in a little more than a year and a half in the position gets more impressive the closer it is examined. He has long since earned the respect of players, setting the tone for this franchise because as a former player he understands how to reach professional football players – and understands what is and isn't important. An example: his approach to these voluntary, unpadded OTAs. This work is important; Marrone's emphasis on detail and preparation reflects that. At the same time, this period is not the end-all and Marrone's approach when some players opt not to attend reflects that, too. Would Marrone like a player such as cornerback Jalen Ramsey at OTAs? Sure. Does he understand that 100 percent attendance during a voluntary period is a goal that likely won't be achieved much – and that there are other things to emphasize this time of year? Yes, he understands that, too. Marrone is an NFL head coach, and through a season and a half, the Jaguars have responded to him as such.

3. Perhaps the most intriguing part of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett's meeting with the media Tuesday came when discussing the receiver corps. The Jaguars this offseason allowed wide receiver Allen Robinson to sign with the Chicago Bears, a move that left many observers anxious over the lack of a true No. 1 receiver. Whether Robinson truly was such a player or not is open to debate, but the Jaguars' approach to the position indicates they don't believe a true No. 1 is necessary; Marqise Lee, Moncrief, Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole and rookie DJ Chark have the feel of a group of five players who could all contribute comparatively equally. "I would hope you never have a true No. 1, ever," Hackett said. "You want a guy who's able to be a No. 1; and you want everybody to be able to touch the ball. If you have a No. 1, defenses can very well take that guy away. You need other people to step up. The more we can spread it around just makes it more of a team game. We don't want one guy to have to get the ball every time."

Sexton ...

1. Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis may already know who his punt returner will be in the fall, but we won't know until September. The Jaguars have a wealth of talent with successful return resumes competing during OTAs. Rashad Greene has only played in 17 games during three seasons in Jacksonville, but who can forget his thrilling 63-yard return against Tennessee on Thursday Night Football in 2015 or his 16.7-yard return average that season? Can he stay on the field? Jaydon Mickens exploded on the scene last year with a 63-yard touchdown in his second game against Cincinnati and a 72-yard return that set up a touchdown against Seattle in December. Mickens averaged 12.8 yards per return over the second half of the season and should be tough to replace, but rookie DJ Chark returned punts at LSU and has explosive speed neither Greene or Mickens possess. The decision comes down to the roster needs; any or all of these guys can provide big plays in the return game and play a role for the offense. Remember: DeCamillis takes seriously the job of creating field position for one of the league's top defenses; this is going to be a very important and fun competition to monitor.

2. OTAs are a time to grind your teeth over perceived weak spots on the roster – and I know right now everyone is looking at right guard. A.J. Cann isn't an All-Pro, but he's good enough to count on. If you go back to the Seattle game last season and Leonard Fournette's 11-yard run for a first down that sealed the victory, you'll see what Cann can do. He pulled to the left and sealed the linebacker, allowing Fournette to get up the field and build a head of steam that carried him past the marker. You would like more push off the line, which is the focus for offensive line coach Pat Flaherty, but if you can get him moving and making blocks in front of Fournette and the running backs you'll take it. Consider this, too: you can't pay everyone. You're not going to have a pair of the NFL's highest-paid guards in the league on either side of one of the highest-paid centers. You must have role players; Cann can be that guy who you work with or around until it's time to pay him, and then you draft the next one. 

3. A.J. Bouye's return to OTAs this week isn't a big deal but it was nice to see him working. Even more important was hearing him say he was in touch with fellow All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey – and that everyone understands Ramsey will be ready to go. I found it interesting Bouye was working with his own plan the last few weeks after a conversation with Pittsburgh All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown at the Pro Bowl. I knew last season the talent on defense was one thing, but the drive and determination of the individual athletes is what made it great. Listening to Bouye it was clear that these guys are dialed in on what it takes to be the best – not just great – and they're willing to do whatever it takes wherever they have to go to get the job done. No one should be worried about who is or who is not here during voluntary OTAs; these guys want it.

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