Scott Starks is back.
The speedy, little cornerback, who's always been there when the Jaguars have needed him, lost last season to recovery from knee reconstruction and immediately his future was clouded. Starks cleared the skies Tuesday with a day-two-of-OTAs performance that included a pick-six interception and a pass-defensed he tipped into the hands of cornerback Derek Cox.
They were the highlight plays on a day dominated by the defense as much as day one was dominated by the offense.
So how's the knee, Scotty?
"What knee?" Starks replied. "I just feel healthy right now. The organization has been patient with me. It's been a long process."
He tore an ACL in Sept. of 2008, missed the rest of the season and spent last spring on the "rehab team." Determined to be recovered in time for the start of training camp, Starks' spirit was willing but his knee wasn't.
"I tried to make it look like I was ready but I knew I wasn't ready. I didn't want to tell the coaches I didn't think I was ready. I had to go out there and give it a try," Starks said.
Always, Starks has been a too-small defender who's been too fast to cut. His speed was clearly gone in last year's training camp but, if Tuesday's OTA practice is any indication, it would seem to have returned.
"I'm pretty fast," Starks said with a smile.
Prior to the knee injury, he was the fastest player on the Jaguars roster.
So what's his goal in his comeback season?
"I just want to play football. I want to help this team as much as I can," he said.
The Jaguars pass-defense made its debut of OTAs on Tuesday, after having been absent for the better part of Monday's practice. Middle linebacker Kirk Morrison and safety Anthony Smith also intercepted passes.
"I don't think we got picked apart (on Monday)," safety Gerald Alexander said. "We made a couple of plays (on Tuesday). Either way, the Jaguars get better."
Safety is the position of greatest concern on the Jaguars and one of the big questions of the spring and summer is: Is there enough talent at safety for two starting-caliber players to emerge?
"Contrary to popular belief, I believe so," Alexander said. "If we get pressure on the quarterback and get him off the spot, it's going to reflect on our whole defense. We have skilled guys back there."