Coach Jack Del Rio's post-practice interview this morning was nearly as spirited as the final 15 minutes of practice.
Del Rio made terse remarks about defensive tackle Larry Smith for the second time in a week and jousted with reporters about remarks defensive end Hugh Douglas made on Monday.
"Larry Smith is not doing things the way we want them done. I'll have more to say on that later," Del Rio said.
Smith didn't come onto the field until practice was a half-hour old. He spent much of what remained of practice on an adjacent field doing individual work.
This latest episode of woe follows a night practice Smith missed last week due to conditioning problems, and the statement Del Rio promised to issue this afternoon is expected to address Smith's future with the team.
But Del Rio also promised a statement on another and more important issue. Del Rio said he will provide the media with a statement this afternoon about the continued holdout of first-round draft choice Byron Leftwich, whose holdout has reached 19 days.
Meanwhile, the intensity of this morning's practice rose sharply in the final 15 minutes, after a Kyle Brady-Danny Clark post-play wrestling match and a follow-up face-off on the next play. The confrontations added spice to an otherwise calm morning.
"Did you notice that smirk on my face?" Del Rio asked in response to a question about his opinion of practice fights. "If you want to fight, fight. Just don't break a hand. The less you make of those situations, the sooner they calm down."
Until then, practice lacked spunk. The offensive line had a particularly bad morning in one-on-one drills against the defensive line.
For the final six plays of the morning, Del Rio announced that the side of the ball that was judged to have gotten the upper hand would watch the other side run wind sprints. The defense then watched the offense run.
"I thought we eased into (practice), but we finished strong," Del Rio said.
Tony Brackens was not present this morning; he's recovering from a stomach virus. And Donovin Darius had to leave the field halfway through practice; stomach virus, too.
Reporters sought reaction to defensive end Hugh Douglas' comments yesterday that he is out of shape. Douglas offered that response as reason for his ineffective play in Minnesota Saturday night.
Del Rio's reaction was spirited.
"What you heard is a guy's response about his play. We're not concerned about a veteran guy being in tip-top shape today. He'll be in good shape for the opener. He's just trying to give an answer because he's getting a zillion questions about why he's playing the way he is. I told him he shouldn't feel like he has to explain anything," Del Rio said.
Jaguars.com will provide Del Rio's statements on Smith and Leftwich when they are made available this afternoon.