JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines Jaguars 2016 Training Camp Day Five with an eye on the defensive line, CB Jalen Ramsey and WR Allen Robinson
Looking good early
The Jaguars want to practice like they plan to play.
For the defensive line during 2016 Training Camp, that means a lot of rotating from day to day – and from drill to drill. There are many reasons they believe they can do that effectively.
Two of those reasons are a pair of rookies who thus far look better than it's fair to expect.
Those rookies? Defensive tackle Sheldon Day and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, two players who have had good enough camps early – and who impressed enough throughout the offseason – that it has become reasonable to expect them to play contributing roles this season.
That doesn't mean they're going to start, but they're probably going to matter. Maybe a lot.
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley discussed both Tuesday, lauding Ngakoue yet again for play-to-play effort and consistency.
"He has good hands, good quickness and good bend, but his motor …" Bradley said. "His motor, I think, is one his strongest assets."
Ngakoue, a third-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft from Maryland, consistently has impressed as a pass rusher. During pass rush drills thus far in camp, his quickness and athleticism have been evident, and the Jaguars are confident he can be effective as a pass rusher. His focus, Bradley said a few days ago, is improving against the run – an area the Jaguars knew needed work when they drafted him.
Day, a fourth-round selection from Notre Dame, also has impressed daily. He has unusually quick, effective hands for a rookie and has utilized those – along with his quickness and suddenness – to stand out in pass-rush drills.
"We really like Sheldon Day," Bradley said. "Again, he's another guy who has a high motor. He can play inside. He has good pass rush. He has the ability to play the run. He has faced a lot of double teams and he's holding up well against that, but the play after play after play – his motor I think jumps out."
The Jaguars' plan this season is to rotate the defensive line to the point that the entire line could change at times from one down to the next. It has been that way thus far in practice, with the first- and second-team line often playing with the first-team linebackers and secondary.
All indications are Day and Ngakoue have a major chance to be part of that rotation, and those indications are also that that could be a good thing for the Jaguars' pass rush.
Check out the some of the best images from the fifth day of training camp.
"You surely don't want to miss an opportunity to display who we are. I felt like we didn't capture the whole practice."
--- Jaguars HC Gus Bradley on Tuesday's practice
"I feel like I'm more comfortable in the system and more comfortable around the players. My confidence is up where it needs to be. I've had a lot of time mentally to get prepared and I'm ready."
--- Second-year WR Rashad Greene
"It feels different, but in a good way. You're out there running around in OTAs [organized team activities] with no pads … it's like a track meet. You get pads on … that's how you play the game on Sundays, with the pads on. That's the real deal."
---Otto LB Ryan Davis on Tuesday's first padded practice of 2016 Training Camp
Rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey continues to rotate heavily between outside and nickel corner during practice, with coaches seeking the right early-season role for the No. 5 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft. Ramsey also continues to draw praise less than a week into his rookie training camp. "He's a very good player," Bradley said. "He has really good instincts. To be able to play on the outside, come on inside, transfer that and play with a certain poise – it's really a credit to him."
*If there has been an MVP of early camp, it may be veteran wide receiver Allen Robinson. That's no surprise for the team's lone Pro Bowl selection last season, but Robinson appears to have improved his route running and appears to be a more efficient, smoother short- and intermediate receiver than during his first two seasons. "My main focus coming into this year is to be more efficient," Robinson said. "That's my main focus going into it, improving my route-running, improving getting separation, improving getting open and helping Blake." …
*Veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis has had a productive camp, continuing that Tuesday with two touchdown receptions in the red zone. He also started camp with long receptions on consecutive days. While focus has been on players such as Robinson, wide receiver Allen Hurns and tight end Julius Thomas, Lewis remains a red-zone option who can create big plays if defenses fail to account for him. "He's such a big target for Blake, especially in the red-zone area," Bradley said. "It's great for Blake. He appreciates that part of Marcedes."