JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines Jaguars 2016 Training Camp Day Seven with an eye on OT Kelvin Beachum …
Kelvin Beachum missed a second consecutive practice Thursday.
If that's alarming for a player less than 10 months removed from major knee surgery – and a player who could start at left tackle Week 1 – Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley's not acting that way.
Beachum, an unrestricted free agent who is expected to compete with Luke Joeckel to start at left tackle, did not practice for a second consecutive day Thursday. The team entered training camp being smart and cautious with his return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained in Week 6 with Pittsburgh last season.
Bradley on Thursday said Beachum remains on schedule.
"This was our idea of how to do it, to go about it," Bradley said after Day Seven of 2016 Training Camp practice. "He wants to speed it up and we're just staying true to how we had it set up."
Bradley said it's uncertain if Beachum will participate in Friday's scrimmage at EverBank Field. He has worked in some team situations throughout camp, with him and Joeckel alternating between left tackle and left guard. Beachum has yet to participate in heavy contact or in one-on-one pass rush drills.
"Initially when we projected, we thought he would miss maybe 10 days of training camp and then be ready to go," Bradley said. "He started early, so our idea was to have this progression."
Bradley has yet to say when the team hopes to make a decision about the starting left tackle.
"We're always going to try to speed that up and try to figure it out as quickly as possible, but we're going to make sure we make the right decision first and foremost," Bradley said.
With Beachum out the last two days and participating limited throughout camp, Joeckel has worked extensively not only at tackle but at guard.
The fourth-year veteran has plenty of experience at left tackle, having started there the past two seasons. He never played guard until this past offseason, so this training camp is his first work in full pads at the position.
"There's no doubt in our minds he's competing at left tackle, but he's experiencing some really good success at guard," Bradley said. "He's doing some really good things there. What I'm pleased about is he's getting switched around playing guard and tackle and he's had success at both. He's playing better at tackle. You still see some things he needs to work on. But to have 'good' in both of those areas shows more about his mindset."
Take a look at some of the best images from Thursday's practice.
Better and better
A week into camp the Jaguars' defense looks better by the day. Bradley said Thursday the defense has been particularly consistent the last two days after showing an increased knack for interceptions and pass deflections throughout the offseason and the first week of training camp. "They're going after the ball," Bradley said. "It just needs to continue in the games."
"I'm excited to get out there and show the fans who I am and who this team is for the first time."
--- Jaguars DT Malik Jackson on Friday's scrimmage
*While Johnathan Cyprien appears the likely starting strong safety, James Sample has drawn more praise in recent days than he did during the offseason. Sample, a second-year veteran who played four games as a rookie, currently is backing up Cyprien. "In OTAs he struggled a little bit," Bradley said of Sample, adding that while Cyprien separated himself during the offseason Sample has performed well in the last week. "Now, coming into training camp you're starting to see Sample stack up some good practices. "Cyp's doing well too, but he [Sample] is really coming along." …
*The Jaguars' defensive line appears to be a deep, versatile group – and rotation is going to be a buzzword. But one player whose role appears defined is defensive tackle Malik Jackson, who has played almost exclusively at the three-technique tackle spot for which he was signed. The three-technique plays alongside the nose tackle and is a more penetrating, attacking player. Jackson said he expects to play there on early downs, and likely will remain there in passing situations. "I want to stay inside and work the guard a little bit," Jackson said. "That's where I've seen a lot of success. If God forbid somebody goes down I don't mind getting out there and helping the team, but if it's up to me I'd rather stay on the inside."