JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser takes a look at the goings-on at EverBank Field Wednesday as Jaguars veterans reported to 2016 Training Camp …
We begin this look around Reporting Day with middle linebacker Paul Posluszny.
It's certain to be a camp-long storyline, but the 10th-year veteran is a perfect fit for what the Jaguars are asking from him this season.
Posluszny, entering his sixth season with the team, enters camp as the starter. He likely will remain in that role this season. The team likes his leadership, reliability and ability against the run. It's even possible he will remain on the field early in the season on third downs.
He also is working with rookie Myles Jack, a second-round selection who is working as backup middle linebacker and who likely will start at the position at some point in the future.
"I realize the situation where Myles is: he is the future linebacker of the organization and I feel like it's part of my job as a veteran guy to help bring him along as fast as we can because we need him on the field," Posluszny said Wednesday.
That's easy to say. It's hard to do – and it's certainly difficult to do it with the attitude Posluszny is taking. Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley called Posluszny's approach "off the charts."
"His mindset is this: he's going to do everything he can to help Myles Jack get ready, although 'I'm going to compete my tail off to be the first-, second- and third-down linebacker,''' Bradley said. "It's unbelievable … unbelievable – exactly what you would hope. I can't say enough great things about him. He's so internally motivated that it doesn't matter if somebody's here or not, but it's a new role [for Posluszny] – to help Jack progress as fast as he can."
Posluszny's assessment of Jack was clear.
"He's going to be a great player," he said. "We got to see a little bit of him at the end of minicamp. So it will be an exciting training camp to get him up to speed and get him to learn everything as fast as we can because he's an asset to the group and we'll need him out there."
Jack will have a major role this season, possibly starting somewhere and certainly playing extensively in passing situations. At some point relatively soon, he probably will start at middle linebacker.
In either situation, he'll have been fortunate to have had Posluszny as a teammate at this point in his career.
"I just have a firm belief that people will rise to the level of expectation. I just believe that."
--- Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley
Expectations, expectations …
With the Jaguars having a highly-regarded draft, and with many national analysts projecting the team's strongest season in several years, expectations are higher than in recent seasons.
Bradley addressed the topic in relatively normal fashion for him, saying that while he understands fans' enthusiasm and expectations, he won't add to the hype with preseason speeches about postseason or Super Bowl dreams.
Posluszny focused his comments on defense, saying that because of offseason acquisitions "players can all feel" the excitement.
"To say 'Hey, we have some great talent now: Let's bring it together, play at a consistent level and see where this team can go,''' Posluszny said. "Personally and as a group, I know we're really excited about starting this."
Posluszny added that this Jaguars defense is the most talented and the deepest since he signed with the team as an unrestricted free agent in 2011.
"It's exciting because you can say we have guys that can be elite players in multiple positions. It's been a long time since we've had that," he said.
Wide receiver Allen Robinson on the expectations: "It really doesn't matter. Sometime you are under the radar and sometimes you are not, but each and every day you have to go out there and do the same thing and make plays."
*It appears that Johnathan Cyprien enters camp as the strong favorite to hold the starting strong-safety position. The fourth-year veteran has struggled at times in his first three seasons, but the Jaguars continue to believe unrestricted free-agent Tashaun Gipson will define Cyprien's role. There will be competition between Cyprien and second-year veteran James Sample, but Cyprien feels like the favorite. "He was great – I mean, 'great,''' Bradley said of Cyprien's offseason approach. "There's some competition at that position and it's legitimate, but the way his focus was and the way he approach OTAs, I was really excited about him." …
*Cornerback will be a position to watch. With Davon House likely to start at one corner, rookie Jalen Ramsey would seem the favorite to start opposite him. But with nickel Aaron Colvin suspended for the first four regular-season games, Ramsey – the No. 5 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft – will get early repetitions at nickel and could play there early in the season. That would mean Prince Amukamara starting opposite House until Colvin's Week 4 return. …