JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines Jaguars 2016 Training Camp Day Six with thoughts from defensive coordinator Todd Wash and offensive coordinator Greg Olson …
An experience thing
There's a little more efficiency, a little more quickness, a little faster recognition.
Jaguars offensive coordinator Greg Olson said you expect those things in Year Two of an offense, and he has seen signs of those things in Jaguars 2016 Training Camp.
"We talked about when we came into this thing, 'We need to be more consistent,''' Olson said following Wednesday's work on the practice fields adjacent to EverBank Field. "I think you're seeing us put more consistent plays together.
"We're not ready to play a game tomorrow, certainly, but I'd like to think by September 11 [the regular-season opener against Green Bay at EverBank Field] you're going to see a unit that's had a chance to be together for a while and playing at a consistent level."
Olson said he has seen similar growth from Blake Bortles, with the third-year quarterback's "entire comfort level" further along than this time last year.
"Certainly being able to call a play in the huddle is part of the process," Olson said. "Then to know what everybody on the offensive side of the ball is doing is part of the process. Then understanding the defensive side of the ball is part of the process. To see the play in his mind, and to understand exactly where everybody is – and exactly what his responsibility is to ensure the play is successful – I think that's where he's getting. It's coming along."
Wash likes what he's seeing so far defensively.
"We're seeing some flashes along the way," he said.
Wash, in his first season as coordinator after three as defensive line coach (he was also run-game coordinator last season), emphasized discipline when taking over as coordinator last January.
Players throughout the offseason said they liked the move to Wash because it used the same scheme the team ran under former coordinator Bob Babich/Head Coach Gus Bradley the last three seasons while allowing Wash to add his more aggressive, detailed approach.
Wash said Wednesday he can see players beginning to play with the detail he expects.
"It's just the consistency part we've got to keep up with," he said.
Wash also explained what the defense will be when it's playing well, saying it should emphasize what he calls "TED:" toughness, effort and discipline.
"If we execute the package, we're going to be playing well," he said. "That's kind of what we're basing our defense on – toughness, effort and discipline."
The Jaguars love defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.'s ability, but Wash admitted the team has tried to figure out how to get him to slow down at practice at certain times. Fowler has delivered several big hits during training camp practices – bigger than is the norm with NFL teams typically emphasizing players staying off the ground and avoiding injury during August drills. "We love the energy," Wash said. "We're not limiting him. He goes out and he's physical. We've got to get him to just … slow down. He tries to do too much at times." Wash paused and said with a laugh, "He's a bull in a china closet at times, but once again that's the type of mental makeup you want on defense. We're very excited about him.'' …
… also notable
Consider Gus Bradley's message heard. The Jaguars' head coach cut practice short Tuesday and said the work "wasn't up to our standards." Players said Wednesday's practice was markedly different with better intensity. "It was much better," strong safety Johnathan Cyprien said. "We came out and competed against each other and had some good stuff to learn from."
Some of the best images from day six of training camp.
"Let's say he gets 700-some rushes this year. You're not going to beat a guy 700 times – that would be a hell of a sack record. You have to be able to deal with 'not success' sometimes. But he expects himself, every time he lines up, that's something's going to happen. That's the expectation I have of him."
--- Wash on Fowler
*The team continues to see Cyprien's progression. He is playing more as a true "box" safety after the team signed unrestricted free agent Tashaun Gipson from the Cleveland Browns in March. "He's doing a great job of accepting his role, knowing what his role is," Wash said. "We knew that was his strength going into it. That's why we wanted to have a down safety. This position obviously matches his skill set. We want to have him close to the line of scrimmage." Wash said second-year strong safety James Sample, currently backing up Cyprien, also is starting to play well. "You see the flashes," Wash said. …
*This may be getting repetitive, but an overriding storyline emerging from the first week of '16 camp is wide receiver Allen Robinson looking significantly better than this time last year. That's not shocking, because the third-year receiver has gotten progressively stronger, better and more professional since entering the NFL as a 2014 second-round draft selection. Still, Robinson has been dominant at times in practice during this year's training camp, running short and intermediate routes crisper than past seasons and getting open more consistently. Robinson had a breakout, 1,400-yard, 14-touchdown season last season. He may or may not reach those statistics, but he has the look of a more dominant player entering this season.
"Whether it's an edge, or confidence, or something to prove … he's playing angry, which we've talked to him about. A big receiver needs to play big and he plays that way. Confidence is a big part of it."
*--- Olson on the performance Robinson in '16 camp *