JACKSONVILLE – The idea was to be physical, and to be tested.
The Jaguars appeared to get the idea, with the result one of the most physical – and among the most entertaining – practices of Jaguars 2017 Training Camp.
The Jaguars went through their seventh practice of '17 camp Thursday, working for two-and-a-half hours in 81-degree temperatures on the practice fields adjacent to EverBank Field. It was the fourth of what is expected to be five consecutive days in full pads this week.
"You guys see the volume of practice," Jaguars strong-side linebacker Paul Posluszny said. "We're going through a physical building process right now."
The Jaguars will hold their Family Night practice in pads inside EverBank Field Friday at 6 p.m.
Thursday's work featured a lot of hollering and between-play encouragement, and a lot of hitting. It featured interceptions by cornerback Tyler Patmon and safety Tashaun Gipson off quarterback Blake Bortles, but it also featured impressive touchdown passes from Bortles to wide receiver Allen Robinson and tight end Alex Ellis.
It also featured rookie running back Leonard Fournette diving into the end zone in a spirited live goal-line drill.
"We had live goal-line today," Posluszny said. "Being in elite physical condition and being a very physical football team is our highest priority."
Defensive tackle Malik Jackson and cornerback A.J. Bouye spoke to the media after practice Thursday with Head Coach Doug Marrone expected to speak after Friday's session. Jackson said this week has been as taxing mentally as physically.
Images from Thursday's practice held at the practice field adjacent to EverBank Field.
"I don't think it is as much about the practices as the fact that we're always doing something – from when we wake up to when we go to sleep," Jackson said. "At different camps, they give you a little more leisure time in between practices. Coach Marrone is making a point to make it physically and mentally tough, and to make us do things we don't want to do. We'll get a reward for it during the season.
"Guys are trusting him. We were 3-13 last season. If someone wants to try something different who are we to tell him it's not going to work?"
Notes and observations from Day 7 of 2017 Training Camp practice:
*Jackson, who signed as an unrestricted free agent from Denver in the 2016 offseason, has stood out early in camp. He consistently has won pass-rush drills and has been disruptive in live work. He also has continued to emerge as one of the team's vocal leaders, something with which he said he feels more comfortable than he did last season. "I wanted to learn the playbook, find myself and see who everybody was," Jackson said of his '16 approach. "It's a little different time for me right now. I've taken a little more ownership and a little more of a leadership role than last year." …
*Bouye, an unrestricted free-agent signee from Houston, has played at as consistently a high level as any player in camp thus far. He has shown sound fundamentals and consistently breaks quickly on the ball and has a knack for breaking up passes in the air. The feeling on the team is growing that Bouye and second-year cornerback Jalen Ramsey can be the elite cornerback combination the team envisioned when signing Bouye in March. "I feel like my technique has been getting there, and getting better every day," Bouye said. "I'm still learning the defense. You have certain formations you haven't seen yet, but it has been getting better." …
*Bouye said while Ramsey remains on the physically unable to perform list and therefore not practicing, his presence is being felt in camp. "He's helping us out on the sidelines; he keeps encouraging us," Bouye said. "You can hear him over there talking trash to the other guys, which we like because it gets us going. I told him, 'Even if they told you not to say anything, keep it going because you're keeping the young guys going, too.' " …
*Posluszny said live tackling such as Thursday's goal-line work is a huge plus for a defense. Because of the risk of injuries, teams generally hit less in training camp and in-season practices now than in past NFL eras. "I think it helps," Posluszny said. "You want to fit people up, and doing tackling drills is great, but you want to be able to complete that and bring all of your techniques together and bring a guy down." …
*Posluszny on Fournette, the No. 4 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft who has flashed consistently during camp: "He's a stud. His quickness, his burst … it's obvious he has all the talent in the world to be an outstanding running back." …