JACKSONVILLE – The battle is on at left tackle.
The Jaguars have worked three days in training camp, but the competition for the left-tackle position began in a big way Saturday – and will heighten in the coming days.
The same can be said of the entire 2017 offensive line.
It long has been Head Coach Doug Marrone's belief that the team will have a clearer vision about its offensive line after the first week and a half of training camp. That makes the five days of padded work this week on the practice fields adjacent to EverBank Field critical.
The left-tackle battle so far looks like this: veteran Branden Albert worked with the starters Thursday and Saturday, with rookie Cam Robinson working with the starters Friday.
The Jaguars' first work in full pads came Saturday, and they will work in pads Monday through Friday of this week. Marrone has made clear that those five days will go a long way to determining the offensive line.
Guard Tyler Shatley has worked with the starters at left guard all three days thus far, and Brandon Linder, A.J. Cann and Jermey Parnell have worked at center, right guard and right tackle, respectively in the first three days.
Pressing questions on the line: Will Albert, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, hold off Robinson at left tackle? If he does, can the Jaguars move the rookie inside to guard? And if they move him into guard, how much time does he need practicing there to be ready for the regular season?
Those answers should be coming soon.
Other Week 1 notes and observations:
*Quarterback Blake Bortles was off to a good start in camp, but his five-interception practice Saturday wasn't good. He was intercepted twice in 7-on-7 drills and three times in 11-on-11. One rough practice doesn't negate an offseason of work, but neither does it inspire confidence. The focus was on Bortles entering camp anyway; Saturday will sharpen it. …
*Defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. was impressive in pads Saturday, looking particularly good in pass-rush drills. He looked good around this time in 2016 Training Camp, too, but the good start still bodes well for the No. 3 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. Fowler was looking forward to pads going on to show he had improved his pass-rushing technique – and to continue working on the fundamentals he needs to excel as a rusher. So far, so good.
*Rookie running back Leonard Fournette looked good in the first padded practice Saturday, and has drawn praise from teammates. The running back position looks deep, and the guess here is Corey Grant forces the Jaguars to keep four at the position: Fournette, Chris Ivory, T.J. Yeldon and Grant. That's because Grant's speed will be hard to release. …
*The most impressive position group early in camp has been wide receiver. Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee have been impressive, as has Allen Hurns; Lee's long reception on a jump ball Saturday was athleticism at the position defined. Fourth-round rookie wide receiver Dede Westbrook also has made some flash plays, and undrafted rookie Keelan Cole continues to show the ability to get open deep and make plays on the ball. …
*Also impressive early in camp: cornerback A.J. Bouye. The unrestricted free-agent signee has been impressive early, and he has at least one pass defensed in every practice in camp thus far. He has covered well and shows the ability to defend the ball in the air. A good start for one of the team's most high-profile offseason acquisitions.
*Also standing out early: defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, defensive tackle Malik Jackson, defensive end Calais Campbell, linebacker Telvin Smith. Those are four guys you expect to notice, and all have shown up through the first four days. …