JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser's five Wednesday takeaways as the Jaguars prepare to play the Miami Dolphins at EverBank Field Sunday …
1.Know when to run …We begin Wednesday takeaways with the opponent, with the focus this week again on a mobile quarterback. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill lacks the name recognition – and contract – of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, but he can't be overlooked when game-planning for Miami. His mobility can't be overlooked, either. Tannehill likely won't take over a game with read runs as Newton did Sunday, but while he ran three times for seven yards in a 17-10 victory over Washington in the opener, he will run effectively given the opportunity. "A lot of quarterbacks we play can run, but with him, he's very smart when he chooses to run," Jaguars cornerback Aaron Colvin said. "He knows he has a good arm and he knows how to keep a defense off balance also."
Check out images as the Jaguars returned to the Florida Blue practice fields to prepare for the Miami Dolphins.
2.Rookie mistake.This is one Blake Bortles likely would like to have back. The second-year quarterback on Wednesday addressed the media as he does each Wednesday during the regular season. He spoke at length about the difficulty of play-calling and his respect for Jaguars offensive coordinator Greg Olson in that area. When Bortles was asked what he thought when fans criticized play-calling, he said, "I don't know … it's like a kindergartner saying something to a kid in college. It's unbelievably hard to appreciate." The quote not unexpectedly went viral on Twitter and drew the ire of fans. Bortles smiled as he said it and he also said it in the same vein as he says many things in his press conferences – in a joking, off-the-cuff manner. Still, it struck the wrong chord and Bortles almost certainly realized that immediately. Part of Bortles' charm and likability is he is unguarded and loose with the media, and he didn't say what he said Wednesday in a mean-spirited way. It was more a "rookie" mistake than anything. Here's hoping it's perceived and remembered as such soon enough.
3.Balancing act.You have to feel for what Marqise Lee is going through these days. It's impossible to be around the second-year receiver and not sense how much he wants to be on the field. Lee, who returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, has been out six weeks with a hamstring injury. But though that injury has cost him just one regular-season game, he realizes his absences have been extensive and notable: these six weeks, a knee injury that cost him this past offseason, three weeks missed last season and a hamstring that kept him out most of his rookie offseason. Lee, speaking to the media Wednesday, was asked if he has completely "let loose" yet and run full speed to test the hamstring. He said he has. "And I'm practicing today," he said, smiling. "It was a great feeling. I was pretty happy to have the opportunity to run full speed, not just full sprints, but routes, too. It's good to be back." Lee also was asked if he believed he could play Sunday. "I could have told you that last week," he said, again smiling. "I feel like I'm ready to go, but then again, it's all up to the trainers. It's the protocols they want to take."
4.A lot to like.Olson wouldn't say Bortles' performance in the regular-season opener was perfect. At the same time, he said Bortles did a lot of good things against Carolina that shouldn't be overlooked. "Take away that interception, and I thought there were some good things we can build upon," Olson said, referring to a third-quarter interception that cornerback Josh Norman returned 30 yards for what turned out to be the game-clinching touchdown. "He'll learn from it and he'll be better." Olson on the offense overall in the opener: "We just saw some things we hadn't seen in the OTAs or training camp or the preseason games," Olson said. "That was the hard thing to look at, I think, for the players and us. As long as they recognize that and can learn from those things …" Olson said Bortles had a couple of overthrown passes, particularly early, "where we were kind of hyped up. We had to lessen that anxiety. How do you lessen that anxiety? By creating some of those competitive environments at practice, but once he settled down, I think there were some good things."
5."True Pro"It wasn't surprising in retrospect that veteran defensive end Chris Clemons was among the Jaguars' better players in the regular-season opener. While Clemons missing voluntary offseason workouts drew the ire of fans – and while his status on the active non-football injury list early in training camp did, too – Clemons is a 12-year veteran who knows how to prepare himself to be ready for an NFL regular season. He registered a sack and a blocked field goal while starting at the team's Leo pass-rushing position. "I thought from when he came in to where he was at I felt, 'He's back,'" Bradley said. "What I didn't know was how he would respond to the number of plays, because he didn't play that much in the preseason. He's a true pro. He handled it very well and played hard throughout. It doesn't surprise me, because that's what you get with Chris Clemons. Through everything he went through it was great he performed like he did."