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Week in focus: Lee happy to be healthy

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JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines the week that was around the Jaguars, including a look at WR Marqise Lee's approach to 2016 OTAs …

JACKSONVILLE – This is what Marqise Lee wanted: health above all else.

So far, he has gotten just that.

Lee, the Jaguars' third-year wide receiver, had a simple objective entering 2016 organized activities: stay healthy throughout three weeks of OTAs and the ensuing three-day mandatory minicamp. He figured if that happened, a lot of other objectives would take care of themselves.

Three days in, Lee is happy with how things have gone.

"That's all I'm focused on – honestly and to tell the truth," Lee said on Thursday's final day of Week 1 of 2016 Jaguars OTAs, which are being held at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields. "I just want to keep my body right and go from there."

Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley has said throughout the offseason that Lee being on the field during the coming months is key, and he said he has seen focus in that area from Lee.

"You see him doing more things to take care of his body," Bradley said. "We still have continued conversations. I think he's starting to take ownership of it more, I feel a lot."

The 2014 second-round draft selection's NFL health issues have been well-chronicled. He missed much of his first offseason with an ankle injury, then missed much of the 2015 offseason with a knee injury before missing much of 2015 training camp with a hamstring injury.

Those absences have left him behind in the offense, and through two seasons he has 52 receptions for 613 yards and two touchdowns while playing mostly a reserve role.

A major focus this offseason is to get Lee established in a role in the offense – likely as an outside receiver in various situations. A key to establishing that role is being on the field.

That made participating 100 percent for the first three days of OTAs important to Lee. Very important.

"My thing is just being healthy," Lee said. "That's what's going through my head. When Coach Gus asks me my mindset, that's it. That's all I worry about."

Lee has been in town through much of the offseason program, though he did spend part of the offseason in his hometown of Los Angeles and saw Lakers legend Kobe Bryant's final game. That was the game in which Bryant scored 60 points.

"I went to a couple before then, too," Lee said with a smile, "but the last one was pretty solid."

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Images from the third day of organized team activities.

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Coming into focus

The Jaguars' defense has been a major area of offseason focus, and after three OTAs, the vision for the defense is a bit clearer than before.

A major focus under new coordinator Todd Wash continues to be focus on detail. When players compare this year's defense to last year's, they don't mention major scheme changes as much as the emphasis on making sure every player knows exactly what's expected on every play.

Attention to detail … get ready to hear that phrase often from defensive players when training camp begins in July.

As far as scheme changes, there will be some. But to hear defensive players tell it, those will be mostly about more packages and new personnel groupings in passing situations. The Jaguars for the most part were effective against the run in 2015. Wash was the team's run-game coordinator last season, so there are unlikely to be major changes in that area.

One personnel change? The implementation of the "Lotto," which is perhaps best described as the team's old "Otto" position with an increased emphasis on the pass-rushing duties typically performed by the team's "Leo" pass rushers.

 

Around the Jaguars

*It's clear newly signed defensive tackle Malik Jackson is excited about his role in the Jaguars' defense. Jackson will mostly play three-technique defensive tackle though he could move around in sub-packages – which is something he said he doesn't mind doing. Jackson said the three technique's aggressive, up-the-field style is somewhat different than the style he played in Denver – but different in a good way. "It [the Jaguars' defensive scheme] allows the three-technique to prosper out here, to go straight and rush," he said. "You can't be wrong in the three-tech position. I like that. It allows a lot of freedom and you can't make any mistakes, so it's good." Jackson's definition of the three-technique role? "Just go out there, get off the ball and get pressure on the quarterback," he said. …

*Bradley said he liked what he has seen from third-year linebacker Telvin Smith early in OTAs, with Smith showing signs of the consistency the team needs from him. "He just keeps stacking it up," Bradley said. "He's really done a nice job all two practices and then [Thursday]. He knows what to do. It's just the technique in doing it and that's what I see, it being more refined."

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