JACKSONVILLE -- Here's what we learned in Week Two of Jaguars 2015 Organized Team Activities …
1.The defense is playing fast.This was pretty much the first thing we learned this week, but it remains significant five days later. Defensive coordinator Bob Babich, speaking on Monday for the first time during the 2015 OTA period, spoke highly of how the defense had performed early in OTAs. Babich was particularly pleased with how fast the defense is playing. "When you get to a position where everybody on the defensive unit feels like even if they do something wrong, they're playing fast, I think that's a big plus," Babich said. "They're not worrying about what is happening and that type of stuff and I think we're getting much better at that." That's a good sign at this point of the offseason, and an indication perhaps that the defense's growth and maturation is on schedule.
2.Babich isn't alone.Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley had similar thoughts to Babich on the progress of the defense after six OTA practices. "Defensively we're further along," Bradley said. "We're trying to create that standard, but the players understand what the standard should look like, so that's good."
3.Greg Olson is pleased with the offensive install.Most of the Jaguars' veteran offensive players are seeing the offense for a third time during OTAs, with each practice day featuring a different area of focus. The coaches covered the scheme with the players twice earlier in the offseason, but OTAs represent the first on-field work in new offensive coordinator Greg Olson's scheme, and he said players are responding well. "We've had very few mental errors, which is surprising to me," Olson said. "I thought we would have more mental errors, but we have a very intelligent team across the board."
4.Greg Olson likes Blake Bortles' grasp of the offense.Olson has said since taking the job the focus of the offense will be to put second-year quarterback Blake Bortles in a position to succeed. Olson on Monday said he liked Bortles' progress in the offense thus far. "We've said, 'Let's make sure it's something that Blake can execute,'" Olson said. "'Let's start with Blake. Let's not ask him to do too little or too much and let's understand the concepts he's familiar with, the concepts he's comfortable with. It's all got to tie in together.' He's been great. I've got no problem with Blake Bortles and where he is mentally." Said Bradley, "I just think he (Bortles) has done a really good job owning this offense."
5.Olson likes Bortles' mechanics, too …Bortles had said early in the offseason he and Olson were in agreement on specific areas Bortles where needed to improve his mechanics. Olson had said the same thing, so it wasn't surprising this week that Olson said he was pleased with progress made by Bortles in that area. "He was dropping the ball down very low," Olson said. "He has cleaned that part of it. … He's very hard on himself and he's also critical of himself, but he recognized what needs to be fixed and he's able to do that. A lot of guys aren't able to do that."
6.Olson isn't alone, either.We also learned this week that Bortles is still working on his follow-through. The mechanics are a work in progress, but progress is clearly being made. That was evident when Bradley made it a point to discuss Bortles after the final practice of the week. "I haven't mentioned him much, but he's doing a really good job," Bradley said, adding of Bortles' mechanics and throwing motion, "I think when you look at the balls he's throwing, I'm sure standing on the sidelines you can see a difference."
7.James Sample is out until training camp.The rookie safety sustained a fractured arm late in Thursday's practice. He underwent surgery Friday and is expected to be out until sometime in training camp. Sample is competing with Sergio Brown at the free-safety position and was expected to get some first-team repetitions next week.
8.Austin Pasztor's transition to guard could be a positive.The third-year veteran started much of the past two seasons at right tackle. Could a move to guard in the wake of Jermey Parnell signing to start at right tackle be the right move for Pasztor and the team? Early indications this week are the Jaguars like Pasztor inside. Stay tuned. This could provide significant depth on the interior of the line.
Take a look at images from the Jaguars fifth day of OTAs held on Tuesday, June 2.
9.Aaron Colvin could work both inside and outside …The Jaguars like the second-year veteran at the nickel corner, and that's where he began the offseason. But he's playing well enough to merit a look outside, and he got reps with the starters there this past week, too. It wouldn't be at all surprising to see Colvin play inside and outside next season. Third-year cornerback Dwayne Gratz also is expected to get some work with the first team at what is shaping up as a significantly deeper position than this time last year.
10.Johnathan Cyprien looks better.Defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker said this week Cyprien is playing cleaner, and the third-year strong safety agreed. He said he feels he's playing faster – and that should mean playing with more confidence. This is a big year for Cyprien. It's time for him to play more like a veteran and he knows it. So far this offseason, he's moving in the right direction.
Take a look at images from the Jaguars sixth day of OTAs held on Thursday, June 4.
11.Julius Thomas still looks like a good addition …New week, same story. Media can't report much on practice, but without giving away too much detail, Thomas continues to look really good.
12. … and T.J. Yeldon does, too.This is a similar story to Thomas. It's just OTAs, which means no pads and no significant contact. That makes it tough to judge running backs, but Yeldon continues to look the part. (This doesn't, by the way, mean that Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhart don't look the part; Gerhart in particular has looked good at times).
13.Allen Robinson could work more next week.The second-year wide receiver is returning from a stress fracture in his foot that kept him out the final six games of last season. He worked in individual drills this week and Bradley said he could work in team drills next week.
14.Chris Clemons won't likely attend Week Three.Clemons, the Jaguars' 12-year veteran Leo/defensive end, hasn't attended the first two weeks of OTAs. Bradley said Thursday he's not likely to attend Week Three. That won't be any bigger deal than the first two weeks. Clemons is a veteran who rarely has attended OTAs in his career, and if he's ready and in shape in training camp, this continues to be a non-story.
Take a look at images from the Jaguars fourth day of OTAs held on Monday, June 1.