OOOOOOOOOKLAHOMA...Where the rookies get smashed on the plain...
Ah yes, it's that time of year where mythical training drills fill the heads of loyal fans with delightful imagery of silver rings and super bowls. Jacksonville is not immune from this excitement. We all love the image of our Running Backs dancing through the Defensive Line, so much that the love offsets the lack of contact. It's the succulent nectar of real football after months and months of nothing, so forgive us for a little optimism. It's what makes fans separate from pundits.
That said, let's take a look at what people are saying about the Jags in training camp.
Last night Jack Del Rio pulled out his infamous Oklahoma drill, a vestige of training camps past. Oklahoma involves two blocking dummies placed about 6 feet apart. A QB and RB are behind an O Lineman or Tight End against a D Lineman or Linebacker. The object for the Offense is to get the RB through the melee without being touched by the Defense or the blocking dummies, the Defense is supposed to prevent that at all costs. It's a very physical pads on event, it makes the blood boil and often times brings out the fight in players. JDR prefers to emphasize certain match ups, put rookies against veterans, Second String versus Starter, etc.
Video of the drill is available at http://jaguars.com/ , under the headline "under the spotlight"
Anyhow, I thought the most exciting part of the deal was when Marcades Lewis, who's known as a pass catcher rather than a blocker, drew a draw against Reggie Hayward. Sure, it was a draw not a victory for the guy, but he showed that he can get under the pads of a pass rusher. Very good sign.
Marcellus Wiley vs. Mike Williams, also a good match, Mike Williams, a free agent pickup with weight problems. Williams showed his best and completely worked Wiley. Williams is gonna be a force if he makes the team.
Anyhow, watch the video for the full breakdown, there are many more stories than one drill, regardless of how awesome.
Matt Jones is fast, that's understood. What held him back last year was that he couldn't run 4.3 time when he's having to think about the route he is running. This is understandable, when you're used to throwing the route rather than running it. Well, from what I've seen and heard this year, this problem is fading faster than Matt on a...fade route...
Matt Jones is showing a lot of improvement. The rest of the field is crowded. Cortes Hankton is having a great camp, Reggie Williams is being Reggie Williams (i.e. moments of greatness without clue if it will matter on the field) I have more to say on WR's, but I'd like to see a bit more before throwing in my two cents.
Fred is running again and looks unimpeded by the strained hammy. I'd say that it might be just a way to limit how hard he works in camp, saving him for the season. Greg Jones still can't run fast around the outside, but he's a pounder between the linemen. Marcades Jones-Drew is becoming a fan favorite...except when he muffs punts. But he's damn fast on the screen play or coming around the edges. And he has some hands on him. Maybe Jacksonville doesn't need a Jimmy Smith heir apparent, as long as we have a TE who can catch, an RB we can mix in that has hands, and a trio or quartet of adequate WR's, we can have plenty of options w/o one singular talent.
Byron Leftwich broke off a 40 yard scramble. It was fast. Far faster than anyone gives him credit for. Not Mike Vick, but no Drew Bledsoe or...Peyton Manning either. He's more mobile than I thought. David looks like he might have regressed a bit. He's not making good progressions, and waits WAY too long to even look for a second receiver. Often, from what I hear, until the play has broken down into chaos.
I'm gonna do the defense in another post.
Here's to Football!