2012 Jaguars training camp opens

Fans get chance to watch, meet their favorite players

Published On: Jul 27 2012 07:20:06 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 28 2012 07:23:48 AM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The Jacksonville Jaguars hit the field Friday for the first time this season, which means the fans get the chance to see their favorite players in action.

But the questions remain: Has the Jaguars' passing game improved, and does the defense look strong?

They're all questions peeking fans' curiosity.

"You're out there and getting in the heat, meeting the new players, and it's excitement," Jags fan Kim Craft said.

Craft wouldn't miss Jaguars training camp for the world. She'll get a sneak peek at the Jaguars' players and what they're bringing to the field this year.

Jaguars offensive tackle Daniel Baldridge said the support from fans helps boost the team's morale and gives the public the inside look it won't see anywhere else.

"I think it brings it down to reality. They don't know what you do," Baldridge said. "They can see that every day for at least this whole month, what we do all the time."

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"The fans will have access to practices," Jaguars marketing director Mackey Weaver said. "They'll be available to sign autographs before and after, so it's a great opportunity for them."

Weaver said for the most part, practices are open to the public and there will be an opportunity to get Jaguars' autographs. A few hundred fans braved the heat Friday afternoon.

It's at training camp where players, primed for a breakout season, often stand out, and where tough decisions could be made about who's ready to lead the Jags to victory.

"I think the media will watch (quarterback) Blaine (Gabbert), but we've got so many great players," Craft said. "Darrell Smith and Greg Jones, those are my favorites."

"I think it's a mistake to close training camp to the public," Jags fan Harold White said. "If you want to build excitement, you have to let the community have as much contact with them as you can. You get out in the community, you get them involved in the action, and you even bring them in for a day."

Two of the biggest stories in the NFL are still making headlines at EverBank Field. One being Maurice Jones-Drew's holdout for more money and a new contract. He will not be showing up at training camp.

The other big story: a no-show for rookie receiver Justin Blackmon. The Jags want some protection in the language of his contract following his second arrest for DUI.