JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It was just the first day of training camp, but the Jaguars look like a team that can contend for the Super Bowl.
Of course, it’s way too early to make any kind of declarations. Let’s do it anyway.
The energy from the defense was led by Calais Campbell, who sprinted from field to field between periods, rallying a defense that has a goal to be a historic unit in the NFL. Rookie safety Ronnie Harrison had an interception. Even without Jalen Ramsey, away from camp after the birth of his child, the defense, at least the first team unit, looked like you would expect it to look: fast, hungry, and competitive.
Blake Bortles continues to show progress. During the offseason, he looked leaner and was throwing the ball better than he has in years. He’s not alone. Leonard Fournette appears to be about 15 pounds lighter. He said this offseason that he wanted to be quicker and make more opponents miss tackles when he is running the football.
On a day when the Jaguars were not in full pads – they won’t be until Saturday – the receivers could go after the ball with reckless abandon. And they did just that. Dede Westbrook seem to catch everything thrown in his area. The catch of the day was turned in by Donte Moncrief, who made a fingertip grab of a ball thrown perfectly between two defenders.
Bortles was sharp with his passes and he praised the young receivers for their understanding of the offense on day one.
"I thought it was good for the most part. It was the first day," Bortles said. "There is stuff we have to work on, but overall, for being the first day of camp, there was some good stuff."
When the Jaguars put the pads on Saturday, we will get a better sense of where they are. Head coach Doug Marrone knows that it is tough to judge a football player without pads.
"We have an expectation of how we want to look on the grass, how we want to hold each other accountable, how we want to be running from drill [to drill], how we want to compete and obviously win the day," Marrone said. "That is really what we are trying to do."