MINNEAPOLIS – The Jaguars arrived Tuesday evening in Minneapolis with 88 players in tow and two left behind in Jacksonville, suspended defensive stars Jalen Ramsey and Dante Fowler.
The rest of the team will open two days of combined practices with the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday. Last year, the Jaguars combined with both the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during training camp.
“I think that it is an opportunity for us to go against -- in my opinion -- probably one of the most talented teams in the league, if not the most talented,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said Tuesday. “I think they are a complete football team. I think that they have great discipline, and they have a lot of talent. I think it is going to be a good couple days for us and a good test. More importantly, it’s a good way to get evaluations on players that are trying to make the roster.”
The Jaguars appear to have fewer open roster spots than in past years. That means that for the players on the bubble to make the team, these sessions can be highly important.
Marrone stops short of calling the combined practices as important as the preseason games for evaluating talent, but the gap isn’t massive.
“You have to be ready to go out there and get the results that you need, so I rate that a little bit higher,” Marrone said. “I think when you go into a controlled environment against another opponent, you are looking at matchups and where your players are. That is probably a little bit more weighted only because it is a limited amount of reps in a two-day period.”
After the two days of combined practices, Jaguars will get a day off Friday before kicking off in the second preseason game of the year at 1 p. m. Saturday against the Vikings.