- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Jaguars opened training camp today. Here are four primary storylines we will be monitoring.
Blaine Gabbert’s development: He has new coaches, a new scheme, new weapons and a full offseason of work behind him. I think he has a good mindset about needing to prove himself, not in conversations with the media, but on the field. Expectations are generally low outside the building -- something that might actually serve him well.
Maurice Jones-Drew’s holdout: I don’t see the Jaguars moving on their stance that they won’t renegotiate with two years left on the running back’s current deal. Ultimately they might move some of his remaining salary around so it’s in his pocket sooner. But he’ll need to shift his thinking too, realizing they can live without him and that he can’t afford to sacrifice his status as the face of the franchise and it’s most productive player.
Mularkey’s approach: New coach Mike Mularkey is very much in control. He’s got a clear plan and a staff he will keep on message. Players will see onsistency from the coach and the staff. The messages will be easy to understand and often repeated. It will be on the players to buy in to them and put them in to practice. Early indications are they will do so.
Receiver progress: First-round pick Justin Blackmon is not with the team because he doesn’t have a contract. Following his recent DUI arrest and guilty plea, the team surely is looking to protect itself in case he has future issues. But they need him on the practice field ASAP for him to develop a relationship with Gabbert and so that the passing offense has a full complement that allows everyone to work in the proper roles. Along with Blackmon and position coach Jerry Sullivan, veteran additions Laurent Robinson and Lee Evans have the potential to transform what was a terrible group last season.