Saturday, May 1, 2010
Jags' start: 94 players in 94 degrees
By Paul Kuharsky
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There are vastly different schools of thought on rookie indoctrination.
Since Thursday, the Tennessee Titans had their new players in by themselves, easing them through an orientation to get them ready for when they will join the veterans.
Meanwhile Saturday, on the practice fields adjacent to Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, Jack Del Rio watched his new players mix with his old, 94 in all, as the Jaguars started their offseason minicamp.
To make things even more difficult on the draft class of six; 18 undrafted rookies; and eight tryout players, the temperature soared to 94 degrees.
“I like the shock factor,” Jack Del Rio said. “I’m kind of old school in that regard. I like them to come in and be swimming and playing catch-up a little bit and see how much ground they have to make up instead of telling them. I think they all hear it: The game’s faster, the guys are bigger and stronger. You hear all that. But they knew that before they got here.
“So to bring them in by themselves and then tell them that again, I’m not sure that helps them. But when they come in here and work with the guys, see grown men that have children to feed that they are fighting for spots with, that gives them a different perspective when they go back home. And when they come back in a few weeks, they are dialed in.”
I had a lot of conversations that you will see pieces of in coming days. For now, a couple of observations from what I saw and heard in and after the opening practice:
- Mike Sims-Walker made a tremendous one-handed spinning catch of a 15-yard pass on the right sideline that was off target from David Garrard during a drill with quarterbacks throwing to receivers with no defense.
- The starting offensive line was intact from last year. From left to right: Eugene Monroe, Uche Nwaneri, Brad Meester, Vince Manuwai, Eben Britton. Later, Kynan Forney was in Nwaneri’s spot. Del Rio made it sound like the interior three -- where was concern over Meester’s play last year -- will come from Manuwai, who I think is a given, Nwaneri, Meester and Forney.
- Tyson Alualu, drafted No. 10 overall, was with the starting defensive line right from the start: Left to right it is Derrick Harvey, Alualu, Terrance Knighton and Reggie Hayward.
- Gerald Alexander and Anthony Smith worked as the starting safeties with Reggie Nelson with the second-string. But Del Rio advised against reading too much into it and said it could be different at different times in the offseason.
- Only three players were out. Defensive end Aaron Kampman is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered last year in Green Bay and fullback Greg Jones is still recovering from an ankle injury. Tight end Zach Miller was out with what Del Rio said is a foot or ankle injury that did not sound serious.