Friday, August 1, 2008
Jags: Garrard poised, Jones up-and-down, Scobee launching it
By Paul Kuharsky
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
JACKSONVILLE - A scheduled scrimmage got scaled back to more of a thudding practice with a couple live series at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium tonight, where over 12,000 risked rain but stayed dry to monitor the Jaguars' progress.
Some impressions from your loyal AFC South examiner off this practice and two days with the team:
- Quarterback David Garrard looks poised and confident, providing plenty of signs he'll be able to build on last year. In the two periods the team tracked as live, he was four-for-five for 49 yards and a TD. But like many teams, the Jaguars will have issues if their lead guy goes down. Jack Del Rio acknowledged Cleo Lemon's shaky start in OTAs. Earlier today the coach said the reserve has gotten better. But there is a major drop off with Lemon or Todd Bouman.
- Receiver Matt Jones caught a 19-yard touchdown pass with Drayton Florence close but unable to close as the ball was snatched at the front left of the end zone. I can see how Jones is maddening for coaches and fans here. He can look brilliant on one play, uninterested on the next. I'm with Del Rio on the body language issue, and it hasn't gone away. Still, Jones had a healthy first week of practice and that's encouraging to the team which simply wants him to be on the field daily, working.
- Defensive back Brian Williams can give the Jaguars some super-versatility in the secondary. Last year's right cornerback is working as a base defense strong safety and a nickel inside corner. If Florence pans out as the new right corner, that's quite a four-pack in coverage. If Derrick Harvey doesn't surface and the front four can't rush effectively on its own, the Jaguars may feel plenty comfortable sending some of their top-flight linebackers into the pass pressure. Still in the mix: Gerald Sensabaugh, who would be at strong safety if the coaches decide to stick with Williams outside on first and second downs and bring Florence in as the nickel. I'll look at this more closely soon.
- The interior pass rush is hardly a given, but in the one-on-one pass rush drills tonight I saw both Rob Meier and Tony McDaniel gain good ground and close the pocket working against guard Maurice Williams, who didn't have a great period. Another tackle in the mix, Jimmy Kennedy, split a pair of snaps with guard Chris Liwienski, at least in this judge's eyes. In a team period on the outside, Paul Spicer recorded what qualified as a sack of Garrard on a fourth down.
- Kicker Josh Scobee injured a hamstring in the opener last year and missed eight games. He killed the ball tonight, connecting on all eight of his field goal attempts, including a 57-yarder that cleared the bar by plenty at the end of a second-team 2:00-drill drive.