Jacksonville Jaguars: Chad Henne

Examining the Jacksonville Jaguars' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)
General manager David Caldwell has said he likes to keep three quarterbacks, which means all three will have to be on the active roster, because Stanzi is ineligible for the practice squad. Stanzi should start the season as the No. 2 because he’s more ready to play than Bortles, but that will likely flip-flop at some point. Stephen Morris is a practice squad candidate.

RUNNING BACKS (5)

If the Jags elect to keep only four backs, Todman and Johnson likely would battle for the final spot. That is assuming Robinson continues to be very good in camp. He might end up getting more playing time than any of the other backs after Gerhart if he shows he can be a reliable pass-catcher. Johnson has to prove he can pass block and doesn’t have problems with ball security.

RECEVIERS (6)

The first four players should be locks, but it will be an interesting competition for the final two spots among Brown, Taylor, free-agent signee Tandon Doss, undrafted rookie Allen Hurns, and former practice-squad player Chad Bumphis. Doss missed most of the organized team activities and minicamp because of a calf injury, allowing Taylor, Bumphis and Hurns to get valuable reps. Doss was not a consistent receiver in his three seasons in Baltimore and has more value as a returner, but Sanders’ strength is as a punt returner and the Jags have other options at kickoff returner. I have Taylor narrowly beating out Hurns because of his experience, but I can easily see that being flipped if the Jags want to add more size. Hurns is 6-foot-3; Taylor is 6-0.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

Jensen flashed during OTAs and gets the edge over three other players. He’s a big kid (6-6, 270) who is a raw version of Lewis, one of the league’s best blocking tight ends. Jensen will need a year or two to develop and likely will be used as an extra blocker more than a pass-catcher.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)

Some of the battles for starting jobs along the line are going to be intriguing during camp. Joeckel and Beadles are safe, but every other spot is up for grabs. Even Pasztor, who started 12 games last season, is uncertain because we don’t know how his surgically repaired shoulder will hold up during camp. If it’s fine, then he will win the starting job at right tackle. McClendon and Linder are battling for the right guard spot, and Brewster is going to have to hold off Bowanko and two others to be the starter at center. Bradfield has value because he can play both tackle spots.

DEFENSIVE LINE (10)

This should be the biggest upgraded position on the roster thanks to the additions of Clemons, Bryant and Hood. Despite public perception, Alualu isn’t on the bubble for two reasons: He played solidly last season, and there really isn’t anyone else on the roster as talented as he is to back up Bryant. The Jags are excited about Smith, who could end up playing more than Davis as the No. 3 LEO (hybrid end/linebacker) by the time the season is over.

LINEBACKERS (6)

Either John Lotulelei or J.T. Thomas, two key special teams players last season, could stick if the Jaguars decide to keep an extra linebacker instead of five cornerbacks, or if Hayes’ surgically repaired knee doesn’t respond well. Reynolds did a solid job subbing for Watson (groin) during OTAs and minicamp at the new OTTO position (replaces strongside linebacker).

CORNERBACKS (5)

The Jags will have to decide whether to keep fourth-year player Mike Harris or Jeremy Harris, a seventh-round pick in 2013 who spent his rookie season on injured reserve with a back injury. The 6-2, 185-pound Jeremy Harris is a better fit for what coach Gus Bradley wants in his cornerbacks than the 5-10, 188-pound Mike Harris, who was a member of former GM Gene Smith’s final draft class. Blackmon has been working inside as well, which also makes Mike Harris expendable. Fourth-round draft pick Aaron Colvin will begin the season on the PUP list and doesn't count against the roster limit.

SAFETIES (4)
Chris Prosinski has seemingly been a bubble player since he was drafted in the fourth round in 2011, but there is too much competition for him to survive this time. Martin started 36 games for Carolina in his first five seasons, and that experience gives him the edge. Evans seems to be the name everyone mentions when talking about the first Caldwell draft pick to get cut, but though he might lose his starting job to Guy, he’s likely to stick around at least another year.

SPECIALISTS (3)

These guys should have little or no competition to make the roster.
Each day this week I’ll take a look at a stat that will play a key role for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014. It could be something the team must improve or something the team did well that must continue. It will go beyond just the basic stats and provide a more in-depth look at the team.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- One of the prevailing stories throughout OTAs and minicamp was how well quarterback Chad Henne performed.

[+] EnlargeChad Henne
AP Photo/Jack DempseyChad Henne has looked as comfortable and confident as he ever has during offseason workouts.
Coach Gus Bradley and several players spoke of how much more confident Henne was and how much better he looked throwing the football. He was making quicker decisions, good reads, and the ball was getting out faster. Bradley and Henne cited two main reasons for the improvement: He is in his second season in Jedd Fisch’s offense, and he knows he’s the starter and doesn’t have to worry about a competition.

Maybe that means Henne will do something he has never done in his career: Throw more touchdown passes than interceptions. Henne has thrown 55 touchdown passes and 62 interceptions in his six seasons in the NFL. The closest he has come to having more TDs than interceptions came in 2011, when he threw four of each in four games with Miami before injuring his left shoulder and missing the rest of the season.

But there are indications Henne is on the verge of finally hitting that goal. He threw 13 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions last season but threw nine TD passes and had just five interceptions in the final five games. He threw two touchdown passes in four consecutive games in that span, the longest streak of multiple TD passes in his career.

Those numbers might not seem notable when you consider the numbers other quarterbacks posted last season, but consider that leading receiver Cecil Shorts played in only two of the final five games and his main targets were Kerry Taylor, Mike Brown and Ace Sanders -- a trio that began the ’13 season without a single career reception.

Henne will have a lot more options in 2014. Shorts has returned from sports hernia surgery, and Sanders enters his second season after catching 51 passes as a rookie. Brown and Taylor are more experienced, and the Jaguars drafted Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round. In addition, tight end Marcedes Lewis said he’s having his best offseason and should be a major part of the offense, as he was at the end of last season when he posted 22 of his 25 receptions in the final 10 games after recovering from a calf injury.

With the additional help, the benefit of being in the offense for the second season, and the added confidence, Henne has everything in place to finally have a positive touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Bortles
For the Jacksonville Jaguars to have success -- over the next three seasons and beyond -- Blake Bortles has to develop into the quarterback general manager David Caldwell envisioned during the pre-draft process.

Caldwell took Bortles with the third overall pick because he and coach Gus Bradley believed Bortles was the best quarterback in the draft and could become the cornerstone of the franchise the way Matt Ryan did in Atlanta during Caldwell’s five seasons with the Falcons. But unlike Ryan, who started 16 games as a rookie, the Jaguars want Bortles to stay off the field in 2014 and instead learn and develop behind Chad Henne.

Bortles will need to adjust to the speed of the NFL game and learn a new offense, but that’s not what is holding him back. He has some mechanical issues, specifically with his lower body, which he must improve. Bortles said the biggest issue is his footwork, particularly when he throws to his right. He’s not stepping in the direction of the throw with his left (front) foot, which leaves his upper body parallel to the line of scrimmage on his release. That’s costing him velocity and accuracy, he said.

There also are other minor technique tweaks and issues that offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch and quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo are working on with Bortles. The plan is to use this season to fix these issues so Bortles can take the field in 2015 as a fundamentally sound quarterback who knows the offense completely.

That’s when the Jaguars will find out if Bortles has some of the other qualities needed to be a great quarterback. Can he feel and elude the rush in the pocket? When he’s under pressure, will he step up into the pocket to make the throw or bail out? Is he capable of putting a team on his back? Does he come through in big situations or does he wilt? Is he a consistent player? Do his teammates believe in him?

Those aren’t questions that can be answered now, and they might not all be answered in 2015, either. But the franchise’s future success depends on Caldwell and Bradley being able to answer “yes” to most of those questions.

RTC: Jags behind Chad Henne

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26
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Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" that the team has gotten behind quarterback Chad Henne, who will be the starter in 2014 despite the fact that the Jaguars took Blake Bortles with the third overall pick in May.

An added benefit of that, according to Bradley, is it's created great atmosphere in which Bortles can begin to develop.

"I think it's been out there that our beliefs and our feelings is that we feel so strongly about Chad and he's going in, I think the team has really rallied around that," Bradley said. "Now, it has provided an atmosphere for Blake to really go out there and ask a lot of questions and gain a lot of information from all the quarterbacks that are in."

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

The Florida Times-Union has a slideshow of the Jaguars players that earned more than $100,000 in bonuses.

The T-U's Steve Patterson reports that the Jacksonville City Council signed off on a deal with the Jaguars to jointly fund $4 million in Wi-Fi improvements at EverBank Field.

CBSSports.com's Josh Katzowitz writes that the NFL has agreed to uncapped payments in its concussion settlement.

Forbes.com reports that, according to TiqIQ, the average price for Jaguars tickets this season is $161.02 on the secondary market, which is the third lowest average in the league behind the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are off until they have to report for training camp July 24. For some, the break will be relaxing. For others, there's probably a little bit of anxiety. Maybe they didn't perform well in OTAs or minicamp, or because of the development of other players they know they're going to be on the bubble in August. They may not necessarily be front-line players, but they've played key roles in the past. Each day this week I'll take a quick look at one of those players who's going to have a lot to prove in camp.

QB Ricky Stanzi

Why he'll make the team: Chad Henne is the only Jaguars quarterback who has taken a snap in a regular-season game, but though Stanzi has only played in preseason games he is entering his fourth season and that makes him the second-most experienced one on the roster. More importantly, he is in his second season in Jedd Fisch's offense. Because of that, Stanzi looked pretty good during OTAs and minicamp. He's throwing the ball better than rookie first-round pick Blake Bortles and undrafted free agent Stephen Morris. The Jaguars have said they don't want Bortles to be on the field in 2014. If Henne were to go down with an injury, especially early in the season, Stanzi would give the Jaguars the best chance to win.

Why he should be worried: Stanzi could get cut if Fisch and Bradley feel Bortles progressed enough to be No. 2 on the depth chart. Stanzi is not eligible to be on the practice squad so he would be out if the Jaguars want to keep only two quarterbacks on the active roster -- though GM David Caldwell has said before he likes to keep three. Circumstances change, though, and the Jags could opt to keep an additional linebacker or receiver instead of three quarterbacks. Stanzi likely isn't going to get much better and Morris theoretically has more potential to improve so he would be a better option to stash on the practice squad.

The bottom line: Stanzi's spot on the roster depends on how much Bortles progresses, and that's a tough thing to call right now. Based on how both players looked in OTAs and minicamp, it would seem Stanzi has an advantage.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Here are highlights from the weekly Jacksonville Jaguars chat. You can find the full transcript here.

Big Al (Hangover city Fl): What players are you looking forward to seeing the most when the pads go on? For me it's [Andre] Branch since they been singing his praises, and they feel so confident that they released [Jason] Babin.

DiRocco: Andre Branch is one. So are Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee, Telvin Smith, Chris Smith, Dekoda Watson and Toby Gerhart.

james KY [via mobile]: I just wanted to throw out a scenario and curious as to your response! Say if the Jaguars decide to carry 3 QBs into the regular season on the 53 man roster (Henne, Bortles, Stanzi) and say week 6 or later [Chad] Henne goes down with an injury and the staff decides to put [Ricky] Stanzi in over Bortles should we be concerned at [Blake] Bortles' progress or does that just speak to what Caldwell and Bradley are trying to do and also keeping to their plan/word that Bortles wouldn't play until 2015?

DiRocco: I think it speaks more to the latter. Stanzi may not have any game experience, but he is in his second season in the offense and that gives him a huge advantage. I really believe they want to keep Bortles on the bench all season.

Gary Alexander (Cleveland): Is Allen Hurns simply a good story coming out of minicamp or does the potential exist for him to stick? Love the chats.

DiRocco: He took advantage of the reps he got while the other WRs were injured and that has earned him a longer look at training camp. He still faces an uphill battle to make the roster.

Dirk (Jax, Fl): It was stated that [Gus] Bradley met with the heads of the organization to discuss the situation at WR, and that he came up with a plan going forward. What are they doing differently now so that they don't have more injuries? Please don't give me the injuries are part of the game this I know, I want to know what specifically are they doing if your aware of the plan he mentioned. The Jags have been hit hard by injuries year after year so this is why I ask.

DiRocco: Well, they are a part of the game and the only way to 100 percent prevent injuries is to never practice at anything more than a walk-through pace. But the Jaguars are going to limit the number of full-speed reps they do and spread the reps among the depth chart. But honestly, some guys are just injury prone. Cecil Shorts is one. He's missed 11 games in his first three seasons.

Brian Downing (Anaheim): As a season ticket holder, what stadium upgrade should I be looking forward to the most this season? Thanks for the chats.

DiRocco: Depends on where your tickets are. If you're a club seat holder then the four-top tables outside the club are pretty cool. There's also field-level seating, although that's not as good a seat as many would think because it's hard to see. The pools are going to be cool regardless of where you sit. Plus, the Wi-Fi is getting an upgrade, too. But the biggest has to be the video boards. You'll love them.
Undrafted rookie wide receiver Allen Hurns has taken advantage of the injuries that affected the Jacksonville Jaguars' receivers. The additional reps the former Miami standout took got him noticed and he has earned a longer look during training camp, writes Ken Hornack of Fox Sports Florida.

"Coming in as an undrafted free agent, you're not looking to get that many reps," Hurns said. "But when some guys go down and you get an opportunity, you've got to make the most of it."

His teammates have noticed.

"Allen Hurns had a heck of a camp," quarterback Chad Henne said. "I'm excited to see what he does in training camp once we get the pads on. He's a big, strong receiver and understands the offense ... Just a really reliable guy."

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

USA Today's Jim Corbett writes that offensive tackle Luke Joeckel says Johnny Manziel, his former teammate at Texas A&M, is just being himself.

The Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran lists four things he learned from the last month of organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp. The Jaguars also signed three tryout players.

The T-U's Vito Stellino writes that Gus Bradley warned his players about staying out of trouble during their break.

Bradley will serve as the grand marshal at a parade in his hometown.

Here's the reaction from Bradley and several players about the release of Jason Babin.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Here are some observations from Day 2 of the Jacksonville Jaguars' mandatory three-day minicamp:

Wide receiver Allen Hurns, an undrafted free agent from Miami, has really benefited from the extended playing time he has gotten because of the injuries at receiver. At one point seven receivers were out, and though Mike Brown and Ace Sanders have returned Hurns continues to get reps with the first-team offense. "Allen Hurns has really caught our eye [as] a guy that can play multiple positions [at receiver]," coach Gus Bradley said Wednesday. "We'll see how he handles it when we put the pads on." Hurns made a couple of nice catches during 11-on-11 drills. He's intriguing because of his size (6-foot-3, 196 pounds), which would make him the team's second-biggest receiver behind Allen Robinson (6-3, 210) if he were to make the 53-man roster.

Cornerback Will Blackmon had an interception and deflected another pass during 11-on-11 drills. The Jaguars are trying him out inside on the slot receiver, which is a bit of an adjustment for Blackmon. He mainly played outside last season. "He is doing a good job in there," Bradley said. "There is a lot of communication that takes place there, and that is one of Will's strengths. He is a really good communicator and has a really good idea of what is asked of him in each of our coverages." Blackmon was one of the Jaguars' better signings last season. He was signed as a free agent on Aug. 28 and ended up starting eight games, making 40 tackles, intercepting one pass, and breaking up 10 others.

Quarterback Ricky Stanzi has been solid during the first two days of minicamp. Though he has been getting reps with the third unit he has out-performed rookie Blake Bortles. He had a long touchdown run on Tuesday and looks comfortable in his second season in the offense. It'll be interesting to see what the Jaguars do with Stanzi. General manager David Caldwell has said he likes to keep three quarterbacks, but Stanzi isn't eligible to be on the practice squad so he'd have to be on the active roster, meaning the Jaguars would have to carry one less at another position. If the Jaguars choose not to keep Stanzi, that would mean Bortles would be Chad Henne's top backup. But if he's not ready the Jaguars would be taking a risk because he'd have to play if Henne were hurt.

First-year tight end Brandon Barden made nice catches on back-to-back plays, snagging a low throw by Bortles and catching a pass that was behind him near the sideline. Barden, whom the Jaguars claimed off waivers from Tennessee last November, is fighting to be the Jaguars' third tight end behind Marcedes Lewis and Clay Harbor. Barden, who finished second among tight ends in Vanderbilt history with 107 catches, is a flex tight end and doesn't give the Jaguars much as a blocker.
Rookie quarterbacks in the NFL are going to have good and bad days. It’s just the nature of them learning to play the position.

Blake Bortles had both on Wednesday.

The No. 3 overall pick signed his contract in the morning -- a four-year deal worth $20.654 million with a $13.34 million signing bonus -- but then struggled during the second day of the Jacksonville Jaguars' mandatory minicamp. The former Central Florida standout completed just 5 of 12 passes in 11-on-11 drills and had trouble connecting on any intermediate or deep throws.

"It wasn't a great day," Bortles said. "I thought there were things that I didn't do very well, but that's part of it. It's not a two- or a three- or a four-week process. It's a long process, a long journey. I need to keep learning, getting better and asking Chad [Henne] questions. I definitely have a lot to improve and work on."

Bortles said the biggest thing is his footwork, particularly when he throws to his right. He’s not stepping in the direction of the throw with his front foot, which leaves his upper parallel to the line of scrimmage on his release. That’s costing him velocity and accuracy, he said.

Bortles was all over the place with his throws on Wednesday. He bounced a few in the dirt, threw behind a receiver and threw several low balls that receivers had to pluck out of the air above their shoes.

Jaguars quarterback coach Frank Scelfo is using an interesting approach. He is concentrating on fixing Bortles’ footwork during individual drills but just wants Bortles to be concerned with making the correct read and good decisions during 11-on-11 drills. Eventually, all the work they’re doing together individually will become second nature, but it’s not going to be a quick process, which is why the Jaguars plan to start Henne all season.

"I'm working on a lot of footwork stuff, so there's things that I'm not doing well right now," Bortles said. "But I'm not worrying about it because I'm trying to fix something else. It is a process. It's something that me and Frank are working on that's going to take a while.

"Frank’s awesome about it. He talks about when we do individual and we do all this stuff that’s when you focus on what you’re working on, and when you go into team and 11-on-11 you just go make the reads, go make a play, and fix it [later]. You’ve got to make the stuff muscle memory because what I’ve been doing for 22 years isn’t the right way but that’s what I’m used to doing so I’ve got to fix it."

Bortles said fixing his deep passes will be something he works on in July while throwing on his own and during training camp. Right now they’re fluttering and off target and they’ll hopefully improve as his footwork does.

The Jaguars don’t appear to be worried about it, though.

"I think anytime you see a quarterback throw the ball in the dirt a couple of times and then you see him in his workout he had 62 throws and not one of them was in the dirt, and all of a sudden he comes here and does it, sometimes there’s anxiety and sometimes he’s pressing and trying to do too many things," coach Gus Bradley said. "We’re just watching that and he’ll work through that. [Those are] some of the things he has to work through and he will."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- With quarterback Blake Bortles signing his contract Wednesday morning, the Jacksonville Jaguars need only to sign second-round picks Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson to get all the pieces in place.

For the 2015 season.

[+] EnlargeGus Bradley
John Raoux/AP PhotoCoach Gus Bradley and Jaguars management have been working on a plan to fortify the team's depth for not only 2014, but also 2015 and beyond.
The Jaguars are clearly targeting 2015 as the season the team makes significant strides and competes for a playoff spot. It will be coach Gus Bradley's third season, the culture will be well established, and the talent level should be miles better than it was when Bradley and general manager David Caldwell took over in January 2013.

The offensive and defensive systems will be entrenched and Bradley, a former defensive coordinator, will have had three years to find players who fit his scheme.

This doesn’t mean the Jaguars view 2014 as a wasted season. That wouldn’t be accurate. The moves Caldwell made in free agency -- particularly signing guard Zane Beadles, defensive ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant, linebacker Dekoda Watson and running back Toby Gerhart -- immediately make the Jaguars a much better team in 2014.

The defense should be better and will keep the Jaguars in more games and quarterback Chad Henne should be more comfortable in the offense, which should yield more than four victories.

But everything points toward 2015.

Caldwell and Bradley have named Henne the starter for '14 and have said they don’t want Bortles to be on the field. They want him to learn and develop without having the pressure to win games so he'll be ready to take over as the starter, most likely in 2015.

Lee and Robinson will get extended playing time in 2014, but it’s rare for receivers to make any significant impact as rookies. Ace Sanders did in 2013, catching 51 passes, and Justin Blackmon did in 2012, but they are the exception rather than the rule. After a year of seasoning, Lee and Robinson should become major parts of the offense, along with Bortles, in 2015.

Caldwell’s selection of cornerback Aaron Colvin in the fourth round is clearly a move that was made with 2015 in mind. Colvin suffered a torn ACL during Senior Bowl week and will begin this season on the physically unable to perform list. It's unlikely he’ll get on the field in anything but a special-teams capacity and that won’t come until the final third of the season. Colvin was a high-round talent who fell because of his injury, and he could turn out to be one of the steals of the 2014 draft, especially if he becomes the starter opposite Dwayne Gratz -- but that shrewd move won’t pay off for another year.

Linebacker Telvin Smith, one of the Jaguars' fifth-round picks, is an intriguing player because of his length and speed. However, he weighs only 218 pounds and while that was OK as a player in the ACC, he has to add weight in order to hold up to the rigors of the NFL. He'll get playing time in 2014 but he’ll benefit from a year in the Jaguars’ weight program and should be ready for a much bigger role in 2015, possibly as a replacement for weakside linebacker Geno Hayes.

The Jaguars aren't giving up on 2014, but they’re preparing to make big strides a year later.
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles is not interested in jetting around the country, hitting Las Vegas or riding any inflatable swans.

He's much more low-key than Johnny Manziel, which is another example of the laid-back dynamic of the Jaguars' quarterback situation, writes USA Today's Jim Corbett.

"I'm not going anywhere," Bortles said. "I might go home to Orlando to get some clothes. But Johnny's not doing anything wrong. He's 21.''

Jaguars fans are excited about Bortles just as Cleveland fans are excited about Manziel, but Bortles has the benefit of a calm environment in which to develop without any pressure to play this season because Chad Henne is the starter.

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

NFL.com's Mark Sessler has Gus Bradley at No. 18 on his list of 25 figures that will make a leap in 2014.

The Florida Times-Union's Hays Carlyon writes that linebacker Dekoda Watson has a lot of catching up to do when he returns from an injured groin.

The T-U's Vito Stellino writes that the Jaguars are going to make some minor changes to their training camp schedule to help avoid injuries.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When Maurice Jones-Drew decided to sign a free-agent contract with Oakland, he took more than just 8,071 rushing yards and a Jaguars-record 81 touchdowns to the West Coast.

He took the Jaguars’ national identity.

Jones-Drew was the franchise’s most recognizable player. He was one of the few Jaguars players -- and possibly the only one -- who the average football fan in, say, Kenosha, Wisconsin, could pick out of a lineup, mainly because of fantasy football. When Jones-Drew said something interesting or controversial, it was national news.

[+] EnlargeBortles
Phil Sears/USA TODAY SportsThe Jags are surely hoping that rookie Blake Bortles will soon be identified as the face of the franchise.
He was the team’s unquestioned leader and the person whose name first came to mind when the Jaguars were mentioned.

He was the face of the franchise, and now he’s wearing silver and black.

The Jaguars are entering the second season of the Dave Caldwell/Gus Bradley era, and while the rebuild is focusing on improving the talent level on the roster, they also need to find Jones-Drew’s replacement as the public image of the franchise.

"I think that will just develop," Bradley, the head coach, said. "We don’t talk to our guys about that. Our hope is that they just continue to become the best that they can be, and then that might be a byproduct of it. That’s kind of how we look at it, and we think in due time those things will come."

Every NFL team needs a face, especially a small-market team like the Jaguars. In many cases it’s the quarterback -- think Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers. But not always -- think J.J. Watt, Adrian Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald. It certainly helps from a marketing perspective to have one -- especially when it comes to jersey sales -- but it goes beyond that.

The face of a franchise gives the team an identity. He's the player who rallies the team when things go wrong. It goes hand in hand with leadership, but think of the face of the franchise as the alpha leader. Teams generally have several leaders, and a player can be a leader without being the face of the franchise, but a player can’t be the face without being a leader.

In almost every case, he's a good player -- usually among the league’s elite. That’s the Jaguars’ problem. While they do have some very good players, they don’t have any who would be considered elite. Tight end Marcedes Lewis and middle linebacker Paul Posluszny have been to the Pro Bowl, but neither carries the same national recognition and cachet that Jones-Drew did for the past five seasons. Posluszny even admits that.

"Maurice is a national figure, and playing the running back spot, Pro Bowl player, offensive guy, great personality -- so whether you can fill his role in that aspect, I don’t know," Posluszny said. "Maybe it’s going to be by committee. Marcedes Lewis is a huge name, and then you look at Chad Henne and how he’s going to be able to lead, so as far as the leadership aspect of it there are several guys that’ll definitely step up to fill that void.

"Who’s going to be the guy? I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine."

The most logical pick would be quarterback Blake Bortles, the No. 3 overall selection in last month’s draft. He’s the most high-profile player on the roster right now. However, it’s hard to be the face of a franchise when you’re sitting on the bench, which is what general manager Caldwell and Bradley want Bortles to do in 2014.

Henne is well-liked in the locker room and has become more of a vocal leader now that he is assured of being the starting quarterback, but he doesn’t have the star power. Neither do receiver Cecil Shorts and running back Toby Gerhart.

The Jaguars’ most notable player may actually be wide receiver Justin Blackmon, who is serving an indefinite suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy for the third time, but he wouldn’t be considered the face of the franchise.

Right now, the most visible and prominent Jaguar is owner Shad Khan, and not just because of his handlebar mustache. He has put $31 million of his own money into improvements at EverBank Field -- $11 million to renovate the locker room and weight room and $20 million to help finance the $63 million in stadium upgrades that include the world’s largest video boards and two pools in the north end zone.

The mustache helps, though. It is featured in advertising campaigns and on T-shirts, and you can spot fans sporting fake ones throughout the stadium on game days.

It’s clever and it’s funny, and it’s obvious that the fan base has completely embraced Khan, who purchased the team from the beloved Weaver family in late 2011. But how long will that last if the Jaguars continue to struggle on the field? And can an owner truly be the face of a sports franchise? It has happened with Jerry Jones, Mark Cuban and George Steinbrenner, but those three men share the same traits: huge egos and dominant, aggressive personalities. That’s not Khan.

It appears that Caldwell and Bradley have begun adding good players. They need one to become the franchise’s new face.
Ziggy Hood not only changed teams, he's also changing positions. He and the Jaguars are excited about both moves.

Hood spent his first five seasons in the NFL as a 3-4 defensive end with Pittsburgh, but one of the reasons he signed with the Jaguars in March was their commitment to moving him to defensive tackle in Gus Bradley's 4-3 scheme. That's where he played -- and excelled -- at Missouri and it's Hood's natural position, writes the Florida Times-Union's Hays Carlyon.

"He's really enjoying it," Bradley said. "... We're seeing great get-up and explosiveness. For him, it's just reps. I think training camp will be really good for him. He's understanding our tempo, learning our defense, what's asked of him, but I think you will see him fine tune it in camp."

Here are some additional pieces of Jagars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

John Oehser of Jaguars.com writes that quarterback Chad Henne remained steady throughout organized team activities.

Catherine Byerly of the Jacksonville Business Journal writes that Jaguars fans can get some hometown cooking at games this season.

The Jaguars aren't going to be the subject of the HBO series "Hard Knocks" because the league selected the Atlanta Falcons. Carlyon writes that Jaguars were one of eight teams the NFL could have forced to do the program.

The T-U's Ryan O'Halloran writes that receivers Ace Sanders and Mike Brown returned to the field on Thursday.

 
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There they sat on a shelf in Denard Robinson's locker, an inch or so from the edge, quite visible to anyone walking by.

Two collectible figures of Robinson in Michigan home and road uniforms in action poses. He’s throwing the football, of course, since he was a quarterback for the Wolverines.

That sounds neat to someone like you and me, especially since they don’t make sports writer action figures, but it apparently violated one of those unwritten locker room codes and Robinson’s teammates good-naturedly jumped all over him once they were alerted to the figures’ presence.

Denard Robinson
Michael DiRocco/ESPN.comDenard Robinson's teammates poked fun at the action figures he has in his locker.
"Pretty conceited," said receiver Cecil Shorts, whose locker is about 20 steps away. "If that’s what he wants to portray himself as, feel free."

Said defensive end Andre Branch: "That’s a bit much."

Running back Jordan Todman smiled when he saw the action figures and immediately deemed them a fineable offense.

"It’s called reminiscing," Todman said as he called Toby Gerhart over to Robinson’s locker to see them. "We can’t talk about what we did in the past. We’ve got to move forward."

If there was going to be one person in the locker room who had Robinson’s back it would have to be quarterback Chad Henne, the only other Michigan alum on the roster. Not so much.

"He’s big time now," Henne said.

The Wolverine camaraderie apparently has a limit.

"Take it out of the locker room, at least," Henne said. "I mean, c’mon."

Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks, whose locker is on the row that backs up to the row that includes Robinson’s locker, said he and the rest of the defensive linemen had no idea about the action figures. Those skill guys live in a different world, he said.

"I don’t go over to that side [of the locker room]. I stay in the hood," he said. "We don’t go over there to Hollywood."

But does he have a problem with Robinson having action figures of himself in his locker?

"We haven’t been on the cover of a game," said Marks, referencing Robinson’s appearance on the cover of EA Sports’ "NCAA Football 14" video game. "When you’ve been on the cover you can do that."

All of these comments were compiled while Robinson was lifting and not at his locker so he was unaware that he was going to have to explain himself when he did return.

"One of the fans [at the Jaguars’ open OTA last Thursday] gave it to me out there when I was coming in," Robinson said. "He gave me another one before. Actually he gave me a Jacksonville one last year."

Okay, but you left them on a shelf in your locker? You had to know that was not going to end well.

"Actually, I was trying to take them home but I didn’t want to take them upstairs [where the players eat lunch]," he said. "I’m trying to be low key.

"I should have hid them, right?"

Uh, yeah.

Then Robinson found out about his impending fine.

"Man, that’s messed up," he said.

Robinson did finally defend himself, and he does make a good point.

"I mean, not a lot of people get a chance to have one of these so I’m glad I could collect that and have fun with that," he said.

Not nearly as much fun as his teammates are having.
Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said Tuesday that rookie quarterback Blake Bortles continues to progress in his development throughout OTAs, and the Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran writes that the third overall pick agrees with his coach.

"It's coming [along] really good, meeting every morning with [offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch] and having Chad [Henne], Ricky [Stanzi] and Stephen [Morris] to bounce stuff off of," Bortles said. "Just getting the reps is obviously the best way for me to progress -- be on the field, watch Chad do it, and then get the opportunity for me to do it."

Bradley said that Bortles is beginning to show the kind of poise needed to lead a team on the field.

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

The Jaguars have sold 65 percent of the new cabana seats for the season, writes the T-U's Vito Stellino.

O'Halloran also writes that right tackle Austin Pasztor, who had offseason shoulder surgery, says he'll be ready to go for training camp.

NFL.com's Dave Dameshek and others draft an All-AFC South team.

CBS announced its broadcast teams for the 2014 season. Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts are the network's No. 2 team.

The daughter of former Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell won the Miss Alabama competition and will be competing in the Miss America pageant.

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