Jacksonville Jaguars: Chris Clemons
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.
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)
- Luke Joeckel
- Zane Beadles
- Mike Brewster
- Jacques McClendon
- Austin Pasztor
- Cameron Bradfield
- Brandon Linder
- Luke Bowanko
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)
- Chris Clemons
- Sen'Derrick Marks
- Roy Miller
- Red Bryant
- Andre Branch
- Ziggy Hood
- Abry Jones
- Tyson Alualu
- Chris Smith
- Ryan Davis
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.
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).
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.
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.
These guys should have little or no competition to make the roster.
NFL Nation's Michael DiRocco examines the three biggest issues facing the Jacksonville Jaguars heading into training camp.
Offensive line: Only one of the five spots is settled heading into camp: Zane Beadles, whom the team signed in March, is the starting left guard. Almost every other spot is up for grabs. I use "almost" because Luke Joeckel, the No. 2 overall pick in 2013, will start at left tackle, and the team drafted him to be the line's cornerstone. He spent the first four games last season at right tackle and played a quarter at left tackle before a season-ending injury. While the Jags believe he's going to be an elite player, he still has to prove it. Mike Brewster is the leader at center, but he has never snapped in his three-year career. Right guard will be a battle between Jacques McClendon and rookie Brandon Linder. Austin Pasztor started 12 games at right tackle last season but will be pushed by Cameron Bradfield, who started the final 11 games at left tackle after Joeckel's injury. Regardless of who wins the position battles, the line has to be better than it was last season. The Jaguars averaged a franchise-worst 78.8 yards per game rushing last season, and a big reason was the play of the interior of the offensive line.
Wide receivers: The Jaguars know what they have in fourth-year player Cecil Shorts (123 career catches). They believe they know what they've got in second-year player Ace Sanders, provided he continues to develop following his 51-catch rookie season. But who are Nos. 3-6? It would seem second-round picks Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson would naturally be the next two, but both missed most organized team activities and all of minicamp with injuries. They're supposed to be fully cleared for camp, but they missed valuable time working with receivers coach Jerry Sullivan, a technician of the finer points of routes, footwork and hand position. Rookie receivers are a crap shoot in the NFL, and there's no guarantee if both are healthy that they'll be able to contribute as much as Sanders did. Kerry Taylor and Mike Brown combined to catch 54 passes last season. Taylor is a bit bigger (6-foot, 200 pounds) than Brown (5-10, 200 pounds), but both can play in the slot or outside. Taylor might have a slight advantage because he was healthy throughout the offseason, while Brown was one of seven receivers who missed significant time because of an injury. A group of undrafted players, led by former Miami standout Allen Hurns, also will compete for the final two spots on the roster. It's important that this group stays healthy, too, because the injuries really affected the offense during minicamp. It was hard for any of the quarterbacks to move the ball consistently.
Pass rush: The Jaguars have had one of the worst pass rushes over the past five season and finished last in the NFL in sacks in 2013 and 2012. Buffalo led the NFL with 57 sacks last season. The Jaguars have 51 in the past two seasons combined, including 20 in 2012. The team took steps to remedy that by signing defensive end Chris Clemons (58 career sacks) and linebacker Dekoda Watson, a young player whom the Jaguars plan on using in their new otto position and rushing the passer on third downs. However, he sat out OTAs and minicamp with a groin injury and former undrafted rookie LaRoy Reynolds got the reps there. Third-year defensive end Andre Branch came on late last season (five of his six sacks in the last seven games) and had a great offseason, and the coaching staff is counting on him rotating with Clemons. The Jaguars felt good enough about Branch and young players Ryan Davis and Gerald Rivers that they released Jason Babin (62.5 career sacks) on the last day of the minicamp. However, Davis and Rivers have played in a combined eight games and have a combined eight tackles and one sack, so that's making a leap of faith that they'll be able to produce in a reserve role.
@ESPNdirocco: If Aaron Colvin's torn ACL wasn't landing him on the PUP list to begin the season then I think Jeremy Harris wouldn't make the roster. But with Colvin unavailable, it opens a spot on the roster and Jeremy Harris and Mike Harris will battle for it. Mike Harris is a Gene Smith pick and really doesn't fit the bigger physical profile that coach Gus Bradley wants in his cornerbacks. Jeremy Harris missed his rookie season with a back injury but got a lot of work during organized team activities and minicamp along with fellow 2013 seventh-round pick Demetrius McCray. I think he makes it over Mike Harris.
@ESPNdirocco: It could happen before the season starts, but I think a more reasonable time frame would be sometime in the first half of the season. There have been preliminary discussions, and the Jaguars do want to have Cecil Shorts around long term, but how quickly the deal gets done depends on what Shorts believes he's worth. I agree with the Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran that a general starting point would be the three-year, $13 million ($8.5 million guaranteed) deal Seattle gave Doug Baldwin, which is a little more than $4 million per year. Things might get delayed if Shorts wants No. 1 receiver money. He is the Jaguars' top receiver, but he's not a No. 1 receiver by NFL standards.
@ESPNdirocco How many D lineman do you think will have more than 5 sacks on the squad this year?— Jeremy Smith (@snivlem77) June 26, 2014
@ESPNdirocco: I think we can eliminate Red Bryant, Roy Miller, Tyson Alualu, Abry Jones, Chris Smith and Ryan Davis. Bryant being on that list might be a surprise to some, but remember, the end spot he plays doesn't produce a lot of sacks. Besides, Bryant has just 3.5 sacks in his six-year career. Chris Clemons and Andre Branch are a definite, and I think Sen'Derrick Marks hits that mark, too. He had four last season despite playing way too many snaps. The addition of Ziggy Hood will cut Marks' reps down and he will theoretically be fresher and even more productive. Hood is intriguing because the Jags signed him to play inside, which is where he played at Missouri. The Steelers had him playing end in his first five seasons.
@ESPNdirocco: They still live in the Jacksonville area.
@ESPNdirocco: I'll give you one definite thing to be excited about and one potential thing that could really energize Jaguars fans. The defensive line is much better, especially when it comes to rushing the passer. The Jaguars finished last in the NFL in sacks in each of the past two seasons, but the addition of Clemons and Dekoda Watson (who will play the new OTTO position) and the continued development of Andre Branch should result in more pressure on the quarterback. Adding Bryant and Hood will help in run defense, too. As for the potential excitement, how about Denard Robinson? He dropped just one pass in nine OTAs and a three-day minicamp. If he is indeed able to be used in the passing game, the Jaguars will have a dynamic edge playmaker.
@ESPNdirocco: Because he has earned it. He's a good special teams player and he was solid enough as a safety to warrant making the team for the past three seasons. That being said, I think his spot is in jeopardy this year. The Jaguars brought in several undrafted safeties, including Craig Loston and Jerome Junior, and signed Sherrod Martin, who started 36 games for Carolina from 2009-12. Chris Prosinski needs to have a very good camp to make the team..
Coach Gus Bradley has consistently praised third-year player Andre Branch, the team’s second-round draft pick in 2012, throughout OTAs. His burst off the ball and quickness around the edge is noticeable, and he has consistently been in the backfield during 11-on-11 drills. Though the players are only wearing helmets and prohibited from full contact, Branch appears to be ready to become the kind of consistent player he was during the second half of the 2013 season, when he recorded five of his six sacks in the final seven games.
"You see Andre Branch really focused and really capturing every opportunity," Bradley said.
Fifth-round pick Chris Smith doesn’t fit the Jaguars’ typical measurables for what they want in a LEO -- a hybrid end/linebacker whose primary responsibility is rushing the passer -- but they liked what they saw from him during Senior Bowl week so they took a chance. The 6-foot-1, 266-pound Smith is a little shorter than ideal, but he has long arms and runs well.
"He had a couple good rushes [Wednesday] and I think he’s a guy that the more comfortable he gets and the more reps he gets we’ll see what he’s doing," Bradley said. "He’s got the traits we’re looking for. Now we just need to see it in training camp."
Second-year player Ryan Davis played in seven games last season and had one sack and made one huge play: an interception that sealed the Jaguars’ victory in Houston. He is another player who doesn’t have the typical LEO size (he’s 6-2, 260) but he’s an effort guy and the Jaguars are intrigued by his development.
Gerald Rivers is another second-year player that has worked at LEO. He has the prototypical LEO size (6-5, 258).
The key traits Branch, Smith, Davis and Rivers all share are youth and potential. At 34, Babin wasn’t going to get any better. It’s likely, even with reduced snaps because of the addition of the 32-year-old Clemons (58 career sacks), that he was going to be less effective. But there is room for improvement for the four younger (and cheaper) players, and that is better for the health of the roster beyond the 2014 season.
For the 2015 season.
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.
@ESPNdirocco: There really aren't any front-line guys that are on the bubble, to be honest. Defensive end Jason Babin and Tyson Alualu should make the team unless several younger players have outstanding training camps, but I still think they're pretty solid to be on the 53-man roster. Defensive backs Mike Harris and Chris Prosinski are going to be pushed by some undrafted guys. There may be a surprise or two but I really don't see many front-line guys on the bubble.
@ESPNdirocco: I know that the thought of Ace Sanders getting cut has gained legs recently but I'd be very surprised if he didn't make the roster. He caught 50 passes as a rookie and it's even more impressive when you consider the Jaguars really hadn't planned on using him that much as a receiver but were forced into it by injuries. The only way I see Sanders being iffy to make the roster is if he continues to be just average as a punt returner. That's his forte and that's why the Jaguars drafted him. The expectation is that he'll have a smaller workload at receiver because of the addition of the two rookies and that should allow him to concentrate more on returning punts.
@ESPNdirocco: The pass rush should be significantly better with the additions of Chris Clemons, Ziggy Hood and Dekoda Watson. When healthy, Clemons is a double-digit sack guy even at 32 years old. Hood returns to his natural spot as a three-technique defensive tackle and that should boost the interior rush significantly. Watson is playing the new otto position, which replaces the strongside linebacker and includes some pass-rush duties. Coach Gus Bradley has consistently praised Andre Branch throughout OTAs and the 34-year-old Jason Babin should be more effective by playing less snaps. The Jaguars had 31 sacks last season and it'd be a surprise to me if they didn't top 40 in 2014.
@ESPNdirocco: There is no date. Blackmon has to petition the NFL to be reinstated and then it's up to commissioner Roger Goodell to determine what additional punishment -- whether it's a further suspension or a fine -- he would face.
It looks like they may be right.
Jaguars president Mark Lamping said during the annual state of the franchise news conference that season-ticket renewals are up 10 percent and new season-ticket sales are up 46 percent from last year at this time.
Some of that is undoubtedly due to the upgrades the team made in free agency -- including signing guard Zane Beadles, defensive ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant, and running back Toby Gerhart -- and the drafting of quarterback Blake Bortles and receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the first two rounds.
But it's also due to improvements to EverBank Field. It generated a little buzz when they were announced in June 2013, but that has apparently ramped up a bit now that training camp approaches and the final stages of construction have begun.
The stadium is getting two 362-foot long and 60-foot high video replay boards, with 21,720 square feet of active video display area on each board. The team added cabana seating and two pools in the north end zone and on-field seating, and expanded its State Farm Neighborhood Fan Cave in the south end zone. The video scoreboards, manufactured by Daktronics, are the biggest in the world and will be unveiled at a July 26 event at EverBank Field that includes a concert by Carrie Underwood and a friendly between Jags owner Shad Khan's Fulham FC and D.C. United.
The cabana seating, which the team is marketing toward businesses, includes access to the two pools, each of which measure 25 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 3 1/2 feet deep. It also will include lounge furniture, multiple television screens and food and beverage service.
The 7,000-square-foot fan cave, which debuted last season and is open to any ticket holder, has Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, tablets, video game consoles and power leather home theater recliners. There also are three bars and food stations, including a dessert bar.
Though these renovations are costing $63 million, including $20 million out of Khan's pocket, the Jaguars aren't raising ticket prices. The cabana and on-field seating are expected to generate additional revenue.
"We know now is not the time to raise ticket prices across the board," Lamping said.
That's good news for a fan base that hasn't seen a winning season since 2007. There's no denying there is finally some buzz around the franchise, as evidenced by the record 6,214 fans that showed up for the second day of a two-day rookie minicamp. The stadium improvements can only help keep that going.
Kirk (Duval): Out of all of the players new to the roster that you have personally watched, who passed the "eye test" early on that has you excited to watch once the season starts?
DiRocco: That's a good question. Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee top the list, but that's not really going out on a limb. Chris Clemons is obvious, too. Telvin Smith is another because he can really run. If they can bulk him up without affecting his speed then he could be a big-time player. Another young guy I'm intrigued by is TE Marcel Jensen. He's huge (6-6, 270) but really raw. I don't know if he'll make the active roster but I think the Jags would really like to keep him around and see how he develops.
James (Jacksonville): There is a lot of talk about a franchise going to London in the next few years. Do you think Shad Khan isn't committing to a game in London past 2016 because he doesn't want to compete with a potential London-based team?
DiRocco: I wrote a story today about how beneficial playing a home game in London has been for the Jaguars. I think it would continue to be a financial boon for the team to play a home game there on a somewhat regular basis. Every year is asking too much, but three out of five isn't unreasonable provided the team can maintain the marketing rights it has in the UK. As for a team based in London, I don't see that being as close to a reality as some. There are many issues to be worked out, not the least of which are the huge taxes that non-native athletes who play for teams in the UK must pay.
Jarrod (Jacksonville): Mike, this year is Josh Scobee's 10th year with the Jaguars. Will he be making it to a 15th year or will his salary get too large? (assuming he's still hitting the uprights from 50+)
DiRocco: Actually, this will be his 11th season. He's only under contract through the 2015 season, but he most certainly could still kick effectively for several more years. He keeps himself in good shape and he has not had any nagging injuries. It just depends on how much the Jaguars are willing to spend on a kicker and how much money Scobee wants.
Joey Higgins-Luckow (Madison, WI): Branching off your stricter suspension rules, I've never understood why the NFL is so forgiving on DUI's. I'm a 49ers fan and even I would have banned Aldon Smith for life by now. First time, year suspension. Second time, you're done. Simply no reason for it. I believe teams even pay for luxury cab rides to get home. Completely puzzling to me. Sure, the NFL stepped up when [Donte] Stallworth hit and killed someone. But how about we actually punish the action, not just if the action leads to unfortunate results!
DiRocco: Wholeheartedly agree on a zero tolerance penalty for DUIs. Storm Johnson is a seventh-round pick. His salary for 2014 is $420,000. Patrick Lewis was an undrafted free agent and his base salary last season was $405,000. My point is even the lowest-paid players can afford a cab. There is never an excuse for driving while under the influence.
Ball uses the same Zen-like approach to his job that coach Gus Bradley has preached from the moment he arrived in Jacksonville: Focus on competition and improving daily instead of the end result.
"I think it’s something that as you grow and as you mature, you learn," Ball said. "I’ve learned to control what you can control."
Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:
The Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran writes that defensive end Chris Clemons, who made his first appearance at OTAs on Monday, is hoping to regain his old form.
Here are some other notes from Monday, including Bradley stopping practice because he was not pleased with the energy level.
Atlanta owner Arthur Blank says London could be home to several NFL teams, writes The MMQB's Peter King.
Miami owner Stephen Ross says he believes there will be an NFL franchise in L.A. within five years.
Clemons made his Jaguars' debut on Monday after missing the first week of the team’s organized team activities while dealing with family issues. Despite being familiar with the defensive scheme because of his time with Jaguars coach Gus Bradley in Seattle, Clemons eased into the rotation and drills as he got acclimated to his new surroundings and teammates.
Clemons, 32, signed a four-year, $17.5 million contract with the Jaguars in March after being let go in a salary-cap move by Seattle. He is expected to bolster a pass rush that finished last in the NFL in sacks in each of the past two seasons. He should take over for Jason Babin as the starter at the leo spot.
Clemons, however, was the only player that didn’t attend any of last week’s OTAs. He and Bradley had several phone conversations during the week, and Clemons assured Bradley he would be here this week.
"Gus has always been great," Clemons said. "He understood that I had family issues. We all have issues that we go through that we can’t control. Me being one of the leaders of my family, I had to step in and take control of that issue, so Gus understood that. We’ve always had that open communication with each other."
Clemons said he has been working out and is in pretty good shape and the fact he’s familiar with the defensive scheme from his time in Seattle has kept him from being too far behind. Now that he’s here, though, he says one of his duties is to help Bradley cultivate an environment similar to what’s happening in Seattle.
"The mindset is the first thing," said Clemons, who has 58 sacks and 13 forced fumbles in his 10 seasons in the NFL. "You want to bring that aggressive mindset here and get the guys to understand that it takes a team effort to win. Not one person won a Super Bowl by themself. So to bring that mindset here and to get everybody on board and be a collective group and to have that unit that once you go out on the field you know what everybody else is doing.
"That’s one of the reasons why being here [at OTAs] is important. The main thing was just getting here and getting that understanding and bringing that focus and that aggressiveness here."
Bradley said Clemons will quickly be accepted by the other players and his absence last week won’t be an issue.
"He will get around them all in the locker room. I know they had their first D-line meeting too and he was in there," Bradley said. "He will mesh around them well. Those guys are true professionals and they will get him caught up on everything. Clemons and I have had extended conversations throughout this time and he came in here, went through all the philosophy and things like that so he had a clear picture. Now it’s just a matter of getting reps for him."
Big Al (Eating a big pizza pie): I found your answer to my question last week rather puzzling. I don't understand how you can say that the Jags wouldn't spend the money on [Maurkice] Pouncey to upgrade a position that they tried to do just that in acquiring Alex Mack. The Jags have over 20 million, which I gotta believe they will roll over into next year’s cap, which would give them plenty of money to acquire Pouncey or any other big time FA. That is not even counting the cap increase and the money they will have to spend in 2015. I be pleasantly surprised if [Mike] Brewster can at least be an avg C, but why not upgrade the position with Pouncey? He is much younger than Mack, plays at about the same level if not better, and will cost the Jags about the same amount they offered Mack. Did Pouncey steal your lunch money at Florida loll
DiRocco: They went after Mack because he is by far the best center in the game and they felt they could take a shot. But notice they didn't go after any other centers in free agency and only drafted one in the sixth round. That means they felt confident Brewster could do the job and they didn't view it as a need position. Going after Mack was just a "let's take a chance" move. Let's see how Brewster plays this season before we decide the Jags need to go after someone else. If he plays well and they like him it'd be a waste of money to go after Pouncey when they could use that on another position (maybe a tight end?). That's all I'm saying.
Willie (DUVAL): How are ticket sales? How’s my boy Andre Branch looking? Heard Gus rave about how much quicker he is. Did you see that in practice?
DiRocco: At the team's state of the franchise news conference a couple weeks ago, president Mark Lamping said season-tix renewals are about 10 percent higher than a year ago and new season-tix sales are up 15 percent. As for Branch, he had a good first week. I did notice his quickness, but that has never been his issue. It's his consistency, and so far that seems to not be an issue any longer. But it's early.
Jordan (Duval): 31 sacks last season. With the additions made via free agency and the draft, what is a realistic total for this unit in 2014?
DiRocco: It's tough to put a number on that, but I agree with you that the pass rush should be much better than it was the last two seasons. The Jags were actually much better in 2013 (31 sacks) than they were in 2012 (20). So let’s say anything in the 40-50 range would be pretty good.
James (KY): Are there any "under the radar" guys that haven't been talked about much that could not only make the roster but have a larger impact than expected/haven't taken notice of?
DiRocco: Keep an eye on TE Marcel Jensen. He's big (6-6, 270), strong, a solid blocker, but raw as a receiver. Another guy would be S Jerome Junior. The Jaguars need to upgrade FS and find some good depth behind [Johnathan] Cyprien at SS and he's a guy to watch.
Wally (Grand Rapids, Mi): What’s up with Chris Clemons not being there? I thought he was brought in to be a role model for the younger players. Doesn't look like he is making a good first impression.
DiRocco: He's been dealing with some personal issues (that the team hasn't disclosed) but Gus [Bradley] said he is 98 percent sure he'll be here for Monday's OTA. Gus said he's not worried about Clemons not being in shape but he would like him here because of the team/competition mantra he preaches. It is disappointing.
TMZ Sports caught up with the two in Los Angeles International Airport on their way to the NFLPA's Rookie Premiere. It wasn't an ambush interview and the subject was pretty benign: alligators.
The two were asked if they were afraid of being attacked by an alligator in their new city. Lee, a Los Angeles native, laughs at the question. Bortles, who grew up in Orlando, had a tale to tell of coming pretty close to a gator when he was younger.
Here's the clip.
Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:
CNNSI.com's Chris Burke grades the Jaguars' offseason as a B-plus.
The Florida Times-Union's Hays Carlyon writes that coach Gus Bradley is confident that defensive end Chris Clemons will be in town for next week's OTAs.
The T-U's Ryan O'Halloran writes that Bradley praised several players following Thursday's OTA.
Offensive line coach George Yarno has been diagnosed with cancer.
Sanders, who caught 50 passes as a rookie in 2013, told the Florida Times-Union's Vito Stellino that he had no problem with that and didn't get upset when the team actually drafted two receivers: Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round.
"Whether we took two receivers or not, you're going to have to compete," Sanders said. "It was really no pressure. No pressure at all."
Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:
NFL.com's Elliot Harrison writes that receiver Jimmy Smith is the best player in franchise history.
T-U columnist Gene Frenette writes that the Jaguars should be annoyed by Chris Clemons' absence.
The T-U's Hays Carlyon writes that safety Josh Evans is healing after surgery to remove a bone spur in his foot.
Defensive end Chris Clemons missed his second consecutive day for what coach Gus Bradley said were personal reasons, and it doesn't sound as if Clemons will make Thursday's session, either. The Jaguars also have seven more days of OTAs spread over the next two weeks before the mandatory minicamp June 17-19.
"It's day-to-day," Bradley said. "I did have a good conversation with him. I feel much better about it. It's unfortunate. I wish he was here but I understand the reasoning.
"I didn't have as clear reasoning yesterday [Tuesday] and that's' why I wanted to find out. But now I understand."
OTAs are voluntary, but Clemons is the only Jaguars player that hasn't attended the first two workouts.
The Jaguars signed Clemons to a four-year, $17.5 million deal ($4.975 million guaranteed) in March. He is coming off a season in which he recorded only 4.5 sacks after compiling 33.5 over the previous three seasons. Clemons tore an ACL during the playoffs following the 2012 season and said he wasn't back to full strength until the end of the 2013 regular season.
Clemons has 58 sacks and 13 forced fumbles in his nine-year career with Washington, Oakland and Seattle.
In other tidbits from Day 2 of OTAs:
Quarterback Blake Bortles and receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson will attend the NFLPA Rookie Premiere on Friday and Saturday in California. They will not take part in Thursday's OTA.
The Jaguars announced that they will have a training camp practice at Bartram Trail High School on July 28. General manager David Caldwell said the team plans on having practices at other sites around the First Coast in the coming years, as well.
Rookie receiver Allen Hurns sat out Wednesday with a shoulder injury and Lee jammed his wrist during the workout.