NFL Nation: Oklahoma drill

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- At the Jaguars’ first of seven padded practices at training camp, I took notes on a bunch of stuff but feel compelled to feature one item in particular.

The snapshot sticking on this impressionable mind is of a Blaine Gabbert-to-Cecil Shorts connection the team hopes is a big one for the offense for a good while.

It’s super, super early of course.

But we’re at the stage of offering super, super early thoughts.

Gabbert, the 10th overall pick in April's draft, and Shorts, a fourth-rounder out of Mount Union, look to have some immediate chemistry. Reporters who’ve followed this camp from the start say they can’t remember a drop and already have a sense that Gabbert is regularly looking for Shorts.

At this practice they connected for a red zone touchdown at the center of the goal line on a dart fitted between multiple defenders.

Gabbert throws a beautiful ball -- it zips out of his hand. Sunday night he found tight windows both from the pocket and on the move, hitting a variety of receivers including Shorts, Dontrelle Inman, Armon Binns and Jamar Newsome.

With no chance at an in-bounds catch, Binns impressively went up and pulled in one overthrown ball right in front of where I was standing.

Gabbert dropped a silly fumble when he took off running one time.

Unless Gabbert somehow blows David Garrard away in camp, Shorts is more likely of the draftees to have an early role for the Jaguars. He could easily be part of three-receiver sets.

“He’s off to a good start for not having the OTAs and the offseason work,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “He’s got some polish to him for a smaller school guy. He’s certainly been coached well. He’s fit. He’s all business. He’s made a nice impression to begin camp .… I think he’s going to be a real good player.”

A few other notes:

Marcedes Lewis told Tania Ganguli he’ll join the team Monday and tweeted about being en route. The tight end, who signed a franchise tag for just under $7.3 million, has been holding out for a long-term deal.

Del Rio said he told Lewis that the team would keep him out of full contact work while he participates in meetings and everything else and irons out a deal.

The coach said he thought there could be a contract by Thursday.

The Oklahoma drill is a huge fan favorite, and I found this version more entertaining than the one I saw a couple of years ago.

Del Rio said he wanted the one-on-one matchups to come down to the final showdown between right tackle Eben Britton and end Austen Lane, though the press had the score 4-2 in favor of the defense heading into the finale.

Lane handily won the first and third snaps of the best two out of three. Afterward he rated his performance against a teammate he fought with Saturday night as “strong to quite strong.”

Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

Since I was en route from Terre Haute to Houston Sunday morning, this morning I sifted through what I found from Sunday and Monday.

Did I miss something good? Have a question? Hit my mailbag.

Houston Texans

  • Meghan Manfull of the Houston Chronicle wondered if Mario Williams is becoming the league's best defensive end. He's using his hands better and showing better instinct, two signals that tackles and their help are going to struggle to keep their quarterbacks on their feet. I got only a glimpse of Williams Sunday, and am looking forward to seeing him work up close this morning across the street from Reliant Stadium. (You'd think a building that big would cast the sort of shadow that would make sunscreen unnecessary, but it doesn't).
  • John McClain of the Chronicle assesses things in Houston after the first five practices, predicting rookie cornerback Antwaun Molden will end up a starter this season. I watched Molden and chatted with him on Sunday, sharing some impressions here.
  • Anna-Megan Raley of gives us a video report on a mini-kicking contest. With advice from Texans kicker Kris Brown, Houston Dynamo defender Craig Weibel hit from as long as 63 yards, earning free soccer tickets for charity. Weibel offers pretty good commentary about how it's easy when you have a big leg and an expert tinkering with your form.
  • Steve Campbell of the Chronicle tells us Xavier Adibi couldn't believe he lasted until the fourth-round. He should be a key special teamer because of his experience at Virginia Tech. He's also a bookworm who plays chess.

Indianapolis Colts

  • Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star has been tracking Raheem Brock, and the versatile defensive lineman is on the move again -- to left end in the base defense, with a shift inside as part of the nickel package. The move should help Brock hold up better over the course of the season, but injuries could always dictate more time at tackle. Freddy Keiaho blamed a too-big hit on Mike Hart Saturday on his frustrations related to California traffic. (Look out for him on the 405).
  • Chappell also writes that while at 285 Jared Lorenzen is bigger than two-thirds of the Indy's defensive linemen, he's very much a quarterback.
  • Pete Prisco of CBS, who's super at identifying and debunking NFL myths, visited the Colts while I was also in Terre Haute, Ind. Here are his five things to know about Indy.
  • Michael Marot of the Associated Press looks at Mike Pollak's move from center to guard.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union thought if the 57th pick in the 2006 draft, Devin Hester, asked for and got a new contract, maybe the 60th pick, Maurice Jones-Drew, would want one, too. But MJD said "I'm fine" and will wait for his turn.
  • Stellino also looks at a camp highlight that will unfold this evening, the Oklahoma Drill -- a hard-hitting one-on-one between an offensive and defensive lineman. I wish I could see it for myself. Next year I will schedule for the crowd-pleaser. With Jerry Porter (hamstring) and Reggie Williams (knee) already out and Mike Walker (knee) limited to one practice a day, the Jags were already quite thin at receiver. Now Dennis Northcutt is day-to-day with a strained back. They could look at Terry Glenn but another injury question mark probably won't solve their issues.
  • Florida-Times Union practice highlights here give us a name to track. Running back Anthony Cotrone was undrafted out of Maine.

Tennessee Titans

  • Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean says Jevon Kearse thinks these Titans have a Super Bowl feeling like it's 1999, that David Thornton also participated in his first practice Sunday, that Stephen Tulloch's impressed Albert Haynesworth and that Ryan Fowler says he's got no news on the league's steroid accusation.
  • Joe Biddle of The Tennessean ponders Good Albert vs. Bad Albert after Haynesworth got to camp.
  • Christopher Smith of says Jeff Fisher thinks Justin Gage and Justin McCareins are doing well to set a standard for the rest of the Titans receivers, who are constantly hearing from the outside about how the Titans failed Vince Young by not replacing them.
  • Gary Eswick of The Tennessean talked to LenDale White about topping last year, something that will take him staying healthy. The running back scored a lot of points with the Titans for showing toughness and playing through a knee injury and they'll need him to do it again because they don't have another guy who can handle the bulk of the work. We get his listed weight, 235, but not an update on what his real number is right now, always a point of interest.