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Reporting for work

Posted Apr 2, 2012

Jaguars players report to EverBank Field for first day of voluntary off-season program

Paul Posluszny is feeling very, very good these days.

That’s true most days, but as of Monday, there were a lot more reasons the Jaguars’ middle linebacker felt that way than just a shoulder injury that is healing well.

The biggest reason?

Monday was the first day of the Jaguars’ off-season conditioning program, and considering the new, forward-looking nature of things around EverBank Field this year, Posluszny said Monday was an easy day to feel good.

“I think we all feel we’re going in the right direction,” Posluszny said Monday morning. “Being back in the facilities, with the changes we have, just having an opportunity to see all the guys again, and all the new faces – there is definitely a lot of positive momentum coming out of last year.”

Mike Mularkey, hired as the Jaguars’ head coach January 11, had talked to every Jaguars player either by phone or in person, but Monday was the first day under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that Mularkey and the coaching staff were permitted to talk football with players.

Under the new CBA, coaches this off-season have yet to be allowed to coach players, but beginning Monday Jaguars Strength and Conditioning coach Tom Myslinski and the rest of the strength staff can put players through conditioning four days a week. All teams with new head coaches can begin that work Monday, while the rest of the NFL must wait until April 16.

“It’s been great slapping fives and all the things that go with seeing guys again,” Jaguars defensive end Aaron Kampman said.

“If you’re a ‘half-full’ kind of guy, then absolutely you’re optimistic.”

The Jaguars’ other coaches can work with players in a classroom setting for the next two weeks, and players may work with footballs on their own. Jaguars coaches can begin on-field coaching April 17, the first day of a three-day voluntary veteran mini-camp that Mularkey is calling a veteran orientation.

“It’s a foundation,” Kampman said. “It’s also an acclimation period, especially with a new staff. You’re talking about players and coaches getting to know one another.”

The Jaguars’ rookie mini-camp will be held May 4-6, with a mandatory minicamp for all players June 12-14. The team will hold 10 organized team activities between the rookie mini-camp and the mandatory mini-camp.

The coaching staff and new owner Shad Khan aren’t the only changes around EverBank.

The offensive staff features four new coaches with coordinator experience – offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski, quarterbacks coach Greg Olson, wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan and running backs coach Sylvester Croom, in addition to Mularkey. That group has spent the last two months installing a new offensive playbook based on the system Mularkey and Bratkowski ran in Atlanta last season.

The weight room has been renovated since the arrival of Myslinski, and the locker room is being renovated, too. That has the players on a temporary basis using a different locker room, a small inconvenience as Posluszny sees it.

“There are a lot of changes going on and they’re all positive,” Posluszny said. “We’re moving in the right direction. The good thing is everybody who’s here wants to be here and they’re very excited about doing whatever it takes to get this organization to a winning atmosphere. There is a lot of excitement to have everybody in the building again, and to have the vast majority of the guys here.

“It’s great to have everybody here, and soon enough we’ll be working together and getting things ready for the season.”

Also around the Jaguars Monday:

*Posluszny said he is pleased with the progress in his return from a shoulder injury sustained in the regular-season finale last season against Indianapolis January 1. “Personally, I think if we had a game tomorrow I think I’d be able to play,” Posluszny said. “It feels that good moving around, running around. Everything feels really good. Obviously we have several more steps before I can be 100 percent cleared to participated in everything, but we’re right on track, for sure.” Posluszny underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in early January, and after rehabbing in Jacksonville has spent the last several weeks working out in Pennsylvania. “It’s definitely progressing well,” he said. “When I need to be 100 percent and competing at a high level, I will definitely be able to do that.”

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