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Inside Training Camp, Day 8

Posted Aug 5, 2012

Senior writer John Oehser takes a look inside Day 8 of the Jaguars 2012 Training Camp

SPITZ OUT 2-TO-3 WEEKS

Injuries continue to hit the Jaguars’ offensive line.

With starting guard Will Rackley already out 3-to-4 weeks with a high ankle sprain, guard Jason Spitz is now expected to miss 2-to-3 weeks with a sprained foot sustained in Friday’s scrimmage at EverBank Field, Head Coach Mike Mularkey said Sunday.

With Spitz and Rackley out, rookie undrafted center Mike Brewster worked at guard in the practice Sunday.

“Brewster’s done well since he’s been here,” Mularkey said. “He’s probably going to get a little bit more now with the injuries. The coaches trust him.”

Mularkey said Brewster, who played center at Ohio State, “is truly a rookie.”

“He’s still trying to figure out the system and try to do things,” Mularkey said. “If I can get him to do a better job of finishing I think that’d make all of us happier. I just think he’s thinking too much right now.”

 

MAKING THE MOVE

In the wake of Spitz’s injury, the Jaguars on Sunday moved Drew Nowak from defensive tackle to offensive guard.

Nowak, who signed with the Jaguars in April as an undrafted free agent from Western Michigan, said he learned of the move from Mularkey Sunday morning.

 “He said, ‘What do you think about it?’’’ Nowak said. “I said, ‘Whatever will help the team out the best.’ I’ve been told a lot I’d be a good guard. Hopefully that can happen.”

Mularkey said while Nowak won’t step in at a spot, he likes what it has seen from the rookie thus far and wanted him to get a chance to work on the offensive line while the team was working in pads.

“He’s got something to him,” Mularkey said. “I love the way he’s come to this camp. He’s way down the list behind a lot of good players inside our defensive tackles and we want our guys to have a chance to make our team so we’re going to move him over.”

Said Nowak, “I’m excited about it. I haven’t played offensive line since high school, but anything to help the team out and better myself, I’ll do it. If I have to be on kickoffs, I’ll be on kickoffs.”

 

MULARKEY SAYS

“This is really the week that’s a grind on the players because of what they’ve gone through already and what they’ve got this week. It’s tough leading into the first game so it’s going to be a push week for them.”

 

MULARKEY ON FRIDAY’S SCRIMMAGE

“I was still pleased with it (after reviewing tape from the scrimmage). The best thing was the effort on both sides and really in our special teams. There’s a lot we have to clean up. We have to do a better job in the protections and obviously we already addressed the dropped balls but overall we got a lot done and it was a great teaching tool. When you have live segments like that, team segments, goal line segments, it’s very good teaching because there’s nothing better than film to go off of.”

 

WHAT WE SAW

The Jaguars returned to practice Sunday after a day off Saturday, and the result was hardly unexpected, with the work overall a bit sloppier compared to the end of the first week.  The first-team offense was sporadic at times, with quarterback Blaine Gabbert being under pressure some early, and starting the practice with a few early incompletions. A few productive stretches followed, with Gabbert throwing some quick passes to Lee Evans and tight end Zach Miller. Gabbert also threw a touchdown pass to Laurent Robinson late in the drills, but the defensive line got good pressure on both Gabbert and backup Chad Henne through much of practice. “That’s typical,” Mularkey said of the ragged nature of the session. “It’s not acceptable, but it’s not surprising.”

 

WHAT’S NEXT

Training camp returns to its normal schedule Monday, with a padded practice from 8:30-11 a.m. and an afternoon walkthrough. Sunday’s practice was the final session of camp that was open to the public.

 

TODAY’S TAKE

Sunday was a day for getting back into a rhythm after a day off, but if the play was sloppy at times on the field, it will be remembered around the franchise for what happened off of it. The scene of players, coaches and fans gathering on Everbank Field and watching Sanya Richards-Ross – the wife of Jaguars cornerback Aaron Ross – win the gold medal in the 400 meter dash won’t soon be forgotten. And as a gesture, it won’t be forgotten by players, either. Mularkey has been consistent since taking the Jaguars’ head coaching job that he wants to treat players as he would have been treated as a player. The team agreeing to let Ross attend the event this weekend in London was one example of that, and the franchise putting forth the effort to show the race on the Jumbotron was another. Seeing players and fans cheering the moment together . . .  well, it may not change the future of the franchise, but players and fans alike got a charge out of it, and the moment was just really pretty cool.

 

QUICK HITS

*Running back Richard Murphy is out with a hamstring injury. Mularkey said the extent isn’t known, but he doesn’t expect the second-year veteran to be out long.

*Offensive tackle Eugene Monroe returned to practice Sunday after missing much of last week with swelling in his knee. Mularkey said it’s uncertain if Monroe will work in full pads all week, but that he expects Monroe to play against the Giants Friday.

*Mularkey said while some players are separating themselves at some positions, there are other players after a week who need to be reevaluated and coached differently this week. “We’re recognizing who those guys are and that’s why we coach,” he said. “We had a personnel meeting yesterday and talked about our guys, how we want to go about improving.”

*Mularkey also said while the Jaguars have a general idea of how many players they want at each position, special teams will go a long way toward determining the 53-man regular-season roster. “There may be more guys in spots,” he said. “We have a designated number we’re thinking right now as far as a roster size but that can be easily influenced by your ability to play special teams so we may keep more players in one position and minimize more players in another if they’re going to help us on special teams.”

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