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Senior Bowl Thursday Notebook

Posted Jan 23, 2014

Fox Sports1 senior NFL reporter Alex Marvez on Jaguars’ greatest need: “Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback, quarterback, quarterback… I’ll say it five times.”

MOBILE, Ala. – The Jaguars have a few positions they would like to improve headed into the 2014 pre-draft season.

But FOXSports1 senior NFL reporter and SiriusXM NFL Radio host Alex Marvez said that one of those positions trumps all the rest.  

“I’m a quarterback guy – I think the league is a quarterback guy,” Marvez said following North team practice Wednesday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

With many analysts saying that the 2014 draft class is filled with highly-rated quarterbacks, Marvez said that this should be the year the Jaguars reload behind center.

“If you don’t have the quarterback, forget it, you’re not going anywhere. There’s no better year to do it than right now, quite honestly.”

In 2013, third-year quarterback and former first round pick Blaine Gabbert started and played in three games while battling early hand and hamstring injuries. He was a healthy backup for the first time for the Week 8 game against the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium in London.

“Unfortunately for Blaine, it hasn’t worked out,” Marvez said. “We can place that on Blaine, we can place that on the coaching changes, we can place that on a lot of different things.

“But I think everyone realizes that at this point probably best for everyone to go in a different direction.”

Gabbert has a year remaining on his rookie contract.  

Sixth-year quarterback Chad Henne started 13 games in 2013, including the last 11 consecutive games of the season, and Marvez said there could be a role and a future in Jacksonville, if he is re-signed.

“I think Chad Henne is someone that can come in and help someone along as a quarterback,” Marvez said. “I look at him as a guy who’s probably a great number two, back-up quarterback in this league – someone who can come in and win games, but not someone who is going to be your franchise player.

“I think we’ve seen enough of Chad in his career to realize that. He still has a very valuable role on your team.”

Henne is set to become a free agent in March, but Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said in his end-of-season press conference there was a possibility that they re-sign Henne prior to the start of free agency.

Marvez also mentioned that outside pass rusher is another place where the Jaguars could improve in the offseason.

“I honestly was a little surprised that Dion Jordan didn’t get drafted by the Jaguars last year, simply because he really fit the mold of what this team needs at that outside position,” Marvez said. “Jason Babin is a great complimentary player, but he should not be the guy who is your bell cow pass rusher.”

In the end, there are positions to improve in a few spots for the Jaguars, but for Marvez it all goes back to his original answer when asked about the Jaguars most pressing position: 

“Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback, quarterback, quarterback…I’ll say it five times.”

Jaguars coaching staff in Mobile

The Jaguars coaching staff brought their high-tempo and energetic style to Alabama this week, and Marvez said that should give them an inside edge to how certain players approach the all-star event.

“With the pace that Gus Bradley is running practice here, it’s a faster pace than what the Atlanta Falcons are doing,” Marvez said. “It’s not to say it’s any better or worse, but he’ll be able to say, ‘OK, is this kid in shape, how serious do they take this opportunity going forward?’”

With the inside edge from extra meeting time and conversations with teams coaching in the Senior Bowl, there are usually a few Senior Bowl players in the draft classes of each team working the event.

“Every year when you look at it, on average, three or four players from each team that has coached at the Senior Bowl are taken by the guys that have coached him,” Marvez said.

“I think there are just great things that you are able to cull from this. Spending time with these players is so key.”

Start of a process

The Senior Bowl is one of the first major events of the pre-draft season each year, and the practices the week of the game are usually analyzed and dissected by analysts in the upcoming weeks.  

Marvez said it is important to take each practice for what it is – one day.

“One of the biggest mistakes people make is to take a Senior Bowl practice and blow it up into something it isn’t. What you’re able to do is gauge for smaller school players, for example, how well are they in this type of environment, going head against upper-level competition. Can they make that switch? That’s a perfect event for this.”

An event at the end of February in Indianapolis is one that people can over-hype as well.

“Again, you can’t get too caught up in this, because if you do, you end up making mistakes. Just like you can’t get too caught up with, as Mike Florio would say, the ‘underwear Olympics’ at the NFL Scouting Combine.”

Player Quotables

- North QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech: “The type of guy I see myself as is a guy like Aaron Rodgers. I’m not saying I’m on that same level by any means, but he’s a pocket passer by all means of the word. When he gets outside of the pocket he destroys defenses, and that’s the type of thing I see myself doing.”

- North WR Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin: “I feel like I’m a mix of a couple of different guys. I’m not going to compare myself to someone in the NFL that has been balling, because I’m not there.”

- South DT Daniel McCullers, Tennessee: “It is difficult (being 6-feet-8 and trying to stay low), but get more flexible, and work on your stretching and try to bend down and stay low. I’m going to continue to work on it.”

- North CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska: “It wasn’t too hard (converting from receiver to defensive back in college). It was just something that I had to get used to. When I switched over there was a tendency to look in the backfield too much, because I always wanted the ball, so I just had to stop that.”

- North OT Brandon Thomas, Clemson: “I think I’ve gotten more physical (this week), especially with my hand down. In college I usually played with a two-point (stance), and now I’m in a three-point, so I think I’ve gotten more physical from a three-point.”

Senior Bowl Buzz:

- The final full practices for both the North and South teams are today at 2:30 p.m. CT. The North team will work at Fairhope High School, while the South team will practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

- The teams will hold walkthroughs and final meetings on Friday, and kickoff of the 2014 Reese’s Senior Bowl is set for Saturday at 4:00 ET on NFL Network.

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