by Cole Pepper
July 31, 2013
The Jaguars have recruited a wall of beef.
The Jaguars added five defensive tackles to the roster this off-season, signing Sen’Derrick Marks from the Titans in free agency, picking up Roy Miller from the Buccaneers, and Kyle Love from the Patriots. Then, the Jaguars signed Georgia’s Abry Jones and Georgia Tech’s TJ Barnes as undrafted free agents. All of the additions are over 300 pounds (except Marks, the “little” guy at 294. Barnes is a mountain of a man at 6’7″ 364 pounds.
“Brought a little beef in,” Marks said. “Just looking at how they like to run the defense, that’s what they loved to do in Seattle. We want to set the edge while we get a good pass rush. It works hand in hand.”
It’s clear that general manager Dave Caldwell took great pains to overhaul the big bodies on defense to match what Gus Bradley and defensive coordinator Bob Babich want to do defensively.
“I’m excited about the guys we got,” Miller said. “I would hate to be another team and look at this list and say ‘may, we gotta go against these guys and these guys can rotate.’ Just to have all of these guys out here makes us all better.”
With the move of Tyson Alualu to defensive end, the Jaguars line could be as beefy as any in the league, even including 267 pound LEO Jason Babin.
From what we’ve seen so far, the Jaguars defense is going to be a 4-3 but with some 3-4 influence. It reminds me a lot of some of the things that the Chiefs did in the late 90s with Derrick Thomas, trying to isolate him as a pass rusher. To do that, you need a stout defensive end on the opposite side. In those days, the Chiefs had Neil Smith, with Dan Saleamua and Joe Phillips at defensive tackle.
Wednesday, the big guys (and the rest of the Jaguars), practice in full pads for the first time.
“The hard thing in a vets mind is not trying to look past the camp, to try to get better every single day,” Miller said. “I can’t even look to the scrimmage or tomorrow, I have a bad day.”
Marks also admitted that he had to get over some mental conditioning he learned in Tennessee.
“Being in Tennessee for four years, I was raised not to like [the Jaguars] when I was there. But getting to know them and go against them, I think they have a pretty solid group.”
- Blaine Gabbert worked some on the field, but did not get any snaps in 11-on-11 drills. Gabbert said that he was working on a couple of different ways to tape his ankle to stabilize it and that he expected to be back working at full capacity on Thursday.
- Offensive weapon Denard Robinson took a number of snaps in the Wildcat formation, usually running the ball or handing off. Head coach Gus Bradley said that he hopes that taking Robinson off punt return duties will help him “free up his mind. Bradley also stressed ball security with Robinson continues to be a focus saying “it is better, but not where we want it.” Also that using Robinson in the Wildcat can “strain the defense, it causes the defense to go into a different mindset when he’ s back there, but he’s got to be able to take care of the ball.”
- When asked what kind of defense he wants the Jaguars to be, Marks said “I just want us to be nasty. I like being nasty,” Marks said. “I don’t like sitting back and being passive. I want to attack.”
- Bradley admitted that he has to do a better job of structuring practice, after realizing that he left some defensive units on the field for too many consecutive snaps in the hot Jacksonville sun. “At this stage in practice, when you go 10, 11 reps in a row, at times you aren’t executing as well as you like,” Bradley said. “We strive for [perfect execution].” He also said that he thought the team needed some live work, and will likely add it on Thursday.That means more hitting for the guys on the lines, who put full pads on for the first time today.
- Miller was effusive in his praise of 14-year veteran center Brad Meester. “He has so many moves that not too many guys have in this league. He has all these vet moves. It’s me and him going at it everyday, I really want to thank him, but he’s trying to knock my head off. I’ll thank him when [camp] is over.”