The Jacksonville Jaguars open training camp on July 27 at the practice fields adjacent to EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. Here’s a closer look at the Jaguars’ camp:
Top story: The Jaguars’ season will hinge on whether quarterback Blake Bortles has made improvements in four key areas: turnovers, pocket awareness, decision-making, and accuracy. Those are more important than any of his mechanical issues, which he worked on extensively during the offseason. Bortles leads the NFL in turnovers (63) since he entered the league, and his career completion percentage is only 58.8 percent, and that’s not good enough. He has to show significant progress during the joint practices with the Patriots and Buccaneers and the preseason games. The Jaguars drafted Leonard Fournette and are committed to running the ball to take pressure off Bortles, who has averaged 37 pass attempts per game in his three-year career, but he must stop holding the offense back or this will be his final year in Jacksonville.
QB depth chart: Bortles is the starter, but if he continues to turn the ball over and can’t move the offense consistently, coach Doug Marrone may go to either veteran Chad Henne or 2016 sixth-round pick Brandon Allen. Which one will likely depend on when the move is made. If the team is still in the AFC South race, it likely would be Henne, who hasn’t thrown a pass since Week 3 of the 2014 season.
Bubble watch: There really aren’t any name veterans in danger of being cut, though it will be interesting to see if linebacker Paul Posluszny draws any interest from other teams as injuries occur during camp. Posluszny has been moved from middle linebacker, where he’s spent his entire 10-year career, to strongside linebacker to make way for Myles Jack. That means he’ll be on the field less and the Jaguars could be tempted to move him for the right offer.
That rookie could start: RB Leonard Fournette and OL Cam Robinson had been working with the second and third teams during OTAs and minicamp because Marrone said rookies need to earn their starting jobs, but it would be a surprise if Fournette (drafted fourth overall) and Robinson (34th overall) aren’t in the starting lineup. Other than those two, however, a rookie won’t crack the starting lineup.
Secondary health: Four of the Jaguars’ top five defensive backs either did not participate in or were injured during OTAs and minicamp. The only one that finished healthy was CB A.J. Bouye, and he missed several OTAs with an injury before getting back on the field. Safeties Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson and nickelback Aaron Colvin missed all 13 workouts. CB Jalen Ramsey sustained a core muscle injury that required surgery, and he may not be completely cleared for the start of camp. Church, Gipson and Colvin are expected to return for camp but may be limited, which means a lot of extra work for reserves. Don’t expect these guys to play much in the preseason.
OL must be better: Pro Football Focus surprisingly ranked the Jaguars’ offensive line 13th last month, which was strange considering how much trouble the team had at left guard (six players started there) and how poorly the right side played last season. LT Branden Albert will help and Robinson likely will shift inside to guard for his rookie season, but RG A.J. Cann and RT Jermey Parnell must be significantly better. Marrone said some of the criticism the line has received over the past several years is deserved and he’s been riding the unit to set the tone in terms of toughness that executive VP of football operations Tom Coughlin said has been missing.
For daily updates at camp, check out the Jacksonville Jaguars clubhouse page.