JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars will play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two days of joint practices ahead of Thursday’s preseason game between the teams. Here are five not-so-obvious players to watch during the open practices on Monday and Tuesday:
LB Blair Brown: The Jaguars’ fifth-round draft pick has had a quiet camp and is currently behind starter Telvin Smith and Josh McNary at weakside linebacker. However, he had a team-high eight tackles in the Jaguars’ victory over New England in the preseason opener. The Jaguars liked Brown’s ability to play weakside and strongside linebacker and were eager to get him involved in special teams. Brown isn’t that big (6-foot, 238 pounds) but he plays bigger than his size. Nobody is bumping Smith from the lineup, but certainly a good showing against the Bucs this week would help Brown move higher the rotation.
MLB Myles Jack: He struggled a bit in the preseason opener. He missed several tackles and took bad angles to the ball carrier on at least two occasions. He’s still in the process of learning to make checks and adjustments and get those calls communicated to the rest of the defense in a short period of time. It’s certainly not easy and it’s going to take a while before it starts to become second nature to Jack. It seems like he’s still processing information when the ball is snapped and he’s not reacting as quickly to what he’s seeing once the play starts. In short, he’s thinking too much, and in doing so he’s not able to just use his instincts and speed/athleticism to go make plays. Coaches use the term “playing fast.” Jack isn’t playing fast right now, and it may be a while before he’s able to. Coach Doug Marrone said he felt like Jack played better in the Patriots game than he has in some of the practices, but Paul Posluszny was back at middle linebacker on Sunday in the Jaguars’ base defense. If that continues against the Bucs on Monday and Tuesday, it’s a sign the transition hasn’t gone as smoothly as the Jaguars would have liked.
K Jason Myers: He’s had an up-and-down camp and missed field goal attempts of 50 and 53 yards against the Patriots. The Jaguars didn’t bring in any training camp competition for him, and if they do at this point it’s a sign they’re concerned about his performance. Myers missed seven PATs as a rookie in 2015 but missed only three last season. He missed seven field goals in 2016, but five came from 50 or more yards. He was 20-for-22 inside of 50, though, and his touchback percentage on kickoffs was a league-high 78.9 percent.
LG Patrick Omameh: Marrone has been reluctant to name Omameh the starter, but he’s essentially won the job. He’s taking every rep at left guard with the first-team offense. Omameh performed the best of the six players that started at left guard last season, but Marrone said in the spring that he may not have made the team had they judged Omameh by what he did in practice. He performed much better in the preseason games than he practiced, and Marrone said he wants to see more consistency from Omameh in practice this year. Omameh will face off against DT Gerald McCoy on Monday and Tuesday in what should be a pretty good individual battle.
LT Cam Robinson: The team’s second-round pick became the starter once Branden Albert retired on July 31 and had a solid debut against the Patriots. His athleticism and quickness is impressive for someone his size (6-6, 320 pounds) and he has shown good power as a run blocker. The knock on Albert during the pre-draft process was that he tended to lunge with his upper body during pass protection. That has shown up at times but he’s done a solid job of dealing with the quickness of Jaguars edge rushers Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler Jr. He’ll get a good test in DE Noah Spence, whom many regard as one of the league’s best young pass-rushers.