JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Some observations from the Jaguars’ first practice in full pads, with an emphasis on them being just snapshots:
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert didn’t look like a guy who’s made the big jump out of an offseason many of us expected. There are subtle improvements for sure, some I can see (better footwork) and some I am sure I can’t. But he still throws an occasional ball into the ground well in front of an intended receiver on a play that is basically just given away. You watch it and don't understand how it still happens. He threw one into the ground in front of Laurent Robinson and another short of Mike Thomas. After the throw to Thomas, Gabbert talked with him, so maybe there was miscommunication about where he should have been. I continue to believe he needs more time and can be effective with these coaches, but I didn't come away from this morning session feeling like he was much more effective than the last time I saw him.
The best throw of the practice covered about 25 yards: A Gabbert-to-Robinson connection up the left side fit beautifully between converging defensive backs. If we see more of that, there will be cause for encouragement.
Gabbert and backup quarterback Chad Henne appear to have a constant dialogue. That’s great to see, and they should be resources for each other. They didn’t take what could be a dead practice period off. Working with quarterbacks coach Greg Olson, they moved down the field as they ran routes for each other.
Left guard Will Rackley suffered an ankle injury and was on crutches in the locker room after practice, moving very gingerly. Mike Mularkey said they’d take X-rays. Rackley would be a big loss. I don’t think the Jaguars did enough in terms of adding offensive line depth over the offseason.
There was a lot of nine-on-seven run game work. Carries went to Rashad Jennings, Jalen Parmele, Montell Owens and DuJuan Harris, in that order. The offense ran the ball better than I would have expected on the first day of work in full pads, which is encouraging considering the initial line was without starting left tackle Eugene Monroe (knee), right guard Uche Nwaneri (still coming back off PUP, where rules limit what he can do) and center Brad Meester (rest day). Once Rackley was out, right tackle Eben Britton was the only starter still working.
Center John Estes had two bad snaps -- one that surprised Gabbert as he used a hard count, then was stepping forward toward the center from the shotgun, another that sailed high over Gabbert and was scooped by end Jeremy Mincey, flanked by two other defenders, with no one on offense anywhere in range.
Rookie punter Bryan Anger hit three of his seven punts with over 5 seconds of hang time. They were something to behold. The other four were not.
A lot of players stayed on the field for a good while after practice was over, many for extra work. Middle linebacker Paul Posluszny stuck around to chat with defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. It's always a positive sign when people aren't looking to get back inside ASAP.