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Jaguars Training Camp Day One: T.J. Yeldon is a Rock Star

Jul 31, 2015 -- 4:29pm

By: Amanda Borges (@Amanda1010XL)

Training Camp has begun and that means football is in full swing. Let me tell you, the players are ready to be back. Today, the guys were quick, they were sharp, and they were in a good mood. You could see it.

If you take away the lack of pads, it honestly felt similar to a game-time atmosphere. The camp battles are real and the competitiveness is there. Today, Luke Bowanko got the first-team reps at center. After practice, Gus Bradley addressed it saying that they plan to switch it up, meaning that Stefen Wisniewski will get in there, probably as early as tomorrow. Even though the offensive line battles could easily be the most important to watch, the line isn't what stood out today.

Running back T.J. Yeldon is a rock star. He is a play-maker, he’s quick, and he’s competitive. Anyone that goes out to watch practice, notices him and I know he will make a difference this season. Coach Bradley talked about Yeldon after practice saying that even when he makes a mistake, he’s quick to fix it. That is a coach’s dream. Expect him to make big things happen this season.

As I said in my previous blog, there are things during camp that just won’t happen. But, there will definitely be players that show improvement. Blake Bortles looked really good today. He didn’t throw the tightest spirals or complete every pass, but when he did make plays, he was confident, and players noticed it.

Day two of Training camp is tomorrow (Saturday) and it’s open to the public. Head to Jaguars.com/trainingcamp to register.

Here's my one-on-one with WR Allen Hurns, who didn't stand out today, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. He told me what he worked on this summer and how he feels about the new female coach in the NFL.

 

Tags: Jaguars

Buick Encore to be given away at Jaguars game

Jul 31, 2015 -- 10:13am

Jacksonville, FL (July 31, 2015) - The Jacksonville Jaguars are teaming up with the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships to give away a 2015 Buick Encore to a lucky Jaguars fan. The car will be presented on the field during the Jaguars’ preseason game on August 28 at EverBank Field against the Detroit Lions. Fans are encouraged to look for the branded Encore at Jaguars training camp and other events.

The promotion will launch on Friday, July 31 and run through Friday, August 21. Fans must go to www.jaguars.com/Encore to enter, and five finalists will be selected from the entrants.

“We’re excited to continue our great partnership with the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships and to provide our fans with an opportunity to win a Buick Encore through this unique promotion,” said Scott Massey, Jaguars SVP of Corporate Partnerships. “Working with the Nimnicht team to give the keys to a new automobile to a lucky fan aligns perfectly with our desire to give Jaguars fans ‘MORE’ this season.”

The five finalists will each be given two tickets to the August 28 game, and will be brought to the field at halftime. Each finalist will then be given a key that could start the Buick Encore. The finalist whose key does start the Encore will be the Grand Prize Winner.

“We’re very excited to partner with the Jaguars and provide this great opportunity to Jaguars’ fans,” said Billie Nimnicht III, President of Nimnicht Chevrolet and Nimnicht Buick GMC. “We have been tied to the local Jacksonville community for decades with our family business that opened in 1941. The Jaguars bring a sense of pride to our community, and we’re glad to help share in that pride. The Jaguars and the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships are committed to providing more to Jaguars fans this season. We look forward to providing the memory of a lifetime for one lucky fan on August 28.

About Nimnicht Family of Dealerships:

Nimnicht Chevrolet is the #1 Chevrolet dealer in the region and Nimnicht Buick GMC is the #1 GMC dealer in the region. Nimnicht Chevrolet and Nimnicht Buick GMC have been family owned and operated by the Nimnicht family since 1941. Nimnicht Chevrolet is located at 1550 Cassat Avenue and Nimnicht Buick GMC is located at 11503 Philips Highway. For more information, visit nimnicht.com.

Jaguars Schedule Looks Manageable

Jul 31, 2015 -- 10:10am

By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)

Once the NFL announced that league poster boy Tom Brady would not play the first four games of the New England Patriots, the Jaguars schedule didn’t look that daunting.

True, the team still have major hurdles to get over, but the first seven games of the season, which includes games against Carolina, Miami, New England, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, Houston and Buffalo could prove to be the catalyst for a winning season.

Or at least a break-even year – which fans here in Jacksonville would take in a heartbeat right about now.

The Brady soap opera has not only affected the Patriots, but the 13 teams on their schedule. And of course, it affects the Jaguars. There is no way Jacksonville would be favored in this game with or without Brady, but not seeing him on the field in Week 3 gives the team a bigger ray of hope and an outside chance of winning a vital game on the road.

Welcome to the NFL, Jimmy Garroppolo.

I haven’t wanted to give my opinion about this Deflategate issue, mainly because it has probably been an ongoing issue in the NFL for years. Whether we want to admit it or not, there is cheating in professional sports. Baseball has been the biggest culprit of the “known secret” for decades. The difference with the NFL and the Major Leagues is that in baseball it is only an issue if you get caught. In football, it speaks more to the credibility of the game and with Brady as the newest star to be at the center of a major issue of ethics, the lines of punishment for his actions are skewed.

Brady’s actions cannot be compared to a player who violates the league’s substance abuse policy or a player who is charged with domestic violence. But don’t misconstrue what I am saying. His actions because they violated the integrity of a contest – a playoff game – are just as severe.

And because of his actions, the four teams the Patriots play in the first month of the season – could benefit. Better yet, they should benefit.

For years, it appears the Patriots have tried to impose their will on the NFL and the sports world. They are the Yankees in baseball, the Detroit Red Wings in Hockey and the Boston Celtics in basketball. Winning breeds hatred. And cheating breeds a different kind of hatred. Brady’s legacy will not keep him out of the Hall of Fame, but it will drum up conversation when he hangs up his cleats and he becomes eligible for induction.

Could it mean he is not a first ballot inductee? Maybe, but more importantly, there is now a black stain on his resume.

The Jaguars need to win their first two games of the season at home against Carolina and Miami. But now, the Sept. 27 date in Boston means so much more. Could the Patriots be 0-2 going into that game and searching for answers? Whatever their record is, the Jaguars have to approach it like every other game – one they expect to win.

But in this case, the chances are that much greater, thanks in part to a man who found out even he cannot break the rules and get away with them.

Collaboration to place certified athletic trainers in 17 Duval County high schools by 2020

Jul 30, 2015 -- 11:13am

Jacksonville, FL, July 30, 2015- The Jacksonville Jaguars, the National Football League (NFL), Jacksonville University (JU) and the Jacksonville Sports Medicine Program (JSMP) have come together to provide the funding and training needed to place full-time certified athletic trainers in 17 Duval County public high schools by 2020. The effort will create a comprehensive athletic training program in the local public school system to support youth sports injury prevention and care.

 

“This is a collaborative project of multiple community agencies working together for the common goal of increasing safety in our public school athletic programs,” said Robert Sefcik, ATC, LAT, executive director of the JSMP. “The partnership was created to assist the schools in funding a comprehensive athletic training program that will begin as an internship model, with the intent to become a graduate assistantship program through Jacksonville University; that will culminate in the creation of 17 full-time positions within the Duval County Public Schools in the next five years.”

 

National statistics indicate the rate of sports-related injury among youth athletes can exceed 50 percent, and that certified athletic trainers specifically trained in preventing, recognizing and caring for these injuries are not always available to high school student-athletes. The Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation has commited to aid the effort to increase safety on our area youth athletic fields. In response, the NFL matched the commitment, and has donated $50,000 this year, with the possibility of increased funding as the partnership and programming grows.

 

“The health and safety of student athletes is paramount to the NFL, and as such the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation was able to secure a grant from the league for $50,000 to help begin this important initiative to ensure that the Duval County Public Schools have full-time certified athletic trainers by 2020 to serve the needs of all sports at the schools,” said Peter Racine, president of the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation.

 

Jacksonville University joined the program as an integral component of higher education, and will incorporate educational initiatives into a proposed Masters of Kinesiological Sciences (MS KIN) program to start in the fall of 2016. JU is developing the academic curriculum for the certified athletic trainers, and has created a fellowship pathway program that will allow them access to the proposed MS KIN graduate degree with emphasis in movement sciences. The 2015 athletic trainer cohort will participate in an internship model managed through the JSMP in cooperation with JU.

 

“We continue to position our mission to provide essential academic roles in the Jacksonville community,” said Christine Sapienza, PhD, dean of the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Science at Jacksonville University. “Athletic trainers need to be an essential part of our schools’ sports programs, and our Kinesiology program will continue the certified athletic trainers’ education in injury prevention and rehabilitation, sport performance and movement science, shifting them into a significant area of expertise. We are proud to be a part of this powerful team of partners that are working to advocate for the safety of our children.”

 

Sefcik confirmed the JSMP will function as the program’s center, organizing the finances as well as its medical direction with the involvement of five area sports medicine-trained physicians. JSMP also will develop the policies, procedures and best practices followed by the school athletic trainers and dedicated team physicians.

 

Certified athletic trainers are essential health care professionals who provide a safe playing environment, evaluate injuries, implement rehabilitation programs for the return to activity following injury, and provide expertise in outlining sports programs that focus on safe participation. Currently, each Duval County high school has the part-time assistance of a community-based athletic trainer employed by one of our local physician practices or outpatient physical therapy clinics. These athletic trainers provide on-call services to our schools, and some offer support for football programs only, leaving other sports without medical supervison. Because student-athletes in all sports are at risk of injury, this partnership was created to ensure that more sports programs are overseen by these licensed health care professionals.

 

“Athletics play an important role in shaping the lives of so many of our high school students,” said Kevin Kaplan, MD, head team physician for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Atlantic Coast High School Stingrays.“With athletes getting bigger, faster and stronger, the risk of injury also has increased. It’s crucial to have the appropriate health care in place for preventing and caring for injuries should they occur. I’m proud to be able to support the JSMP, along with the Jaguars, JU and the NFL, in providing certified athletic trainers to our Duval County public school system.”

 

The total funding needed for this five-year program is approximately $3 million. The Duval County Public Schools will fund the majority with the remaining funds being generated through private partnerships that will support the program its first two years until the district takes over a majority of the commitment. 

What Impact with Rashad Greene Make?

Jul 29, 2015 -- 9:30am

By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)

The Jaguars have made some of their best draft decisions in the fifth round during general manager David Caldwell’s time here in town.

Caldwell’s pick (along with head coach Gus Bradley) of running back Denard Robinson has paid off after it looked like Robinson may become a long project due to fumbling issues. Last season, Telvin Smith proved his lack of size meant nothing as he helped fill in for an injured Paul Posluszny, playing better than most veterans on the squad.

This season, Caldwell waited patiently and found the slot receiver this team needs to move the chains and catch the ball underneath in the middle of the field. If there was a better pick in the fifth round than wide receiver Rashad Greene, I’d sure like to know where he is playing right now.

Greene is still going through the motions of acclamation to the NFL, but if his comments on Monday are any indication of how he will fare, Jacksonville has again found itself another steal.

Greene isn’t going to just be counted on as the team’s fourth wideout in the rotation, but he could see time as a punt return specialist, a position he openly said he wanted to win outright.

“I definitely want to win [that spot],” he said Monday in the Florida Times-Union,  after the Jaguars’ quarterbacks, rookies and first-year players reported to training camp. “I want to win every position that I’m competing for; that’s just that competitive side of me. I want to continue to have that mindset.”

It’s that kind of passion for football and determination that cannot be taught, and something this team needs as it tries to transition into a playoff contender.

Caldwell and Bradley have found players the past three seasons who have shown heart and desire. You cannot play in the NFL and go through the motions. Greene’s experience and maturity in college where he caught 99 passes as a senior will certainly help the passing game this season, but it is the return game where he figures to shine brightest. He returned kicks at FSU, which is also another benefit to the Jaguars.

Now that training camp is only a stone’s throw from the start and players are arriving and eager to show what they retained from minicamp, Greene and his rookie cohorts will be on display, ready to win starting jobs and add depth to this roster. Having a national title pedigree certainly won’t hurt his chances, either.

Greene may not have been the highest player drafted this season, but he is just as hungry to prove he belongs. That kind of heart wins players starring roles on football teams. And hopefully will solve the Jaguars return game issues as well.

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