Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

Jaguars Cancel “Road” Practice: Admit they need the work

Bad weather forced the Jaguars to cancel tonight’s planned “road” practice at Mandarin High School. With the parking lots filling starting at 3pm and the gates about to open at 5, it continued to rain and some of the most dramatic lightning strikes forced everybody to seek shelter. Shortly thereafter, on-site Jaguars officials inspected the field and called practice off.

Lots of fans might have been disappointed but it was the right call at the right time. No injuries on a field that’s always wet regardless of the weather. Fan safety was also part of the equation.

Right around 7pm the Jaguars players took the field on their “home” turf right next to the Stadium. They needed to practice.

“We have to work on ourselves,” Luke Joeckel said earlier in the weekend when asked about taking practice on the road. “It doesn’t matter where we practice, we need to continue to work and get better.” Joeckel is noticeably bigger and stronger and more confident when he takes the field. “He’s a really competitive person,” Gus Bradley said about the team’s 1st round pick three years ago. “His progress is no surprise to the coaching staff.”

“It’s fun to get in front of the fans but we need the work,” Toby Gerhart also said this weekend.

After about 40 minutes of very pleasant conditions, temperatures in the 70’s, the skies opened up downtown and Bradley sent everybody for cover. More lightning and rain hovered over downtown so Bradley called it a day.

Marqise Lee didn’t practice but according to Gus, just precautionary. “That’s on me. His GPS numbers the last two days were really high, so we wanted him to back off for the day.”

The 10-game suspension of Ace Sanders was “confidential” according to Bradley so when he cut him, Gus said he made the decision, “more with my head than my heart.”

Gus Bradley has said that he wants to put his players under some stress by taking them on the road for practice, taking them out of their comfort zone. “We need to be able to play anybody, anywhere, anytime,” Bradley said before taking the team to Bartram Trail High School last year. He later credited the team’s ability to adapt in different situations to how they reacted when the regular season started. After tonight’s problems, Bradley was still upbeat. “We might have to do this in a game sometime so we learned a bit about a routine. You come in the locker room, what do you do? Now we have an idea.”

Tomorrow is their first off day of training camp, followed by the fully padded practice on Wednesday at 9:55 AM. Because they had a walk through earlier in the day, the Jaguars couldn’t change the schedule. They had to stick to a players day off.” The team will also practice at 9:55 on Thursday and Friday, leading up to the scrimmage in the stadium at 6:15 Saturday evening. They’re off this coming Sunday. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week are the last practices open to the public. You must register at Jaguars.com.

“You never come back (from a break) to the same place you were but I’m really pleased with our progress. We have a lot of work to do in all three phases,” Bradley said when asked to assess the first four days of camp. “It’s good that the things we worked on in OTA’s and mini-camp stuck with them to training camp. Especially on the offensive side.”

Whether or not they’ll have another open “road” practice is still up in the air but doubtful.