(Sports Network) -
REPORT DATE: July 26th
SITE: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL
CAMP OBJECTIVES: The Jaguars didn't have the smoothest of offseasons, but
training camp could prove to be an even more challenging period for new head
coach Mike Mularkey.
2011 NFL rushing champion Maurice Jones-Drew has been
angling for a new contract that the front office is reluctant to negotiate,
and there's a very real possibility that the prolific running back stages a
protracted holdout if his demands aren't met.
Talks have also stalled with
rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon, primarily because the team is insisting
on protective language after the No. 5 overall pick in this past draft was
arrested on a DUI charge in June.
There are issues to be hammered out on the
field as well, most of which reside on an offense that finished last in the
NFL in total yards and first downs last season.
Second-year quarterback Blaine
Gabbert will need to show improvement after an uninspiring debut, especially
with veteran Chad Henne now waiting in the wings after being signed in the
spring, and whomever's under center will have to get comfortable with a
redesigned cast of receivers that now includes free-agent pickups Laurent
Robinson and Lee Evans in addition to Blackmon.
The Jags have fewer concerns
on the defensive end, though there are a couple of starting jobs to be
determined in the preseason. Promising rookie pass rusher Andre Branch (2nd
Round, Clemson) will compete with third-year pro Austen Lane for snaps at
defensive end, while franchise mainstay Rashean Mathis is coming off ACL
surgery and will have a fight on his hands from ex-Giant Aaron Ross at left
PRESEASON SCHEDULE (All Times Eastern):
Aug. 10 - vs. N.Y. Giants, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 17 - at New Orleans, 8 p.m.
Aug. 23 - at Baltimore, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 30 - vs. Atlanta, 6:30 p.m.
The Sports Network