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 cornerback.
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.