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Jaguars taking it slow with rookie QB Blake Bortles, not wanting to over-coach him

The Jacksonville Jaguars don't want to over-coach quarterback Blake Bortles.

They're exposing pieces of the playbook to him during a two-day rookie minicamp, which began Friday, and have no immediate plans to tweak his mechanics. They just want to study him for now.

"We want to learn how he handles the huddle, how he throws," coach Gus Bradley said. "But you're not going to see five people coaching him every play and run to him and say, 'How 'bout this and this and this?' I think it's a little overkill. But we'll watch and evaluate and knock out certain pieces."

Bortles made his Jaguars debut Friday and took the majority of snaps during the 49-player camp. More than 2,000 fans showed up for an open practice in the middle of a work day, and most of them cheered Bortles' every move.

He completed 11 of 14 passes during 11-on-11 drills, working through recently installed plays while trying to develop a rapport with new receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson.

"I'm trying to soak everything up," Bortles said. "I'm trying to sponge everything in and retain it and try to transfer it back here on the field."

Jacksonville selected Bortles with the third overall pick in last week's NFL draft. The pick was somewhat surprising since the Jaguars had played down taking a quarterback, but it was a much-needed choice for a franchise that has spent the last decade-plus searching for a franchise guy at the all-important position.

General manager Dave Caldwell and Bradley are convinced Bortles will fill the void.

Bortles certainly looked the part Friday. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound signal caller showed poise in the pocket, mobility and accuracy.

His first pass was completed to Lee for a first down. Of his three misses, one was dropped, one was a nice play by a defender and the other was an overthrow on a deep ball in a stiff cross wind.

"It was awesome to come out here," Bortles said. "It was high energy and to be able to compete and have a lot of fun and try and get better. I think anytime you're practicing and doing anything football related, you should be working on something and trying to fix something. Any time I take a drop, I try to work on something and make it better than it was previously."

The Jaguars would like to polish Bortles' mechanics, but it probably won't happen until organized team activities begin May 27.

"Footwork and using his lower body more when he throws," Bradley said when asked about potential changes. "There's just a few things we'll take a look at. That's a tendency for quarterbacks: they don't use their lower body as much as they should. That's one area that we'll look at."

For now, though, the Jaguars just want to let Bortles get an idea how practice works and what's expected from him on the field and in meeting rooms.

"I can tell you this: We thought that he was a really strong competitor and he showed that," Bradley said. "Sitting in the front row, taking meticulous meeting notes, competing, asking questions, texting (coaches). All those things you would hope, we're seeing it. That's good."

Notes: Four players missed the workout: S Craig Loston attended his college graduation at LSU, fourth-round draft pick CB Aaron Colvin is recovering from a knee injury, undrafted rookie TE Marcel Jensen is recovering from sports hernia surgery and tryout OT Jimmy Bennett was sent home after his physical.

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