Doug Marrone unclear, but Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles says arm is fine

By The Sports Xchange  |  Aug. 16, 2017 at 1:18 AM
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JACKSONVILLE -- Head coach Doug Marrone was back-tracking on his comment Sunday as to why Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles was pulled early in practice after throwing two interceptions.

Backup quarterback Chad Henne saw most of the action with the No. 1 offense after that. Bortles took only 10 snaps in 11-on-11 work and just six snaps in 7-on-7 drills.

"Actually, we were looking at the pitch count after yesterday and we went in and said, 'Let's just rest him,'" Marrone said about replacing Bortles. "It was basically for rest."

But on Monday, following the Jaguars' first of two practices against the Tampa Bay Bucs, Marrone clarified his comments.

"I probably misspoke when I said 'pitch count,'" Marrone said. "We do monitor it. (On Sunday), his arm looked tired and rather than push him knowing he was going to get all the reps he needed to (on Monday and Tuesday against the Bucs), it was my decision to rest him."

A day later, following the second day of practicing against the Buccaneers' defense, Bortles said his arm was fine.

"My arm is fine," he said. "It feels good. I'll be alright."

Jacksonville's two practice days with the New England Patriots last week and the Buccaneers this week received favorable reviews from both Marrone and Bortles.

"I think you get better work in these situations," the Jaguars' coach said. "I thought we got some good work against each other. I think at the end of the day, this is our second time, and it will be our last time in this preseason, so I think from the amount of work we've gotten out of it, the amount of situations, the different types of looks and things, I think all that stuff is going to help us as we move forward trying to get to where we want to be."

Bortles was equally positive about the workouts against the two teams.

"I think it's all positive," he said. "You get a chance to go against different people, go against different systems, different teams and it's always fun to compete against other people. It kind of heightens the environment and allows people to kind of step up their game a little bit."

Marrone said that while the practices before the team's first two preseason games were positive, he wouldn't support the notion of a third such practice against the Carolina Panthers whom the Jaguars will play next week.

"For me personally, with our football team, I think that we've got to get ready and start tightening some things down and start getting ready to get our focus more toward what the roster is going to be like and what we want to do," Marrone said. "We still have quite a bit, probably more positions open than at least what I'm used to at this time of year. There is still a lot on the line for a lot of these players, so I think to kind of get away from this and see how we go back and perform against each other. I think we can put people in situations where we want to see exactly how they perform."

Looking around the roster:

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Running back T.J. Yeldon could see increased action in Thursday's game with Tampa Bay following injuries to Leonard Fournette and Chris Ivory. Fournette won't dress for the game and Ivory may see limited action, giving Yeldon a chance to show his value. Yeldon could be battling Corey Grant for the No. 3 spot at running back behind Fournette and Ivory.

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Cornerback Jalen Ramsey's return to practice this week was slowed as a matter of caution by the coaching staff. Ramsey did not participate in team or 1-on-1 drills against Tampa Bay's offensive players. The Jaguars are hopeful he'll be ready to go next week in their third preseason game against Carolina.

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Offensive tackle Cam Robinson has all but won the starting job at left tackle. With the departure of Branden Albert (released), Robinson was the odds-on-favorite to win the job. He held up well in the team's preseason opener at New England, getting 39 snaps, second highest total of any Jaguars offensive player.

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Wide receiver Allen Hurns suffered an undisclosed injury in the first day of practice against New England and missed several days of practice and the game with the Patriots last Thursday. He returned to full practice this Monday against the Bucs and looked good.

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WR Keelan Cole's stock went up with the injury to wide receiver Marqise Lee (leg). Cole is the biggest surprise of training camp and got some time with the team's No. 1 offensive unit during the two days of practice with the Bucs.

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Cornerback Tyler Patmon had two interceptions in Monday's practice and followed that with another pick on Tuesday. Patmon continues to make a strong bid to make the final roster after the Jaguars signed him as a free agent on May 22.

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DE Calais Campbell, RT Jermey Parnell and CB A.J. Bouye all returned to practice this week after missing the New England game with an injury. All three are expected to be in the starting lineup if they're healthy.

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Tight end David Grinnage was signed to the active roster on Monday. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound rookie has yet to appear in a NFL game after originally signing as a rookie free agent with Green Bay in April of 2016.

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Cornerback Dwayne Thomas was signed Monday. He was originally signed as an undrafted rookie by New England in May. He attended LSU with Fournette. Rookie cornerback Ezra Robinson, beaten several times in the New England game, was waived.

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