Facing a tough test and a rare sold out crowd at EverBank Field on Sunday, the Jaguars continued to prepare for the team's season-opener against the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday.
The team is as healthy as it can be headed into the matchup against Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Green Bay gang.
Limited: RB Chris Ivory (calf), DE Jared Odrick (jaw)
Full: DT Roy Miller (quad)
DNP: S Chris Banjo (hamstring), LB Jayrone Elliott (hamstring), CB Josh Hawkins (hamstring), TE Justin Perillo (knee)
Limited: WR Trevor Davis (shoulder)
Full: Jeff Janis (hand)
Bortles, Jaguars staff praise Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers is a very, very good quarterback. It's an obvious notion, but it was also the theme of three separate press conferences regarding the Packers on Wednesday.
Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley, offensive coordinator Todd Wash and quarterback Blake Bortles all offered praise for the All-Pro passer when speaking with the media.
“The thing is not very many people hit him," Wash said. "He does a nice job of avoiding the rush and his offensive lineman do a good job of just staying on people to allow him to avoid the rush. Like I was just saying that is a big concern of ours going into the game. We have really young rushers on the outside. We know they are athletic and can affect the quarterback, but they need to be disciplined this week when we are dealing with Aaron Rodgers.”
Bortles said he looked up to Rodgers while he played in high school and college. He stopped short of calling him the best quarterback in the league but noted he is among the top passers in the league.
“I think it’s hard to say," Bortles said. "He’s unbelievably talented and has obviously been very successful. I think that there’s a group of guys that are up there in their own category and he’s definitely one of them.”
Bradley also couldn't deny Rodgers' many talents when discussing the former Super Bowl MVP.
"He does things that a lot of quarterbacks can’t do," Bradley said. "The extended plays, the freebies, the cadence, the poise in the pocket, the protections and then his precision. Very, very accurate passer.”
Bradley discusses challenges against Packers
The Jaguars head coach didn't just heap praise on Rodgers after practice. Bradley is impressed by the Packers offense and defense, including running back Eddie Lacy, wide receiver Jordy Nelson and linebacker Clay Matthews.
Bradley is aware of how dynamic Rodgers can be with his wingman Nelson back in the picture.
"[Nelson] makes big plays for them," Bradley said.
"Their big thing is they can max protect, hit shots on you, turn little plays into big plays – I think they were seventh in the league in run after the catch, so they are very proficient there. The extended plays and the freebies. They get the defense to jump offsides. You see Jordy catch a lot of those plays. [He has the] ability [where] every play could be explosive for him.”
Watching tape, Bradley has noted that Lacy is a tough guy to bring down in the running game.
“He is tough," Bradley said. "
"You have heard me mention before about a tackling plan. With him, especially our corners, a lot of times teams like this will try to attack the perimeter so you get them one-on-one with the corner. We definitely have to have a mindset of how we are going to approach it and how we are going to tackle him. He has great feet. He likes to spin in the hole. Not many guys can do that. He has a different style than what we are used to.”
Lastly, Bradley discussed the trouble Matthews presents due to his versatility. The Packers can line Matthews up anywhere on the field and the Jaguars need to prepare accordingly.
“It is difficult," Bradley said. "You have to be aware of where he is. He is one of their top guys, obviously, and creates issues with matchups for rushing.”
- Dante Fowler on the criticism of his performance in the preseason: "They just don't understand, so they can't blame them, can't fault them, you just let them talk and stuff like that. As long as the players know and the coaches know our plan and what's going on this season, then that's that. At the end of the day, that's preseason, those stats count, so the stuff that I did during the preseason won't matter at the end of the day because it's not the regular season."
- Dan Skuta on learning the Otto position: "Just learning the Otto doesn't take too long. There's definitely a lot of things you can learn on the field about how you want to play certain things, but the actual X's and O's of it doesn't take too long. There are probably checks here and there that'll take [Arthur Brown] a minute but in that room we really cross-train at different position so that's where the real bundle of it comes in. Are you going to be a MIKE? Or a WILL? Or a [defensive end]? Stuff like that. Trying to learn all of that - but if he's just learning Otto, I think he will get a hold of it, he seems like a pretty smart guy."
- The Jaguars had a pair of numbers changes on Wednesday. Quarterback Brandon Allen has switched from No. 9 to No. 10 and cornerback Josh Johnson has switched from No. 36 to No. 29.