Coach downplays Blackmon-Babin tiff
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)
Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley had receiver Justin Blackmon and defensive end Jason Babin in his office Saturday morning, hours after the two got into it on the sideline during the team's preseason opener.
Bradley was pleased with what he heard, too.
"I'm not going to say that there was (nothing) between Justin and Jason Babin, but it was more like, `Just back up when Gus is telling you to back up,'" Bradley said. "It's one of those things, and it probably appeared bigger. ... But it was a lot smaller than what I initially thought."
It started when Blackmon, sitting out because of a groin injury, began jawing with Miami Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll in the second quarter. The Jaguars were upset with a tackle and made it known to Carroll. Blackmon was the closest and most vocal of the bunch, escalating the tiff to the point where Bradley took notice.
That's when veteran defensive end Jason Babin stepped in, apparently telling Blackmon to calm down, which drew a reaction from his teammate. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew eventually calmed Blackmon down and escorted him to the locker room.
"We're handing it inside the building and trying to move on," Jones-Drew said.
Blackmon, meanwhile, skipped the team's open media session Saturday.
Babin downplayed the spat, even reacting to questions as if he was unaware anything happened.
"Just an emotional game," he said. "It's how it's done, you know? It's football. Whatever happens Sunday, happens Sunday, and that's it."
Jawing with opponents on the field and even arguing with coaches and teammates on the sideline is nothing new. It happens all the time and often gets caught on camera.
This one's newsworthy because it involved Blackmon, who's trying to prove he's matured after two alcohol-related arrests in the last three years and a four-game suspension handed down in April for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
And getting into disputes with opponents and teammates is hardly the way to show he's growing up.
That's why Blackmon was in Bradley's office after the game and again Saturday.
"I just told him to spend time encouraging our guys (rather) than getting caught up in that," Bradley said after the game, a 27-3 loss to the Dolphins that included four turnovers and many other issues. "Why add that to the game already? You're falling into that. That's not what we want on the sidelines and when I approached him in my office and talked to him about that, he understands, but it still happened.
"We'll talk about it as a team and say that's not who we are or what we want to become, so we'll take it out of our game."
There was some good news surrounding Blackmon on Saturday.
Bradley said the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft could be cleared to practice next week. Blackmon has been sidelined since the end June with a groin injury. He has surgery following a mandatory minicamp, has been recovering and opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list.
Rookie safety Johnathan Cyprien, who has missed all of camp with a hamstring injury, also is probable to return.
"That's two good things right there," Bradley said. "We'll wait and see on Monday, but we feel good about that."
In other injury news, linebacker Russell Allen was wearing walking boot on his right ankle Saturday, while defensive end Ryan Davis was being evaluated for a possible concussion and tight end Isaiah Stanback was dealing with a quadriceps injury. All three were hurt in the exhibition game.