Jaguars open minicamp to new coach Bradley’s beat

New coach Gus Bradley’s first practice with the Jacksonville

Jaguars came amid music: some rock, some rap and even a few pop

songs blaring from sideline speakers.

It set the tempo – literally.

The high-paced, two-hour practice Tuesday kicked off a three-day

voluntary minicamp for veterans. The Jaguars barely took a break

during the session, which was designed to give new coaches some

extra work with their teams before next week’s NFL draft.

But the thing that stood out, especially to the 77 players and

20 coaches on the field, was the score.

”We just believe that it really elevates the performance,”

Bradley said. ”It’s not just to have music out there. We found out

that music, without going into too much detail, how many beats

there are in a song and things like that elevates everybody’s

performance.

”We’re trying to compete. … We’ve got to do everything we can

to get practice at the highest level, the highest level. And if

that means play some music at the same time, we’re going to do

that.”

Players raved about Bradley’s technique, which he learned while

working under Seattle coach Pete Carroll.

”Going into my eighth year, I’ve never been a part of anything

like this,” tight end Marcedes Lewis said. ”First day of

minicamp, they’re throwing everything at us: blitz period, hurry-up

offense, two-minute drill, the whole kitchen sink at you the first

day. … Everybody came out here with the right attitude and we got

it done.”

The Jaguars went through similar practice tweaks last year.

They spent much of the 2012 offseason adjusting to former coach

Mike Mularkey and his staff, learning new schemes, new terminology

and a whole new way of doing things.

So this was even more change for those veterans who survived

Jacksonville’s offseason facelift.

And even though Mularkey’s practices also were up-tempo, players

remember them more for having to keep helmets in a straight line

during stretches and for an offense that was more complicated than

it needed to be.

”We’ve got a clean slate,” Lewis said. ”Everything that

happened last year is a blur now. All we can control is our future

and right now. Everybody that’s in here, we understand that.

”Everybody’s talking about the coaches and how great they are.

It’s one thing to be able to coach great, but it’s another thing to

be great people coaching. These are great people that actually care

about you. We feel that. We thrive off that. And the energy has

been great since Day 1 and we’re going to continue to feed off that

and get better every day.”

Coming off the worst season in franchise history, the Jaguars

have plenty of room for improvement. The offense ranked near the

bottom of the league for the second consecutive season while the

defense was 30th.

Jacksonville finished 2-14, leading to the firing of general

manager Gene Smith and Mularkey.

Owner Shad Khan tasked Bradley and new GM Dave Caldwell with

rebuilding the franchise through the draft, which resulted with the

team parting ways with about two dozen veterans and several

starters.

”It’s the start of a new era – again,” guard Uche Nwaneri

said. ”At the same time, it’s an opportunity for guys to come out

here and get to learn their coaches, get to learn the system and

get comfortable with their surroundings and their

environment.”

Nwaneri (knee) was one of nine players who sat out Tuesday’s

practice. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew (foot), defensive end

Jeremy Mincey (ear infection), defensive tackle Roy Miller (knee),

guard Jason Spitz (foot), fullback Montell Owens (knee), running

back Jordan Todman (knee), tight end Matt Veldman (knee) and

receiver Jerrell Jackson (groin) also missed the workout.

Defensive tackle D’Anthony Smith strained his left calf during

practice.

The practice wasn’t seamless as quarterback Blaine Gabbert,

learning his third offense in as many seasons, struggled in team

drills.

The playlist, though, got nearly as much attention.

”It’s hard to have high anxiety and compete,” said Bradley,

who hopes to keep steady pressure on his players in every practice.

”It’s almost physically impossible. It’s extremely difficult, so

anything we can do to alleviate anxiety. You say, `Oh Gus, it’s

soft.’ We’re not talking about soft. That wasn’t soft what we just

did out there.

”We allowed them to play fast so they could put full

concentration into their assignments and the execution and their

effort. Those three principles – hard, fast and together – and the

music helps do that.”