Jaguars begin offseason conditioning amid changes

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 23, 2014 at 3:47 pm •  Published: April 23, 2014
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — No Maurice Jones-Drew. No Brad Meester. Not even Blaine Gabbert.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are getting their first look at the latest stage of their rebuilding project, an offensive overhaul that includes the loss of several starters.

Players went through the second day of offseason conditioning drills Wednesday and were still getting accustomed to not seeing Jones-Drew, Meester and others in the locker room.

"Growing up in Cleveland and not knowing a lot about the Jaguars, all you knew was Maurice Jones-Drew from my age bracket," receiver Cecil Shorts III said. "It's going to be different. We're going to miss his presence, his leadership on and off the field, just him being around. He's a good friend, a good teammate."

The Jaguars let Jones-Drew walk in free agency, opting not to re-sign the 29-year-old running back who carried 1,804 times for 8,071 yards and 68 touchdowns in eight seasons. Meester, who started the last 90 games at center, retired in January after 14 seasons in Jacksonville.

The Jaguars also traded quarterback Gabbert to San Francisco and parted ways with veteran guard Uche Nwaneri. Throw in the uncertain future of suspended receiver Justin Blackmon, and the Jaguars could have a significantly different offensive look in 2014. And they're hoping for significantly different results.

Jacksonville ranked 31st in the league in total offense last season.

But the Jaguars believe things will be better in 2014. They kept their entire offensive coaching staff intact and added former Denver guard Zane Beadles (five years, $30 million) and former Minnesota running back Toby Gerhart (three years, $10.5 million) in free agency.

They also made Chad Henne the starter, an indication they don't anticipate selecting a franchise quarterback with the third pick in next month's NFL draft.

Henne welcomed his solidified role.

"My antics are going to be different," Henne said. "I'm not going to just be laid back. I'm going to expect more. I'm going to expect more out of myself and demand a lot more from the guys rather than taking a back seat."

Henne started 13 games in place of Gabbert last season, completing 61 percent of his passes for 3,241 yards and 13 touchdowns. The quarterback, who has played in three offensive systems the last three years, expects better numbers in the second year under coordinator Jedd Fisch.

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