If you saw anything out of the Jacksonville Jaguars fans over the weekend at the team’s rookie minicamp, you saw excitement.
Over 8,000 fans came out to witness the birth of a new team, a new face of the franchise and potentially, the passing combination that could light the NFL on fire for the next decade.
While Blake Bortles was becoming acclimated with the heat of north Florida, the fans who have been looking for a savior for the past decade and two rookie receivers expected to make the Central Florida signal caller look good in teal and black (and vice versa), there is one thing everyone can agree on in this town that has us all excited – hope.
Bortles was welcomed to cheers from over 2,000 fans on the first day of practice and then followed that up with over 6,000 fans on Saturday. People were lined up in front of the team’s practice facility and were not allowed in because of size of the viewing area.
That, my friends, is a passion the Jaguars have not witnessed in years. All Bortles must do now is convince the hometown crowd that his kids will develop and 2015 will be the target date to unleash all this “potential.”
But for the fans, it is a matter of whether or not they can wait another season while Chad Henne keeps the team together and chases more wins than the four the team had last season. Personally, I think this is a team that can win eight games this season.
The excitement wasn’t lost on the Jaguars management, including head coach Gus Bradley.
"How about this atmosphere?" Bradley said.
Bortles looked he part in 11-on-11 drills, completing 11 of 14 passes. He threw a couple of wobbly passes, but for the most past was comfortable in the pocket and with the game plan offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch designed for him.
"It was awesome," Bortles said. "The fans were unbelievable. I’ve never seen so many people at practice before."
Bortles was one of nine drafted players and 18 undrafted rookies to participate in the two-day practice.