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Bortles may get minicamp snaps with Jags' first unit

The SportsXchange

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Although incumbent quarterback Chad Henne took all the snaps with the Jacksonville Jaguars' No. 1 offensive unit, there was no shortage of attention on rookie Blake Bortles in the team's organized team activities.

The No. 3 overall selection in last month's draft continued to make progress in his development as an NFL quarterback. The rookie from Central Florida experienced ups and downs during the Jaguars' final days of OTAs, just ahead of the mandatory team minicamp that runs next Tuesday to Thursday.

Bortles was asked how he judged the progress he made in the three weeks of team OTAs.

"I think just on learning from what you're doing, learning from the mistakes that I've made inside of OTAs, learning from the things I've done right and how I can improve those things and continuing to do that," he said. "Eliminate and minimize errors ... I need to continue.

"I'm meeting every morning with (offensive coordinator Jedd) Fisch and having Chad, Ricky (Stanzi) and Steve (Morris) to be able to bounce things off of. And obviously getting reps. I think that's the best way for me to try and progress, to be on the field and watch Chad do it. Then I get an opportunity to go do it."

Bortles may even get a chance to work with the team's first unit next week in minicamp.

"We haven't talked about that, but somewhere down the line, he'll get some reps with the ones," coach Gus Bradley said Thursday.

Bradley said other reserves will get an opportunity to work with the first unit next week, too.

After Jacques McClendon took all the snaps at right guard with the starters through the first eight days of the OTAs, rookie Brandon Linder finally got his chance. Midway through Thursday's ninth and final day of OTAs, Linder was inserted into the lineup with the rest of the starters.

"We started off early moving (Linder) to different positions, then we locked him into guard and now he's back getting reps with the ones," Bradley said. "It's not just Linder, though. I really challenge our coaches to get everybody reps with the ones so they get a feel for what it's like. How do you know until get in that situation? So with our rookies, we really promote that."

--The four-man receiver group that bore the brunt of the position's workload this week finally got some relief when two of the Jaguars' seven injured receivers returned to practice Thursday.

For almost a week, the four healthy receivers -- Kerry Taylor, Allen Hurns, Chad Bumphis and Damian Copeland -- carried the load for the Jaguars.

The rest of the receiving corps was sidelined due to minor injuries. Included in the group were Cecil Shorts (calf), Ace Sanders (thigh), Mike Brown (groin), Lamaar Thomas (knee), Tandon Doss (calf) and the team's two highly touted second-round draft picks, Marqise Lee (ankle) and Allen Robinson (hamstring).

Sanders and Brown were able to make token appearances Thursday to help out. Several others could return to action next week during the team's minicamp.

Bradley said the injuries were allowing some of the newcomers to showcase their talents.

"I think it's good because Hurns and Bumphis have really stepped up," Bradley said. "Those things came out to where we feel good about them and it still challenged our corners. You can still see on tape the principles, but they'll get challenged enough, and they have."

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