Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JAGUARS NOTEBOOK; del Rio Joins Jags' Beard Brigade

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JAGUARS NOTEBOOK; del Rio Joins Jags' Beard Brigade

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL C. WRIGHT

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio walked the hallways Tuesday at the club's facilities sporting more facial hair than usual, prompting questions about whether he's joining the players in their quest to grow beards.

Asked how long he's grown out the beginnings of a beard that already appeared to feature plenty of gray hair, Del Rio laughed. "Not very long," he said. "One thing we know is it's salty - salt and pepper."

Several Jaguars announced a "movement" before training camp in which players would grow beards as a show of team unity, which was believed to be lacking last season. It's unclear whether Del Rio will join the movement. He wasn't sure he'd keep the new look for the preseason finale against Washington.

"We'll see," he said. "It's just a little something different."

DILLARD IN COMPETITIVE SPOT

Four players are competing for two spots - that's the likely scenario at receiver - with the Jaguars set to finish the preseason.

Fifth-round pick Jarett Dillard figures to be a prominent player in the discussion, despite experiencing a case of the drops early in training camp. In fact, Dillard expects to make the final 53-man roster, saying the game has finally slowed down for him.

"I do [think I'll be on the roster]," Dillard said. "I'm very confident in what I've done and think I've shown some things in practice and games that I can play at this level."

It should be a tough decision for the Jaguars, considering the club typically keeps five receivers on the active roster. Torry Holt, Troy Williamson and Mike Sims-Walker appear to be locks, meaning that Dillard will be competing with fellow rookies Tiquan Underwood and Mike Thomas, in addition to Nate Hughes, for two roster spots.

"It's more knowing the playbook and knowing your job, the different coverages and defenses they run," Dillard said of his progression this preseason. "That first game, I was on pins and needles trying to do everything correctly, but the game was moving so fast. As I got more comfortable, it seemed like against Tampa Bay it slowed down a little bit more. Even our last game against the Eagles, that was even slower. …

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