JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Like most rookies, quarterback Blake Bortles had his ups and downs in the Jacksonville Jaguars' first two weeks of OTA practices.
After going through a relatively good opening week that was limited to two days because of his participation in the NFL Rookie photo shoot in California, the former Central Florida star hit a low on Monday.
Bortles, the first quarterback and third overall player selected in the draft, knew that his first day back wasn't very good, as he pointed out to head coach Gus Bradley, which Bradley relayed to the media.
"He said, 'You know what -- I didn't have a very good practice,' " Bradley said of Bortles. "But I liked the way he bounced back from Monday's performance. He had one errant throw over the top (downfield), but the other ones, he executed and it looked like he was back to attacking. He was in rhythm and more in command. It was really cool to see that from him."
Bortles said there were several things he didn't like about Monday's practice.
"Just not being sharp," he began. "Being late on throws, missing throws. Those things are going to come. I think the biggest thing now is to get everything down. Things that we are working on like footwork and that is going to come with practice."
Even by the end of the week, the rookie quarterback was expressing concern over some of his missed throws.
"I missed a couple of throws, that's going to happen," he said. "I need to continue to work on that and make the right read and put it in the playmaker's hands."
Not helping Bortles was a scarcity of wide receivers. By the end of this week's OTAs, there were seven receivers who could only watch from the sideline. These were quality players too, as the list included arguably the team's top six receivers, led by last year's leading receiver Cecil Shorts.
Shorts joined the walking wounded when he felt tightness in his calf, relegating him to a sideline spot.
Already there were the team's two second-round draft picks in Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson. Lee was in a walking boot to protect his tender ankle and Robinson might be out the longest after pulling a hamstring early in the week. That will likely keep him sidelined the rest of the OTAs and possibly into the following week's mandatory minicamp (June 17-19).
Joining those three were Ace Sanders (hamstring), Mike Brown (groin), Tandon Ross (calf) and Lamaar Thomas (knee).
None of the injuries appears to require surgery of any kind, but that many players at the same position can cause a disruption in a team's practice plans. Bradley says it's part of playing in the National Football League.
"We've always been of the mindset that it's 'Next Guy Up' if one of the regulars can't go," Bradley said. "Injuries are part of the game and you've got to be ready if your number is called."
To help offset the lack of numbers, the Jaguars claimed rookie receiver Kevin Smith off waivers from the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday. He was signed by the Cardinals as an undrafted rookie out of Washington on May 12 and waived June 4.
NOTE: One of the best battles is at right guard where fifth-year veteran Jacques McClendon continues to ward off the challenge of rookie Brandon Linder. Linder was a four-year starter with the Miami Hurricanes, registering all but five of his 42 starts at right guard and two of those seasons he was coached by current Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch.