hope to bring Blake Bortles along slowly before making him the face of the franchise. (Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
The Jacksonville Jaguars have continually found themselves to be the laughingstock of the NFL, but head coach Gus Bradley is doing what he can to change that stigma and bring some pride back to Jacksonville.
So far, so good. After a solid free-agency period, the Jaguars impressed with their showing in the 2014 NFL draft, which included the selection of potential franchise quarterback Blake Bortles. Jaguars fans came out in droves to watch the new players train last weekend, breaking not only the team's previous rookie minicamp attendance record, but also shattering its training camp attendance record.
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Previously, the best-attended Jaguars training camp practice was seen by 4,500 people, way more than any previous rookie minicamp open to the public. But on Saturday, 6,800 people registered for passes, a clear indication of how excited Jaguars fans are for Bortles and the other new members of an improved roster.
Coach Bradley couldn't help contain his excitement when speaking about the fans, according to the official team site.
“Underneath the banners?” Bradley said, almost shouting. “Huh? How about that? The fans? Are you kidding? That is awesome.”
“What a credit to (Jaguars owner Shad Khan)," Bradley continued. "We talk about, 'Connect with the following and try to help them go along this journey with us.’ When we get excited, they get excited. When we have tough times, they do. We’re going to do this thing together, and to be able to see a group of people who are that passionate for good football and to watch passionate players is something.”
While the Jaguars may need another season or two of retooling, all indications suggest the franchise is trending upwards.