It doesn’t sound like the “lower body injury’’ that kept Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler out all of last week will keep the 2015 third-overall pick out of the Jaguars season opener.
Fowler missed all of the joint workouts as well as the game the Jags played against the Panthers last week but he says the team was just being cautious and that he’s good to go.
“I really feel good,’’ Fowler told Jaguars.com. “I’m ready physically and I think I’m mentally ready. I’ve got to take that mental part to another level in terms of being 100 percent on my alignments and assignments.’’
There’s no denying that. Fowler came to the Jaguars three years ago as an extremely raw pass rusher and his four sacks last year are an indication his approach still needs a lot of refinement.
Of course, that’s not the only thing Fowler needs to refine. He still needs to clean up his act off the field, where the fallout from his July arrest in Pinellas County could sideline him further.
Fowler was slapped with misdemeanor charges of battery, criminal mischief and petit theft after he became involved in an altercation with a man who yelled at him for driving too fast through his apartment complex.
Even if Fowler winds up getting acquitted of the charges, which include him taking a swing at the man, he could still face discipline from the NFL for violating its personal conduct policy.
Fowler seems pretty confident, though, that not only will he be with the Jaguars when the season opens, he’ll also be as ready as he’s ever been to make the impact the Jaguars have been expecting him to make.
Fowler, who was having a solid training camp and had a sack against the Buccaneers in their Week 2 preseason game, said the key for him is to play with more consistency and he believes he’s ready to do that.
“If I can (get may alignments and assignments down), then I can be me and I can play fast,’’ Fowler said. “And right now, I feel good coming out of this camp.
“I’ve handled my business off the field, and I’ve handled my business on the field. I’m in shape and honestly, I’m approach the game as a pro. I was a true rookie last year in some of the things I did and didn’t do.
“But I can tell I’m maturing and taking steps in the right direction. Being consistent on and off the field is my biggest thing.’’