On the day after the win over the Patriots, Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone was moving forward. While some teams talk about the “24-hour rule” to bask or wallow in the previous day’s result, Marrone was already preparing for the Titans. He’s doing so with a new starter on the offensive line with the loss of Cam Robinson to an ACL injury.
“One thing that I have talked to this coaching staff about and I have talked to the players about is I don’t want anyone on this roster or on this team that is a backup,” Marrone said referring to Josh Wells stepping into the left tackle spot. “I want everyone to be treated and prepare just like they are a starter.”
It’s been the Jaguars philosophy under Marrone since the beginning. As a back-up himself as a player, Marrone knows how it feels to be treated like a stop-gap measure. He’s comfortable with the guys on the roster getting into games, no matter what the situation.
“What I wanted to do is make sure everyone understands that we’re not scouring and we need to go out there and find some answers. We have the answers here in the building.”
So they’re not going around looking for new players. They’ll also make sure the offensive linemen on the roster are up to speed at just about every position. Marrone said Brandon Linder, A.J. Cann and the rest are capable of stepping in just about anywhere if they have “a problem” in the future.
He also was quick to point out, in a subtle way that it was Tashaun Gipson and not Jalen Ramsey who did the bulk of the work against Rob Gronkowski and kept the all-everything TE in check.
“I think we have two good guys back (at safety) there starting and I said it last year about T-Gip. Gipson had a heck of a year last year for us and he is off to a really good start this year. I think a lot of things get overlooked. He was matched up about 17 or 18 times out there [on Gronkowski] and did an outstanding job.”
In a weird quirk, the Jaguars actually have higher offensive production when Leonard Fournette is out of the lineup compared with when he plays. It’s a bit of a false stat since the game plan changes with Fournette in the game, more running game, more clock management, more grind it out.
Not sure if Fournette will play this week, Marrone didn’t want anybody to think the team can go long-term without him. It’s just the other players getting it done.
“Let’s make sure we understand that Leonard is a very important player for us and a guy that can change games. To have the other players pick it up and do a good job is obviously important and I think that’s what the players have done.”
Make all the fun of Blake Bortles you want, Marrone is squarely in his corner and always has been. VP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin has said all along “we believe in the player.” The head coach goes a lot further, acknowledging how tough Bortles has been, physically and mentally.
“The one thing I do admire though is his toughness through it.,” Marrone added. “It’s not like whether it’s this or that or percentage or a completion percentage or how he plays. At the end of the day, quarterbacks and players, coaches, everybody – we are just judged on winning and losing. We just want to win.”
And finally, the head coach leaned on his thoughts about being able to wear Jaguars gear and be proud of it. He talked about it in the offseason, playing on a bad Syracuse team and not wanting to wear his football t-shirt in public. The outpouring of support and the raucous nature of the fans at the game Sunday is just what Marrone likes.
“I know our fans fire us up. I hate to say that because you would think we are professionals and maybe I could do a better job of getting the team ready to go, but the fans are great. We’re trying to go out there every day and play the type of game and win games or have the opportunity to win games that the fans of Jacksonville can be proud of. They can be proud to wear that shirt on Monday. Sometimes when you don’t play well it’s tough. It’s tough to wear that shirt. We talk about our support. We talk about the advantage that we have. The fans have been great. They have done their part. We’re hoping that they come out again and cheer this team on. When we win, they are a part of it.”