Jaguars first win obscured by bigger concerns

9/11 and Hurricane Irma overshadow substantial victory

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There’s a lot going on with the weird confluence of Sept. 11, the Jaguars win and Hurricane Irma’s impact.

From Houston, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone referenced all three in a conference call on Monday afternoon. Marrone wished everybody in Jacksonville to be safe as floodwaters rise and fall and said the team’s first priority was the safety of the players and their families. That’s one of the reasons the Jaguars will stay in Houston at least one more night.

“It’s very difficult,” Marrone said when asked about keeping track of what’s going on in Jacksonville. “You’re looking at the news and we’re on our computers and trying to check on families. All of our resources are put right now is for the safety of people back in Jacksonville.”

Although Texans head coach Bill O’Brien offered his practice facility to the Jaguars, Marrone said since Houston has a Thursday night game this week, he thought it was best to make their own plans. That’s why the Jaguars did some conditioning and stretching at the Tellepsen Family YMCA in Houston.

In some convoluted way, the Jaguars staying in Houston after beating the Texans might promote some team building. Instead of flying back home and going their separate ways, the squad took buses back to the hotel for the night.

“I’m always looking for that,” Marrone explained. “I’ve seen some of  that building up to the game. You don’t know until you start playing. They communicated with each other and with the coaches very well during the game.  Being here together will help with team building.”

But Marrone admitted it was pretty low-key headed back to the hotel and through the evening.

“We were tired. The bus wasn’t loud. They left it on the field; they played very physical, with a lot of emotion. I think when teams lay it on the line and it’s a physical game, our players are where they should be, they were tired.”

Among the stars in the opener for the Jaguars was free agent acquisition Calais Campbell. Campbell had four of the Jaguars’ record 10 sacks against Houston. 

“I told him that was some kind of performance,” said the Marrone, recounting his conversation with Calais on the bus after the game. “But what caught me was how he looked at me and said, ‘I couldn’t have done it without people on the back end with their coverage.’  That says more than anything else. If one person is successful, the other 10 were doing their job.”

Although it’s early in the week, there’s talk about moving this coming weekend’s game to Nashville from Jacksonville against the Titans. Marrone said they’ll go through the process of asking the right questions before anything is decided.

“Are our families safe: Where’s our work going to be done? Is our stadium safe? Those are the questions I’ll ask before we decided to do anything different.”