What they said: Quotes after the Jaguars loss to the Texans

(George Varkanis)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Comments from the Jaguars players and coaches after the 20-7 loss to the Texans (transcription provided by Jaguars public relations department):

Head coach Doug Marrone

(Opening statement) “Again, another week, another minus-three in turnovers.  The one thing that we talked about all week long, every single day, the one thing that we’ve been preaching is that we cannot turn the ball over.  Obviously, it’s very frustrating.  It’s also very disappointing when you go out there in the first series, you turn the ball over, the defense does a nice job in holding them to three. After that, there were obviously some dropped balls and things of that nature, short of the first down, not getting the ball vertically down the field when we had those opportunities, protection at times.  And then, when we got to the second half and it was still 13 to nothing, and we weren’t playing very well, and defensively, we needed to stop the run better.  They ran the ball well in the first half.  We weren’t able to flip the field.  We had very inconsistent punting to be able to flip the field.  The thought process behind [the quarterback change] was, you could take all eleven out, but you don’t have enough people to put in.  So, the thought process was, ‘Hey, listen. I’m going to take the quarterback out.  It’s not like he played worse than anyone else out there.’  He did have the two fumbles.  At the same time, I just literally did it to try to get a damn spark from this football team, to put everyone on notice that they have to focus and they have to go out there and play better.  At points in the second half, they did that.  That’s not fair to the quarterback, but that’s the way this business is, so really when we talk about it, and the questions are going to be, ‘Who is your starting quarterback next week?’  The focus will be on that, but for me, it’s on everyone.  It’s on everyone, as far as we have to look at putting the players out there that can secure the football on offense, do what we need to do to not lose games.  We don’t even have opportunities to win them when you turn the ball over three times.”

(On what he saw from Cody Kessler) “It helps when you start catching the ball.  You can protect better at times, but you can see the same problems in the first half.  Protections break down and it doesn’t matter who the quarterback is.  It’s going to be tough.”

(On what Cody Kessler was able to do better than Bortles) “Again, what always happens in going through this situation, everyone is going to focus on two individuals.  The problem is that those two individuals rely on a lot of things around them.  It was more the things around them that may be the difference.  Again, that’s how I feel about that situation.”

(On if he’ll take this next week as a preseason assessment) “We’re in the season.”

(On if he’ll approach it like the preseason where he’ll go through every position) “We’ve got to do something.  Like I said before, the one thing you do with that position, doesn’t matter the name, doesn’t matter who it is:  when you make a move to get a spark, everyone goes on notice.  Everyone.”

(On if the offense is doing anything well that the team can build on) “It doesn't matter what you do well to be able to build on if you are turning the ball over. If we weren't turning the ball over, yes, there would be things to build on. But it’s very difficult when you turn it over and you put yourself behind, and especially when you turn it over in the scoring area of the opponent.”

(On if the team wasn’t turning the ball over, what positives could the team build on) “I'm not focused on that right now.  I'm focused on how we stop turning the ball over. It's hard for me, in my mind, to sit here right now and try to say, ‘If we can do this, we can do...’ We can't do shit until we stop turning the ball over. Period. That's just how it is.”

(On how Blake Bortles handled being benched) “He was pissed, I mean he was pissed. You know? That's good. He should be pissed. He's pissed at me, and he should be. I have no problems with that.  If it was any other way, that would be a problem.”

(On who the starting quarterback is right now) “It’s open.  Who’s the starter at right tackle?  Who’s the starter at center?  Who’s the starter at receiver? Who’s the starter?  Everything is open. We’ve lost three straight games and we can’t stop shooting ourselves in the foot for lack of a better expression.  For us, the focus is going to be on that, but if you’re that side of the football…everything, special teams.  We’ve got to do something, but the first thing we’ve got to do is stop turning the damn ball over.  Period. That would be the positive of how we can build.”

(On what’s changed with the defense compared to last year) “We’ve got to do a better job in the run game today.  I can only speak for today.  Today we could’ve done a better job in the run game.  We needed to get underneath some of the blocks better.  We needed to play over the top a little bit more.  We needed to get off in some of the coverage plays, a little bit off in some of the things that were going on in front of us and protect the deep end of it.  Those things, I think you can improve on.  You can coach all of that stuff.  The one thing that is difficult to coach, and we have to do it because it starts with us, is our ball security.  I’m going to keep going back to the same thing because really, at the end of the day, we can say all we want.  I can get up here and give everyone a million things, all this stuff, positive and negative, but if you’re minus-three and you’re minus-two, minus-three, game-in and game-out, you are not going to win, no matter what positive thing you try to find.  That’s just the way it is.  It’s been that way from the beginning.”

(On if he’ll have to manage some of the frustration with the players) “Yeah.  You think I’m not frustrated?  We’re all frustrated.  We’ve got to manage it.  It’s very easy to see, you know what I’m saying?  We’ve got to stop turning the ball over and then we can create turnovers, too.”

(On if he has any idea why the team is struggling) “I’ve done it a lot of different ways.  To sit here and be able to say what happens or what’s going on…we’ve just got to do a better job of coaching it first.  That’s what we can control and that’s what we’ve got to be able to do.”

(On what he hopes Carlos Hyde brings to the offense) “I hope he brings a downhill mentality, a guy that can make plays, that can help with some protection, a guy that can help this offense and maybe get us in situations where we can get some plays.  We’re looking forward to that and seeing him this week.”

Quarterback Blake Bortles

(On frustration) “It is not what anybody wanted or how we expected to play.”

(On if he was surprised he came out of the game) “I don’t think anything ever surprises you playing the game at this level. After the second fumble, Doug (Marrone) let me know that Cody (Kessler) was going in. I have to take care of the ball and give us a chance to score points and win at this point and try to change the field position. I didn’t do that so they made a change.”

(On if he tried to do too much) “Of course. Nobody wants to play losing, bad football so I am going to try and do whatever I can to make a play. Obviously sometimes that doesn’t go well.”

(On what he saw on the field) “Offensively we continued to struggle. We put the defense out on the field a lot. I made them stay out there a while. We have to continue to do better on third downs, take care of the ball obviously and score points.”

(On if he expects to start next week) “I have no idea. I’ll do the same thing I’ve always done. Show up, work, prepare and get ready to go and work as hard as I can. If I play, I play. If not then I’ll do whatever I can to help this team.”

(On his initial reaction when he was told he wasn’t going back in the game) “It’s obviously not what you want to hear as a quarterback. Those aren’t the words you want the head coach to say to you. I was fortunate enough to watch Chad Henne go through that same thing and me be the guy that went in and played. I think he handled it with the utmost professionalism and that is what I tried to do. I tried to be there for Cody (Kessler). Be there for the guys in any way.”

(On what he told the team after the loss) “I think it is kind of the same message. It’s on us. We have to continue to find ways to win, we have to be better. We have to be a lot better offensively and give the defense a little help. “

(On how he moves forward) “You keep your head down and keep working. That’s all I’ve ever done my whole life. It’s all I really know how to do. I think it’s the only thing you can do in this situation. Show up with a positive attitude and get ready to play next week. Whether I play or not is not up to me so I’ll be ready to go.”

Quarterback Cody Kessler

(On when he was told he was going in) “Coach Marrone looked at me and said ‘Hey, you’re up. Go in there and protect the football like you’ve been doing in practice.’ It was kind of a quick decision. It happened real quick. You always have to be ready as a backup whether it is an injury or situations like this. It is a quick turnaround. I kind of went over the game plan with [Offensive Coordinator] Nate [Hackett} for the couple minutes we had and went out there.”

(On if he has the opportunity to compete for the starting job this week) “I mean I have no idea.  That is obviously up to coach. I am just going to keep doing what I have been doing since I got here and compete, helping the quarterback room any way I can whether it’s the scout team getting some reps or whatever it may be. I just have to keep that same mindset whether you are the starter or last string. You always have to prepare to be ready to go.”

(On how Blake Bortles was after the decision was made) “Blake’s awesome. Blake is my brother. I love the guy, and he was supporting me the whole way. Every time I came off the field he was helping me out, telling me what he saw and kind of talking through it. Every time before I went out there he came over and gave me a pat and said, ‘Let’s go, go lead them.’ You couldn’t ask for a better guy or a better quarterback room. It has been that way the whole year. Obviously, me and Tanner (Lee) are new here and Blake has been here for a while, but just the camaraderie we have in there and supporting each other. Whether it is Blake out there or today I got an opportunity, we all support each other.”

(On how many reps he gets in practice) “None. Maybe a couple, but that is part of the backup position. You have to get mental reps. I stay behind and mirror Blake [Bortles] behind by myself, stay after practice and go through the script that we have that day and get the same throws. It is obviously a little different game speed and not getting to rep those plays, but that is part of the game. If something like that happens, whether it is injury or the situation like today, you always have to be ready.”

(On if Doug Marrone was looking to him because he didn’t turn over the ball a lot in preseason) “I’m not sure that is Doug’s decision. I am frustrated with myself with the fumbling and just the miscommunication with T.J. [Yeldon] but I just have to get on the same page as him with reps. Whether Blake [Bortles] plays next week or somewhere down the line in the future something happens, you always have to be prepared like that. You have to protect the football, and that is something I take pride in. It’s tough because this is a tough league.”

(On the miscommunication with T.J. Yeldon) “He started throttling down. I thought he was going to keep going a little bit. I got it a little too far. He had been busting his tail back there in protection, helping me out. I have to give him a better ball.”

(On why the offense isn’t able to score) “I’m not going to talk about that. It is tough to win in this league.  It is tough to make plays. It is tough to continually be dominant. They have a great defense. They have a really good front seven, two guys in the back that are really good. It is tough each week. You have to make plays when they are there. It comes down to situations also. I think a big part of that is protecting the football whether it is me or Blake [Bortles], whoever is in there, wide receiver, running back, anybody. It is a tough league, and you have to come each week ready to go.”

(On if he has enough time to prepare for the London game) “You have to be. You don’t have a choice. Obviously, that is coach’s decision, and I am going to bust my tail this week. Whether it is me or Blake [Bortles], whatever it may be, I am going to continue to support him. I know he will do the same. Like I said, the quarterback room and the offense is really awesome. Obviously, it is frustrating these last couple of games, but at the same time there is nowhere else I would rather be. I love the attitude of this team and how close everybody is. It is tough. Everybody wants to win but whatever happens next week, I’ll be ready.”

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey

(On the frustration of three straight losses) “Yeah, very frustrating. We lost once again.”

(On what he saw out of DeAndre Hopkins today) “Same thing I usually see out of him: good receiver, made some plays.”

(On what to do to get back on track) “I know you all don’t want me to say it, but I don’t know. I don’t know.”

(On if he has any ideas on how to get back on track) “I don’t. I don’t know. I’m telling you, once again I do not know. I don’t know.”

(On how the team solves the frustration amongst themselves) “You all are gonna get mad at me. When I say something, you all don’t like it. When I don’t say something.. like I don’t know. I ain’t about to say nothing about my teammates, no nothing. That ain’t what I’m doing. I don’t know.”

(On if he was surprised about the quarterback change) “It’s not my call. I ain’t got nothing to do with what they got going on over there. Coach is handling it however he sees fit. We gotta roll with it.”

(On what changes the team made since last week) “You have to ask coach. I don’t know. Felt the same to me.”

(On if there was anything the team emphasized in practice) “They tried to be tougher on us in practice. The result didn’t do nothing.”

(On what’s missing from the defense this season) “You’re killing me, man. If I had the recipe, if I knew what was going on, we would all be sharing it with each other. We wouldn’t continue taking L’s, but I don’t know. We taking L’s and we gotta figure out. I don’t know what’s going on.”

(On if the dropped interception was indicative of the ball not bouncing the right way today) “I don’t know, man. I guess so.”

(On if he senses the frustration in the locker room) “What you think, man? You all walk in here, you all see how it is in here, you all see how we vibe with each other, you all see how we vibe towards the coaches, you all see how it is. It is no secret what’s going on here right now. Ain’t nobody going to say it because we can’t, but it ain’t no secret what’s going on and it ain’t right right now. It is what it is.”

Linebacker Telvin Smith

(On if frustration boiled over in the locker room after the game) “It was solid. I don’t speak on locker room business. Don’t ask me locker room questions.”

(On if the leaders have to make sure things don’t go off the rails) “We got to keep guys together. This is the message I sent to the guys.  We want you to love the game right now.  We want you to love this team, this organization and love each other. We’re going to have to battle deep. We’ve dug ourselves in a hole. It’s going to take a lot to dig us out.”

(On if this is a good time for a London trip) “It’s a great time. We always love to go to London. We play great in London. It’s solid.  It’s the next game. Adversity is here, you’ve got to be ready to stand up to it or it’s going to beat you all day.”

(On how to fix things) “We’re a team. I’m not going to point fingers because I’m going to keep the one pointed at myself, continue to make sure that I get better, continue to make sure I bring my energy, continue to make sure I bring my effort, my mentality to the team. I think the guys will continue to feed off of it and grow from it. That’s one thing that we cannot do, and I ask you all, don’t ask us to point fingers.”

Defensive tackle Abry Jones

(On his thoughts on the game) “No panic, Panic caused loses. Its week seven and we’re 3-4, all last year the first half of the season we were up and down and then we got it right so there isn’t any panic.”

(On how to prevent a losing season) “Play good ball. Go out there and don’t make turnovers. Get some turnovers and make stops. Field goals aren’t enough and we can’t let them score at all.”

(On if he thinks it’s difficult to win when the offense isn’t scoring) “I can’t speak on the offense but the defense knows what we can do and we know we can play better and we’re going to dig deep and find it.”

(On if he feels any panic) “There are too many grown men in here so there’s no panic.”

Defensive end Dante Fowler

(On if he felt any frustration on not being able to sack Deshaun Watson) “Not frustration. You know, we made adjustments, but hats off to the Texans, they game planned really well by max protecting us and having a tight end chip us and a running back to chip us, as well, so they did a good job. We’ve just got to be able to capitalize after that and shake it off and be ready for London next week.”

(On if he feels the Jaguars can turn it around) “Sure, we’ve played seven games so far. We have more games left. If we when out, we’d be 12-4 and that’s a really good record, so everybody has to come together and be ready to move forward together as a team and pick each other up and understand that we will have adversity. Once we find a way to get through this, we’ll be fine.”

(On if he feels playing in London gives the Jaguars an advantage) “I really don’t know or pay attention to it. Some players, it takes a toll being on a plane that long and being in another country takes some adjusting to, but I love going to London and the prep for it. People over there are special and nice to us, so it’s always a good week when we’re over there.”

(On the level of frustration for the defense) “We’re a little frustrated, you know, but I’m not going to say we’re super frustrated. We’re just trying to figure what we can do to help out the offense, as far as putting them in good field position and as far as sacks, turnovers, interceptions and scoring on defense. We did a really good job of that last year. We’re just trying to bring that identity back again this year.”

Defensive tackle Malik Jackson

(On if he’s nervous following today’s game) “I’m not nervous because we have more opportunities. Realistically, we’re only one game behind in the AFC South, but this is a troubling time and we need to find some answers and fast. We let a great opportunity slip through our hands and we have to change it.”

(On what he thinks went wrong defensively) “They ran the ball a little more than I think we would have liked, just thinking about it. I know in the fourth quarter, they got a first down and I think that kind of hurt us a little bit because it gave the offense another opportunity. It’s just little things like not getting big chunk plays and they methodically ran the ball squirting out here and squirting out there.”

(On if he feels the time of possession had a factor in the outcome of the game) “It played a lot because we’d like to give our offense more time of possession, but at the end of the day, I think we had a lot of opportunities, we’ve just got to capitalize.”

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