Marrone: Jaguars have made major progress in OTAs
Coach says work ethic, communication has been some of the best he's seen
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Doug Marrone is taking a wait-and-see approach with injuries and absences as the Jaguars wind down organized team activities and prepare for next week’s minicamp.
OTAs have served their purpose, even with numerous players not there. But the mandatory minicamp is when Marrone says the stakes — and his anxiety levels — go up. The Jaguars will finish off OTAs Friday with Marrone feeling that the team is in as good of a spot as possible. The three-day minicamp begins Tuesday.
“The players that are out here now have done the best job I’ve ever seen of not being on the ground,” Marrone said. “Our helmets aren’t getting involved in anything, because a lot of the time inside when you go 11-on-11, those helmets can hit a shoulder. Guys working with each other, this is the best group I’ve ever had of guys working with each other and staying up.”
Injuries and players recovering from health issues from last season have limited a slew of players. First-round draft pick Josh Allen has been on the sidelines most of OTAs and Marrone said he’ll handle those cases delicately.
Same thing for offensive linemen Cam Robinson and Andrew Norwell, both of whom wound up on injured reserve last season. That’s opened the door for rookie tackle Jawaan Taylor out of Florida to earn more snaps with the first team during OTAs.
Whether they participate or not next week is wait-and-see, but the Jaguars will look different regardless in minicamp. That’s when players are required to show up or risk being fined. That means players like Jalen Ramsey, Yannick Ngakoue and Leonard Fournette, all of whom have missed all or portions of OTAs, will be in camp.
Marrone said that he expected them to be there and was pleased with the group of players who had been in OTAs competing. That doesn't mean he's not anxious going forward, though.
"If that [work ethic] still remains through mandatory minicamp, then we’ll be fine, but as a coach, about halfway through that practice, every little thing that happens you get a little bit of anxiety," Marrone said. "Then, the last day, you’ve got a ton of anxiety because what’s going to happen is, god forbid something happens, then I’ll be out here saying, ‘Hey, he was out there."
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