JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Doug Marrone is ready to get back to a normal work schedule in the football offices at TIAA Bank Field.
Marrone said that his family is ready for him to get back to work, too. Slowly, that could be happening as soon as next week as the NFL prepares to begin allowing coaches back to team facilities where local regulations allow.
“Well, one is that there is no one more eager than my family for us to return to work, that’s for sure,” Marrone said on Friday. “… I don’t know about the players because I believe the NFLPA is involved with that, but we’re prepared either way, whether we come back as a staff or players come back in the building. We’re prepared for anything.”
Marrone said that the coaching staff is doing everything outside the building that it could be doing inside of it, so few things will change from a coaching aspect. The big shift is if coaches and players are in the facility together.
But the NFL is still a ways out from taking that next step, so virtual meetings continue.
Marrone said that one area that he’s been pleased in is that players continue to find ways to hold themselves to a high standard among one another, whether that’s through players-only Microsoft Teams meetings or practicing somewhere together.
“These players, we’re not on these calls when that’s going on. They’re getting together on their own, and it sounds like they’re going through where they’re calling plays, they’re discussing it, they’re working,” Marrone said. “I like that because obviously you have our players, they’re talking to each other, they’re trading some chemistry, and I think it creates accountability amongst themselves.”
At the forefront of that on the offensive side of the ball is quarterback Gardner Minshew, who said on Thursday that players have multiple meetings virtually and work on building chemistry and learning the playbook together.
Minshew is in the process of learning his second offense in as many seasons in the league, something that he said on Thursday, doesn’t bother him. Last year, the offense was designed initially around quarterback Nick Foles, who former offensive coordinator John DeFilippo worked with in Philadelphia.
Both Foles and DeFilippo are no longer on the Jaguars. Minshew is the unquestioned starter in 2020 and the team has a new offensive coordinator in Jay Gruden. Marrone said that Minshew has the ability to pick up offensive systems quicker than most and that the quarterback should be the most well-versed player on the team in the playbook.
“I think that what worked for Gardner is that early on when we first had him and we saw that that there was this kind of advanced retention that he had with the offenses, you know it was intriguing and we wound up asking him, ‘Hey, how are you able to do this?’,” Marrone said.
“He has some techniques that he uses and goes through as far as you know listening to a play, and then shutting it off right in the play up with all the progressions. Then also you know him being able to call out the plays, verbally, him calling the plays so he works extremely hard and does a lot of different things for him to retain information.”
Minshew said that he had to learn five different offenses in four years of college football in stops at Troy, Northwest Mississippi Community College, East Carolina and Washington State. Marrone is well aware of Minshew’s ability to dive in and pick up learning an offense, something that very few players can do from simply studying it.
“Some guys like I said before, very few can take it from the classroom to the field, that’s why there is a lot of anxiety during this time. Really, for me personally when I was an assistant coach, I probably had less than 1% of those players that could do that. The rest of them relied on the film work, the walkthrough, the making an error and then correcting it to get better,” Marrone said. “So fortunate for us, Gardner is a guy that can get out there and really learn and try to do what you want when he gets on the field. So, you know those are the different things that he does that I think gives him the ability to understand what we want.”