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Fixing, not firing, is the path Jaguars coach Doug Marrone is focusing on

Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone of the Jacksonville Jaguars watches from the sideline during a game against the Tennessee Titans.
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone of the Jacksonville Jaguars watches from the sideline during a game against the Tennessee Titans. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Doug Marrone doesn’t see big changes making a big difference for the struggling Jaguars.

If there were a change to make, Marrone said that he’d gladly be willing to make it. But the issues plaguing the Jaguars have been so widespread week to week that there’s not one simple fix to get things turned back around.

A day after the Jaguars' fifth straight loss, Marrone said that there aren’t clear-cut personnel changes that would help. Defensive coordinator Todd Wash’s unit has been strafed during the losing streak. On offense, coordinator Jay Gruden has seen the Gardner Minshew-led unit regress since two solid performances to start the season.

“My past has shown that I’ve done that everywhere I’ve been as a head coach and when that stuff is warranted, I feel very comfortable making that decision wherever it may be,” he said.

“But this one is not [like that], this one is really all of us, that we all have to do a better job and we all have to dig ourselves out of this because it’s never as easy as what some people think. It’d be easy if it was one thing, but it’s not. We have to do better at all of it, so that’s how I feel.”

At 1-5 and mired in a dreadful losing streak with a trip to the Los Angeles Chargers on tap Sunday, the Jaguars have got to turn things around quickly or face the possibility of a long second half of the season. A win over the Colts in Week 1 and a solid effort in a losing cause against the Titans in Week 2 have been followed up by one bad game after another.

Minshew and the offense have been in a funk and there’s not a good explanation as to why. Receiver DJ Chark missed the Dolphins game with an injury and the offense was abysmal without a downfield threat. But Chark has been back for two weeks and the Jaguars are still struggling to move the ball vertically when it matters.

Guard AJ Cann left Sunday’s loss to the Lions and was replaced by rookie Ben Bartch, but Marrone said it wasn’t that injury alone that caused issues in the running game. Detroit entered allowing an NFL-worst 170.3 yards rushing per game. Jacksonville mustered 44 rushing yards.

Minshew has struggled since a quick start. The Lions smothered the ground game without having to worry about Minshew picking them apart through the air.

Statistically, he’s having a solid season (1,682 passing yards, 11 TDs, 5 INTs), but growing numbers of Minshew’s totals have come in garbage time with little chances to win.

Jacksonville has a top-15 ranked running back in James Robinson who it can’t seem to get the ball to enough. The pass rush remains nonexistent. Marrone said that the team is trying to put players in the best position possible but knows that the losing skid opens him up to skepticism.

“It’s hard to sit here and defend a lot of that stuff when you’re not winning football games, so I think we’re looking to put guys in the best position we can that not only helps them individually in their performance, but in the whole grand scheme of what we’re trying to get accomplished,” he said.

About the only promising news Monday from Marrone is that kicker Josh Lambo would be back at practice this week, and that the team was going to see how he felt later in the week. Lambo has been on the injured reserve list with a left hip issue since late September following a loss to the Titans.

The kicking game has been atrocious in Lambo’s absence, with Jacksonville using four different kickers since his injury.

“I think when you’re going through something that we’re going through and it’s difficult, it’s with a young football team, I think it’s very natural to have people that are going to… not place blame, not that anyone’s looking to say, ‘Hey, it’s this person’s fault’, but everyone’s really trying to figure out how can this team get better and you appreciate that,” Marrone said.


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