JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Doug Marrone isn’t looking back, and who can blame him?
Jacksonville is 1-6 at the bye week and losers of six consecutive games. The Jaguars are mired in a historically bad slump and have allowed 30 points or more in all of those losses. Outside of a Week 1 win over the Colts and a solid showing the following game against the Titans, positives have been difficult to come by.
There have been questions about Marrone’s job security and if owner Shad Khan would make any changes during Jacksonville’s off week. The team’s 2021 draft position is once again a much-asked and very relevant question.
Marrone isn’t ready to call it quits. He said that he’s approaching the final nine games of the season in separate three-game chunks and thinks a turnaround is possible if the team can stretch their flashes of promise out into longer bursts of consistency.
And Marrone is not backing down from the challenge of trying to turn things around in Jacksonville. If anything, he sounded defiant Wednesday in thinking that the Jaguars were going to continue to struggle.
“Like I said, I am, and I’m not going to bull**** anyone, I’m kind of fired up. And I know you guys are probably sitting like, ‘What the hell’s going on? How can this guy be fired up? They just lost six games in a row,’ and I understand that. I totally do. But I’m going to bust my ***, I mean I’m telling you now,” Marrone said.
“I’m sure people are going to mock me for that or say whatever the hell they want, but I really don’t give a ***. I’m fired up. I’m going to go after it and however it falls, it falls, but it’s open for me.”
Getting things turned around with the Jaguars centers on getting better production from both sides of the ball.
The bottom line for the Jaguars — they can’t allow teams to score 30 points on a weekly basis and hope things get turned around. Marrone said that there may be defensive refinements that the Jaguars could use, but it’s not just that side of the ball that needs help.
“Maybe it might be week-to-week game plan adjustments of what we do depending on our matchups, but I don’t look at it as [just pressure on the offense.] There’s pressure on all of us,” Marrone said. “When you’re sitting here at the record that we have, it’s not one thing or another, it’s really everything. I mean you see flashes of good play around, but gosh, you don’t see the consistency that you need to win football games.”
The defense has been strafed weekly. The offense, while not as ragged as the defense, has been erratic at best.
Running back James Robinson has been a great find and continues to improve. Rookie receiver Laviska Shenault has been promising. Quarterback Gardner Minshew has shown flashes, but remains a work in progress. His on-field chemistry with receiver DJ Chark has waned over the past month.
Marrone knows that fans want answers and have clamored for change, be it a coaching staff shakeup or a lineup overhaul.
“If you’re sitting there and people are saying you want all these dramatic type changes going through and everything, that’s not possible," he said. "But that doesn’t mean we can’t make changes and adjustments and win football games and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Marrone isn’t looking back at a forgettable front half of the schedule. He’s looking at the rest of 2020 in three blocks of work and optimistic that things will change.
“Let’s play at our best, let’s coach at our best, and let’s coach each game like it’s the most important game in the world," he said. "I know that’s cliché because every game is, but I also have a level of excitement too for me thinking [of] it that way because if I keep going back and going, ‘Oh ****, we should’ve done this or hey we’re 1-6 and we’re this,’ I mean that’s going to get you down. There’s no doubt about it.”