If you felt that tremor in the atmosphere rippling out of downtown Jacksonville, it was just Doug Marrone pumping up the Jacksonville Jaguars into a frenzy to match his own.
If you felt a shift in the wind coming off the St. John’s River, it was just Doug Marrone whipping the Jaguars into a new identity for the coming “nine-game season”—as he calls the remainder of the 2020 schedule.
In short, sitting at 1-6 and on the hot seat…Doug Marrone sounds more inspired than ever.
“I'm not gonna bulls*** anyone, I'm kind of fired up,” Marrone told reporters on Tuesday morning.
He then outlined a plan for the Jaguars bye week, gaining steam with each promise and declaration, building to soliloquy befitting a man with nothing to lose.
“I know you guys are probably saying like ‘what the hell is going on, how could this guy be fired up they just lost six in a row.’ You know, and I understand that I totally, totally do. But, you know…I’m gonna bust my a** man.
“I’m gonna look at some things, I want to go a little bit outside the box, I mean I want to challenge these coaches and challenge these players. And see, I am going to do whatever I can to get the best out of this team and best out of these players, I mean, so, you know, I'm sure people are gonna, you know, mock me for that or say whatever the hell they want but I really don't give a s***, I'm fired up. I'm gonna go after it.”
He’s done it before, Marrone points out. There was the time at Syracuse, five days before the season began, that Marrone and his staff changed the entire offense. With the Buffalo Bills, and even in Jacksonville, Marrone says there have times in the past he’s taken a risk to make a change and seen it work out. Even recently.
“We took chances on some guys we took a chance on a guy named James Robinson and he's playing his a** off so, you know, I'm kind of fired up man," Marrone said Tuesday.
With the record at 1-6 and last in the AFC South, Marrone says the problem isn't one player or one position, it’s everything. And the pressure isn’t on one coach or one player, it’s on everyone. Fixing it will start this afternoon in meetings. The coach told reporters he wants to look at several options, stemming around week-to-week game plans.
“You can look at ways to shorten the game, you know, I mean to do that, to keep the other teams opposing offense off. I think we can do things defensively, to maybe avoid you know some of the explosive plays that we have, but I think there's a lot that goes into that.”
Through seven games, the Jaguars defense has given up 64 explosive plays versus the offense notching 52 of their own.
“So we're going to talk about different things and look at some, you know—maybe it might be a week to week game plan adjustments you know I'm saying, what we do, depending on our matchups.”
Those week-to-week matchups will now make up what Marrone is encouraging players and coaches to think of as a brand new nine-game season. While every game is always the most important in its moment, it can become easy to look ahead…or even worse—and possible in the Jaguars case—look behind. Staying within each week is the message Doug Marrone says he’s giving to his locker room, his staff and himself. It’s also the message he hopes saves the Jacksonville Jaguars season.
“The one thing that's going on right now is no one can question how hard these guys are playing. And I know the coaches are working their a** off. So you have that, so long as you have that you always have a chance. And, you know my deal with the team is listen; ‘Alright, we're coming back we're gonna have nine games left. All right. I want to stop, you know, going back in the past, thinking about, you know, the record, you know where it is. And let's go ahead and let's go after this nine-game season, and break it up into three quarters, you know what I'm saying. And let’s get excited and let's go play football.’”