Jaguars' HC Doug Marrone Quotes 8.13.20
COURTESY OF JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
(Opening statement) "A couple things, just talking about some roster stuff. [DT] Caraun Reid will be joining us today and Carl Davis will be joining us. Tramaine Brock is still going through the testing phase so we'll see where he is tomorrow. Also, Josh Mauro will be with us tomorrow upon completion of the testing phase. The only thing, and I'll just say it now and I'll pause while you text this out, is that [LB] Quincy Williams has a core muscle issue, so he's going to miss some time and we'll just move [LB] Dakota Allen up and Nate Evans to the WILL linebacker position. So that's where we are as a team, right now with the players that we have. So just trying to tell you guys this now before we go out there and you try to figure everything out. Other than that, we're still in the phase two type of work. Looking forward to August 17 with the pads, putting them on and then obviously September 5is when we have to get down to 53 and trying to figure out who the 53 best players are that are going to help us win this year."
(On LB Joe Schobert exhibiting his leadership by his actions and not words) "I don't know, I've had some very good conversations with him. I think he's very focused, I think he—you can tell now when we're working. One of the things is that when you're working in this type of situation, you know, there's no pads on, you're trying to simulate a lot of things. He has very good discipline and working through the drills with that, whether it's bending at the knees, really working on clamping on his tackling drills. So one thing that I've watched with Joe these past couple days is just his attention to detail, and I think he's focused that way. But I do see him as someone who does communicate. I don't know yet, you know we haven't been in any high-anxiety type situations, but he reminds me of a player that's extremely focused, loves what he does, can really help people around him process his information quickly and is able to verbalize it quickly. And I feel very, very comfortable with him in there. It's like a lot of times there's a period where you're looking for a person to be comfortable and then—not only that person, but the people around him, especially with the person that's communicating. Right now, it looks, when I watch him and Myles [Jack] out there, they look very comfortable and it shows because of the reaction, and they seem a lot quicker and a lot better."
(On strides that DE/LB Josh Allen has made physically) "I can't say enough. For Josh, it happened right after the season was over. 'What can I do? How can I do a better job helping this team?' and all those things. I think your first year, most of those players are going to train like a son-of-a-gun for the combine, they're going to train like a son-of-a-gun for the workouts. They have another evaluation period that, at least I look at, okay so now they train like that. What have they done from when they stopped training, to the draft and then when they report here? And I think that shows a lot and I think Josh, at that point, did a very good job. Then you're like, 'Okay how are they going to come into camp?' Most of them do have a couple weeks at the end, so there's really a short period of time, I would say about two-and-a-half weeks in July, and you evaluate again. You know, what did you do during those two-and-a-half weeks? A lot of the guys, they've gone so long, their season went right into an offseason where decisions have to be made with agents, decisions have to be made about dieting, where they're going to train. You know, we see a lot of that, that goes on. Then they go through the season and during that season, I think that you learn a lot. If you're a player that's in tune to your surroundings, you're going to learn about the practicing, the nutrition, the time—because your time is so much different than it was in your past where people have to go to class, there's study hall, there's numerous things that players have to do. So I think what Josh did a good job of is really, in the offseason, of saying, 'Okay, I realize all this stuff, I know what I want to do, I know where I want to be, I'm going to work there.' And he really looks great, he really does. I mean, he's moving better than he's moved before, at least from what I've seen from last year. He's communicating much more with his teammates and really trying to set a standard, which I think is important and, I mean, what a great player to look up to, to see what he's doing. He's one player that you can see him laugh, you can see him focused, you can see him, you know you see all the things around him that there's a lot of great things ahead of him in his career and we're excited about him."
(On his impressions of WR Laviska Shenault Jr. so far) "I think it's good. I think it's really good. I think that we're putting a lot on him. You know, he's an incredible athlete. I mean, when you get a visual on him I don't think you realize, until you actually see him up close, how big he is, how strong he is, how powerful he is. I think he can play multiple positions and it's just a matter of 'Let's get him off to a great start," which he has. Catching the ball extremely well, he can run, he can get in and out of cuts. So, it's going to be an exciting camp for that group. They're all showing that they have good ball skills, they all work extremely hard. [Wide Receivers Coach] Keenan McCardell does a great job with them. So, there's going to be a lot of competition there and you know, it's going to be good for everybody. Those young guys are going to push the older guys."
(On relationship with longtime Offensive Line Coach Howard Mudd) "Yeah, I mean, we're all deeply saddened. Especially for me, he's probably—he's someone that, when I came into the league with the [New York] Jets, he was someone that really took me under his wing, for whatever reason, I don't know why I was granted that by him. And really, he—there's been a lot of good line coaches in this league, but I think when you're talking about the great line coaches, great coaches, I mean, he's up there. I was fortunate in New York, I had two players that had been drafted and played for him in Seattle, both with Kevin Mawae and Pete Candlewood played a long period of time. And it just seemed that every time I was able to get a player that either had been with Howard or played for Howard, it made my job a lot easier. Because technically, he's just such a really good football coach and really got the most out of his players. What was important to me is when I came into the league, there were a lot of coaches that were obviously well established in the offensive line position and that first year in New York, it was tough. It was a touch transition, going into a room and taking over for another great line coach in Phil Muir and I didn't really have a lot of relationships with people from a coaching standpoint. And I reached out to Howard who I worked out for when he was in Kansas City, when I was a player. And Jimmy Raye, who was my mentor, he was in the room with me and he had worked with Howard and he kind of got us together. And then I was able to give him a call, I was able to talk to him, he was able to help me through a lot of the difficult times when we weren't playing well or maybe I wasn't getting my point across. And he kind of took me under his wing and I remember when, the story, so when I left New Orleans and became the head coach of Syracuse, he was like, 'Oh, I can't believe you did that, I can't believe you left the greatest position to coach in football and now you're a damn head coach, that's unbelievable.' And we didn't talk for a while because obviously that job was very consuming of my time. And we played the University of Washington, I guess it was my first year, we played out in Washington. So I called him up and he was, I think at the time he was actually retired so he wasn't really doing any consulting or anything of that nature, and so we get there on a Friday, we don't really have anything on that Friday night, so we could get to the West Coast two days early. So he comes and picks me up and he drives me up to his home, that he and Shirley built, and it's a beautiful home. And he's showing me around and I had never been in the Pacific Northwest, so I couldn't believe how beautiful it was. And I get up to his house. He sits me down, we sit down, we get some coffee and he's like, 'Alright, let's cut right down to the chase, no bullshit, alright. The head coaching job, I want to know the truth, do you love it or not?' And we continued, we talked about it for a while, because like I said I—he's like, 'I knew you wouldn't like that shit, I told you that before, I can't believe you did that.' And you know, and that was one thing about Howard. Howard was going to tell you how he feels. If he didn't like you, you knew it, and if he liked you, you knew it. But the one thing about Howard, he was always there for me and I miss him greatly. My heart goes out to Shirley and his family. And I think it's a major, major blow for a lot of us younger coaches or young line coaches. People like Howard, people like Alex Gibbs, people like Jim McNally, I mean, you go on and on, the guys in this league, Coach [Joe] Bugel, I mean, I was very fortunate in the time that I came into the league that I had all these great coaches that were around, that for some reason, for whatever it was, were able to help me to become a better position coach. So, it's a sad day for the NFL, it's a sad day for a lot of players, it's a sad time really for all of us. A great man who gave everything to this game. I appreciate you asking that question and obviously, it's tough."
(On Dede Westbrook flying under the radar this year on the outside) "I don't know about the outside, I think [Jaguars Director of Public Relations] Tad [Dickman] would probably know more than I would about what's being written. I'm kind of excited to see this group compete. I think the young guys that came in here, like I said before, have done a really good job of picking things up where they're going to be able to compete. I think we have three players that are going into the final year of their contract, you know what I'm saying, with [WR] Chris [Conley], [WR] Keelan [Cole] and [WR] Dede [Westbook]. So, you're going to get the best out of them. I think that at the end of the day, we as coaches are not overlooking anyone. We're going to put people in position to see what we want to get done. You know, [Jaguars Offensive Coordinator] Jay [Gruden] and I have talked about that quite a bit and [Wide Receivers Coach] Keenan has done a great job with them. And seeing who's out there and who performs the best. And whoever performs the best and what we see now will be the ones that are out there. I think that's what's important. Right now, I've seen a lot of good things from that group, the way they're practicing, the way they're supporting each other. So right now, everything's going well until we put the pads on them."
(On conversations with DE Yannick Ngakoue) "No, and it's not uncommon right now, I think whether he's staying with his agent or switching agents, there's a grace period that goes into that. I have not spoken to Yan, so I don't know what the next steps are, or what's going to happen. Obviously, he knows I'm always here for him. But a lot of times when it goes to the business end, you try to take care of the business part of it first, before you start doing anything else because you want people to make the right decisions for themselves, you want the club to make the right decisions and you know, as a coach, you just kind of step back and let all of that play out and then see where we're at. You always have to support the player."
(On his visit with Timmy Jernigan) "Well, I think when there's things out there about players and what teams are going to do, it's difficult for me when I get in here, because we're not at the process yet where I can really comment on it. So once things are in the works, obviously, and once everything gets finalized, then I'll be able to talk about it. So, I appreciate that, but that's really all I can say."
(On if he talks to the players about their personal accountability and trust with each other regarding COVID-19, every day) "I do. I do, I just think it's part of it. And I tell them stories about how they can support each other. I mean, whether I get in trouble or not—I mean, I'm in my office and there's a lot going on and all of a sudden I walk out of the office and I get to the door, not my door, the front door of where the coaches' offices are and I realize I don't have my mask on. So I immediately put my shirt up, turn back and go put it on. And I was telling those guys, 'Hey listen, we've got to help each other, we've got to be responsible.' I said things like this will happen, and I would appreciate it if I would've gone into the hallway and walked down, if someone would've seen me, I would've hoped they'd say something like, 'Hey coach.' We're constantly talking about that in situations that come up that you may not even think about. Like you know, my kids are doing what they do when they're out and about with all their friends, they come home and they're touching the refrigerator, touching things like that and I'm trying to be as careful as I possibly can. I think that we've seen, whether it be our colleagues or people, you know professionals or people, that we would say, 'Oh they're going to do everything that it takes, [they] wind up getting this virus coming a lot of different ways. It's not just what we do. So, we continue to keep this education, this conversation, of the COVID-19 very fluid within our program. Because I think it's important. We know it and we don't want to take it for granted and we know that we have to be aware of all of our situations once we leave the building. I think when we're in this building –I was talking to my brother-in-law who's an electrocardiologist, and I was trying to explain to him kind of how the building is. And I was talking to him about the tracking devices and everything that we have and it's almost like, you feel potentially like you're in a hospital to a certain extent, which is a good thing. You know, you feel safe, you feel secure, that's how we feel when we get into a hospital. And he was like 'Shoot, you guys are probably—it's probably cleaner or better than the hospitals are.' You know, we have cleaning crews that come in here on a regular basis and you know they're washing everything down. I mean, I'm able to see them at night, because they come in when everyone's gone. So I think, I mean I can't speak for everyone, but I think we're all doing that, I really do. I don't know how much or how often, but for us it's a fluid conversation that happens on a daily basis, not just from me, but from the coaches and then I think from the players to players. I think everyone is very aware of the situation."
(On the momentum building that NFL teams might have a home bubble) "I just think when I look at it, everyone has—there's a risk factor in everything that you do. I think here, while we're in this building, obviously it's an environment that we can control, between us, the food staff and SMG [ASM Global], everyone's on board, everyone's being tested, everyone's doing that. I think once you start getting to the outside, I think now you have to deal with a lot of other issues that come up there. I've always been, you know, I think of the bubble concept, from what people have said, it's very difficult to do for a long period of time. I think that for us, I just think it's a level of responsibility until they tell [us] anything else. You know, if someone did come to us and said, 'Hey listen, I don't feel that I'm in a safe environment when I leave this building,' we would be very proactive in doing whatever we can to make sure that that player feels safe and we put him in an environment where he can feel that way. However we want to label it, a bubble or not a bubble, I wouldn't be able to talk about that until we know exactly what that is."
(On QB Gardner Minshew's statement on a culture change) "I don't necessarily address those things with players individually unless they bring it up to me. I think a lot of times, if you try—when things like that occur, at least for me, I'm always concerned of people thinking that I'm trying to manipulate a team or manipulate a group of players and that's not who I am. So I have a difficult time with that. But I do create a vision for what we want to have as a team. Whether you want to call it a culture, that's fine. But our vision of how we want to communicate, how we want to help each other, how we want to get better, how we want to commit ourselves to the team aspect of things rather than the individual aspect of things. So I think that occurs, I think what happens to players, and when you have probably the youngest team in the league, you have a lot of young guys that have been in the locker room and really haven't said much, but they've gathered a lot of information. And some of them come from winning programs, some of them come from different types of backgrounds where they've needed to commit themselves to something, to have the level of success, to get themselves here. So I think a lot of times what will happen, and like I said before, I didn't realize this until I heard Jahri Evans talk when I was in New Orleans –and we had Jahri Evans and we had Reggie Bush and we had a bunch of guys in that first draft class in 2006—and he talked about, when they came in, that they had all spoken about, 'Hey listen, we're going to change this thing, we're going to do this and do that.' And I never knew those kinds of conversations were taking place. But then, to see where those players are, what they've done for their program, I understand it. So to have Gardner and maybe [DE/LB] Josh [Allen] or some of these younger players get together and want to create something that's going to be beneficial for the team, without any hidden agenda for themselves, is really a good step in what we're trying to create here as far as our vision for this team."
(On differences he has seen in OL Cam Robinson) "Yeah, I think Cam looks good. I think what he's probably talking about, is like you said, at this time last year, he wasn't even cleared. Which means, if he's not cleared, at this time last year, then that whole offseason, you're not able to put your body in a position for either strengthening of muscles or muscle memory or however you want to describe it. And next thing you know, you're thrown out there on the field, and for lack of a better term, you're trying to survive. You're trying to just win at what you do. And your focus isn't on a process or a progression to build a foundation to put yourself in a better position where you necessarily don't have to struggle or work as hard or however you want to describe it. What I've seen from Cam as he came back, he's stronger, he's moving extremely well, the footwork and the technique coming back is much better than I've ever seen from him. So I think there's a confidence building, not a comfort level, but a confidence building in him and he's getting better on a daily basis. I think overall when I looked at the group, I've seen the improvement that we've talked about this whole offseason, of 'Hey this group needs to take a step up.' And like you said, I can't really tell from a standpoint of the production because we're in a result-oriented business, because we haven't put the pads on. But as far as strength, size, athletic ability, things that we're able to evaluate now from that whole group, I've seen improvement across the board from everyone. Which, I think, if that can carry over now to the same type of improvement of when we do start putting the pads on and we do start playing, then I think that we'll be able to talk about that group as taking the next step. But obviously, we still have a lot of work ahead of us."
(On the decision with OC Jay Gruden to sign FB Connor Slomka) "Yeah I think, what I struggle with, and Jay and I have talked about this and [GM] Dave [Caldwell] has been involved in these conversations, is 'What are you looking for in that position, as far as how it fits your offense?' What's difficult if let's say we go back to the traditional, old-fashioned, kind of "the banger," you know what I'm saying? The guy that can go in there and lead on somebody and can really block. So basically, it's your offensive guard back there, say, playing the backfield, playing the lead guy for the back to help him. Now, if it's that type of player, you've got to ask yourself, what are we getting out of that player from the standpoint of the passing game? What are we getting out of that player from a standpoint of special teams? Connor has that ability, he's tough, he can run well, he does have some ball skills. So, those are the keys for him going at that position. The other thing you look at is okay, you understand that goal line, short yardage, or maybe some situations you're going to have to bring someone over and those snaps during the year, when you look at it from a percentage standpoint, are low. You might be in 8 to 12 snaps of that person or group in that goal line and then depending upon what you want to do offensively, you know, your short yardage. Now there's a big sense of, okay, passing game and special teams. So you start looking at a combination, and I think you see this around the league, of your "F-type" tight ends, which are a little bit longer, maybe not as thorough as a banger from space. You know, what can they give us there? We're looking for people on that position that can actually, if you dress them because we're so limited on who you can dress, that I can guarantee that I think that does gain value to your football team during the year, but I think that player 18, 19 maybe 20 snaps per game. And then if you don't get into a situation like goal line and short yardage, he'll be able to get those snaps in, in special teams. So I think those are the things that I look at in that position because it's a tough position. You look at teams now, most of the time it could be 70 or 80 percent, you know, they're in three wide receivers and one back and maybe more so than that. We look at college and you see it gravitating to that. So it's a difficult time and I think that if you wind up getting a one and he comes a player that can contribute on those things, then I think that player adds a lot of value to your football team. I think, at the end of the day, if it doesn't, then you might have to look at other ways and put the best value back there on that team. Because it's not just making the team, it's more from a standpoint of I'm talking about game day roster. You might always want to keep one [fullback] on your practice squad, if it's low, so this way you can have someone practice when you play those type of teams and practice in those situations. And I think that does gain value to your football team journey here. But I think all these things remain to be seen as they get out there and they start playing."