Jaguars' HC Doug Marrone Quotes 8.3.20
COURTESY OF JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
(Opening statement) "A couple of things, with the COVID. We have to report if they have tested positive or if they are in contact, so those are the two things. I know the quarterback question is going to come but with HIPAA rules and laws and all that stuff going in, I'm not going to be able to comment on it and I apologize for that. It's not like an injury where I can say, 'well I think he'll be back here or I think he will be back there.' So I really, I'm not going to be for the first time really be able to say anything about that. A couple of things that are interesting; you know we signed a few free agents in the offseason that had never been to the building. Over the weekend the first time they were coming into the building, it was, 'Hey where do we go? What gate do we come in? Where do we eat lunch?' There is a little bit of a learning process in that. We put two players on PUP [physically unable to perform], James O'Shaughnessy, which was probably expected. I'm happy with where James is. I would not be surprised … He has worked extremely hard. [I would not be surprised] if at some point during this period that we are in now [he comes off PUP]. When I say period we are in now, I'm saying from now until the start of the season, that he comes off of it, which is a good thing. D.J. [Hayden] had a minor procedure done, in the offseason, we knew about it. If we would have been able to bring him in here [he could have rehabbed here] but because of the pandemic we were not able to do that. Obviously, we are just being cautious with that and making sure that he's fine. The other thing is that you guys might have seen on social media – Ronnie Harrison, congratulations to him – baby boy for him and his family and you know right now he is the only one that is not here. He is excused obviously because of his family situation and then when he comes back in he will go into that COVID protocol and the testing protocol, so that is usually a five-day window if everything is tested [negative]. And I really think, I mean that's where we are with 89 players here. Obviously, we addressed Yannick [Ngakoue's] situation. That is it. That is my opening statement."
(On a team meeting regarding being safe and smart and trying to get to a season) "Well I think, obviously we do it virtual because it is just not, to me it's not worth the risk to getting everyone together, congregating in that environment. Plus you know again what we have as far as here it is outside and if it rains, we have to go inside. You do it in Daily's [Place], so you know I'm fine. I'm very comfortable with the way that we are talking. My message to the team was that, the first thing that I wanted to say that I discussed the opt-out situation that we understand obviously there is risk. Everyone has to make that decision, and I can't speak for anyone but I will respect that decision, and we as an organization respect that decision whatever you do decide. But it has to be something that comes from an individual, so I wanted to make sure that I conveyed that to the players. The second thing was that we are truly in, for lack of a better term, a ramp-up period, coming in and my goal is to first make sure that we understand the protocols that have been put in place, by both the NFL and the NFLPA, both doctors, both groups, a lot of people put a lot of work into it, so I really think they have done a very good job and really start conditioning ourselves. I found that, when I first came into the building and I did the same thing with the coaches that I kind of had to condition myself to having a mask on, whether it is one of those surgical masks or something of this nature. You know when I'm in my office and no one is around, I can put it down or clip it off, and the minute someone knocks on my door, I wind up putting it on. I think there is a little bit of conditioning in that and like I told the players, we will get everyone in shape, work on that, make sure we are ready to go, but really my main concern is getting everyone conditioned to protocols and take a deep breath, let's go ahead and relax for a minute. It's not the normal type of thing. Like I said before, where you know there is a high anxiety level, I just want to get everyone used to how to operate, how to walk around the building, and then later on there is going to be the time to really ramp up the football into it."
(On sequestering players and the discussion of stipulating protocols due to the Jaguars having the highest numbers of players in the NFL on the COVID reserve list) "I think that we are all in the process of learning. I have tried to because I have kind of put myself in this mode prior to everyone reporting, whether it be coaches or players, just obviously we talk about self-discipline, we talk about the enormous responsibility that we have for each other but even just in general. I mean like Dunkin Donuts, I pull up to the drive-through and I even have the mask on, I make sure that I have a glove when I take the coffee, you just worry there are so many things to worry about and at the end of the day we are trying to educate our players. I think that if a player wants, it is an individual right if you want to be sequestered, we can get everyone a hotel room. We talked to them about roommates, because I told them the story. I said you know most of the time in the NFL, especially when you are on the bubble, or maybe you do not have an apartment, you know we used to break so-called training camp. When we all stayed in training camp or went away. I'd come back, and I'd stay with a player, and there would be two of us in there, in their apartment or in a house. You know, one player we stayed with was a Po Bowl player, he had a really nice house. So me and a couple of the other linemen were staying with him, because it was great. When the season came, I would get a roommate and we would move in closer to the city or to where the action was. But you know these things are all things we are trying to talk to the players about, and learning about and be like, 'Hey listen, if you are together and one is positive or if you are around someone who has been in contact', so there is a lot of things that are going on and I think that is why for me I just have been really trying to educate our players to this way. I preach patience, and say to take a step back, let's make sure that we understand the protocols, why they are in place, and let's get used to that. So I think that there are a lot of things we're seeing those issues, and we are all learning from them. I think this learning process is going to be beneficial for us or for you or to anyone else out there during the season. We are not trying to keep it a secret. It's not an advantage, I think a lot of teams may be doing things differently, like you have mentioned here, and I think those are all things that will at least make you think, maybe people will come up with things that are beneficial for everyone. I think right now, there is really not a lot of secrets and everyone is sharing that, because we are just trying to do the best thing, for the support staff, the coaches and the players."
(On how important having a player with experience, specifically at wide receiver this year is) "I think it's hard to substitute experience, in anything, not just football but anything in life, so that's always going to be a factor. I think that what is interesting, is your question of, what is interesting to me now is how people react, because everything is so different. So in other words, before I go back and forth in my mind of it's going to be hard for young guys to make this team and that the advantage goes to the veteran player and then I think, well hey a young guy coming in he really didn't, there wasn't a structure or being familiar with the facility or being familiar with how to, so that has kind of changed. So, I'm going back and forth with trying to see, because a veteran guy comes in here there is a lot of changes. You know like there was for me or for the coaches or really for all of us right here. The rookie comes in and you say, 'OK you have to do this,' and they just go. But I think that experience of being able to play and having had success on the field, and making the decision on whether a player has created enough consistency to really help you is going to be an advantage over someone that is going to show a little bit of inconsistency, which is what we expect. From a learning standpoint, what I have seen with younger players, and this is in every position, is that we feel like obviously we have done a good job with teaching both the offense, defense and special teams and then coming out here, but really watching and trying to figure out instinct part of it, of who is an instinctive player and then really watching how, because you can learn but when you get out there and you start walking through things you should see a larger increase after that walkthrough on what a player can do. So that is one of the things we are evaluating now, really not going to know for sure until he gets on the field, but we are mitigating the player as he goes through and goes forward."
(On whether the team will structure practices and meetings to safeguard certain players and positions to reduce interaction for potential COVID cases) "I think that we are doing a lot of things. You know we discussed the quarterback situation; I think that a lot of our meetings, I would say a majority of our meetings are virtual. I didn't know if you were asking, and again you know I'm trying to figure out because so many people are doing different things. At the end of the day you have to get a field together, so everywhere you go there is going to be a risk of something that you do. That best player is going to be on the field obviously practicing with his teammates or in a huddle. So I just think it's a matter of, again, it's about mitigating risks; what you feel is the best environment that you can control to keep it safe outside of obviously the work that you will be doing on the field down the road. So for us, one good thing, if you are not in the building, I look at it that way. If someone is not able to be in the building really the only thing that that person is missing is really the on the field work or the weight room work or the treatment, not the treatment because we could still potentially get the treatment if he is an injured player, but that is what they are missing there. I think as far as, you know we're always looking to make sure we are [in less crowds and] further, so you know we're always looking to do that. For there to be fewer and further away and have a safe distance with each other. So you know again there are a lot of things that are going on, people are splitting groups up, and their weight room, and we went around and around with a lot of different things and I just think it's a matter of you what is going to make the players comfortable. First, what is the best thing and a lot of different ways do it. So we are just going from there."
(On if he has talked to QB Gardner Minshew II and where his spirits are) "I feel his spirits are great, and I think he will be available soon. You can ask him more about that."
(On how the team slows down the run this season without having Al Woods) "We drafted a nose tackle high [in DaVon Hamilton]. Some people said they may be too high for a two-down player, but we really feel [Hamilton] is a good player. He can play in there. Abry [Jones] can play in there. We have some guys that can play in there. We'll see where we are. Like anything else, roster-wise, you are kind of just waiting to see what you have before you look other places. I think the first thing you are going to do is if something happens, you are going to look to fill from within. We feel that we have people that can play there and obviously we'll see how it goes between now and the start of the season."
(On why the team has had so many people on the COVID-19 reserve list and if he is worried players aren't being careful) "I think they are [being careful]. Some of the things that occur can happen to any of us. If [Director of Public Relations] Tad [Dickman] tests positive tomorrow, I'm out for the day tomorrow. I have been in contact with Tad. Those things occur. I think these lessons that we are learning now is something that is going to be more beneficial for us when the season comes. I think that to go through it and experience it, I do not think anyone is being negligent. I really don't believe that. Everyone understands what is at stake, a roster spot or what is going on or missing time. I really can't answer those questions. Guys are coming from all over the country. Like I said before, even for myself, you look at some families that are friends of mine and all of their children are playing AAU sports and going into gyms before you reported. Some people have masks, some people don't. We see it in the media all the time. You just have to be aware of your surroundings and where you are in a lot of different ways that you could come in contact with this virus. I feel good. I really do [feel good] about how we are trying to educate our players, and I feel good about how they are responding. Sometimes it's just bad luck."
(On if he is less optimistic the team can pull off the season considering the COVID-19 list) "I don't try and look so far ahead. I do not know what this virus can do or pick up or however it may go. What I look at is what we are doing right now safety-wise and again, there is constant communication with the league and the doctors. We are constantly trying to create an environment where it is safer and safer. When I see that, obviously you feel pretty good. If I did not feel good, I would not be here if I thought it was a high risk. I think that is what a lot of us are going through. We're looking at it. We appreciate the amount of work, the amount of time that has been put into these protocols and that have been put in place for our safety even though we understand there is a risk. Each and every day, you have to evaluate that."
(On if he sees Gardner Minshew II as the type of person who gets motivated by detractors and what Minshew said at the NFL Combine about all his wins at Washington State) "I don't know that [story.] I do not know what he said. That's a good question. I don't know if we ever had a discussion to really know how he feels about that. I know that's something that I will talk to the team about in general – about what people feel about us and where we are. I think individually everyone is so different. There are a lot of guys that have a lot of confidence that whatever anyone says it doesn't really matter. There are guys that get motivated by that stuff. As long as you take information and you are able to channel it the right way, I think you can be successful. I think when you take information from a standpoint of trying to get yourself going or being ready or being committed, if you don't channel that the right way, I think that can be a negative. It could cause frustration, it could cause a whole lot of things. That is a great question. I don't know if Gardner feels that way, if that motivates him. There is probably a balance between it motivating you and his confidence in his ability. I don't look at him as walking around with a chip on his shoulder type of guy. That is me. I'm not speaking for anybody else. I view him as a guy who takes advantage of opportunity. That is how I see him. If someone asks me what do I think about Gardner? Here is a guy that believes in himself and if he has an opportunity, he is going to take full advantage of it."
(On if players on the COVID-19 reserve list can participate in virtual meetings) "If he is healthy enough … I think there are a lot of symptoms that come in, but if a player is asymptomatic, can he do that? Yes, he can."
(On if he is asking players on the COVID-19 reserve list to participate in virtual meetings) "If they are asymptomatic, I would hope that they are doing it. If they are symptomatic, I would think now that is a whole different category. I would not ask someone that is not feeling well or has migraines or whatever it may be to participate. I look at that as common sense."
(On Brandon Linder and what he's meant to the offensive line) "I don't think it's a secret. I think Brandon has been a very consistent football player, a good football player for us. Brandon brings a lot into the building outside of him just being able to play. I'm excited about where he is, but you look at it and it is not a secret. I have been saying it since right after the season when people are saying what are you going to do with the offensive line? I feel pretty good. I think this group is going to be ready to take a big step. I think it's interesting just the other day … I think you guys will see the difference. I'm not going to put words in your mouth, but they look good – all of them. Cam [Robinson] looks really good, but you guys will be able to see that for yourself when you get in. I'm expecting that group to take a big step and obviously Brandon is a big part of it, of bringing everyone together from a standpoint of communication, and I'm going to be excited. I will be watching to see how that group grows in these next couple of weeks when we start playing football, not necessarily now. I know those guys have worked extremely hard. It's a very prideful group. They are a very close group like I think most teams are with the offensive line. I think we feel fortunate to have someone like Brandon who has been able to play at a high level and is consistent and is a center that can bring that group together. I think we have a lot of good guys there and they care about their performance which is obviously important."
(On his overall thoughts on the quarterback room outside of Gardner Minshew II) "I'm comfortable with those guys. Obviously I watched Josh [Dobbs] and how he improved last year. I thought he did a great job, I really did. The first day he came in, I did not really know anything about him. All of a sudden, a couple days go by and I saw where he was at and now let's see, is he going to get better or worse? It has always been something I believed in. I really do not believe you stay the same. I think you are either getting better or you are getting worse every day. I saw a guy like Josh really attack what he wanted to work on. I will look to see when he goes out there. Mike Glennon is a guy that we have done a lot of work on prior to the draft when I was with Buffalo. I went to visit him and we did a lot of things. I knew him, I have watched a lot of tape. I'm looking forward to seeing him on the field because I have not been with him on the field in this type of capacity as far as the NFL. Our young rookie guy, we have been watching him every day and so far, I like what I see. I like what I see with everyone. I think it will just be a matter of who can go out there. I think they all have good leadership ability, I think they all have good command. This is going to matter seeing how well they produce and I think that will work itself out."
(On what stood out about Gardner Minshew II last year and what area he wants to see him improve) "I think the one area that we have talked about before was ball security. I thought that was an issue when he was playing early on and I think that's something that he really did a good job of during the season and correcting that. Once we get together and watch him on the field, I think we can get specific on what some of the things are to work on. I think sometimes you go right to the stats and you go, 'OK, hey. This was this. This was that. This is what we need to work on.' I wait till we start getting here and going and seeing where they are at now. All of the time has passed, but the one thing about Gardner and same with a lot of other players on the team, a lot of these guys have worked hard during this offseason and even during this pandemic to try and get better. You want to get them on the field first as a coach before you start hammering home the things that you need to improve on, but all of us can improve, including myself, in everything that we can do. I think that is just a pretty broad way of looking at it and that is a way I address it until we start working with them and we kind of just start narrowing it in after that."