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Game that was: “We went out there as a team”

Posted Sep 24, 2017

Jaguars HC Doug Marrone on players locking arms -- with some kneeling – during National Anthem before victory over Baltimore Ravens at Wembley Stadium: “I’m trying to make sure this team sticks together. It’s an unusual situation. There’s no book that tells you how to do it.”


LONDON – Doug Marrone said communication was critical.

Considering the emotion of the moment and the importance of the message, Jaguars players agreed that the most important thing about Sunday’s pre-game National Anthem from a team perspective was just that – that what was done was done as a group.

Jaguars players, coaches, staff and Owner Shad Khan before their 44-7 victory over the Ravens at Wembley Stadium locked arms with one another during National Anthem. More than 10 players knelt while locking arms.

This was a statement in response to President Donald Trump’s comments Saturday regarding NFL players. Khan, like many NFL owners, issued a statement regarding Trump’s comments Sunday.

Players afterward also said it was significant that Khan was with them on the sidelines.

“I appreciated our owner, our teammates and everyone standing by us,” said Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye, who grew emotional while discussing the issue during a post-game press conference.

Marrone, the Jaguars’ head coach, said the situation and pre-game actions were discussed in detail with himself, players, captains, Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin, General Manager David Caldwell, Khan and Jaguars Owner Tony Khan.

“Like anything else, we try to make sure we’re communicating with each other,” Marrone said. “We wanted to make sure we supported each other and we went out there as a team. Obviously, Shad has come out with a statement. We support that and that’s what we’re behind.

“I’m trying to make sure this team sticks together. It’s an unusual situation. There’s no book that tells you how to do it, but the way we handled it – there was a lot of communication and a lot of talking and at the end of the day, our team is closer together for it.”

Bouye, speaking to the media after the game, said teammates stood by one another before the game because “they knew what we were going to do and they knew the reason for it.”

“It’s not about race,” Bouye said. “It’s not about black and white. It’s about right and wrong. I have respect for the military. I have family in the military. I know we’re in a military town in Jacksonville. I love all the people who go out and fight for our country. I love the family members – the brothers, the sisters, the mothers, the fathers, the sons, the daughters – those that are at home.

“But I have respect for all those people – black, white, Mexican – who have lost children or somebody else to a police officer. That’s what it’s all about. This isn’t about pointing fingers or calling someone racist.

“At the end of the day, we have to be out here and love everybody. That’s what it’s about. I’m tired of it. I’m really tired of it.”

 

NOTABLE I

Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis caught four passes for 62 yards and a career-high three touchdowns Sunday. His 17-yard touchdown in the first quarter gave the Jaguars a 10-0 first-quarter lead and Lewis caught two more touchdown passes as the Jaguars extended the lead to 37-0 in the third quarter. “I work,” Lewis said. “I don’t complain. I just work. If the ball’s run my way, I want to beat my guy at the line. When my number’s called, I want to be accountable. That’s what I did.”


NOTABLE II

The Jaguars surprised the Ravens with a fake punt late in the third quarter, a 4th-and-1 play that running back Corey Grant turned into a 58-yard gain on the quarter’s final play. The play came with the Jaguars already leading 37-0 and running back Leonard Fournette’s three-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter made it 44-0. Marrone said the score at the time of the play wasn’t a factor in the decision. “When you put something in, you have to go and run it,” he said.

 

QUOTABLE

“There’s a bit of a stigma around Jacksonville, kind of a ‘Here-we-go-again”-type thinking. I think this group is different. The guys handled it differently. The locker room handled it differently. I thought Doug was different about it. Never once did it feel like that going into this week. It didn’t have that feel or vibe. It was a totally different thing.”

--Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles

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