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Wednesday update: “It’s a playoff environment”

Posted Jan 10, 2018

Jaguars HC Doug Marrone on playing the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC Divisional Playoff at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sunday: “It’s a playoff environment; it will be different”


JACKSONVILLE – The surroundings will be familiar, but the scene?

When it comes to Sunday’s playoff game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Head Coach Doug Marrone said what the Jaguars see will be different than what they have seen before.

Yes, the Jaguars played in Pittsburgh in October – and yes, there will be similarities in the trip.

But Marrone said no way will the experience be the same.

“The environment is going to be different,” Marrone said as the AFC South Champion Jaguars (11-6) prepared to play the AFC North Champion Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3) in a Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

“It’s a playoff environment. It will be different. We’ll just have to go out there and focus on our team and what we have to do.”

The Jaguars beat the Steelers, 30-9, when the teams met in mid-October. The Jaguars also have a 4-1 record at Heinz Field since 2005, having won twice in Pittsburgh in the 2007 season – in the regular season and again in the postseason.

“There’s more focus going on about you perform and how you play than, ‘Hey, guess what? This is what it’s going to look like,’’’ Marrone said. “I think everyone can visualize what it’s going to look like.”

Marrone during his Wednesday media availability was asked if he believed the Jaguars had any edge because of the 21-point victory in October.

“I don’t personally, because I’m just getting ready for another game,” Marrone said. “I can’t speak for our players. I look at it as human nature. We won the first one. They have an opportunity to play us again and want to play us again.”

Steelers players including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had expressed a desire to face the Jaguars in this round of the postseason. Roethlisberger threw a career-high five interceptions in the Jaguars’ Week 5 victory.

“I would feel the same way if we were in that situation,” Marrone said. “At the end of the day, it’s goes back to being able to perform on that Sunday.”

Also Wednesday:

*Marrone on the Jaguars’ mentality entering the rematch against the Steelers: “Those guys (Jaguars players) are different now. I’ve been saying it all year. …  They’re a loose team. I would say that about our team. They really like each other. Thy joke around and challenge each other quite a bit. I think that has helped us at times. I think we’re emotional. I think that has helped us at times and I think that has hurt us at times.” …

*Marrone on the Steelers’ third-ranked offense, a unit that features not only Roethlisberger but All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Bryant and All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell: “I don’t know if it’s a team that you can stop, but you have to make sure you can contain them.”

*Bell, who rushed for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns on 321 carries in the regular season, rushed for 47 yards on 15 carries against the Jaguars in October. Bell is known for his unusually patient running style, often coming to a full stop during runs before accelerating after reading the defense. “He has excellent patience,” Marrone said. “That’s the one thing I noticed. His feet are low to ground. He has really good patience. He’ll wait for the holes to open. He has a really good understanding of the blocking scheme. He’s very natural. … He’s very difficult to tackle on one-on-one, so you have to get multiple people involved.”

*Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny and weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith were among three players not expected to practice Wednesday, with cornerback Aaron Colvin also not expected to practice Wednesday because of an illness. Posluszny left Sunday’s victory over the Bills with what originally was announced as a hip injury; he was on the Wednesday report with an abdomen injury. Smith was listed with an ankle injury. …

*Six players were listed on the Jaguars’ pre-practice injury report Wednesday as expected to practice: quarterback Blake Bortles (right wrist), linebacker Donald Payne (quadriceps), wide receiver Jaydon Mickens (hamstring), tight end Marcedes Lewis (ankle), defensive tackle Abry Jones (ankle) and fullback Tommy Bohanon (knee). …

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