PHOENIX, Ariz. – The coming weeks and months won't be easy.
If Head Coach Doug Marrone hasn't made that clear to Jaguars players in the past few months, he clarified it a bit more on Tuesday at the 2017 NFL Annual Meetings.
Marrone covered a variety of topics at the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the Arizona Biltmore, many of which can be seen here on jaguars.com. Among the topics: the tone that will be set when players report in April for the 2017 offseason conditioning program.
"The first thing we want to do is we want to create structure and we want to create discipline," Marrone said early Tuesday.
Marrone, the interim head coach the last two games of last season before having the interim tag removed in January, didn't utter the word "grit" that Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin this week again said he hopes will define the team. But make no mistake:
Marrone's approach will be plenty gritty.
"People talk about mental toughness a lot, but in my opinion you have to train that," Marrone said. "You have to put yourself in situations. You have to create adversity, which is always something we're looking to do, so we have to overcome it both as coaches and as players.
"I've always believed that one thing about this league is you have to outwork people. You have to outwork them from a coach's standpoint schematically. You have to outwork them when you have an opportunity on the field. You have to outwork them in the weight room and you have to come in there every day."
Also on Tuesday:
*As he did at the NFL Scouting Combine in early March, Marrone on Tuesday emphasized his pleasure at the working relationship between him and Coughlin. "It's just a great, great fit," Marrone said. "For me, I've told my friends and colleagues around the league, 'Listen, I know I'm the head coach and I'm going to run this team, but I have the greatest situation in the world. I have someone that I respect that has done it and knows what it should look like and that's aligned with me philosophically.' Like I tell Coach [Coughlin] all the time, 'By the time you're done with me I will have sucked every bit of information out of your brain.' I'm like a sponge. … It's been outstanding. I can't say enough about it." …
*Marrone on Tuesday made a point of not taking credit for what appeared to be an added urgency and improved level of play late last season. Marrone, the Jaguars' assistant head coach-offense/offensive line coach beginning in 2015, coached the Jaguars to a 1-1 record as interim head coach after the team started the season 2-12. The Jaguars led the Colts throughout much of a season-ending loss in Indianapolis. "Let's not make any mistakes about it," Marrone said. "When there's change – whether it be a player or whether it be a coach – it puts people on notice. I don't want to sit here and say, 'Yeah, I came in the last two weeks and they played better …' I'm not going to say that's the reason why. I'm a big believer in increasing reps, getting as many reps as you can, putting them in situations, trying to get them to understand, cutting things down … let's get a foundation we can build on and play the game and try to get that philosophy throughout.'' …
*Marrone discussed the offseason free-agent signing of defensive end Calais Campbell from Arizona, saying that the 31-year-old two-time Pro Bowl selection's current level of play belies his age. "When you put the tape on and you watch the tape, the number doesn't equate to the tape," Marrone said. "Here's a player who plays a large percentage of the snaps, who plays extremely hard every down, hustles, runs, makes plays – things of that nature. He's a leader on the teams he has been on. For us, we tend to go with the tape and what they were able to do. We're excited to bring him into our organization." …