JACKSONVILLE – The building continues.
Head Coach Doug Marrone closed the second week of Jaguars 2018 Organized Team Activities Friday morning by discussing a variety of subjects, spending a lot of time discussing special teams – and again talking about what makes this time important.
Foremost in his comments Friday:
Doing what's necessary now to be strong later.
"I still talk about laying this foundation," Marrone said Friday shortly before the sixth 2018 OTA practice at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Fields.
"We talked to the players the other day about, 'Hey, listen: these bricks that you lay early – and this foundation – we have to do this perfectly and right, so they can't crack or splinter. Because if they do, as soon as we start trying to go up it's all going to collapse.'"
The Jaguars close OTAs with four voluntary sessions next week – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday – and will close Phase 3 of the offseason program with a three-day mandatory veteran minicamp June 12-14. The Jaguars will open training camp July 26.
"To me, the message has always been, 'Let's lay this foundation,''' Marrone added of the offseason period. "We're doing that. It takes a while. It's not something where you say, 'OK, Day One we laid the foundation; let's move.' We'll continue to do that all the way until we get to training camp.
"Then we'll start laying the foundation again, start building it up and we'll try build it up and go into the season with us trying to build upon the hard work we've put in. At the end of the day, I tell the players, 'Make no mistake: We have a lot of work ahead of us to be where we want to be as a football team.'''
Marrone also addressed two players absent for OTAs this week, saying running back Leonard Fournette isn't attending this week because of "personal things that he's taking care of," and that cornerback Jalen Ramsey plans to attend the June 12-14 minicamp.
"He will be here for the mandatory minicamp," Marrone said of Ramsey. "He's training with his dad."
Marrone on Monday praised the offseason of several players, including cornerback Tyler Patmon, defensive end/special teams player Lerentee McCray, rookie safety Ronnie Harrison and wide receiver Donte Moncrief.
"He's out there, so his availability is outstanding – and his coachability," Marrone said of Moncrief, who in March signed as an unrestricted free agent from the Indianapolis Colts. "He's really taking it all in and his 'want-to' to get out there on special teams is showing up, which is always important."
Marrone talked extensively about special teams late in his availability Friday.
"People all have the ability to flourish in that area," he said. "It's a matter of how some people view themselves. Some people come in and say, 'OK, I'm a special-teams ace and this is how I'm going to make the team,' and they tend to fall off on the other side. Other players say, 'Wait a minute now: I'm a starter; I'm not a special teams player.'
"When you start going down those two roads, that's not where you want to go. That's not a good formula for a good football team. … When you have veteran players, and when you have some starters who go out there and take reps and take a lot of pride in being on the field and doing that (special teams), I think that helps the whole team and everyone understands that. …
"The players understand that if we want to win as a football team, we have to do that. We have not had any issues with any of the players going, 'Wait a minute … I'm not doing this or I'm not doing that.'''