HOUSTON, Texas – Doug Marrone's first words Monday weren't about football.
The Jaguars' head coach Monday actually covered several topics on his next-day conference call Monday afternoon before touching on Sunday's season-opening victory over the Houston Texans.
The first topic was obvious. Whereas the team normally would have returned to Jacksonville immediately after Sunday's victory, players, coaches and support staff instead remained in Houston because of Hurricane Irma.
"I hope everyone is safe with families back in Jacksonville; that's our major concern," Marrone said Monday afternoon, a day after the Jaguars beat the Texans 29-7 at NRG Stadium for their first Week 1 victory since 2011.
Marrone added of the last 24 hours, "It's very difficult. You're looking at the news and we're on our computers and the stuff that's being posted online and trying to make sure we check on family. Operationally, from that end, it's always a challenge. Again, that's where all of our resources are put right now: making sure that the safety for the people that are back in Jacksonville.
"We're just trying to create the best support group or net that we can do in communication between the people that we have here and the people that are back in Jacksonville."
The team is scheduled to return to Jacksonville Tuesday morning.
"The first thing that we have to look at is what gives us – safety first in everything that we do," Marrone said. "If the airport remains closed, it's a safety issue and we're not going to try to force anything or try to get back or try to do that."
Marrone said the focus Monday was to make an unusual day as normal as possible. Players worked out at a YMCA in Houston; coaches spent the morning game-planning and also met with players.
"One thing I have been impressed with is, again, our operations people," Marrone said. "It hasn't caused any issues with us. Today [Monday] was a normal day from the standpoint of scheduling for the players. It's not a normal day in what's going on and also from a game-planning perspective.
"We were forward-thinking, bringing everything along with us. From that standpoint, the surroundings are a little bit different but we're getting work accomplished."
Marrone said Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien had offered to allow the Jaguars to work at their facility Monday.
"I looked at their schedule and knew they were playing on Thursday [against Cincinnati]," Marrone said. "I knew it was going to be a hectic day for them in trying to get ready for a game on Thursday. I just thought it was easier for us to make arrangements on our own and not be a distraction for ourselves being there."
Also on Monday:
*Marrone noted the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, saying "It's another moment to take a step back and think about all those first responders, the people in the towers. It affects me a lot because one of my teammates was in the tower, another friend of mine growing up was a fireman that passed in it. Our prayers go out to those families, as well." …
*Marrone was asked about the possibility of a change involving Sunday's game between the Jaguars and Tennessee Titans. The game is scheduled to be played at EverBank Field, but the league reportedly is monitoring conditions to determine if the site or date needs to be changed. Both teams have Week 8 byes and are scheduled to play in Nashville on New Year's Eve. "We'll take it step by step," Marrone said. "The first step right now is to make sure our families are fine, the second step is to make sure we can get back to Jacksonville. … … The only thing I know is that people will be checking on the stadium, people will be checking on the fields, they're going to get back to us sometime today just to give us a report to where everything is at so we kind of get a little bit of a heads up or a feel of what we're coming back to when we come back to Jacksonville." …
*Marrone was asked to assess the atmosphere on the bus ride to the hotel following Sunday's game: "I think we were tired. The bus wasn't loud. I think the players left it all on the field. They played extremely hard. That showed up in the film. They played with a lot of emotion. They played very physical. I think that when you play those types of games and you are finished you have to leave it all out there. I think that was represented on the bus ride." …
*Marrone discussed his thoughts on third-year kicker Jason Myers, who missed a 39-yard field goal and an extra point Sunday. "I think it's always concerning when someone doesn't do something that they've done consistently for you in practice when you go out there on the field," he said. "So, obviously, there is a concern as there are concerns about every player that doesn't do their job and what they're told to do. That's how I feel right now." …