JACKSONVILLE – The 'Bank needs to matter.
Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone believes this strongly. How strongly?
Enough that a day after one of the Jaguars' biggest victories in a decade, Marrone on Monday spoke to players not just about the previous day but about this coming Sunday. That's when the Jaguars will play host to the Los Angeles Rams, the Jaguars' first game at EverBank Field in a month.
As Marrone sees it, that game is an important moment for an ascending team.
"We have to play well at home, and earn that right to have home-field advantage," Marrone said Monday, a day after the Jaguars beat the Steelers 30-9 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to move into sole possession of first place in the AFC South.
The Jaguars improved to 3-2 with the victory at Pittsburgh, with all three victories coming away from EverBank Field: 29-7 at Houston in Week 1, 44-7 over Baltimore at Wembley Stadium in London in Week 2 and Sunday in Pittsburgh.
The Jaguars lost to the Tennessee Titans, 37-16, in Week 2 in their only game this season at the 'Bank. They went 1-6 in Jacksonville last season, with the lone victory coming 38-17 over Tennessee on Christmas Eve in Marrone's first game as interim head coach.
"I don't think you can just go out and put it on the fans and say, 'Hey, we need you here; we need you to do this and we need you to do that,''' Marrone said. "They're coming out and paying good money to see a good product on the field and to see someone win. For me, you have to earn that first.
"I spoke to the team about it today: 'We have to do a better job playing at home.'''
Also on Monday:
*Marrone called the Jaguars' 231 rushing yards Sunday a combination of not only running backs Leonard Fournette (181 yards, two touchdowns) and Chris Ivory (41 yards), but front-line performances from the offensive line, tight ends and wide receivers. "It was good to see that, but it was tough running," Marrone said.
*Marrone, too, said the Jaguars' big plays defensively – particularly five interceptions off Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger – were about more than the player eventually credited with the play. Safety Tashaun Gipson had two interceptions for the Jaguars Sunday, with safety Barry Church, cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Telvin Smith registering one each. "[Defensive tackle] Abry Jones tipped one to Telvin, Jalen tipped one to B Church," Marrone said. "On two of them, we got pressure on the quarterback that altered the throws. A lot of times we look at the one person who had it, but it's obviously a lot more to it than that. It's a lot of guys doing their job for those things to happen." …
*Marrone lauded the performance Sunday of nickel corner Aaron Colvin, who led the Jaguars with 10 tackles: "Outstanding … best game he has played. Early in the week I told him, 'Listen, you do a great job studying. You do a great job reacting. You do an excellent job during the week. On Sunday, just trust it and go out there and play.' I told him, 'I believe you can make more plays.' I'm not saying that conversation did it. I'm giving Aaron the credit. AC trusted it. He reacted quickly. He made plays. He made plays in open space. He played an outstanding game.'' …
*Marrone also lauded the play of center Tyler Shatley, who learned Friday he would start in place of Brandon Linder, the latter of whom missed Sunday with an illness. "It wasn't something like we knew on Monday [that Shatley would start],'' Marrone said. "I found out Friday. I know all say we're professionals and if called upon you have to be ready to go, but I give players credit than they can get that call on a Friday [and perform at a high level]. I appreciate Tyler being ready and taking advantage of the opportunity." …