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Day after: "We're not giving ourselves a chance"


JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone had more than one focus Monday.

So, while deciding to stay with Blake Bortles as the starting quarterback drew the most attention, the Jaguars head coach also covered other topics at his next-day media availability.

Foremost among the non-quarterback topics: Turnovers and field position.

That was a concern for Marrone immediately following a 20-7 loss to the Houston Texans Sunday, and he said the areas will be the major focus as the Jaguars try to end a three-game losing streak.

"Right now, the way we're playing we're not giving ourselves a chance at all," Marrone said.

Marrone, who replaced Bortles with backup Cody Kessler in the third quarter Sunday and announced a decision to stay with Bortles late Monday afternoon, said he was as focused on the Jaguars' giveaways and takeaways.

The Jaguars' minus-12 takeaway-giveaway ratio is 31st in the NFL. They were fifth in the NFL with a plus-10 ratio last season when they won the AFC South title before advancing to the AFC Championship game. The Jaguars have committed 17 turnovers this season with five takeaways.

The Jaguars defense was second in the NFL with 33 takeaways last season. The five this season are tied for the second fewest in the league.

Marrone also on Monday emphasized field position. The Texans on Sunday averaged starting on their 36-yard-line compared with the Jaguars starting on their 20. The Jaguars averaged starting on their 26 in a 40-7 loss to the Dallas Cowboys the week before with the Cowboys averaging starting on their 38.

"It basically comes down to the things I've said before," said Marrone, who added that time will be spent this week in practice focusing on securing the ball and taking it away. "When you look at the last two games … when you're minus two [turnovers] and minus [12] in field position, you have a seven percent chance of winning the game. When you look at yesterday and you're minus three [turnovers] and 16 yards of field position that you're losing, you have a three and half percent.

"You can improve to get better in a lot of areas, but it's crucial and it's a number one priority that we're not even giving ourselves a chance."

Marrone, who spoke to the media before announcing his decision to continue starting Bortles, also addressed Bortles' recent turnover issues. The fifth-year veteran has 11 turnovers this season, including nine in the last three games.

He lost two fumbles Sunday, with Marrone replacing him with Kessler following his second lost fumble. That fumble came on the first drive of the second half, and both lost fumbles Sunday came when Bortles was scrambling for a first down on third down.

"You appreciate someone trying to make something happen to get that done," Marrone said. "At the same sense, you have to say 'Hey, listen is it worth exposing yourself to the turnover?'"

Marrone said before his announcement that whoever was the starter would work full time with the starters in practice.

"I don't believe in splitting reps," Marrone said. "It's very difficult to ask for the full potential and accountability when you're splitting things. It's too tough for this league to do that."

Marrone also said the starter would not be on a "short leash."

"Once you put a person out there, no matter what position, you're trusting in that confidence that that player is going to get it done," Marrone aid. "It's hard to say, 'Short, long, whatever it may be…' The mindset is, 'This is who's playing. This is what we have going on. We have the utmost confidence in him.'

"If you don't, if you're putting someone in there and you don't feel confident in him, that's a problem before it even gets started."

Marrone also was asked if the starter he named Monday was the starter for the rest of the season.

"Every time you make a decision for someone, it doesn't matter whether it's the quarterback or anyone else, you look at yourself and say, 'You are in there and you are playing. Let's go,''' Marrone said. "Once that performance is hurting the team and is truly put on that player for his performance and no other factors that become involved, then you have to go make a decision and go with someone else."


*Marrone confirmed that Jaguars players held a player-only meeting Monday. "That's not out of the norm," he said. "That's everyone trying to find what their role is and being together and pulling in the same direction. That's what I expect from this team. We've done that before. There's a lot of frustration. The faster you can get everyone back on the same page, especially with a day off tomorrow for the players … we want everyone in the same mindset and the same mind frame. That was my goal today of when we come back and go. We as coaches have to get our butts to work and get our guys in the best situation."

*Marrone on Monday said reserve linebacker Donald Payne likely will be week-to-week with a knee injury sustained Sunday, and that the team is awaiting tests regarding cornerback Tyler Patmon. Patmon sustained a neck strain Sunday.

*Marrone on Monday also addressed four players who missed Sunday's game with injuries – running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring), cornerback D.J. Hayden (toe), cornerback Tre Herndon (hamstring) and tight end James O'Shaughnessy (hip) – saying of the foursome, "All those players will be with us and we're pushing those players to play."

*The Jaguars released four-time Pro Bowl running Jamaal Charles and signed linebacker Nick DeLuca from the practice squad on Monday. The Jaguars signed Charles two weeks ago, but acquired running back Carlos Hyde in a trade from the Cleveland Browns on Friday. …

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