JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines the day that was around EverBank Field Tuesday – with an eye on Doug Marrone's first day as the Jaguars' interim head coach
"A CHALLENGING DAY"
The circumstances were anything but normal.
Still, Doug Marrone said he approached his first day as the Jaguars' interim head coach the only way he knew how – by practicing and preparing as close to normally as possible. Mission accomplished.
Not that it was easy.
"It was a day going into it I thought would be a challenging day," Marrone said Tuesday as the Jaguars (2-12) prepared to play the AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans (8-6) at EverBank Field Saturday at 1 p.m. "Overall, as difficult as the day was, I give credit to the coaches and the players for going out and handling themselves in the correct way."
Marrone, the Jaguars' assistant head coach-offense/offensive line since January 2015, became interim head coach in the wake of Sunday's dismissal of Head Coach Gus Bradley. He spoke with a few players Monday, but Tuesday was Marrone's first team meeting and practice as interim head coach.
"I said, 'Hey, listen: this is what we have to do here today. There's a standard that has been set here to go out and play hard, and we need to go out and play well in all three phases,''' Marrone said.
Players were off Monday, and returned to practice Tuesday. That's a day earlier than a normal practice week because this week's game is Saturday rather than Sunday.
Marrone said Tuesday's work was good, focusing on base and third-down packages with a lighter tempo because of the abbreviated week. He said he anticipates a higher tempo Wednesday.
"I told the players after practice that I appreciated the way they went about our work today, and that our goal is obviously to get better and put ourselves in a position to play well in all three phases and win a game," Marrone said.
Marrone, who said he no longer is involved with the offensive line on a day-to-day basis, said he changed the practice routine slightly "because it's what I feel comfortable with in my position as the interim head coach."
"I thought the players respond well to that," Marrone said, adding that he believed players will be in a mode of preparation despite the week's changes. "One thing about players overall, just all players overall, there's a resiliency about them that they know what's ahead, they know how to get themselves ready."
Marrone added he had no sense of players feeling sorry for themselves in the wake of Bradley's firing "even though that we understand we are all part of this wreck, that we've all failed from that standpoint."
Marrone said he ran the scout team during practice, something he said keeps him in the middle of practice.
"I'm not saying one way is better than the other," he said. "I'm just saying for me, that's my comfort zone, being right in the middle of it."
SHATLEY A POSSIBILITY AT GUARD
Marrone said Tyler Shatley is "absolutely" an option at left guard Saturday. Shatley, who has started two games at center this season, would be the Jaguars' fifth starting left guard this season after Luke Joeckel (two games), Chris Reed (four), Patrick Omameh (six) and Jeremiah Poutasi (one). Josh Wells also played left guard Sunday after Poutasi's season-ending ankle injury. Wells then left with a shoulder injury. "I've never gone through so many left guards or any single position," Marrone said, adding that Shatley played well Sunday after struggling against Minnesota two weeks before. "That's who that kid is. He is resilient, hard-working: 'Whatever I have to do, coach, just put me in there and give me an opportunity.' … It was a really good sign for a player to come back and play that way and going in cold – did a nice job. So I'm happy with that."
BACK AT IT
Wells worked on a limited basis Tuesday with the team identified as a clavicle injury, and defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (hip) and tight end Ben Koyack (knee) also worked limited Tuesday.
Cornerback Aaron Colvin (ankle) was among eight players not practicing Tuesday. He sustained the injury against Houston Sunday.
Other Jaguars players not practicing Wednesday were offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum (knee), defensive tackle Jordan Hill (calf), linebacker Sean Porter (hamstring), wide receiver Allen Hurns (hamstring), tight end Neal Sterling (concussion), running back Denard Robinson (ankle) and Reed (toe).
Hill and Sterling sustained their injuries Sunday. Hurns has missed the last three games and Robinson has been out the last two games. Reed missed the Houston loss.
Beachum has played through the knee issue all season.
"They embarrassed us on national TV. They know and everybody knows it, so we have a point to prove when we go out there and play them. They're riding high. They're playing very well and we're not playing so well. After everything that's happened – from the first game, to our season, to what happened to Gus – we have to go out and basically make a statement. Not just getting revenge on them, but who we want to be as a team."
--DT Sen'Derrick Marks on playing The Titans, 36-22 winners over the Jaguars in October