Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

Doug Marrone - Wednesday, December 18, 2019

(Opening statement) "I'm going to start off with a couple things. First, obviously congratulations to Calais [Campbell]. In his 12th season and three straight years now he's been with us he's been voted to the Pro Bowl. I've been fortunate, I really have been, in my career having players go into the Hall of Fame, players that I've gotten close to. When you're a position coach, or you're on one side of the ball it's a lot easier to build those types of relationships and things like that. And I got a question the other day, I think [Jaguars Public Relations Director] Tad [Dickman] and I were talking about it with a statement we were going to put out for Calais on the effect that he's had on his teammates. And then I look at even broader, because we all know about the community stuff he does here and then at home and his leadership ability in the locker room. He's always positive, and it's a tough profession to come out here and be positive all the time. There's so many ups and downs, and disappointments and achievements. Calais has never been about him as the person. And I'm trying to make sure that I do a really good job for him, because the effect that he has, not just on the people that touch him, but the community and just the whole organization. If you had to map out what you were looking for, and the qualities and the things that you want in a person, forget about a football player – just in a person. I think Calais checks every category. So, I challenge everyone here to try to get to know him. This is his 12th year. You guys probably have a great relationship with him, but he is a unique individual and a great man and I couldn't be happier for him. There's some other players on our team that have put up some good numbers, and maybe deserved it, and it's tough. I addressed those players today that feel that way, not individually, but just as a team. And I just told them that hey, you can go out here the next two weeks and prove that you should be there. Don't make it a combative thing, just make it one of those chips that gets on your shoulder and you go out there and do it. I also understand, and you guys know me well enough, that the [NFL] PA [Players Association] came out with a statement the other day. I hope that in the future that as an organization we'll be able to address that. You guys know me well enough; I can tell you what happened. The statement comes out, obviously I'm made aware of it. I've got to make a decision as a coach. Do I want to dive into this thing, because I don't know all the details to it, so that when I do come in front of you I can answer your questions? I've always been a guy that took pride in being able to answer the questions and not say, 'I have to go look at the tape,' or any of that stuff when it comes down to football. And with the position that we're in, for our coaches that are fighting for their jobs, or for the players that are fighting for their jobs, I made a conscious decision that I wasn't going to get myself wrapped up in this, to learn everything about it, to be able to speak about it. But I will tell you this, that I'm focusing in on getting this team ready, trying to play, trying to show that I'm deserving of a job. I mean, that's the truth and that's where my focus is. And like I said before, if things happen at the end and I have time to look into it and find it, shoot you guys know, I'll stand up here and I'll answer all your questions on it. But right now, that's not my focus. I'm trying to save everyone, the players and the coaches. So, I know you guys are going to have to ask follow up [questions], and that's fine. You guys know how I feel about you guys, so it's not going to change the way I feel about you, in a good way. So, that's where were at. Our team came in and obviously we're getting prepared for Atlanta, so I'm fine. How about them Yankees?"

(On if he tried to change the fining process installed by the team in a similar way to the changes of the preseason scheduling) "I'm going to go back, and I know I'll be repetitive, but I want to make sure I'm clear. 'Not as tough,' or whatever words we want to use, to me that's not a true statement from me. The statement from me was I was put on a committee of, 'How do we help players.' Obviously you guys know I was on part of the way we practice and concussion situation. And [I] really started taking a hard look of not just what I've done here, but really my whole life as a player and as a coach. And then we looked at the 2018 season. In 2017 we were a very healthy football team, and we were able to go out there and win games. In 2018 we had an uncommon amount of injuries, and we have injuries today. And I think as a coach at that time I'm not going to stand up here and say, 'Injuries are the problem.' It's poor leadership that way. That's how I operate. So, no you have this situation any you say, 'OK, what happened?' I don't believe that things just happen out of chance, or luck, or anything like that. I think it all happens for a reason. So, I went back, and I looked at a bunch of things that maybe we can change, still get the intensity, still get the practice reps, still get the things that we need and kind of move them around to maybe when we're better prepared to do them. I looked at the amount of times that we practiced, and the hitting, and again I spoke to a bunch of teams that have had success with less injuries to see how they've done things from a football perspective. So, I went out and I did all that research, and then it all made sense to me and I went out there and tried to put those things to play. Unfortunately, again, we have a bunch [of injuries], so I think it's something that we have to look at all aspects of what we're doing. So, that's the training camp aspect. And then obviously I have tried to build a relationship – obviously you have to as a coach with the players – and trust and I feel like I have a good relationship with the players. It takes time. You don't always get it right away. Trust is a big word, people throw it around a lot, but one thing about trust is it takes time. It takes time to trust people, to get to know people. No different than how I feel my relationship is with the people in this room. [It's] the same with the players, so I've tried to listen. I've tried to change. I have changed and I tried to get things better where it's a point of what's right for the players and what's right for the organization. I feel like I'm consistently learning and still trying to do things and trying to help them, because they're the reason why we're all here. So, there's a fine line between all that stuff and that's one of the challenges of coaching."

(On if he feels that he has had to be an advocate between the players and the front office) "I think whatever structure is in place at whatever team, I think we as coaches are always – A lot of times in some places it's the assistant coaches that get a lot of feedback. It's really weird how this profession is. When I was an assistant coach, I had a great relationship with a ton of people on the team and I would say a personal relationship, and I had a lot of time, but the minute you start getting titles, it's amazing to me, even here with the offensive line. You guys know, I was the offensive line coach, so I had a great relationship with [Jeremy] Parnell, [Brandon] Linder, those guys. And all of a sudden, you get named the head coach and all of a sudden there's a little bit more distance and I'd be like, 'I'm still the same.' The title doesn't change who you are. So, I think that as a head coach I've always – and I've had issues in the past. I have. And I've tried to build a relationship and build it. I'm fortunate here that I've some time, and I've been able to build a relationship with the players, so I would like to think that my responsibility is to listen to them and be able to work together. Because coaching to me has always been – it's an interesting dynamic of the NFL. You have players, which have a union. You have management, and then you have the coaches that are with these players every day. And it's funny, and I've been on both ends of it where the players have looked at coaches and said, 'You guys are management,' and I've looked at management and put us in with the players. You're in that slippery slope down the middle and what you have to have is really good leadership and really good communication skills. And if you don't have those things, you'll see parts of the team break off and things of that nature. So, I've seen these things obviously in my experience over the years and those are the things that I've always been guarded for and I've always looked out for."

(On how players feuding with Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin impacts his job) "Well, the players who say that, or anyone have to come out and say that, I think that's the right way to handle it. For me, I've always placed my focus on what our job was and what our responsibilities [are]. That may be selfish on my part, because I have to do what I can to make sure that I'm getting the most out of every player and every coach, but that is my job. So, I just focused on that. There's always things that come up, so I always look at it as if problems come up whether it's what you said, or problems on the outside or problems with performance, I look at it as a challenge to show that you can communicate and you can lead. And you can take someone that maybe is not in a good place and bring them into a good place. That's what we all should be trying to do in our lives, at everything, but I don't stand on the pedestal, that's what I try to do every day."

(On if he has experienced a similar situation to the NFLPA grievance in his past coaching stops) "Like a statement like that from the [NFL] PA? I'd say no."

(On if he worries that the NFLPA grievance will damage his reputation) "No, because I really believe [that] I know who I am. I know the mistakes that I've made. I know what I've tried to do to correct them. I'm not comfortable with the way I look, or my weight, or my haircut at time, but I am comfortable with how I'm always trying to improve and be a good leader."

(On if Tom Coughlin has spoken to him since the NFLPA's statement was released) "He has not addressed it with me. We did have a conversation that I just said I wasn't going to be prepared to address it. That was about it."

(On if players have come to him and complained about team fines) "Yeah, we've had that. And I've had that with the question before of, 'Have players ever come to you,' and stuff like that. And they have. I've always tried to talk to the players from my standpoint. I've always told the players that these fines, which are very excessive, are collectively bargained. And I would always say, 'Hey, when you guys get to the table, you have to look at some of these things.' So, for me, I'm trying to explain to them how the process all works. I've always been that way. I'm one of the few people that are around, you guys know, I have two credited seasons [as a player] in the NFL, which is just a cup of coffee, but one of them I was on strike for three games. Three game checks that I'll never make up that at that time in my life I needed desperately. So, I've always tried to make sure that everyone understands the rules from everyone's standpoint, from an organization of what we're trying to do. And I would think anyone in the [NFL] PA would tell you that I've always been a constant voice for them to make sure that the players that we had on our team were educated. I was fortunate to have Kevin Mawae who was the president of the PA, I coached him, so we had a lot of meetings on things like what we're talking about where I've tried to tell them, 'Hey, these are problems that you guys bring to me, but these are problems you need to address and make things better.' So again, I'm just trying to make it a better working relationship with everyone."

(On QB Gardner Minshew II's ability to lead comebacks on the road) "I can't put it into words, which I think would be hard. But I always think about – how many times do you hear coaches say, 'He has the it factor.' People use terms like that to describe players. It just means that when it is on the line and you need him to do something and the momentum is going your way, he will find a way to do it. I think he's a very intelligent kid, and he is very focused. He does not really hear all the stuff that is going on. From my opinion, he looks like a play-by-play guy. Learn from the past, but it is behind him. [He] moves on. He is young. He is learning and the one thing about it is like any player, it looks like he is having fun when he is out there. He has a big challenge again this week, and we put a little bit more on his plate like we have been doing. Just a little bit more and see how he plays."

(On the thought that he defers to the front office on matters like the NFLPA and if Shad Khan has reached out to him about player grievances) "No, I have not [heard from Shad Khan]. I would hate to paint myself as one of those guys that puts these guys over here and these guys over there. There are just certain things that happen during the season that I may not … After a football game, I feel very comfortable answering any question. I feel very comfortable answering any question about Atlanta. There are some things that occur that I don't have all the information. I am aware of it, but I do not feel comfortable getting up in front of people and speaking on behalf of whatever situation it is. It is not, 'They do their thing, I do my thing.' Obviously, what is happening with the season, I put it on me, but we are all in this thing."

(On how much damage control the Jaguars have to do moving forward to recover from a statement like the NFLPA's) "I think it is a great question. For me personally, I am one of those types of guys that eventually when I get done where my focus isn't on trying to win games, I am probably going to reach out and ask, 'Why?' For me, I am one of those guys … I kind of overanalyze things and I try to get both sides and see what is going on before I form an opinion on things. When I first heard about it, that is how I felt. I am sure there is a reason for it. I do not think they just throw things out there. I would like to be able to talk to the NFLPA if they want to talk to me. They may not. Hopefully … I have been a member of it and went on strike. I have been supporting. It's not like I am one of these guys [that doesn't support]. I have a copy of the first players meeting ever that I keep on my desk."

(On if he wants to question the NFLPA for releasing the information) "No. I was just saying … He was talking about the last sentence being damaging because if players hear this – there are players with a contract here. If it is something that they released that may cause damage, they damage players that are here that are part of the union too. I'm just curious really, just trying to find out that side of it, just that one piece of it. The other stuff, I don't have the information on."