HOUSTON, Texas – Drew Brees couldn't have been more heartfelt.
The issue was the Jaguars' new head coach, and Brees – the New Orleans Saints' quarterback and a 10-time Pro Bowl selection – was clear in his feelings.
"I love Doug Marrone," Brees said.
Brees spoke to jaguars.com Wednesday morning while attending Super Bowl LI week in Houston, and he talked about the time he and Marrone spent together from 2006-2008.
Brees at the time was in his first three seasons with the Saints. Marrone, who was named the Jaguars' head coach January 9, spent those three seasons as the Saints' offensive line coach/offensive coordinator.
"He did a phenomenal job for us," Brees said. "He was extremely influential for a lot of our young offensive linemen who are still playing today – guys like Jahri Evans and Zach Strief to name a few."
Marrone left the Saints to become the head coach at Syracuse from 2009-2012. He then spent 2013 and 2014 as the Buffalo Bills' head coach before joining the Jaguars as assistant head coach-offense/offensive line in 2015. He was the Jaguars' interim head coach the last two games of the 2016 season.
"It has been great to watch his career continue to thrive," Brees said. "My time with Doug, I really valued. I think he's a great football coach."
Brees said Marrone had the feel of a future head coach during their three seasons together.
"You know why? Because he really cares about players," he said. "He's an intense guy. He's a guy who takes his job very seriously, but at the end of the day he really wants to see the best out of his players. He really cares for his players.
"Those are the guys who make the best head coaches because even though they're going to be hard on you, you know it's because they love you and they want to see the best for you."
Brees smiled when he said "intense" in the above quote. Asked why, Brees laughed.
"It's funny," Brees said. "Everybody's got their own personalities that they bring to the game. Doug's an O-Line coach and those guys are typically pretty stressed out. It's a little bit of the sky-is-falling mentality – these are all of the things that can go wrong – and yet with that mentality also comes, 'Man, I'm going to make sure my guys are as prepared they can possibly be. Our relationship and the way we communicated helped us be really successful."