JACKSONVILLE – Four takeaways from HC Doug Marrone's teleconference a day after the Jaguars' 29-15 victory over the New York Jets at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville
1.Stuffing the run.The Jaguars have forced seven turnovers the last two weeks. While that's notable, perhaps as important has been the team's improvement against the run the last three weeks. The Jaguars, after allowing 285 yards rushing in a 34-27 Week 5 loss to the Carolina Panthers, allowed 104 yards rushing to the New Orleans Saints in Week 6 and 33 to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 7. They held the Jets to 46 yards rushing, including 23 on nine carries by running back Le'Veon Bell. "We have a lot of guys who are stepping up and doing a good job," Marrone said. "I think it shows that when we're fitting things properly and doing our job, obviously it's a difficult scheme to run the ball against. … Some guys have been stepping up. …We've got guys who are stepping up on the inside and doing a good job of creating some penetration at the line of scrimmage and being able to get off blocks and make plays. At the end of the day, it's a trend we work extremely hard at and we want to keep it going."
2.More improvement for Chark.Marrone on Monday again praised wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr., who on Sunday caught his AFC-leading sixth touchdown pass of the season – an eight-yarder from quarterback Gardner Minshew II that gave the Jaguars a two-touchdown lead with 4:13 remaining. Marrone said Chark – a second-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft – entered the season with high expectations and wanting to improve on a 14-reception, 174-yard rookie season. "I give him credit: I always say the one thing no one has seen is how hard he worked to get where he is now," Marrone said. "He just continues to show what he can do. He can take the top off the defense. He has good speed. He runs the whole route tree. He's catching the ball very well – contested balls also. He can take a short throw and get really good yards after the catch. There are a lot of things he can do, and his overall performance is just going to keep getting better."
3.Three critical games.If the Jaguars' victories over theBengals and Jets in recent weeks were important, the next three games are more so. That's because all three are in the AFC South, with a home game in London against the Texans followed by road games at Indianapolis (November 17) and Tennessee (November 24). "You're always going to look at the division and see where you are in the division," said Marrone, whose first Jaguars team in 2017 won the franchise's first division title since winning the AFC Central in 1999. "Early on, I realized we had never won this title. I always look at how all the other teams are built, because you can say what you want but the fastest way of getting into the playoffs is obviously winning your division. There always has been an emphasis on your division opponents – pretty much everywhere I've ever coached and every coach I've ever worked for. That part of your schedule is never changing. There's a lot of time put into it in the offseason and probably more tape and more things are researched within the division than anywhere else."
4.Praising the rookie.Marrone on Monday also reiterated what he has said before this season – that he likes what he has seen so far from rookie right tackle Jawaan Taylor. A second-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, Taylor has had issues with holding at times this season – but Marrone said his play against some of the NFL's top defensive ends this season has been impressive and bodes well for his future. "If you look at the lineup card week to week, he has drawn some of the best players in the league," Marrone said. "You can't replicate that on a practice field. He's playing at a really good level. It's kind of like the DJ Chark question; he's someone who's going to get better and better each week. Sometimes when you come up to this league there are some moves and some things that go on – schemes – that you haven't seen and it's our first time seeing it. … I really can't say enough good things about him. I'm really, really pleased with him. I'm pleased with the way he goes about his business. He doesn't feel to me like he's a rookie."