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Game that was: Final words


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Senior writer John Oehser examines the Jaguars' 24-20 loss to the Indianapolis Colts Sunday – with an eye on interim head coach Doug Marrone's season-ending message to the team …


Doug Marrone delivered his end-of-season message to the team Sunday afternoon.

That was by necessity, because the Jaguars' interim head coach said he won't speak to the team as a group on Monday in what is known as "getaway day" for players.

Marrone said he expects General Manager David Caldwell to address the team Monday.

Marrone, who coached the Jaguars to a 1-1 record in two games after former Head Coach Gus Bradley was dismissed, said his message to players following Sunday's loss focused on a simple truth.

"You can't make the mistakes that we made today – that have been the mistakes that have shown up before – and expect to go out there and win the game," Marrone said.  "They have to understand that level of focus. They have to understand the pressure that needs to be put on them during the week.

"We have to force them as coaches to be accountable for that so that they have the ability to go out there on Sunday and win games."

Marrone said his message emphasized learning how to win and "to not make mistakes that cause you to lose and see if someone's physically better or schematically better than we are to go out and beat us."

Marrone said he has not yet spoken to Owner Shad Khan and/or General Manager David Caldwell about the permanent position.  Caldwell said upon Marrone taking over as interim head coach that he will be a candidate for the permanent position.

"I haven't really talked about it yet," Marrone said. "My focus has been on the team, so officially nothing right now. Again, I usually keep that close to the vest, but officially no – not right now."

Marrone said while he won't address the team, he and the Jaguars' assistant coaches have season-ending duties to which they will attend Monday. After that, Marrone said the coaches will be around "until further notice."

"No one really knows what the future is," Marrone said, adding, "It's been a difficult year – obviously on everyone. I thought the players and coaches handled it as professionals. We understand we're in a results-oriented business. The result is you have to win games. I wasn't able to lead the team to do that today, which I was disappointed [in]."


Marrone after the game quickly addressed his decision-making on a key series late in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars took possession at the Colts 30 following a blocked punt by linebacker Dan Skuta. The game was tied 17-17 with 1:54 remaining. The Jaguars ran running back Corey Grant three times for seven yards, with the Colts calling timeout after each play. Jason Myers' 41-yard field goal gave the Jaguars a 20-17 lead with 1:33 remaining. The Colts drove 70 yards on the ensuing series, with quarterback Andrew Luck passing one yard to Jack Doyle with nine seconds remaining. "My philosophy at the end of the game is to make them use all of their timeouts and go ahead and kick the field goal to take the lead," Marrone said. "We're obviously trying to get the first down, but that's been my philosophy. For me, it's easy to make those decisions. Those things are done before the year. When you have a philosophy, it's easy to do what you're supposed to do."

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Marrone said Skuta approached him before the fourth-quarter blocked punt and told him he could block it. Skuta finished the thought with a question. "He said, 'Coach, I can block this punt … what do you want me to do?''' Marrone said. "It's a good question. You're saying, 'Wait a minute now … if you can block it, go in there and block it, but if you don't block it and you rough that kicker, now it's a problem.' I told Dan, 'Hey, listen: If you can block that punt without leaving your feet, go ahead and block it.' I give him credit. He felt he could do that right before the play."


"That was my whole thing coming in this week: I knew I was probably going to have to be the starter. Through all week, I amped up my focus and made sure I was going to be making plays when I was supposed to and making my reads right. To have this opportunity … you can't pass it up. You have to take advantage of it."

--Running back Corey Grant on his first career 100-yard game in his first NFL start

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"I think he did a really good job. I really do. It was tough to come in the way he did, and I thought he did a good job. He did a good job of relating to the guys, and he did a good job because it's easy to lay down and say, 'Let's just get out of the rest of this year healthy, go into the offseason and see what happens next year.' Guys continued to play their tails off these past two weeks for him."

--Quarterbac Blake Bortles on Marrone

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