JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone saw it simply:
Given the opportunity to get two points by going one yard, that's what he will do.
The Jaguars' head coach did that Sunday, a decision that shaped a 27-25 loss to the Cleveland Browns at TIAA Bank Field – and a decision he therefore found himself discussing in detail afterward.
"It's always been my philosophy," Marrone said.
Marrone's decision played out like this:
With the Jaguars leading 19-17 early in the third quarter following a two-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mike Glennon to Tyler Eifert, kicker Aldrick Rosas converted the extra point. A penalty against Browns defensive end Olivier Vernon gave Marrone the option of turning down the single extra point and going for two from the one-yard line.
Marrone chose to go for two.
"If there's a penalty on a play and it goes to the one-[yard line], then I'm always going to go for two unless it's something where it's going to become a two-score game," Marrone said, meaning he wouldn't make the decision if it meant his team having a chance to take a nine-point lead by kicking the extra point.
Glennon's two-point pass to wide receiver Keelan Cole fell incomplete.
"We had a run-pass option for that play and then they stacked the box [against the run], and they were bringing pressure on the weak side, so it caused us to throw it and we didn't execute it," Marrone said.
The decision loomed large later in the game when the Jaguars scored on a four-yard run by running back James Robinson to cut the Bengals' lead to 27-25 with 2:14 remaining. Glennon's two-point pass to rookie wide receiver Collin Johnson was incomplete and the Browns ran out the clock on the ensuing possession.
"It's an aggressive mentality," Glennon said of going for two in the third quarter. "We're a 1-10 team, why not? I don't see anything wrong with it."
Marrone was asked late in his post-game videoconference why the Jaguars didn't run with Robinson on the two-point conversion. Robinson rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries Sunday.
"We would've gone into a goal-line situation (personnel package) there to be able to do that," Marrone said. "We decided that we were going to go with the 12 personnel package (one running back, two tight ends and two wide receives) and try to get in there. Then they put an extra guy at the edge, then we went with the pass.
"Obviously at the end of the day, I wish I would've went goal line and ran the ball because I can't defend a decision that didn't work out for us. I can only tell you what my thought process was going into it."
Glennon made his first start in more than three years Sunday, completing 20 of 35 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Glennon played in place of rookie Jake Luton, who had started three games in place of Games 1-7 starter Gardner Minshew II. Minshew, who missed the last four games with a thumb injury and was questionable entering the weekend, was ruled out 90 minutes before kickoff Sunday. "It'd be ridiculous to say that it didn't have any bearing on it," Marrone said when asked if Glennon's performance Sunday might influence a decision about next Sunday's starter at Minnesota, "but I'm not ready or prepared right now to really answer any of those questions on who's going to be the quarterback. I thought Mike did a nice job though." Said Glennon, "It's not my call. It's up to Coach Marrone or whoever makes those decisions."
Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash missed the game because of COVID-19 protocols. Safeties coach Joe Danna called the defensive plays Sunday after COVID-19 protocols forced the defensive staff to coach virtually this past week – conducting meetings via videoconference. "I wouldn't say it was necessarily different," Jaguars safety and defensive captain Jarrod Wilson said. "It was pretty much the same calls, kind of. Wash just wasn't on the sideline. I know my safeties coach was calling the plays from the box. There was no difference, really. We really just got to go out there and execute as a defense."
Robinson continued to draw praise from coaches and teammates following his third 100-yard rushing performance in the last five games. Johnson on Robinson, an undrafted rookie free agent, "He's almost not human the way he – week in and week out – is able to perform and keep his body healthy. It's just impressive and motivating too, seeing an undrafted guy come in here and put up the numbers he's doing and being such a good teammate. It's motivating. He's a great guy for our locker room and just a beast." Robinson now has 884 yards and six touchdowns on 200 carries this season.
Wilson on the Jaguars' 10-game losing streak: "It doesn't really have to more so do about talent or anything. It's really just a team coming together and finding a way to win. And it's tough right now. When you drop 10 in a row, I don't think anybody in there is happy about that situation, but one thing about the locker room is it's still tight, it's still close. It's still encouraging to come into work knowing that guys, even though we're battling our asses off, we are just trying to find a way to still get a W." Wilson added, "It was a week like none other. Everything was really strictly virtual. Coaches didn't get in until Saturday, and Wash is still out. It was definitely a different week than others, but no excuses, man. No excuses."
Johnson: "This is when you really find out what kind of person you are, when everything is going terrible. I just feel like you have to continue to fight. That was the message in the locker room after the game: we are doing this for each other. So, just continue to fight and continue to get better and that's pretty much the message: just keep working."