JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone may rethink his coin-toss approach.
That was a major takeaway from the Jaguars' head coach's postgame media availability following a 31-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins at TIAA Bank Field Thursday – that Marrone said he may consider taking the opening kickoff moving forward if he has the choice.
"Yeah, I think that's something that I'll look at," Marrone said.
The Jaguars have won the coin toss in all three games this season, with Marrone deferring each time. That has allowed the Jaguars to receive the second-half kickoff in all three games, an approach many NFL coaches take because it allows for the possibility of controlling the game's momentum with a late first-half score followed by a scoring drive to start the second half.
"I think, just from a standpoint of trying an overall philosophy of trying to put the defense out on the field first and make the offense execute … it's kind of been a philosophy, but obviously, it's something that we'll look at and see if we have to change," Marrone said.
The Jaguars' defense has allowed a quick touchdown on all three opening drives this season. The Jaguars also allowed a long drive on the Colts' second possession in Week 1 and long touchdown drives on the Titans' and Dolphins' second possessions the past two games.
The Jaguars have trailed after the first quarter in all three games this season. They rallied from a 14-7 deficit for a 27-20 Week 1 victory over Indianapolis and rallied from a 14-7 deficit to tie before losing to Tennessee by a score of 33-30 in Week 2. They trailed 14-0 after the first quarter Sunday and never trimmed the lead past seven after that.
"It is something we talked about in the locker room after the game," Jaguars middle linebacker Joe Schobert said. "We talked after it happened every time: 'We have to come to the stadium locked in and ready to go on the first drive of the game,' because we can't have that happen every week as it puts our offense in a disadvantageous situation right off the bat and as the defense, we have to be better than that. Going forward, it is something we have to work on and come back and execute and be aware that we have to come out of the gates and start fast because we haven't been doing that so far."
Jaguars wide receiver Chris Conley had a difficult game Thursday, dropping two catchable passes in big situations – including a drop on the sideline on a second-and-6 from the Dolphins 47 on the game's first drive. The Jaguars trailed 7-0 at the time and punted after quarterback Gardner Minshew II threw incomplete on the ensuing play. The Dolphins took a 14-0 lead on their next drive. "Frustration level really high," Conley said. "Personally, in situations where you come out and have an opportunity to start the game with a good drive, you've got to make every opportunity count. In that first drive, I let this offense down. No excuses about that. You got to make that play."
The Jaguars, after entering the game ranked first in the NFL in third-down efficiency at 62.5 percent, converted just three of 10 third downs Thursday. After converting two third downs on a touchdown drive that ended with running back James Robinson's 11-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter, the Jaguars converted just one of their final seven third downs. "The Dolphins mixed things up on third down and did a good job of staying behind us, staying deep," Conley said. "We have to capitalize on everything that they give us underneath and we can't have negative plays. That put us in third-and-long."
Jaguars offensive tackle Cam Robinson was ejected late in the third quarter for making contact with an official. Minshew fumbled on the play and Dolphins linebacker Kyle Van Noy recovered. As officials tried to sort out the pile after the play, Robinson thrust his arms up and contacted an official. "I didn't see much," Marrone said. "All I saw was, I saw Cam on the bottom and I saw the officials jump in there. The official told me afterwards that I guess he jumped on him and Cam went to push him off him. So, he touched the official, that's what I was told. So, you know, you can't touch an official."
Schobert on the loss: "It was more beating ourselves on the field than what the other teams were doing specifically. It is always harder when you don't feel like you played well on either side of the ball, or all three sides of the ball. It is just something we need to look at. It is a long weekend now to just reflect on how we played and how we need to change and get better and we have to be able to turn it into a positive going forward."
Conley: "I still believe that this team can be as good as it wants to be. We just have to go out and we just have to execute."