JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines the Jaguars' 12-8 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017 Preseason Week 2 Thursday – with an eye on HC Doug Marrone's thoughts on the night
SAME ALL AROUND
The focus was mainly on the quarterbacks.
That was to be expected when Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone spoke to the media in the wake of Thursday's Week 2 preseason loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Marrone told the media the quarterback job was up for grabs between former starter Blake Bortles and former backup Chad Henne. But after the Jaguars were dominated at times in the first half, Marrone was quick to make this much clear:
What's good at quarterback is good for the rest of the roster.
"I'm still trying to evaluate who the best person is at that position," Marrone said. "I told that to both quarterbacks. I wasn't able to speak to the team after I spoke to both quarterbacks, but I just want to make sure that everyone understands that if you can do this at the quarterback position, all the other positions are very easy to do.
"So when I sit up here and talk about earning the right to play, that's what we're doing. We're trying to earn the right to play. So we're going to figure this thing out."
Marrone also addressed another difficult night for third-year kicker Jason Myers, who missed a 40-yard field goal wide left and an extra point wide right. Myers missed field goals of 50 and 53 yards in the preseason opener.
Images from the Jaguars second preseason game as they welcomed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to EverBank Field.
Marrone reiterated that he doesn't like discussing a player in the media if he hasn't spoken to the player personally, so he kept his comments short.
"I was disappointed, obviously," Marrone said of Myers. "I think that's something that we'll talk about, but again I haven't spoken to him. … I wouldn't want them to do something or say something without giving me the heads up, but I'll talk about this later in the week."
Marrone mentioned a few positives afterward, noting rookie wide receiver Dede Westbrook's six fourth-quarter receptions for 131 yards and an interception by safety Jarrod Wilson. He also added that cornerback Brian Dixon – starting with Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and Aaron Colvin out – "was fighting his butt off against their first teamers."
"I think there are some things like that," Marrone said. "There are some good things: second defense had some more penetration, had a little bit more pressure on the quarterback. We'll look at that. Again, special teams was big. We had the penalties. Other than that, we really played basically clean, but again, things like that: ball up in the air, ball on the ground … we always tell them to make sure you pick up that football. These are the things we have to do to become a better football team."
The week was a good one for Jaguars third-year end Dante Fowler Jr., whose progress this training camp middle linebacker Paul Posluszny called "dramatic." Fowler showed such progress this week against Tampa Bay, faring better in two dual practices against the Buccaneers than he did in a similar setting last August. Fowler, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, had several pressures Thursday and also had a sack/fumble on quarterback Jameis Winston late in the first half. "I got the quarterback pretty clean," Fowler said. "There were some opportunities I left out on the field that I can't do." Of his week, Fowler said, "I improved. Last year was like a stonewall week. I was on my high horse, doing really good. I went against a good offensive tackle [Demar Dotson] and it was, 'Welcome to the NFL.' Being able to go against Dotson and Donovan Smith this week, a pretty good offensive line, it was pretty good. I think it got me better.
"It's a lot better to do it now than to wait until the season comes, in my opinion."
--Marrone on opening up the quarterback position after the second preseason game
"My job is to get the ball through; it doesn't matter what is happening in front of me."
"We started slow and you always want to come out and start fast. I think we didn't really throw that first punch like we wanted to."
--Jaguars running back Corey Grant
* *QUOTABLE IV
"We did not play well, especially defensively. We didn't come out fast. That's the most disappointing part. When we watch this, we'll say, 'You know what? We came out, but we did not start fast. From the first snap, we need to be locked and loaded and ready to play at a high level immediately."