Head Coach Doug Marrone - August 31, 2020

(On releasing RB Leonard Fournette two weeks before the season opener) "Well, I think what happened was, I tried to challenge everyone; coaches, scouts. That we were going to look at what we've been doing now in practice, not knowing how the players are going to come back, not knowing really who we had, not really having a lot of experience to them. We were going to have to make good decisions on what's best for the team. Let's not go ahead and say because someone did something before, maybe we'll get the same type of results, or things [of that nature]. Really just trying to take the team and put the best team together for what we've seen in our practices. So at the end of the day, I just felt that was the best decision for us as a team. I think it gives us the best opportunity with the skill sets that we have with the other players in there. I just thought that was the best for the team and doing it now, we exhausted all trade opportunities. We weren't able to get anything there so I just felt that now we can work on the team, the plan, and get ourselves ready for the season."

(On thoughts that this decision could be seen as another step in moving away from the era with former VP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin) "I can't really right or really jump in and tell someone else what to think or what to do. I think the best way to probably approach it, with obviously not having thought a lot about being able to present this, is I would like to just tell you what my role is. My role is [to] put the best guys I can together as a team, same way I've been talking to the players since the beginning. At the end of the day, it's going to fall to me [on] who those best players are and how we want to play and what we want to do. So at the end of the day, I've got to be able to field a team that I believe gives us the best chance to win and that's what my role is and that's what I'm doing." 

(On if this decision was based on locker room behavior or strictly play on the field) "No, it was not and it strictly has to do [with] on the field. At the end of the day, we feel, like I said before, all those things that I said before, the skill sets of the guys we have and really that's what led to the decision. And it's been something that we've done it with every single position that we've been looking at. We've done cut-ups, we've done tapes, we've gone back, we've looked at everything, what we've tried to get done. It's not just the running back position, it's all positions. I wanted to make sure we had the best look of, 'Hey, what's going on right now?' That's the best indication of what we're going to be able to get when we start this season and I just feel that's what's best for our team."

(On speculation that the team might be intentionally tanking the 2020 season after trading away four of its best players) "I can't speak for anyone, like I said I'm not going to speak for anyone else. But if that's the case then the realization is that if that happens, I'm not going to be here. Right? At the end of the day, if I don't win enough games or do enough with this team, I don't foresee me still being employed. So I'm doing everything I can to make sure that we have the best team to win football games. I mean that's as simple as I can be on it."

(On if this decision will be a shock to the team) "I think the first part of that question I really can't answer. You know what I'm saying? I really can't. My focus has been players' health, player performance, putting together the best team, creating platforms for our players, whether it's social justice, whether it's voting. I mean there's a lot that has to happen, so to really dig in to know someone's insight on what we're trying to do to create the best football team, I can't really expound on that. I really can't say anything."

(On how he sees the running back rotation going forward and if he will lean on one guy or will it be committee) "Committee is a word that people use out there. I think that we have guys that have really good skill sets, that have really had good camps. I think now we're able to hone in on that and really work on that. I think you see that was a big reason why. When people say, 'Why now?' I think that's why so now we can hone that in, get that thing right for us going into this year."

(On if he anticipated this decision to be made this far into training camp) "I think one of the key things that you said [was], 'Was that going to be your intention?' That was never my intention. My intention was to make sure of, 'Hey listen, let's see what we have. Let's get to work. Let's see where everyone is. let's see what they can do. Let's want to do everything and then make a decision then.' So to say that I had my mind made up is [not correct]. There's actually two or three positions right now that I'm still a little bit unsure of that we're trying to evaluate at this time. So I came in [and gave] everyone a clean slate, no issues, everything move forward. Everything's going to be what's on the field, being a good teammate, all this stuff. I'm talking about everyone. This is what I said to everyone on the team and I tried to challenge all the people around me to say, 'Let's go off what we see. Let's take names, take draft picks, take all that stuff off the jerseys, take it off the table, and then let's put them on the field and see who the best players are and what's going to be best for our team.' So that was my goal and that's my responsibility and that's what I feel I'm doing."

(On if it was a coincidence that RB Leonard Fournette was released right after the trade of former Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue) "I wasn't involved with the trade, of when that was going to actually take place or not. No, to answer that question, no."

(On exhausting all trade opportunities before deciding to release RB Leonard Fournette) "That's a question that obviously [General Manager] Dave [Caldwell] can answer more [because he was] more involved in. My question was, 'Can we get any value?' and [the answer] it was we couldn't get any. Fifth, sixth [round picks], we couldn't get anything."

(On what he meant by saying the RB Leonard Fournette was not the best fit for the team) "I just feel like [with] the skill set of the guys that we have being used the right way, [they] will be able to give us more production and give us a better opportunity to win games. That's exactly what I feel and exactly what I've seen on tape."

(On who told RB Leonard Fournette that he was cut from the team) "Me."

(On how that conversation went) "[It was] good, very professional."

(On why fans should be hopeful that this team will be an exciting team to watch this year) "Well, I can't force anyone to do anything. I mean it goes back to the same thing. I can tell you this, I'm super excited about this team. I'm excited about the young guys, I'm excited about the older guys, you know the way they preform, [and] the guys that we have on this team. I think it's close. I think they communicate well. For me, when people talk about culture, I think [with] this culture of this team, there's still things that we're working on to create a better culture for everyone: assistant coaches, coaches, scouts, players. [Director of Player Engagement and Youth Football] Marcus Pollard in player development did a lot of really good things that are going on on the inside that I think is going to resonate to the field with the way those guys are going about their business and practicing and preparing. I'm actually fired up. I really am."

(On if this decision will affect the team's philosophy of "play great defense, run the ball") "No, I think you're right with the beginning. I've always been defense first because I think it bleeds into your special teams unit where we've done a good job. So I think those two things have always been a top priority for me. I've always talked, and I've said it many times, I've been part of teams that have been good running football teams and I define that not by the amount of yards, not by whether you lead the league in rushing yards or not. I define it [as] when you need to run the football and you want to run the football that you're productive. So to say that we run first? Everyone wants to be able to run the football when they need to, but I think the most important thing is scoring points. I think we did a very good job going out and getting some playmakers. We've got some really good talent at the receiving position. We've got talent at the tight end position. We've got guys in the backfield that do a very good job in the passing game. The line has really gotten a lot better. Now, [with] all these things that I say, we have to go out there and produce, but this is what I'm seeing on the field and I think it's going to lead to more touchdowns. At the end of the day, we've got to be able to score more touchdowns."

(On who his RB1 is and if he feels confident in that player) "I think we have a lot of options of, like when you say RB1, depending on who we're playing and what we want to do, who we put out there. For Rock [RB Ryquell Armstead], Rock has been out, so I really don't have a complete evaluation on him which is tough, and you know Dede [Westbrook]'s been out. We have guys that have been out. That's difficult because you know my goal was to make sure we got everyone out there and keep everybody healthy, which we've done a very good job of [with] the trainers [and] the weight room. This way we can make an evaluation and not get to that point where you just have to make a decision based on something that you haven't seen, or you think you may see."

(On preparing the rest of the running back group for the season opener after having not been in the RB1 position throughout camp) "They've taken reps. I mean to say that they haven't taken an amount of reps, or the number one reps [isn't correct]. Those guys have all gone through the rotation of being with the ones. So I'm not concerned on that at all. I've watched the skill sets. I've watched the individual drills, the individual competition drills that we've had. Now it's just a matter of, like I said, the timing of getting those guys ready to some of the things that we expect to see during the season and just get those reps for them now to increase that so they're better prepared to do a good job for us. But those guys have been, the guys in that room, have been outstanding as far as their preparation and getting themselves ready."

(On the importance of having a veteran coach such as Running Backs Coach Terry Robiskie to get multiple guys prepared) "I think a couple of things. I think what you're looking for is [that] you want a coach obviously that can get the most out of his players, get them to understand what we're trying to do from a concept of what [Offensive Coordinator] Jay [Gruden] would like for the offense, to really fit in there. So I think the combination of the offensive coordinator and the position coach is key to really developing what you want from that room. It just can't come from if the position coach doesn't have the same vision as the coordinator; that's going to be a problem. [It's] no different if the coordinator doesn't have the same vision as the head coach; you create yourself some problems. Right now, where we are offensively, we're all aligned with the same vision."

(On if he plans on having a consistent RB1 or if the starter will be conditional on the opponent) "Situation and matchup based [is how] I see it." 

(On his thoughts on trading former Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue) "I kind of went into the situation of exactly what I've been saying the whole time. I've had no issues with Yannick when he was here. At the end of the day, when you're a coach and you're sitting there, it's almost like you feel like you're in the middle. You want what's best for the player. You want what's best for the team. I think in this situation, I haven't spoken to Yan, but obviously if he's happy then I'm happy for him. The team feels good with the compensation so I'm happy for them and you just keep going forward."

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