JACKSONVILLE – Hurricane Dorian is changing the Jaguars' practice plans.
With the Category 5 storm forcing mandatory evacuations in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas, the Jaguars have altered their practice schedule in advance of Sunday's 2019 regular-season opener.
The Jaguars practiced Monday and will not practice Tuesday or Wednesday. They are scheduled to return to practice Thursday – weather and safety permitting.
The normal schedule is a players' day off Tuesday with practice Wednesday and Thursday.
"We have a plan in place, and we're going to go ahead and execute it," Head Coach Doug Marrone said Monday morning. "First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone to make sure everyone's safe and everyone has a plan. That's what we've been working on with our players.
"That's been the biggest thing we've been dealing with, making sure of the safety of everyone involved."
Mandatory evacuations in Duval County's Evacuation Zones A and B began Monday at 8 a.m.
Marrone said players will return to the facility if weather permits at noon Thursday, with practice and preparations resuming at that time.
"We feel good about our plans for the players and the safety for our players, and I think that's most important," Marrone said, adding: "We've been out in front of this, so we've had a lot of conversations with the players. We've had a lot of planning.
"But there's always going to be anxiety because you just don't know."
Marrone, asked about the possibility of practicing away from Jacksonville later in the week, said the team plans to monitor the storm and make decisions as warranted.
"If it does get pushed back where we can't get the players back in here, obviously we'll reach out to the league and get everyone involved and see what's best," Marrone said. "I don't look at it as we're losing a practice day. As of right now, we'll have our work in. I'm concerned about that."
The Jaguars are scheduled to play the Kansas City Chiefs at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday at 1 p.m.
"People who have been through this before know things can change, and you have to be ready," Marrone said. "A lot of things can change, and we have to be ready for it. And we will be. The first thing was to make sure everyone's safe and have a plan. Once we know everyone's safe and has a plan in what they're doing, then I think we just take things as they come."
Marrone said the team holds blocks of hotel rooms for players and families, and that it also has contingencies for pets of football staff and players' families.
"We want everybody to have a resource to go to," Marrone said. "Not a lot of people have been through this before. You want to get everybody as much information as possible."
Marrone said that "most of the work is done" in terms of game-planning for the Chiefs.
"Not to say there's ever a good time, but obviously in the beginning [of the season] you have a chance to have more done than if something happened during the middle of the season," he said.
Marrone also said coaches and team officials will meet with players via skype and video conference in the coming days, though the priority will remain on safety.
"With the technology the way it is today, there's a lot going on for what we're going to be able to push out even though we're separated as coaches and a team," he said. "That's all in the works."