Interim HC Doug Marrone: 'We have to prepare'

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JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone is focused on the now.

Considering the circumstances, the Jaguars' interim head coach said there's not much choice.

Marrone, the Jaguars' assistant head coach-offense/offensive line coach since January 2015, was named the Jaguars' interim head coach on Monday. Jaguars Owner Shad Khan on Sunday relieved former Head Coach Gus Bradley following a 21-20 loss to the Houston Texans in Houston.

The Jaguars (2-12) play host to the Tennessee Titans (8-6) at EverBank Field Saturday at 1 p.m.

"We are on a short week with heavy hearts," Marrone said. "We have to put it as much behind us as we can. We have to prepare."

Marrone was head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2013-2014, coaching them to a 15-17 record during that span. He is the Jaguars' sixth interim or permanent head coach, following Tom Coughlin (1995-2002), Jack Del Rio (2003-2011), Mel Tucker (interim, 2011), Mike Mularkey (2012) and Bradley.

Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said Marrone will be considered for the permanent head-coaching position regardless of the outcome of the final two games.

"It is something I am really not thinking about," Marrone said. "I think at a proper time, I will be able to answer that question. Right now my total focus is to do what is best for the coaches that we have and the players that we have here and the organization."

Marrone was asked if he considered the next two weeks an "on-the-job interview."

"I don't look at it that way," he said, adding. "My job is to make sure that the people that are touching the football team understand the direction we are heading and how we feel and to recognize that and to be able to move forward at a very difficult time."

Marrone said he will meet with players Tuesday for the first time as head coach. The team will begin practicing in preparation for the Titans that day, moving the schedule forward a day because of the game being on a Saturday.

"I met with some of the players already," Marrone said. "We are going to try to make sure we set this thing the right way and do what is best for this organization in these final two weeks."

Marrone during his comments to the media emphasized his respect for Bradley, and talked extensively Bradley on himself and the entire organization. He called it a tough time for the organization, coaches and players.

"One of the things that I have come to understand is the great leadership we did have from Gus," Marrone said. "I understand this business, believe me, with wins and losses, but the one thing as an assistant coach – or you talk to our coaches or coordinators – was the way our players went out there and competed.

"That doesn't happen around the league often when you have the type of record that we have. I really believe that that is a credit to Gus and his leadership and a credit to the men [players] that sit in this room."

Marrone said he didn't see the final two games as him trying to put a "stamp" on the organization, adding that coaches and players still felt an obligation to perform well for Bradley.

"People do not like to hear this," Marrone said. "They don't like to hear that you're close or we're close. Some of the games we were. It didn't fall our way. The effort of the people and men that come in this room every day and the job Gus did to get them to come in here and truly buy in and play … we just weren't able to get that done. That is collectively.

"We all have a part in this. It just happens that when you are the head coach and when you are the leader and the results aren't there …. this is what happens in our league. Make no mistake about it, I sit up here, I am a part of that responsibility, as well as everyone else."

Marrone said while he and the coaching staff are focused on game-planning for Tennessee, there is an element of wanting to win for Bradley.

"That is a testament to the type of character that is in this room, the type of players that we have, but make no mistake about it that is also about the type of leadership we had in Gus," Marrone said.
"Gus had a way of bringing out the best in people to do the right thing. I have always believed in that. That is something that I will remember not only just with football teams, but also with my family and my children."

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