JACKSONVILLE – The coming weeks won't likely be easy for Jaguars players.
Jaguars higher-ups have emphasized that for a while now, and did so again at the Jags 365: Inside the Red Zone event at EverBank Field Tuesday evening.
Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin appeared at the event with Head Coach Doug Marrone and General Manager David Caldwell. Marrone was asked the plan for when players reported for the offseason program Monday.
"Work the heck out of them," Marrone said.
Coughlin, hired in his position in January the same day Marrone was hired as head coach, talked often on Tuesday about players being evaluated every day in the coming months.
"Obviously, it's a culture change," Coughlin said. "I've been through this a couple of times. You don't start out by not being tough in a situation like we're in. Doug Marrone and his staff – Dave and I will be cheering them on – but we'll be evaluating people and the bar will be set high.
"Those who can perform to the extent that we want them to perform will be here. The others? We'll see."
Marrone, in his first season as the head coach, noted that the team can't practice on the field in the first two weeks of the offseason program, but that players can work in the weight room and class room. Marrone said the work in both areas will be intense.
"We have to field a team that is physical, that is in shape, that is strong," Marrone said. "I pray that they come back with a good foundation. When they start here, it's not going to be anything like where they've been doing their training.
"In order to win in this league, you have to put out a substantial amount of work. That's what separates you. We have quite a bit of separation right now where we are. We have to close that gap and it starts on Monday."
Coughlin said early in the event he expects to observe games next season from upstairs in stadiums, far removed from the sidelines on which he stood as the Jaguars' head coach from 1995-2002 and as the head coach of the New York Giants from 2004-2015.
His view will be more up close in the coming weeks: the Jaguars' weight room.
"I'm going to be planted in there," Coughlin said. "I want to get an idea of the workers, how they go about their business, what they need, so on and so forth."
Also on Tuesday:
*Marrone, who served as the Jaguars' assistant head coach/offense-offensive line coach the past two seasons, said he will challenge the Jaguars' offensive line to "start playing winning football," adding, "one of the things I'm going to talk to the line about when they come in is they've gotten … I'm not going to say 'heat,' because sometimes it's been well-deserved … of not being able to play well. We as players have to look in the mirror and say, 'Hey, you know what? We're not playing well. We've got to come together as a group and play better.' Throughout our league people are talking about our linemen that way? They need to make sure they have a chip on their shoulder when they come here Monday and they need to go out and prove people wrong."
*Caldwell, in his fifth season as the Jaguars' general manager, said, "I think this team is poised to kind of have a breakout year. What that looks like in paper at the end of the year, we'll see, but I feel a lot more confident this year than I have in the past." …
*Marrone reiterated what he has said several times since taking the job – that part of his motivation is giving Jaguars fans a team of which they can be proud. "I want to make sure on Monday after we play on Sunday that we're proud to wear the colors of this team, to wear the Jacksonville Jaguars emblem," he said. "You get tired of people the way they talk about our team right now. I understand that. We're going to do everything we can. We will change that." …