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Jaguars 2018 Training Camp: Preseason opener approaches


JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone's approach to the preseason is simple.

"Everybody's got to be ready to play," he said.

For the Jaguars' second-year head coach, that means players being ready for however many snaps are necessary, which is a reason he's not much into predetermining – or preannouncing – preseason playing time.

The Jaguars, the defending AFC South champions, will play host to the defending NFC South champion New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field Thursday at 7 p.m. Repetitions for starters in that game was a topic when Marrone met with media Tuesday morning. Marrone's stance?

Players will know when they need to know – i.e., likely during the game.

"I've told you before: I'm a firm believer that I don't like to give pitch counts out, per se," Marrone said shortly before Day 11 of Jaguars 2018 Training Camp practice at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex.

"What I struggle with is players going out there saying, 'Well, I'll have X amount of plays.' I just don't want that type of mentality. I want a player to prepare himself like he's going to go in and play the whole game even though you might say, 'Well, coach, they know they're not going to play four quarters,' it's still that mentality.

"That, in my opinion, helps with player safety – being prepared to play like that."

Marrone, who said coaches likely will determine preseason playing time at the team hotel Wednesday evening, also on Tuesday discussed his approach to evaluating players in preseason.

Among the most important aspects to the NFL preseason is that there is by far more hitting and full-speed, contact work in preseason games than in practice. Offseason work under NFL rules is non-padded, and teams typically only hold full-contact, tackle-to-the-ground drills in a few practice periods of an entire training camp.

"We have a couple of periods where we've gone live, but now it [in the preseason] is going to be live," Marrone said. "What I look for is: one, obviously the mental aspect of it from an assignment standpoint; then I look from a technique standpoint and an effort standpoint. Then, at the end of the day the thing is, did you get your job done or not?"

Marrone said the reality is there are players who impress in practice who don't perform well in games, and players who show up far better in game situations than practice.

"If there's a defensive player you're excited about, and he shows he can't tackle, then that's going to be an issue," Marrone said. "If it's an offensive player you're excited about – whether it's a running back, a receiver or a tight end – all of a sudden now you're coming over the middle and there's physical contact and you can't hold onto the ball … those are things that are being looked at.

"Those things you can't evaluate on a full-scale practice when you're talking about tackling and breaking tackles."

Also Tuesday:

*Defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (shoulder) remained on the physically unable to perform list on Day 11 of camp. He has been on the PUP list since the start of camp. …

*Five players were ruled out of Tuesday's practice: defensive end Calais Campbell, nose tackle Eli Ankou, linebacker Brooks Ellis, wide receiver DeAndre Smelter and defensive end Taven Bryan. Marrone said Ankou has been ruled out of Thursday's preseason opener and the status for the other four players remains undetermined. …

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