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Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone: Wednesday, November 18, 2020

(On rookies that have flown under the radar) "Ben Ellefson, the free agent tight end that we have from North Dakota State. He's another guy that's come in and done a nice job as far as the tight end position. I'm just trying to think. I'm just so focused on the Pittsburgh stuff it's hard to go back in there. I think I just probably go through the roster and it's hard to say. Those guys, some guys they're progressing well but obviously it's not at a point where we can overcome some deficiencies as to what our record is, obviously. So it's hard to go there right now. We're trying to figure out right now, how do we give ourselves an opportunity to beat obviously the best team in the league coming in here?"

(On rookies DT Doug Costin and LS Ross Matiscik) "Ross has been outstanding. I mean like you said, he's done a great job and that's a tough position to crack in to. A lot of times, [Special Teams Coordinator] Joe D[eCamillis] and [Assistant Special Teams Coordinator] Mike] Mal[lory] can probably say more on it, you don't usually go into a season without any preseason games with someone that hasn't been in those situations because it can wind up biting you in the butt [when] you go out and do it. Ross has been solid from that stance. Then, Doug [Costin] had a really good camp. He played really well when we gave him a couple snaps and his productivity looked good, so we wanted to give him more snaps and the productivity went up. So we're happy with him and then unfortunately he had the concussion, and he was out but he'll be back this week, so he'll be playing again. I just think that's something that we'll just keep monitoring how he goes. If he keeps going in the same direction, then obviously he would be someone that'd be pretty good."

(On the challenges the Steelers defensive pose to the Jaguars offensive line and the status of OL Brandon Liner) "We expect Brandon to play. He's actually going to go out there today and do some stuff. Normally it's his day off so he'll get some work in today. We expect him to play. It's interesting I think when you look at it. Obviously, you like to be able to control the ball, keep it away from their offense, which is obviously a high scoring offense, but how do you do that? Do you try running the ball against this front seven, which is probably the best front seven that we've played this year? They're good at both levels all around and I'm just focusing on them, obviously their secondary is playing very well. If you get yourself into a game where you get behind, then they're going to eat you up. You talk about guys that can rush the passer at both inside and outside, guys that have been hitting quarterbacks, sacking quarterbacks, doing all that stuff and it can get ugly fast. You have to find a way to be able to control the tempo of the game offensively where you're picking up first downs, you're keeping this manageable, you're keeping things where it's 50/50 run or pass what you're going to do because there's no doubt, and it's been shown for these past nine games that they've played, that when teams do get behind, it's a big advantage for them. They have guys that can disrupt the passer, they have guys that can cover and it's just difficult. I think when you play teams like this that are playing extremely well and have excellent talent you can get yourself out of whack quick and you just have to kind of stick with the plan and be able to execute."

(On an update on WR Laviska Shenault Jr. and DT Doug Costin) "Doug has cleared concussion protocol so he's back at practice, so he's full [participation]. Laviska will be out today and he'll do some work on the side and then we'll see where he's at tomorrow. We're still hopeful. We have him as questionable right now."

(On RB James Robinson's workload) "I think you're concerned about a lot of young players that come into the league about the type of workload that they may or may not be able to handle. I think with James it was a little bit [of] going back and seeing how large of a workload he's always carried from high school to college. There's a little sense of, 'Okay, that's okay. He's done this at all these levels.' But the question always comes, can you do it at this level, the top level, and I think that he's done a nice job. Like anyone that plays that position, we're more than halfway through the season and you start to get a little banged up. The key is he does a good job of taking care of his body and keep going. Obviously it'll be a great challenge for him this week, along with the offensive line, the tight ends, all the people that are involved in the blocking scheme going against this defense. It seems like every time that I've played against them, their defense has always been solid, if not spectacular. I think this might be, out of all the years I've played them going back to when I was with the Jets, no disrespect to anyone I've played before, but this is probably the best front seven that I've faced and they lost a heck of a linebacker in [Devin] Bush who was playing really well."

(On the game plan for RB James Robinson with limited depth at the running back position) "Devine [Ozigbo] will be back this week, so we'll see how he plays and then we'll probably add someone before the week's over at that position. Whether it's on the roster or practice squad, a lot will depend on how Devine practices this week."

(On the history of the team playing tough against the Steelers) "It's hard for me to go and look at the past and all that, different teams, different players, different coaches, all the different dynamics. But I'm going to admit, you're right about that and sometimes I think in the past we've matched up pretty good. I think that we have probably the largest difference in the matchup for us going against them and I'm only speaking of the teams I've been a part of here going against them. It's always tough, [Steelers Head Coach] Mike Tomlin has done a really good job. The one thing that shows out on film is not only do they have really good players, it's just the effort that they're playing with is outstanding. It's unbelievable. Hopefully, that plays into it. There's no one that wishes it more than that and trying to get this game in the fourth quarter and try to find a way to win the game or try to get takeaways and things like that. But they'll come down there, they'll be ready to go. They have a lot at stake, 9-0. They watched us play last week where we played a tough game, we have turnovers, we have a special teams play, so they'll be ready to go. You're not going to catch them or anything like that. It's not an issue of weather. The weather will be fine. It's not going to be 98 degrees and hot as hell, which is sometimes an advantage when you have those teams coming from up north coming down here. I just think that sporadically it's been fortunate that the games have been tight, but we have a lot of challenges this week in all three phases that we play."

(On how to defend Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and his offensive weapons) "Try to keep everything in front of you and try to make sure there's no yards after the catch. I think that's a big thing. I think he's having a great year. He's been around for so long now, but he's playing at a really high level right now. It's interesting, they're sixth in offense but from an explosive play standpoint, they're not as high. So I think when you just look at that right off the bat, I think the first thing you think of is how well he's distributing the football, how well he's seeing the field, his accuracy. Again, this is back to back weeks of going against guys that are probably going to be in the Hall of Fame and that played a long time. It's very difficult to defend because you're sitting there and you're trying to just picture yourself as someone that's seen a lot, that's very, very comfortable in the pocket, understands what everyone's doing on the field, and then all of a sudden he knows what you're doing defensively. Right away now, whatever you want to talk about progressions and things like that nature, right away you know where you're going with the football. Obviously, [he] has a strong arm. He's tough to bring down. [He] doesn't have the scramble ability like he had years ago but that's not alarming. He can still pick up a first down if he needed to, but he's very difficult to bring down. I would point out his accuracy. It's been lights out when you go and you watch where he's placing the ball, especially against teams with man coverage. They have a lot of crosses in there, guys going over the middle. The one thing is, if you're going to make a mistake in coverage, and I think we saw that last week, he'll take advantage of you. He can see the field so it's not like he's running through the progressions. If something happens and someone thinks they're in cover three and they're in two deep and someone's running down the seam free, which we saw in the Cincinnati game, he's just going to turn around and throw it. He's going to be able to get that guy the ball. So he's playing at a really high level right now and they're playing with a lot of confidence."

(On if the Steelers have the best receiving corps in the league) "I don't think I've seen everyone. I think a couple teams come to mind but they're playing well. They have [Chase] Claypool. He's big, he's strong, he's fast. He's hard to run with. He's really done a good job for a young player. JuJu Smith-Schuster's always been solid in what he can do. [Eric] Ebron obviously has size, speed. He's a matchup problem. Juju's more of the real precise route runner, good hands, good versus the zone, good versus man. Claypool can run away from anyone plus he's hard to bring down. He's tough and you have a bunch of things going on what they do with him. Then you have this other group: James Washington has made plays for them, another receiver that they have. You look at those four guys and the tight ends and then Vance McDonald, if he plays, they even become more dangerous in what he can do. He has a lot of weapons and their screen game is outstanding in what they do. Again, you're talking about a team that hasn't lost so there's going to be a lot of positive things going on and there's going to be a lot of great challenges and you have to defend a lot of things. They make you defend the whole field and then their running game, which they're a physical team. It's a lot of guys out there. We're up for it. We feel good. We'll have a good plan and then obviously it's going out and executing that plan. But they have a nice mixture of guys, size and speed, size in route running ability, flat speed, matchup problem at tight ends. If both of them [their tight ends] play it's even a tougher matchup if Vance plays. That's why they're one of the top offenses."

(On the similarities between WR Laviska Shenault Jr. and Steelers WR Chase Claypool) "I think in height, weight, and speed you see that. Yes, I would answer that question yes."

(On QB Jake Luton calling pre-snap protection calls) "You have to be able to do that. That's the number one thing that you're working on with quarterbacks right off the bat after you get the formations and all the other stuff because that's the one person that can truly see the whole field for the whole duration of time. As a center or anyone else, you become limited of what you can see. The receivers are on the outside. The running backs are looking at the front. He's the person that's trained to see the whole thing and he knows where to go with the ball, and you want to make sure that [he can call the protection]. There's a lot that goes into that as far as do you want to push the protection and fade away from the extra guy coming to throw it? Do I need to change the protection or can I beat someone with a throw? These are things from my experience that come with experience as you go along because there's checks, there's plays, there's so much that's on the quarterback's plate as they start to play. I think that's why you're seeing that some of these guys can handle it extremely well. You look at the quarterbacks in the league and I go back. You have the two, the one we played last week [Packers QB Aaron Rodgers], the one we're playing this week [Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger], the others around the league, they've been around a long time. No one's really be able to unseat them. I used to always tell the offensive linemen, like any position there's going to be a point in everyone's career where all of a sudden their skill set's going to start to go down and how do those players survive in the league? Well, one of the ways, I used to always tell the offensive linemen, I said, 'Listen, you're bigger than most guys or you're faster than most guys or you're this and that, but eventually you're going to start to slow down. So, how are you going to win? How are you going to sustain yourself in this league?' Technique, experience, those things could come into play. So I think as these quarterbacks progress and as they keep getting the information, as they learn from it and they're able to show that they can execute it on the field, that's what's going to keep people in the league, keep those types of guys in the league for a long period of time. I think in these last two weeks, Aaron Rodgers last week and Ben this week, I think we've seen guys that have just progressively gotten better and better as it goes and then when they get hot, they can stay hot for a while. I think right now, Ben looks like he's pretty comfortable out there. That's the one thing you see on the film. He seems really in-tune, really comfortable in what he's doing. I just remember it's a little bit different than when I was with the Jets and we played them but that was a long time ago."

(On if playing the Steelers will help them evaluate what QB Jake Luton has learned) "I think you do that every week, I think whenever you play. You have such a small body of work. I think it takes a lot. Sometimes it's just the game itself doesn't put you in all the situations that you need to be in. You're trying to evaluate that and trying to see how much you'll be able to learn from that and how you come back from that and see what happens. I think it's tough. I think skill-set wise, you can see the skill-set, but then how you're producing and how you're preforming is going to be judged week by week and you have to keep it going in an upward direction."

(On what he expects from OL Jawaan Taylor and OL Cam Robinson going against the Steelers this weekend) "You want to see some confidence. Everyone's a little bit different, whether it be me or [Offensive Line Coach] Coach Warhop, or the two players. I like to go ahead and mix up the sets on them and make sure that I'm not getting powered back into the quarterbacks. That's the one thing that I've always preached to the players when I was going in and trying to obviously go in with a plan and sticking with the plan. Sometimes you have a good plan and then all of a sudden early on you get beat and now all of a sudden you start reeling a little bit then you start getting cautious. I always felt that this is probably one of the worst sports where you start using caution and try to buy yourself some time, especially when you're an offensive lineman, by maybe backing up to see what the player's doing. When I say you want to be aggressive with your hands and you want to be aggressive being able to stop them, I think you have a better chance of winning those down-in and down-out than sitting there saying, 'Oh my God, what's this guy going to do? Is he going to speed rush me? Is he going to bull rush me? Is he going to do this? Is he going to do that?' You have to study them and my whole deal is just make sure that you can defeat the best move and his counter off it and if he's going to beat you, make him beat you with his third or fourth move. I give those guys credit up front, Pittsburgh, they have multiple moves. So there's probably a lot going in, but if you start thinking, 'I'm going defend power and he speeds of I'm going to defend speed and he goes to power,' that's where you see guys get themselves into a lot of trouble rather than saying, 'Hey, I'm going to take this line right here. I'm going to meet him and I'm going to get my hands on him. I'm going to stop him.' A lot of the way the game's played, in my opinion, has always been about the mindset play in and play out, which you may think is easy but that's tough. You get beat or you win, you get over-confident, you think you know what he's doing. You have to have an unbelievable mindset and really the best players that I've had have always been able to play each and every play individually and have a great mindset to it and the guys that I've had have been very successful."