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Kicking off Week 16: "I'm focusing on getting the team ready"

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone before the start of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

JACKSONVILLE – Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone spoke a long time, patiently.

And while Marrone during his Wednesday media availability didn't discuss all specifics regarding this week's major Jaguars news, he explained why.

The Jaguars have a game this week. And that game matters.

"Right now, that's where my focus is," Marrone said Wednesday morning as the Jaguars (5-9) prepared to play the Atlanta Falcons (5-9) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga., Sunday at 1 p.m.

Still, Marrone said he understood there would be many questions Wednesday about an NFL Players Association memo circulated to all NFL players Monday.

The memo announced an NFLPA victory in an arbitration case with the Jaguars, saying more than 25 percent of grievances filed by players in the past two years have been against the Jaguars and adding, "You as players may want to consider this when you have a chance to select your next club."

Marrone said he didn't know all details about the situation and had not spent the time to learn them this week because he needs to focus on the game at hand.

"With the position we're in," Marrone said, "for our coaches that are fighting for jobs and our players that are fighting for jobs, I made a conscious decision that I wasn't going to get myself wrapped up this – to learn everything about it, to be able to speak about it.

"I will tell you this: I'm focusing on getting this team ready, trying to play, trying to show that I'm deserving of a job. That's the truth."

The NFLPA's memo announced that a Jaguars player – later identified in media reports as former defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. – had been fined more than $700,000 for missing what the team considered mandatory rehabilitation and medical appointments in the 2018 offseason. The arbitrator ruled that the player couldn't be fined because such offseason situations are voluntary under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Asked if he ever had encountered such a situation, Marrone said: "I would say no."

Marrone said he hasn't spoken to Owner Shad Khan about the situation. He also said Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin has not addressed the situation with him, adding: "We did have obviously a conversation that I just said I wasn't going to be prepared to address it. That was about it."

Marrone, who said he has worked to build a relationship and trust with players, was asked if players having issues with the front office made his job difficult.

"I've always placed my focus on what our job was and what are our responsibilities," Marrone said. "That may be selfish on my part, because I've got to do what I can to make sure I'm getting the most out of every player and every coach. But that is my job. I've just focused on that.

"There are always things that come up. I always look at it as, 'If problems some up – whether it's what you said, or problems on the outside, or problems with performance – I look at it as a challenge that you can communicate and lead, and that you can take someone who's maybe not in a good place and bring them into a good place.' That's what I try to do every day."

Marrone said he may eventually speak to the NFLPA about the memo, particularly the wording about players considering this situation when selecting their next team.

"I'm probably going to reach out and ask why," he said. "I'm one of those guys. I kind of overanalyze things and I try to get both sides and see what's going on before I form an opinion on things. When I first heard about it, that's how I felt. I'm sure there's a reason for it. I don't think they just throw things out there. I'd like to be able to talk to the PA -- if they want to talk to me."

Marrone said he didn't worry that the situation would follow him or hurt his reputation.

"I know who I am," he said. "I know the mistakes that I've made, and I know what I've tried to do to correct them. I'm not comfortable with the way I look or my weight, or my haircut at times. But I am comfortable with how I'm always trying to improve and be a good leader."

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