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Kicking Off Week 4: Improving pass rush "a group effort..."

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone watches game action from the sideline while wearing a facemask during an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen)

JACKSONVILLE – It's an issue, but it's far from a singular issue.

And if pass rush figures to be a major storyline when the Jaguars play the Cincinnati Bengals and No. 1 overall selection Joe Burrow Sunday, the storyline won't just be about the defensive front.

At least, Head Coach Doug Marrone said that shouldn't be the case.

"It's truly a group effort," Marrone said Wednesday as the Jaguars (1-2) prepared to play the Bengals (0-2-1) at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sunday at 1 p.m.

Marrone, speaking to the media via videoconference early Wednesday morning, spoke extensively about both Burrow – a rookie quarterback who has played at a high level in his first three NFL games this season – and a Jaguars pass rush that has struggled this season.

The Jaguars have registered three sacks in three games, but Marrone reiterated Wednesday what he said shortly after a loss to the Miami Dolphins last week:

Whatever ails the pass rush, it's not just the "pass rushers."

"How you create pressure on a quarterback – it's from both ends," Marrone said. "It's from the guys up front and it's from the guys on the back end making sure that we're covering. I've always said that, even when I've been with teams that have had a lot of sacks. All the media attention and the attention outside the building was always on the players creating those sacks.

"But really, the guys who are creating it are on the back end at times. If their quarterback's going to their first read and that first read's open, unless you just completely whiff it's going to be very difficult to get guys down.

"We're working on this group effort to try to get a little bit more pressure on the quarterback."

Linebacker Myles Jack, rookie defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson and second-year defensive end Josh Allen all have one sack. The Jaguars, after five passes defensed and two interceptions in Week 1, have two passes defensed and no interceptions in the last two games – both Jaguars losses.

Burrow, the Heisman Trophy winner last season from Louisiana State University, has completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 821 yards and five touchdowns with one interception this season. He has been sacked a league-high 14 times.

Marrone on Wednesday said Burrow "doesn't play like a rookie quarterback."

"He can run, he can move, he has a quick release, he can throw the ball, he can hit all the different spots," Marrone said. "He's got a hell of a lot of talent around him and he's a very talented player. He's tough as hell. You can see that on film. Whenever you're playing these quarterbacks when their first reads are open, it's always going to be tough to generate a pass rush."


Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. is expected to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, Marrone said. Chark, a Pro Bowl selection last season, missed last Thursday's loss to Miami with a back/chest injury. "He'll be back at practice in a limited role, so we feel good about that," Marrone said.


Marrone said rookie free agent Doug Costin likely will be active Sunday and in the defensive tackle rotation with the team having released veteran Timmy Jernigan early this week. Jernigan, who signed with the team during training camp, played 54 snaps with one tackle in three games.


Marrone on veteran guard A.J. Cann: "He's playing as good as he's played since he's been here. He's had three really solid football games. He's playing at a really good level. He's comfortable. He's overcome some of the weaknesses he may have had in the past. He has really worked hard. He's playing as good as he's ever played here. I'm happy for him. He has taken a lot of heat. He has worked real hard. He's one of those guys who'll play when he's banged up. He's always studying, always working. To see the success he has had this year is really a good thing."

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