JACKSONVILLE – Four takeaways from Head Coach Doug Marrone's Monday conference call a day after the Jaguars' 20-16 victory over the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, Calif.
1. Positive news for Chark.Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark's return from an ankle injury is going well, according to Marrone. Chark, the team's leader in receptions, yards receiving and touchdowns receiving, missed Sunday with an ankle injury sustained the previous week in a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. But Marrone said Chark has made progress, which continued Monday. "We got great news today," Marrone said of Chark. "He's going to be out on the field running and cutting. Once they get him on the field and he's running, we'll see what they saw afterwards. If he can do it, and whatever percentage he's at, then I think there's a good chance he'll be able to come back and play. That's what his mindset is, and that's good. He's on the field running and cutting, and that's a great sign." …
2. Strong belief.Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II was a major topic on Marrone's next-day conference call, with Minshew's two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to wide receiver Chris Conley in the final 5:15 rallying the Jaguars from a 13-point halftime deficit. "I would say it's probably just his make-up," Marrone said. "Just his mentality and the belief he has in himself that anytime that we have an opportunity on offense to get the ball back, that we have the ability to drive down the field and score." The Jaguars' rally Sunday came after Minshew struggled early, completing just three of his first 11 passes for 69 yards. Minshew then led scores on the Jaguars' final three possessions for his third fourth-quarter, come-from-behind victory in 10 starts. "He really played an unbelievable fourth quarter," Marrone said. "There was never a, 'Here we go again,' or, 'I'm not going to be able to work my way out of it.' He's got a ton of heart and fight. I think the team knows that, and they're able to rally around it."
3. Huge day for Ngakoue.While Minshew's fourth-quarter performance was key, just as critical Sunday was one of the Jaguars' best second halves of the season defensively. The Jaguars shut out the Raiders in the second half after allowing 273 first-half yards. Key to the performance were edge rushers Josh Allen and Yannick Ngakoue, with Marrone saying "Yannick's probably coming off of his best game that he's had from a standpoint of playing the run, rushing the passer." Allen registered a first-half sack, giving him 10 for the season. That makes him the seventh player in franchise history to record double-digit sacks in a season. Ngakoue registered four tackles for losses and his two sacks gave him eight for the season. He's the first player in franchise history with four consecutive seasons with eight or more sacks. "Those two guys work extremely hard, and not just on pass rush," Marrone said. "Both guys are competing really tough against the run. Josh has really improved in the run game and being disruptive. I think those guys take a lot of pride in their work ethic and wanted to be better. I think they both want to be special players in this league."
4. Strong game for Taylor.Marrone has spoken highly of rookie right tackle Jawaan Taylor throughout the season, and he did so again Monday when he called Sunday's game perhaps the best Taylor has played this season. Taylor, who leads the NFL with seven holding penalties, was not penalized Sunday. "It was a clean game," Marrone said. "The penalties have been a big thing for him. We've been talking about him there, and just some of the things technique -wise, using your hands and being able to throw them. I would say that if you look at the season, this has been his best game. Now it's important to be able to build on that, build on that type of confidence and really end this thing well. Like I've always said, I really believe he's a good player now. I think he has the ability to be a really good football player and play a long time in this league. But the one thing you have to do is you have to keep progressing and taking advantage of these opportunities of these next two weeks of practice and these next two games to continue on that path."