JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone says he sees good things.
What the Jaguars' head coach said he doesn't see are enough good things often enough – and that helps explain the team's three-game losing streak.
"There are flashes, but flashes aren't good enough to win games," Marrone said.
Marrone, speaking during his weekly next-day videoconference with local media Monday, discussed multiple issues from a 33-25 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio on Sunday. It was a game in which the Jaguars' defense allowed 505 total yards and scores on all five Cincinnati second-half drives.
"There are flashes of plays," Marrone said. "Guys have made them, but the consistency of it is something that we have to work on. We continue to keep pushing to put ourselves in a good situation with the players. That's on us as coaches – to get those players to where we can make those plays."
The Jaguars, who entered the game 16th in the NFL allowing 116.3 yards per game rushing, allowed the most rushing yards they have allowed in a game this season Sunday. The Bengals rushed for 205 yards, with running back Joe Mixon rushing for 121 of his 151 yards in the second half.
Mixon scored three touchdowns, including third-quarter touchdown runs of 34 and 23 yards.
"We didn't play as well as we wanted [against the run Sunday]," Marrone said. "In the [early part of the season], we've given up some [rushing yards] – but I thought overall it was better than we've been [in previous seasons]. We didn't play anywhere near where we've wanted to play [against the run Sunday]."
Marrone said the Jaguars missed outside leverage "a couple of times" Sunday, also missing an inside gap that led to a long run up the middle. He also said there were "a couple of" missed tackles.
"Those are the things that hurt you against a good running back," Marrone said. "Even some of the swing passes and things of that nature, you have to do a good job tackling. He's a good back. We just have to keep doing a better job."
The Jaguars on Sunday also allowed Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow to complete 25 of 36 passes for 300 yards and a touchdown with an interception. The Jaguars sacked Burrow once after the Bengals entered the game leading the league in sacks allowed with 14.
The Jaguars have four sacks this season, and Marrone on Monday discussed whether to blitz more to create additional pressure. He said he doesn't necessarily agree with the notion that defensive coordinator Todd Wash is philosophically opposed to blitzing.
Marrone said the reality is any defensive coordinator prefers to get pressure with four pass rushers, and that deciding whether to blitz more is "much more difficult than what people think."
"When you start bringing guys, there are at least going to be six guys [on offense] who can protect, so now you have to bring seven," Marrone said "So, what are you playing behind it? Do you feel good about your matchups in man coverage? How quick can you get there? If you look at the last two years compared to the philosophy of the structure of the defense as far as league-wide, I would say we're probably pressuring more than people think.
"We're trying to put our guys in the right spots where we think plays are coming and put them in a position to make plays. We're not getting there as fast as we'd like to get there, but there are opportunities for us to make some plays and we haven't been able to make them."
While he didn't offer specifics, Marrone on Monday said he was optimistic about the status moving forward for multiple players injured against Cincinnati Sunday. Those players: linebacker Myles Jack (ankle), cornerback D.J. Hayden (hamstring), wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (hamstring), left tackle Cam Robinson (knee) and cornerback CJ Henderson (shoulder). "We're just waiting to see how they do when they work a little bit," Marrone said.
Marrone on handling outside criticism: "I'll remind (players) that you can't let things on the outside really affect your play and you really have to be focused. It's natural. If you play poorly and you don't win games, that stuff's going to be out there. You have to understand that. How you deal with it is the most important thing. I try to recognize it. I don't try to defend it. I just try to tell everyone what the truth is: 'OK, that's fine… what are we going to do change it? What are we going to do to get better? What are we going to do to change how we feel?' Never mind about everybody else, but we put this work in and we're not coming across with wins."
Marrone on the Jaguars' youth: "Like I told the coaches, 'You can feel that way, but it's not going to help you.' I look at it the other way: 'Hey, listen, the effort's there. We're getting everything we need from them from in practice. The challenge for us as coaches is how much better can we get them?' I believe in them as far as their work ethic and everything and I believe we can get them better. … Let's get these guys better. That's the first thing. That's how you have to try to win football games. If we do that overall and everyone can improve, collectively we should be able to play more consistently."