JACKSONVILLE – He knows the buzz, and he knows the story.
Doug Marrone knows these things because – as he said Monday – "I'm not an idiot." But when it comes to draft positioning and the buzz around that story, the Jaguars' head coach said he doesn't care.
Not that he doesn't understand it. It's just not in him to do anything about it.
"We're trying to win," Marrone said Monday. "We're doing everything we possibly can. That's my job right now, and I owe it to the coaches and players."
He added, "I will always feel my job is supporting the players and coaches and doing the best job I can for them. We're going to do whatever we can to win these games."
Marrone spoke a day after a 40-14 road loss to the Baltimore Ravens (9-5), but the primary topic of his weekly "next-day" media conference call was that the Jaguars (1-13) now likely will hold the No. 1 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft with losses in their last two games.
Marrone said he understands that some fans and observers would prefer the team lose the last two games to secure the selection – which many analysts believe would be Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, widely considered one the best quarterback prospects in a decade.
"When we've all performed the way we have, it's fair game," Marrone said. "I don't criticize what anyone says. I really don't. I just try my best to change the losing into winning."
The Jaguars' prospective draft status became news when the New York Jets (1-13) beat the Los Angeles Rams Sunday. The Jaguars currently have a worse strength of schedule than the Jets. If that holds true and both teams lose their final two games, the Jaguars will hold the No. 1 selection.
"No one's advised me anything different than to go out there and win," Marrone said. "I was young growing up and had a favorite team. I was excited to see where they were going to pick. So, it's something that I look back and understand. …
"None of us are going to look at this and the future. No one knows what's going to happen tomorrow. Never mind at the end of the year. But I do understand that question and appreciate it. But that's not the way we think – myself and players. We're just too competitive."
The Jaguars, who have lost a franchise-record 13 consecutive games, will play host to the Chicago Bears (7-7) at TIAA Bank Field Sunday before playing the Indianapolis Colts (10-4) on the road in the regular-season finale.
Marrone said not only has he never heard of an NFL coach being told by a team to lose late in the season, and that he couldn't do so if asked.
"I wouldn't be able to do it; I just wouldn't," he said. "I have trouble letting my kids win when they were little, and I've never heard of it. No."
Marrone also reiterated what he said he told players following the loss to the Ravens: "As bad as everything has been – and as tough – the greatest gift we can give each other is to win this game – to win a game."
Marrone also dismissed the idea of not playing certain players in favor of young players in the final two games and said there were no plans to deactivate any healthy active players.
"I don't know if I can play any more players; I think I've played everybody," he said.
Rookie defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson continues to flash late in the season. The No. 20 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, Chaisson registered a tackle for loss Sunday after registering seven quarterback hurries and five quarterback hits over the previous two weeks. "He probably didn't start off the way he wanted to, but he has been working and trying – and it's starting to show," Marrone said. "It's a credit to him. You're starting to see it more. You're starting to see it at a consistent level. Is it as consistent as we need it to be for us to win? Is it consistent enough where he wants it to be? No, not right now. He's always been available. He always practices. And what you see is he's getting better. He's on a trend that's going upward."
Marrone: "There's obviously a lot of frustration. Obviously, a lot of people are upset. I'm sure people are embarrassed. There's a lot of that, but we don't let the personal feelings come into play when we have the opportunity to fix things and try to work to get better. That's what this team has done really an outstanding job of. There's no finger-pointing. There are no issues – nothing going on on the practice field, no jabbering back and forth, no holding their heads down low. They're fighting their ass off along with the coaches and that's something that's a credit to them."