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Marrone speaks: 'I like this football team'


JACKSONVILLE – A day later, Doug Marrone's feelings remained strong.

The Jaguars haven't been perfect this season, and the first-year head coach on Monday outlined several they must improve.

But Marrone on Monday also reiterated what he said Sunday following a home loss to the Los Angeles Rams that dropped the Jaguars into a first-place tie in the AFC South.

 "I like this football team," Marrone said Monday, a day after a 27-17 loss to the Rams at EverBank Field. "I like the way they work. I like the way communicate with each other."

Marrone added, "Sometimes in your first year as a coach you're working through a team and you're just like, 'Whew. I've got to get through this year – the work, the discipline and the culture …' But I haven't had any of those issues. We just keep working to get better."

The Jaguars outgained the Rams 389-249 and finished with 19 first downs to 12 for the Rams. But Los Angeles scored two special-teams touchdowns and turned a 16-yard punt by Jaguars punter Brad Nortman into a first-quarter field goal. Those plays accounted for 17 of the Rams' 27 points.

"When we get everybody operating at 100 percent and we go out on that football field, I feel really good about this team," Marrone said. "When we make mistakes and don't take advantage of opportunities, then we put ourselves in a bind. I'm not saying we can't work our way out if it, but it becomes difficult and it becomes a challenge for us."

Also on Monday:

*Marrone said more will be known on running back Leonard Fournette's ankle injury Wednesday. The rookie sustained an ankle injury early in the fourth quarter and was cleared to return later in the game. "I always like to wait 48 hours," Marrone said. "I'll have a much better idea Wednesday." …

*Marrone addressed kicker Jason Myers, who missed two 54-yard field-goal attempts Sunday. "We're always going to look to see if we can upgrade," Marrone said. "If there's someone out there we think will help our football team be better, then obviously we're going to do that. If not, then that person has an opportunity to prove again he should be here. We'll look into it and we'll have those discussions during the week." Myers has converted 15 of 17 extra points this season and 11 of 15 field goals with three missed field goals of more than 50 yards. …

*Marrone multiple times mentioned pass protection as an issue for the Jaguars on Sunday. Quarterback Blake Bortles was sacked five times by the Rams after being sacked five times in five games. "That came into play yesterday," Marrone said, adding "It's a combination. I think teams are testing our protection. We have to get in sync. Sometimes we have it protected well and we're not open, and sometimes we're wide open and we can't protect it well. We have to get it to where it's right all the time." …

*Marrone said the team would like to utilize fourth-year wide receiver Marqise Lee more in the passing game. Lee, who has 20 receptions for 291 yards this season, caught five passes for 83 yards on Sunday. "If you get him the ball and create some separation for him, there are a lot of great things he can do," Marrone said. "He has shown that. We have to keep working our way to try to get him the ball in space and let him go, let him run. It's easy to say, but difficult to do in the NFL." …

*Marrone said the Rams used a similar defense to the one the Jets used against the Jaguars in Week 4. Fournette rushed for a 75-yard touchdown on his first carry Sunday, after which the Rams held him to 55 yards on 20 carries. "It was a 6-2, goal-line type front," Marrone said. "That's my fault. I didn't think they would do that. I put that on me. We came to the sideline and had to talk about it, scheme it. Obviously going forward it's something we have to be prepared for now. It's a compliment in one sense. It's like, 'Holy Cow … we've got to be able to do this to stop the run.' In another sense, we don't want to just throw it every single time when people play that. We have to find some schematics where we can go ahead and take advantage of that, which we'll work on." …

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