JACKSONVILLE – Attitude and approach.
Those have been two key elements of the Jaguars' run game this season, and Head Coach Doug Marrone discussed both when he met with the media Wednesday morning.
The Jaguars lead the NFL in rushing through five games this season, doing so despite defenses often stacking the line of scrimmage to stop an offense that has made clear a plan to emphasize running backs Leonard Fournette and Chris Ivory.
"I think you need discipline," Marrone said as the AFC South-leading Jaguars (3-2) prepared to play the Los Angeles Rams (3-2) at EverBank Field Sunday at 4:05 p.m.
"I think you have to have a good discipline about yourself as a play-caller and what you want to do game-plan-wise, and what goes in. I think that's the same with everything.
"I think it's a matter of sticking with things."
Marrone said while the Jaguars lead the NFL in rushing attempts, and while teams scheme with the idea that Fournette and Ivory will be focal points of the offense, it's still possible to block and run effectively against such defensive approaches.
"It's not like we're running into things where we're like, 'OK, we're running into this and this guy's not blocked,''' Marrone said.
The Jaguars' 175 rushes this season are 17 more than any other team in the NFL. They lead the NFL with 165.2 rushing yards per game, a total helped by 231 yards on 37 carries in a 30-9 victory at Pittsburgh this past Sunday.
Fournette, the No. 4 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft and the NFL's second-leading rusher this season, rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries against Pittsburgh. He has rushed for 466 yards and five touchdowns on 109 carries this season.
Ivory has rushed for 159 yards on 38 carries this season.
"They're not running out of bounds, which is something that we like," Marrone said.
Fournette's physicality and ability to get extra yards after contact has set a tone for the Jaguars' offense through five games, which Marrone said is unusual for a rookie.
"I haven't been part of that, where a rookie could do that," Marrone said. "Most of other places I've been we've had some veterans. The more people you can have do that, the better.
"Yes, we're happy he can do all those things, but the guy behind him [Ivory] is not bad, too. He has a good per-carry average … and he's been very physical, too – and then the front and the receivers. I think that kind of carries on to everything else and people get excited about that."
Also on Wednesday:
*Marrone discussed outside linebacker Telvin Smith being named AFC Defensive Player of the Week Wednesday, calling the honor "well-deserved." Smith tied for the Jaguars' lead with 10 tackles in a 30-9 victory over the Steelers Sunday, and returned an interception 28 yards for a third-quarter touchdown. "He's improved in the run game [this season]," Marrone said. "Not that he was poor in it, but I think he's done a very good job in the run game. I see him getting better and better each week, becoming more physical and becoming more instinctive and being able to make plays. He's able to do that because the guys around him are doing their job also." …
*Marrone discussed second-year linebacker Myles Jack, who leads the team with 42 tackles this season and who also has a sack, three tackles for loss, three quarterback hurries and a fumble return for a touchdown. "Myles is playing well," Marrone said. "He's doing a nice job in there. He's getting to that point where he's making a lot of plays and really being productive. … He's done a much better job, to his credit, of preparing himself during the week. A lot of times you come into this league and you just don't know how to do it. It's not a matter of someone doesn't want to do it. I've seen that change in Myles and I think that's helping him in his performance on Sunday." …
*Center Brandon Linder was the lone Jaguars player expected to miss practice Wednesday, according to the team's pre-practice injury report; Linder missed Sunday's victory over the Steelers with an illness. Listed as injured and expected to practice Wednesday were: quarterback Blake Bortles (right wrist), wide receiver Jaelen Strong (hamstring), wide receiver Marqise Lee (ribs), cornerback Jalen Ramsey (ankle), safety Jarrod Wilson (shoulder), running back Leonard Fournette (ankle), running back Chris Ivory (hip flexor), linebacker Lerentee McCray (knee), guard Patrick Omameh (hip flexor) and defensive tackle Malik Jackson (groin). …