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Marrone: "The past is past"


JACKSONVILLE – The topic is obvious. Doug Marrone understands that.

But don't think the Jaguars' head coach will spend much time this week discussing the fact that his first playoff game with his current team happens to be against his former team.

It's ironic. It's intriguing. It's darned sure a pregame storyline.

It just doesn't mean much to Marrone.

"For me, obviously the past is past," Marrone said Monday as the AFC South champion Jaguars (10-6) began preparing to play the Buffalo Bills (9-7) in an AFC Wild Card Playoff game Sunday at 1 p.m.

"They (the Bills) have earned it as well as we (the Jaguars) have earned it. My focus obviously is going to be on our football team. It's as easy as that for me."

Marrone, who led the Jaguars to their first AFC South title this season in his first full season as head coach, held the same position with the Bills in 2013-2014. He coached the Bills to records of 6-10 and 9-7 before exercising a clause in his contract following the 2014 season that allowed him to leave the organization if there was an ownership change.

This is the Jaguars' first meeting with the Bills since Marrone took over as head coach. It's also the Jaguars' first postseason appearance since 2007 and the first for the Bills since 1999.

"I'm going to shoot everyone straight: This stuff happened so long ago,'' Marrone said. "There obviously has been a lot of stuff out there. That stuff is done. It's over. I can't put it any simpler than that. I'm not going to take away [from] my primary responsibility to look back on a situation that occurred three years ago. If I do that, I shouldn't be the coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"My job is to make sure I do the best job for this team. My focus is on our fans, our team and where we want to go. It's going to be a week of people trying to pull that apart and I'm not going to let that happen because of what my job is."

While the bitter feelings of members of the Bills' fan base toward Marrone have been well-documented, Marrone said "I really don't look for it."

"Anytime you leave or go back, people make stuff bigger than what it is," Marrone said. "My job is to coach this team. It's plain and simple."

Also Monday:

*Marrone said he was more concerned this week with Jaguars fans than Bills fans. "I look at it for our fans, and their loyalty and resiliency throughout difficult times," Marrone said. "Not having been in the playoffs in 10 years and not having had a home game since '99 – I'm excited for our team and I'm excited for our fans. They've been through quite a bit." …

*Marrone said as of his 3:30 p.m. meeting with the media Monday he had done little preparation for the Bills. Full focus on Buffalo was to begin shortly thereafter. "We haven't really seen them during the year," he said. "Sometimes you see some teams, so some of the games that you cover [against other opponents] you're able to see, but we really haven't." Marrone said coaches were able to do some advance scouting and film breakdown on Buffalo because the Bills were one of four teams the Jaguars knew last week they could potentially face in the first round of the postseason. …

*Marrone said the Jaguars will follow a normal regular-season schedule this week with one padded practice as allowed by NFL rules. That practice will be Thursday. …

*Marrone on what he told former Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus about Sunday's matchup: "I just told him to be smart." Dareus, the No. 3 overall selection by the Bills in the 2011 NFL Draft, was acquired by the Jaguars in an October trade for a sixth-round draft selection. Marrone said Dareus in the last two weeks has played two of his better games since joining the team. "He's getting more comfortable at it and in the last two games he has been performing better," Marrone said of Dareus, who on Sunday against Tennessee registered his first sack with the Jaguars. …

*Marrone on the Jaguars' defensive performance Sunday in a 15-10 loss to Tennessee, a game in which the Jaguars allowed 232 yards and 11 first downs. He said the defense's composure was notable because the unit did not commit an unsportsmanlike conduct or personal foul penalty a week after committing three such penalties in a loss at San Francisco. "I thought physically they played well," Marrone said. "And I thought there were a couple of times during the game where in the past we had lost our composure; I thought we did a good job with that. … They did show all of us something that they have the ability to keep their composure when someone takes a shot at them, which is going to be important moving forward."…

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