JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone understands the need for answers.
He also understands the need for fast, real improvement – and the Jaguars’ head coach discussed all of that in a Monday conference call that had an appropriate tone of urgency.
“We’re going to put our nose to the grindstone and get our ass to work,” he said.
Marrone spoke the day after a 33-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It was the Jaguars’ second consecutive loss and dropped them into last place in the AFC South by a full game with six games remaining.
The Jaguars (4-6) trail the first-place Texans (6-4) and Colts (6-4) by two games, and third-place Tennessee (5-5) by a game. They lost twice to the Texans and lost their lone meeting to date with the Colts, making catching either team a difficult task.
Marrone wasn’t talking about postseason scenarios Monday.
Instead, he focused on fundamentals and the need for all levels of the team – players, assistant coaches, himself – to perform at a higher level. He said the staff met and talked late Sunday night and early Monday morning, “really looking to see what we have to do …. From A to Z.”
“I told the coaches and I told the players, ‘The only way to get out of it is you have to communicate and fight your way out of it,’” Marrone said. “There are basically three parts to this thing. It starts with me. I have to look at what we’re emphasizing, what we’re doing in practice, what we’re doing schematically, where can I be best involved.”
Marrone said he will change the practice schedule this week to focus on areas needing improvement, beginning with fundamentals.
“I’m going to challenge our assistant coaches,” Marrone said. “We’ve got to do a better job. There’s no doubt about it. Starting with me, going to the coaches, working with the players, giving our guys a chance, putting them in position, teaching them what we want done and holding everyone accountable.
“Then the guys in the locker room, they have to keep battling and fight their way out of it. They’re upset. They should be. We earned it. People want us to play better. We want to play better. We understand the frustration that’s out there. We’re going to get through this thing together.
“We’re 4-6. That’s the situation. I’m not looking ahead. We had to do a really good job of looking at ourselves and figuring out what are some of the things we need to do to perform better on Sunday and what’s expected from us.”
Marrone said a large part of the focus will be on a struggling run defense. The Colts rushed for 264 yards on 36 carries Sunday, the second time in as many games and third time this season the Jaguars have allowed 200 or more yards rushing.
“There are a lot of things obviously we have to get corrected,” Marrone said. “We have to put more emphasis on those fundamentals and our tackling. We know we can’t do live tackling in practice, but we have to figure out a way to be able to handle it.
“Getting off blocks, getting to where we need to be – all of those things come into play. When we do that, we’ve shown we can stop it.”
*The Jaguars placed rookie tight end Josh Oliver (back) and veteran linebacker and special teams player Lerentee McCray (hamstring) on injured reserve, ending the players’ seasons. They signed tight end Charles Jones from the practice squad and signed tight end Nick O’Leary as a free agent. The Jaguars also signed tight end Matt Sokel to the practice squad.