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Monday update: Still believing

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Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone during a news conference after an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. Jacksonville won the game 20-16. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)

JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone heard the questions in recent weeks.

And while the Jaguars' head coach understood people wondering throughout the last month and a half if the team had lost an edge, he didn't see it. That made Sunday a good feeling.

Marrone had seen a team still believing and still working.

A come-from-behind victory over the Oakland Raiders confirmed that.

"When you start losing games, you get a lot of questions, 'The players have given up, the coaches have given up, or the team…''' Marrone said Monday, a day after the Jaguars' 20-16 victory over the Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. "You're going to get that. It's natural.

"At times, it's true. But it hasn't been true with this team."

The Jaguars (5-9), after losing five consecutive games by 17 or more points, rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to beat the Raiders (6-8) Sunday in that franchise's final game in Oakland before moving to Las Vegas, Nev., this coming offseason.

Quarterback Gardner Minshew II threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to wide receiver Chris Conley – one with 5:15 remaining and another with :31 remaining. Marrone discussed Minshew's knack for late-game clutch play, and we'll discuss that elsewhere on later Monday.

In addition to discussing Minshew, Marrone focused much of his next-day conference call on the resiliency of a team that had a chance to quit in a difficult situation Sunday but did not.

Marrone said he had seen that trait throughout November and early December.

"I always appreciated, even though we were losing those games, the way they went out and practiced," Marrone said. "I've been on some teams where we've hit these types of losing streaks and one or two guys are shutting it down. Then all of a sudden it's three or four and it's going through the team. Before you know it, you're having terrible practices and you're going out there and having terrible performances."

Marrone said the Jaguars had a good week of practice last week.

"There was a lot of energy despite all the distractions," Marrone said. "I tried to get them to focus on what we can control. I try to tell them what things are going to be said and not to take it personal, because these things are said about teams that lose football games, and the only way that we're going to be able to go out there and win a game is we're going to have to be mentally tough, and block this stuff out and then gain some confidence, gain some trust in each other.

"And I'm talking about players and coaches. Try to find a way to get this game close where we have the ability to win it in the end and all the work that we put in during the week will do it.

"So, it kind of played out that way."

The Jaguars' victory Sunday was more than Minshew's heroics. A defense that allowed 273 first-half yards played one its best second halves of the season in Oakland, holding the Raiders scoreless as the offense rallied.

"My whole thing is the players have worked," Marrone said. "The coaches have worked. They're the ones that deserve all the credit. The players [are] playing extremely hard. I think it's more of a benefit for them, just so their work ethic is never questioned, because I get a chance to see it 24/7 around here."

Marrone, asked what it meant for him for the players to fight as they did in the second half Sunday, said he didn't look at it that way – and that while there's satisfaction in getting a victory, it's a team satisfaction.

"Attitude wise, it's easy to go in the tank and all that stuff," Marrone said. "It's been really tough for us, but watching guys hang in there and kind of pulling for each other … and then you were able to go out and win a game, it kind of takes all those questions out of it as far as playing hard and everything.

"These guys have done a good job, and now hey, the key is let's go ahead and do this again. Let's do the best job we can and go out there and get a win. Despite how disappointing the season is, and how poor of a job that I've done, let's be able to go out and get some wins and at least put a better taste in our mouth."

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