JACKSONVILLE -- Five takeaways from Head Coach Doug Marrone's Friday conference call a day after the Jaguars' 20-7 victory over the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field Thursday night
1.Marrone is high on Josh Allen – and with reason. The rookie edge rusher on Thursday registered 2.5 sacks, which were considered the first of his NFL career after a sack he had against Houston the previous week was reversed. Allen – the No. 7 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft – missed most of organized team activities and minicamp because of a knee bruise, and Marrone said in the time since he has seen "a guy that really works hard at the game, really studies it and plays with a lot of passion. He's just going to get better and better. There's a ton of intensity on the field. When you watch him play, you can see that intensity. It not only benefits him, but it benefits everyone else around him."
2.He remains high on quarterback Gardner Minshew II. The sixth-round rookie has become a local and national phenomenon, and the Minshew craze only heightened after he threw for two touchdown passes without an interception Thursday. "Nothing rattles this kid," Marrone said of Minshew, who won his second NFL start on Thursday. "He's such a hard worker and he prepares so well. He has a lot of self-confidence. He has a lot of great demeanor, meaning he shows real good energy. If he does something well, you see him pump his fist on the field, but by the time he comes over to the sideline, he has moved on. He's ready to go. He's really good at communication and he's really good at preparing himself. He's really good at making sure there are no surprises out there for him. That's just a guy who has an eye for work ethic."
3.Marrone is staying out of the Jalen Ramsey conversation. The Jaguars' two-time Pro Bowl cornerback requested a trade early in the week, and the Ramsey news has been a constant flow since then. The Jaguars reportedly have talked with teams about a trade, but won't take a deal they believe is below market value. Ramsey midway through the week said his issues weren't with Marrone or teammates; rather, he said they were with the front office over what he felt were disrespectful comments after last Sunday's loss to Houston, during which Ramsey became upset with Marrone and had words with the head coach from the field and on the sideline. There are also are reports as of Friday that Owner Shad Khan likes Ramsey and is happy to sign him to a contract extension. Marrone did little to add to the news Friday. "I try to stay focused on what my responsibility is," Marrone said. "My job is to do the best job for all the players, for the organization – focus being on winning football games. If I start commenting on this and that, then that's outside my job description. My job is to coach the players on the roster. I don't have control of the roster. I don't want control of it. That's what enables me to do my job better."
4.Dawuane Smoot's progress is impressive and real. Smoot, a third-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, registered his first two NFL sacks Thursday. The game was a continuation of an ongoing trend of progress for the third-year end, who started 16 games as a rookie but who was inactive for the first eight games of the 2018 season. "He's really come a long way," Marrone said. "We really liked him, then he came in and had some dietary stuff going on. He's made a really great commitment to nutrition, the weight room and all of those things. He's a worker. When he makes those plays, he's outworking his opponent. I'm just happy for him. I've seen hm for quite some time do all of those things he's supposed to. He does all the things we've asked him to do, and now finally now you're seeing him producing and coming up big."
5.Taven Bryan's impact is real, too. The second-year defensive tackle drew harsh criticism from observers during training camp and preseason. But Marrone throughout that time lauded the 2018 first-round selection, who registered a sack Thursday and who has gotten consistent penetration the past two weeks. "That first year is tough, especially when you're a first-round pick," Marrone said of the No 29 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. "Everyone has such high expectations. They plant numbers in our minds. Taven's been working really hard. It has been up and down, but these last two games you're seeing more consistency, which is going to open up things for everyone around him."