JACKSONVILLE – Four takeaways from HC Doug Marrone's teleconference a day after the Jaguars' 13-6 loss to the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville …
1.Marrone feels good about the running game's progress. Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette's 72 yards rushing Sunday marked his first game under 100 yards rushing since a Week 3 victory over Tennessee. But Marrone said the running game is heading in a good direction. "Up front, we're playing physical," Marrone said, adding that breakdowns in run blocking in recent weeks have been a matter of one player missing an assignment or failing to make a block rather than an issue with the entire group. "The guys up front are doing a good job, but when they have the breakdown, it's a critical breakdown," Marrone said. "The overall performance … there's some really good things that we can build on and go on, but when we miss something, that really hurts." Fournette, who rushed for 225 yards in a Week 4 victory over Denver and 108 in a Week 5 loss to Carolina, has rushed for 584 yards and a touchdown through six games. "It's something I think we can continue to get better at," Marrone said. "We're going to strive for more consistency on each play. When we get that, we run the ball extremely well. We've just got to stop with the breakdowns. … I think early on in the season we weren't playing as well, but now we're doing some good things and we have to build on it."
2.Josh Oliver may be close. Marrone updated the injury situation Monday, with the most positive news being that Oliver – a third-round rookie tight end – has a chance to play against Cincinnati Sunday. Oliver, out since sustaining a hamstring injury early in training camp, has practiced the last three weeks on a limited basis. "Josh had a good week of practice [last week] – no setbacks," Marrone said. "We're going to try to make sure we can progress him through this week. I really do believe that if nothing happens during the week, he'll have a great shot to play on Sunday. Marrone on Monday also said tight end Geoff Swaim is in the concussion protocol after taking a hard hit to the head from Saints linebacker Demario Davis Sunday – and that Swaim also has a sprained ankle. Marrone also said wide receiver Marqise Lee likely will be week-to-week with an ankle injury sustained Sunday.
3.Marrone remains hopeful regarding Ramsey. Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey missed a third consecutive game Sunday with a back injury, an injury that Ramsey reportedly sustained in a Week 3 victory over Tennessee four days after he requested a trade. Marrone was asked about the possibility of injured reserve for Ramsey considering the apparent seriousness of the injury. "Like I've said before, my hope is to get him back on the field and continue to progress him," Marrone said. "From where I am, I'm going to continue just like I would with anyone to take it one game at a time. Those IR (injured reserve) decisions are more doctor-oriented, where you have to have a six-week or eight-week injury. I'm just going to continue to keep working to try to get him out there. He had treatment today (Monday). He'll have treatment tomorrow (Tuesday). We'll see where he is Wednesday."
4.Takeaways – or lack thereof – remain a concern. The Jaguars' defense on Sunday went a second consecutive game without forcing a turnover, continuing a season-long trend. The Jaguars have forced just two takeaways, with the defense's lone takeaway an interception by safety Ronnie Harrison late in the first half of a Week 4 victory over Denver. The Jaguars' other takeaway came on a muffed punt return by Tennessee in Week 3. The Jaguars are 0-4 in games in which they have not forced a turnover this season. "We want to get our hands on balls, and I think it's a combination of a couple of things," Marrone said, adding that part of the issue is affecting the quarterback as he throws, while another part is getting underneath coverage good enough that quarterbacks throw errantly. Marrone also said the Jaguars haven't tipped or deflected many passes this season. "When you start seeing that, that's when I think you start seeing a lot of interceptions," Marrone said. "That's something we're going to continue to work on and keep trying to do a better job of."