JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser's Wednesday notes and observations as the Jaguars prepare to play the Kansas City Chiefs: Jaguars defense on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone's respect for Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid and the quiet play so far of Jaguars left tackle Josh Wells …
1.Mahomes is the NFL's hottest young quarterback, already earning the nickname "Showtime" from some enthusiastic media – and Jaguars defensive players on Wednesday talked of their respect for the second-year veteran. "He's a great player," Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson said. "They like to compare him to [Hall of Fame quarterback] Brett Favre and a few other guys. We'll see. He's very impressive, but we'll see." Jackson called the comparisons "too soon for me. It's only his second year. I think it's a little too early, but you guys like to crown people things and give him nicknames. It's whatever, but we'll see." Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson similarly praised Mahomes while noting that he hasn't yet played the Jaguars' defense. "That dude is slinging it," Gipson said. "He's so good I hope he throws me the ball. Seriously, he's phenomenal. He's a great quarterback. He's playing MVP-like. He's playing so good that when I pick him off I might have to put his ball there with the Ben Roethlisberger and the Drew Brees (footballs that Gipson has from previous interceptions). That's how good I think he is – but honestly, I think he's truly phenomenal."
2.Marrone's respect for the Chiefs was evident Wednesday, with the Jaguars' head coach praising Kansas City's potent offense and emphasizing that the Chiefs' defense is better than its No. 32 total-yardage ranking indicates. He also praised Mahomes, noting that Mahomes' success as a second-year quarterback isn't surprising considering the presence of Reid. "I have great respect for Coach Reid and the job that he has done over the history with quarterbacks," Marrone said. "No one else has done a better job. When you go out there and you see that position and you know the coaches they have, that's a combination of a lot of things. It's a combination of the coaching, a combination of the players' skill and it's a level of a confidence that it is how he plays."
3.Marrone focused on the Chiefs during his Wednesday media availability but spent time on two Jaguars-related topics. One: the play of fourth-year left tackle Wells, who has started the last two games following a Week 2 season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained by starter Cam Robinson. "No one has asked me a question about him after the game, so that's always a good sign," Marrone said of Wells. "The more you don't ask questions about lineman, the better they're doing. He's doing fine." Marrone also reiterated what he has said in recent weeks – that the team must reduce penalties moving forward. "We preach it all the time," he said. "We tell it and eventually if we don't get it fixed it's going to catch us in the ass. We'll keep working on it, keep driving it home, keep trying to make sure we have an understanding. It's not fixed until you see it on Sunday." The Jaguars are tied for second in the NFL with 35 penalties and their 354 penalty yards is second to Pittsburgh.
4.Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles on Wednesday also shared thoughts on Mahomes. "He's fun to watch; he's exciting; he makes plays," Bortles said. "He can throw it all over the field and throw it with both hands." The last referred to Mahomes converting a first down against the Denver Broncos this past Monday with a left-handed throw. "Anytime you see stuff like that, it's cool." Asked about his own ability to go lefty, Bortles replied: "It's good. I think I've got that one." Bortles also on Monday discussed dealing with the crowd noise at Arrowhead, long considered one of the NFL's loudest venues. The Jaguars worked indoors with speakers at high volume Wednesday to prepare for Sunday. "It's hard," he said. "We do a good job here of trying to just create noise. They put stuff over the speakers and turn it up, but I don't think you can simulate a place like Arrowhead when it's rocking. Everybody knows that and understands it's going to be on another level. You just make sure everybody's on the same page so you don't have any mishaps."