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Quick thoughts: Colts 28, Jaguars 14


Senior writer John Oehser and senior correspondent Brian Sexton both offer three quick thoughts on the Jaguars' 28-14 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Sunday…

Oehser …

1.The fight remained. Many readers in recent weeks grew tired of hearing and reading that the Jaguars were showing fight late in what by any measure was a lost season. Still, the Jaguars yet again showed that fight and grit in the regular-season finale – and Sunday's circumstances made that particularly remarkable. Indianapolis dominated the first quarter and a half Sunday, taking a seemingly insurmountable lead – 20-0. This had the feeling of a fourth consecutive blowout victory, with the Jaguars having lost in one-sided fashion to Baltimore, Tennessee and Chicago in recent weeks. The Jaguars unexpectedly cut the lead to 20-14 with two of their most impressive offensive possessions of the season, with quarterback Mike Glennon completing all 13 of his passes on the two possessions and capping each with touchdown passes to wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. The Jaguars late in the first half and most of the second also held the Colts scoreless on six consecutive possessions. "I give the credit to the players and the coaches," Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said. "They did a hell of a job of keeping everyone together during times when it could have easily gotten ugly. We all know that, and we've seen that before in sports." A 45-yard touchdown run by Colts running back Jonathan Taylor eventually made this Jaguars loss seem one-sided. It wasn't – and considering the personnel on the field for the Jaguars Sunday, that was unexpected – and notable.

2.K'Lavon Chaisson is one of the Jaguars' promising young players. The Jaguars will have a new general manager soon. The same could be true at head coach. Whoever's in charge will need development from a slew of young players – and among the players showing signs of development is defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson. The rookie pass rusher struggled throughout September and October but showed significant progress late in the season. "There's always a trust and faith with someone who's always available and coachable," Marrone said. "Chaisson has shown that. He's consistently starting to make plays at a pretty good level. He has continued to work hard and continued to up his production from a standpoint of affecting plays. That's a positive." Chaisson showed up again Sunday with three tackles and a quarterback hurry. Chaisson must progress significantly; the Jaguars need him to fulfill his potential as the No. 20 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. But his performance in the final month of the season is a good indication that could happen.

3.If it's over, this was a decent finish. It's disingenuous to discuss the Jaguars' 2020 regular-season finale without acknowledging that it could be Marrone's final game with the organization. Reports were widespread in recent days that he could be dismissed – and equally widespread that former Florida and Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer could replace him. If Sunday was indeed Marrone's final game, it was a fitting one. He coached this season with an undermanned defense and inconsistent quarterback play. Yet, even during a franchise-record losing streak the team fought and played multiple playoff teams unexpectedly tight following a Week 8 bye. The Jaguars appeared to be staggering to the finish with three one-sided losses entering Week 17, but their rally in the second and third quarters Sunday showed yet again that Marrone never lost this team. "I appreciate the effort and the professionalism of all the players," Marrone said. "I feel we have some really good coaches on this staff who have done a nice job keeping everything together." Marrone got the most out of this team and did an admirable job in the circumstances all season. That he did it again Sunday is only fitting.


1.Fifteen consecutive losses and yet the future might be brighter than it ever has been. A franchise quarterback is waiting at the top of April's NFL Draft along with another first-round pick, two in the second round and seven more. A clean salary cap promises the chance to take advantage of a revenue shortfall leaguewide that is going to force a lot of other teams to make tough decisions with veteran players – and that could play to the Jaguars advantage. It turned out to be a very good year to not be very good and the Jaguars find themselves in an enviable position, which is pretty strange to say about a team that won on Opening Day and then didn't again in 2020.

2.Can we talk about the general manager? The conversation has been about who is coaching the team but I'm more interested in who has the checkbook in free agency and who is calling the shots with all that draft capital in April. The roster isn't as empty as it was when Jaguars Owner Shad Khan hired General Manager Dave Caldwell eight years ago; the right guy calling the shots this spring can give the rookie quarterback a fighting chance in his first season on the job. They must get this one right; they need a guy who can keep the big picture in mind when the head coach is in his office lobbying for what he wants or thinks he needs. Coaches think about the here and now, but the general manager protects the franchise, which is why I am so interested in who that might be – more than who the coach is.

3.Speaking of the head coach, a change seems inevitable. If that's the case, then this is an appreciation of an honest, hard-working guy that always gave you everything he had on the field, with the media and in the community. He's a good NFL coach, which you could see week to week during the worst season in Jaguars history. They were always ready to play and they played hard for 60 minutes no matter the score. If he had been handed Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson or Lamar Jackson it's hard not to see how things could have been much different. But that's the way it goes in professional football. To his credit, he knows it and won't ever complain.

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