OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Doug Marrone opened with words of thanks and respect.
The Jaguars' head coach said he values practicing against another NFL team during training camp, and he expressed that Monday.
"We have a ton of respect for them," Marrone said of the Baltimore Ravens' leadership on Monday –shortly before the first of two joint practices between the teams this week. "We appreciate the opportunity to practice against them and have a chance to get better."
The Ravens and Jaguars practiced Monday at the Under Armour Performance Center and are scheduled to do so again Tuesday afternoon. Marrone said the teams will work on situational drills with live officials, calling the two days a chance to improve in a controlled environment with heavy emphasis on roster evaluation.
"We're excited to get on the field and work to get better," Marrone said.
Marrone said he expects the only full live hitting between the teams to be in goal-line situations with all other drills "tag off" – meaning the hitting is controlled to reduce injury risk.
"Goal line's the one thing you can't say you're definitely going to get in the preseason," Marrone said. "A lot of times as coaches we like to get that stuff done. This way we have it, we've done it and then we know going into the season. You don't want the game to be on the line the first time you go live."
Marrone also emphasized that the joint practices provide "a lot of good work for the quarterback" position. Whereas a preseason game presents risk of injury for a quarterback, a controlled joint practice gives quarterbacks reps without extended exposure to live hitting.
"That's just the reality – you worry about putting those guys in harm's way," Marrone said. "Now, you have two practices where you're able to do that and feel comfortable about it."
Marrone said the joint-practice environment provides a better opportunity for roster evaluation than a normal camp practice.
"Our players, they go against each other each day," Marrone said. "Sometimes, one guy's a better matchup than the other and it takes a lot of time to change to rotate people and change the matchups. When you have the opportunity to practice against an opposing team and schematics come into play – different schemes, assignments, different matchups – I think you get a great evaluation of your team.
"Our focus isn't who the players for the Ravens are. We're trying to figure out who's going to be on our team, and we think this is a great opportunity to do that."
Marrone also said he wasn't overly concerned about fighting between the team teams this week. He said he has been around a significant altercation only once during a joint practice during his NFL coaching career.
"We picked this organization because we have a ton of respect for them," Marrone said. "We just want to come out here and get better and work with each other. The players are all part of one union and obviously player safety is a big thing.
"A lot of times it's usually the younger players who are a little bit chippy. We met with the leaders on both teams right before coming out here. We talked about it and we just want to get better. There's no need for that in our game. It gives a bad impression to youth football. That's not part of our game and we don't want to make that be part of our game or let that be part of our game."