JACKSONVILLE – The preseason plan will remain much the same.
For this week, anyway.
Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said Tuesday many starters and front-line players may not play in Thursday’s preseason home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Jaguars took a similar approach to playing time and starters in last week’s preseason opener.
“I’ll take a look at it after today, and probably not play some of our players,” Marrone said Tuesday before Day 15 practice of Jaguars 2019 Training Camp at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex adjacent to TIAA Bank Field.
Marrone said the starters and front-line players likely will play in the team’s Preseason Week 3 game at Miami next Thursday, August 22. Marrone said the idea of playing a full lineup in that game is that the game and the preparation leading to it will be treated as a dress-rehearsal for the regular season.
“We’re going to do the exact schedule we do during the year,” Marrone said. “It’s a dry run, so if there are any issues we can go ahead and clean those things up. I think it’s important that you play that game because you’re presenting and you want to get the players in the right frame of mind.”
The Jaguars held 30 players – including most starters and front-line players – out of a 29-0 loss against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore in the preseason opener.
Marrone has taken the approach with the idea of keeping players as healthy as possible entering the regular season. Injuries took a significant toll throughout last season’s 5-11, last-place finish in the AFC South.
“I think it’s good for our players,” Marrone said.
Marrone said a key to the altered approach succeeding is making up for the reduced preseason-game repetitions with increased work for the starters and front-line players during practice.
Marrone said his players typically play about 10 plays in the preseason opener, 20 in Preseason Week 2 and a little more than 30 in Preseason Week 3. He said players typically are off the day before and after the game to prepare and recover.
Whereas players would normally get 24-to-30 repetitions in a practice, Jaguars starters got as many as 48 repetitions this week.
“There’s a lot of time in between that where you’re sacrificing a lot of work to prepare for 10-20 plays [in a preseason game],” Marrone said. “What we’ve done differently is we’ve added a ton of repetitions [in practice]. …
“At the end of the day, I’m getting extra reps. I looked at it this way: To get 10 repetitions in the first preseason game, is that better than getting 60-something reps during the week against our ones?”
Marrone said some front-line players may play Thursday if the player feels he needs the in-game repetition. He cited safety Jarrod Wilson as an example and said the option is left to the player.
Also on Tuesday, Marrone said wide receiver Dede Westbrook could return to practice after being held out the last two days.