JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone for the most part is pleased.
The Jaguars' head coach likes where 2020 Training Camp has been. He likes where it is headed. And he said he had a good feeling about this past Saturday's practice, the closest thing to a scrimmage the Jaguars have had this month.
"I thought it was a good start," he said.
Marrone, speaking to the media via videoconference before practice Monday morning, emphasized that the work is only the beginning, and that there remains much to accomplish before the 2020 regular-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts September 13 at TIAA Bank Field.
That work is happening without preseason games because of COVID-19, which makes scrimmage-type work such as last Saturday critical. Marrone said more key will be this coming Saturday's practice, which will be held inside TIAA Bank Field instead of the Dreams Finders Homes Practice Complex adjacent to the stadium.
"Obviously, this Saturday will be a bigger scrimmage for us," he said. "There will be a lot of reps this Saturday."
Marrone said he looked at the first "scrimmage" as a combination of the first and second preseason game, with this Saturday's more like the third and fourth preseason games.
"There were about four major things we needed to work on that we've adjusted our schedule to work on those things (from this past Saturday's work), and I've already seen the benefits these last couple of days," he said. "That was important. That's why you have to do those things.
"You don't want to create a false sense of security, whether it be tackling, being in good position where you don't have penalties, ball security … all these things that you look at once everything goes live and don't take them for granted."
Marrone said Saturday likely will be the last "true team" work of training camp but said the team still will work during practice to emulate the toll of a regular season game.
"When you're playing games, there are strains on your body you have to maintain for a longer period of time than maybe when you're practicing with a quick whistle," Marrone said. "We've started to work on those things and started to drill them, so now we can get that work done without putting players in jeopardy of being on the ground and players falling on them.
"We're starting to ramp that part of it up right now."
Marrone on Monday also said he was unconcerned about the multiple "false positives" that caused multiple NFL teams to cancel practices Sunday. Those COVID-19 tests reportedly were performed at a laboratory in New Jersey, a lab the Jaguars do not use for their testing procedures.
"I heard about it," Marrone said. "I didn't get deep into the details of everything. I guess for me there are so many smart people – on the NFL Players Association side, on the league side, outside consultants – that when things like this happen now, I really feel very comfortable that they'll be able to figure something out and get things done the right way. I look at it that when these things happen now it's unfortunate for the teams that it happens to, because it does throw a wrench in their schedule.
"But at the same time, I think, 'Hey, listen, this stuff happening now gives us a great opportunity to work things out for the season.' I have full confidence that the league will work something out and we'll have different types of protocols. I'm not really concerned about that."