JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone is a bit uneasy, and a bit on edge.
That’s not a good or bad thing as much as a regular-season opener thing – and very much the expected thing for the Jaguars’ head coach this week.
On a morning that the Jaguars announced that tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins likely won’t practice Wednesday because of a core muscle injury, Marrone also talked about the overall feeling as the 2018 regular-season opener approaches.
“It’s an uncomfortable feeling,” Marrone said Wednesday morning as the defending AFC South Champion Jaguars continued preparing to play the New York Giants in the 2018 regular-season opener at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Sunday at 1 p.m.
“You don’t have a lot of film. You don’t have a lot of things to study. You don’t have a good feel. … This is where it counts. This is where you have to go out there and perform.”
Regarding Seferian-Jenkins’ injury:
Marrone said he has been practicing recently with a “nagging” core muscle issue and was sore after attempting to catch a pass earlier this week.
“We’re just going to be smart about it,” he said, adding of Seferian-Jenkins’ status for Sunday, “I feel like he’ll play, but you never know. That’s me saying it; not him or the doctors.”
The Jaguars currently have three tight ends on the active roster: Seferian-Jenkins, James O’Shaughnessy and Niles Paul. Marrone was asked if the Jaguars would consider signing another tight end.
“I don’t know if we’re at that point yet in our process,” Marrone said of Seferian-Jenkins, a fifth-year NFL veteran who spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014-2016) and New York Jets (2016-2017) before signing with the Jaguars in March as an unrestricted free agent.
“He’s a guy who has been around and knows his body. If it was a younger guy, I think it would be more of a concern.”
Regarding Marrone’s uncomfortable feeling entering the week:
That’s a normal feeling for NFL head coaches entering Week 1. Teams typically show comparatively little in terms of game plan or scheme during the preseason, meaning offenses and defenses often look dramatically different in the opener.
The Giants’ situation makes the Jaguars’ preparation more difficult. Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur is in his first season on the job, as are the team’s two coordinators: Mike Shula (offense) and James Bettcher (defense).
Marrone also during his Wednesday discussed a slew of Giants offensive weapons including two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning, rookie running back Saquon Barkley and All-Pro wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. before returning to the reality of NFL Week 1:
The time for scheming, talking and preparing – and even worrying – ends Sunday.
“It’s opening day,” Marrone said. “Everyone’s going to be geared up, and you have to go out and there and play well.”
*Center Brandon Linder (knee) and right tackle Jermey Parnell (knee) were listed as being expected to practice on the pre-practice injury report. Linder missed the last two preseason games after sustaining an injury in a Preseason Week 2 victory over Minnesota. Marrone said he’s not concerned about Linder’s status for Sunday. Parnell missed the first two preseason games before playing in Preseason Week 3 and sitting out Preseason Week 4 along with most Jaguars projected starters. Both are expected to play Sunday.