JACKSONVILLE – As Doug Marrone sees it, penalties always matter.
But when you're playing a team as good and smart as Sunday's opponent, the Jaguars' head coach said penalties – i.e., not committing them – becomes particularly important.
"It's something we do address with players," Marrone said as the Jaguars (2-2) prepared to play the Carolina Panthers (2-2) at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sunday at 1 p.m. "When you're playing a very disciplined defense, you have to make sure you're patient.
"If you get behind on the chains, you're not going to get first downs. They're a good defense, and you're not going to do it. You're going to put a huge burden on yourself offensively."
The Jaguars have created that self-inflicted burden too often this season, particularly on offense and particularly along the offensive line.
"Us as a unit, one thing we want to do is play clean football," left tackle Cam Robinson said during an appearance on Jaguars Happy Hour Wednesday. "When I say that, I mean pertaining to the penalties. We hurt ourselves with a lot of penalties. If we clean that up, the sky can be the limit for the offense."
The Jaguars, whose 35 penalties this season rank sixth in the NFL, lead the league with 15 holding penalties. They were penalized for holding five times in a 26-24 victory over Denver this past week, with two of those penalties on the offensive line.
Robinson also was called for illegal hands to the face, a penalty that negated a touchdown pass from quarterback Gardner Minshew II to wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. late in the first half.
Marrone said key is for the linemen to be in better position "so they don't lose their technique."
"We're working on that," Marrone said, and added that the youth on the Jaguars' offensive line shouldn't be seen as a reason for the issue. "It's hard to sit up here and say, 'Inexperience.' You play your whole entire life, and the rule is not to hold. If you're an offensive lineman you pretty much understand if your hands are around somebody or you drag them down, you're going to get called for holding. …
"We're going to continue to keep talking about it. I do think the players understand. It's not something they don't understand. I think in the heat of the battle, when they're going out there and they're trying to do their job, they have to become more disciplined at it and we have to better job coaching it."
Also around the Jaguars Wednesday:
*Cornerback Jalen Ramsey missed practice with the back injury that kept him out of Sunday's victory over Denver, with defensive end Calais Campbell and center Brandon Linder missing with scheduled days off from practice. Tight end Josh Oliver (hamstring) worked limited, as did defensive end Dawuane Smoot (oblique), edge defender Josh Allen (knee), linebacker Lerentee McCray (knee), quarterback Gardner Minshew II (knee) and linebacker D.J. Alexander (hamstring). …
*Marrone emphasized the quality of Carolina, calling the defense as good as any the Jaguars will play this season and praising Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey. "He's a great player," Marrone said. "He can run well inside and outside, and he's deadly in space. He can do a lot to hurt you." McCaffrey leads the NFL in rushing yards with 411 and all-purpose yards with 629. "You almost want to put a corner on him," Marrone said of McCaffrey's ability as a receiver. "He's a very, very talented player. He really can do a lot of things. They're going to find ways to get him the football. We understand that. We just have to make sure we have a lot of people around him because he's very difficult to bring down if there's space one on one." Marrone also praised Panthers All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly, saying "I hate when I play against him, but I love watching him play against other teams. … I don't know what he doesn't do well, honestly." …
*Marrone congratulated kicker Josh Lambo for being named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week, calling the fifth-year veteran's consistency since joining the Jaguars in 2017 "comforting." Lambo went four of four on field goals and two of two on extra points Sunday and is the NFL's only kicker this season with 10 or more attempts who hasn't missed an extra point or field goal. "It's good to have someone like him who you feel is reliable, who you can count on," Marrone said. "What a lot of people don't see is how hard he does work at his craft." …