JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone liked his early impressions.
"They look like they're ready to go to work," the Jaguars' head coach said Wednesday.
That was Marrone's first thought on his team when speaking to the media Wednesday, a day he also discussed the Jaguars' opponent this week.
"You know if you don't show up and you are not ready to play then they are going to knock you on your ass," Marrone said as the Jaguars (3-6) prepared to play the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2-1) at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday at 1 p.m.
Marrone covered a slew of topics shortly before the Jaguars' first practice of the week, emphasizing that he liked the team's early approach this week despite a five-game losing streak that has dropped the team from sole possession of first place to last in the AFC South.
"The focus is making sure we can carry this stuff over (to the game)," Marrone said. "We have to do a good job of carrying it over to the game. That was the point of emphasis with the players today."
Marrone said he was encouraged by the focus and approach of players in the Wednesday walkthrough.
"That is when you can tell," he said. "That is why I was able to come in here and say they are focused. When you don't play well in this league you want to get to that game, so you can get that bad taste out of your mouth and prove it. Sometimes those weeks are so long to be able to get there.
"The players seem to have that type of attitude right now of wanting to go out there and play knowing they are going to play a heck of a football team in Pittsburgh."
Marrone also discussed the Jaguars' losing streak, calling the reasons for the team's recent struggles a "grab bag."
"Each week is different and the whole goal is, 'Let's get this thing together to where we are not beating ourselves,''' Marrone said. "We are getting ourselves an opportunity to win games, but we are really taking the game away from us early on, whether it be penalties or turnover, missed assignments or whatever it may be. That is the one thing that we preach, or I preached, the first time I got here.
"The number one thing that I have always had as a philosophy that you have with your football team is the first thing before you learn how to win you teach them how not to lose. Right now it is a good indication of how to lose with the way we are playing. That is what I am most disappointed in."
Marrone, when addressing the issue of frustration, said "We're all frustrated."
"I would put everyone in that category, not just a specific coach or a specific player or anyone in this organization," he said. "I think as an organization, I think we are all frustrated. I have to lead it and they have to pull it together and we have to go. We have to get on the field, we have to be able to coach them as well as we can, they have to get out there and be able to perform.
"We've got to go win a game. I look at it as it's more of a whole than one person."
*Three Jaguars players were not expected to practice Wednesday: nose tackle Eli Ankou (calf), left tackle Josh Walker (foot/ankle) cornerback Quenton Meeks (knee). Marrone said Walker, who has started the last four games, could return to practice Thursday. Marrone said Ereck Flowers, who rotated with Walker in a loss to the Colts Sunday before leaving with a knee injury, would work at left tackle Wednesday with Walker out. …
*Starting cornerback A.J. Bouye was expected to practice limited Wednesday after missing the last two games with a calf injury. Other Jaguars players expected to work through injuries were: safety Tashaun Gipson (wrist), Flowers (knee), linebacker Lerentee McCray (hamstring) and linebacker Telvin Smith (shoulder). …
*Marrone said newly-signed Patrick Omameh could work at either guard or tackle. Omameh, who signed with the Jaguars Tuesday after his release Monday by the New York Giants, started 16 games for the Jaguars at left guard last season before signing with the Giants as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. "We did that last year," Marrone said of Omameh. "We had him working (multiple positions), some in the preseason." …