Transcript: Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone & Jaguars Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden

JAGUARS HEAD COACH DOUG MARRONE

September 16, 2020

(Opening Statement) “Obviously, we had a good day yesterday working on things that we have to improve upon and get better. I told the team, we had a team meeting today, I said, ‘We’re not looking back. We’re only going to look to get better and what we can do today.’ I told them, I said, ‘Before, I’ve always broken up the season in many different ways.’ I told them, I said, ‘Hey, we’re 0-0. Don’t worry about anything else that goes on. Let’s just make sure that we’re trying to win a game this week and we’re trying to get better than we were yesterday. We go out there and practice and just get more focused, more focused on our technique and that’s how we want to try to approach each week during the season.’”

(On what impressed him about QB Gardner Minshew II and what he needs to work on) “I think nothing really specific. Like you say, ‘Okay, hey listen, we really struggled, or he struggled trying to do something.’ I think each week brings a different challenge. I think the team we’re playing this week gives you a lot of challenges on third down and [with] the different packages and what they may be doing, so [he’s] getting up to speed on that. I thought last game, he [Gardner Minshew II] played well, obviously, and now it’s a matter of the consistency of doing it week in, week out and having a good week in practice like he had last week. I think some of the things that you’re always talking about, we’re still constantly talking about ball security, still talking about footwork, we’re still talking about making good decisions. I think those things are constantly spoken about during the course of the year. Like I said, in regards to Gardner, I’d say he’s probably a lot tougher on himself than we can be as coaches on him, which is the competitiveness in him. So, I think, right now, he’s looking at the plan. Today’s the first day we’re actually going to go out there and try to execute it, so that’s what he’s focused on.”

(On the balance the Tennessee Titans now have with improving their passing game) “I mean you’re talking about a team that went to the AFC Championship game [last year]. [They’re] another team that’s picked to go a long way this year. [Titans Head Coach] Coach Vrabel and his staff, they do an excellent job. I think they’re just getting more and more pieces together for themselves. Each week, we’re going to play teams that are going to [present] a lot of challenges for us and it’s a challenge. They have a lot of pieces on all three phases. They have a heck of a football team. They play extremely well. We have a bunch of young guys and we’re just going to try to get better and put our guys in good positions, see if they can make the plays.”

(On if ‘not looking back’ is the theme for this year’s team) “What my thought was going into it was [that] we’ve got so many young guys and first-year guys and not many guys have been around. So, I wanted to make sure that there was clarity, meaning it was just real clear for everyone, knowing that it’s just human nature for people to say, ‘Hey listen, this is what happened before or this is what happened to this team.’ Whether it be success or failure, to say, ‘Listen, you know what? This is really a whole different deal. It’s a whole different team. It’s a whole different atmosphere, I mean, everything.’ With the pandemic and everything, it’s like if you label the season, it would be a season of change. Whether you brought older players back, younger players, whatever you have, everything has changed so I wanted to make sure that we kept our focus on a daily basis and we kept our focus looking at the day and not getting too far ahead. One of my things was [that] I didn’t want some of those players that really knew, or young players, to try to go, ‘What was going on? What happened? What are you trying to correct? What are you trying to do?’ Instead, my goal was just to go ahead and say, ‘Hey listen, this is the vision I want to create for this year and with this football team,’ so that’s kind of the way I approached it.”

(On his use of rookie WR Laviska Shenault Jr. and if they tried to show stuff early in the season to make other teams change their approach) “I don’t know if it’s as strategic as that. I think that this is stuff we were able to see him do in college, so he’s done this before, and he’s done it at a high level in college. We wanted to see what he can handle and what he could do for us and it’s a strength of his. He can run the ball. He can throw the ball. He can catch the ball. He can catch it after the run. There’s a lot of things he can do, and I just think it’s something [where] the more he can handle, the more he can do. I think we feel that’s going to help us [and] that’s what we’re going to do. But I don’t look at it as a gadget or ‘Hey we need to do this for the next game.’ I think, like I said, the focus is on ourselves and our players and what we feel they can do to help us. He’s a player that we knew coming in [what he could do]; that’s my point in this whole thing. It’s not like we learned this during training camp, we had a good feeling about this when he was coming in because of what he did at college.”

(On using DL Taven Bryan more than any other DL in last week’s game and his value as a player) “He was ready to go. We were just being careful and Taven [Bryan]’s one of those guys, he’s in unbelievable shape. He’s got great strength, really had a great camp. Even though the numbers may not show a lot, it’s kind of tough, especially when you’re inside and you’re battling, you bounce him into a different gap, and things like that. That’s what I look at and we wanted to get him in there, we want to get him playing. He did miss, like you said, a couple practices; we were just being cautious. But, just getting him in there and playing, he’s a guy [where] the longer he plays, the better he gets, and that’s what we’ve seen really out of Taven. The more he’s played, he’s always improved. He’s always gotten better, not as fast as maybe some people would like and maybe even Taven, but I really like the way he’s playing, and we need him to play well.”

(On DL Taven Bryan’s value when playing a physical team like the Titans) “I think it goes to him, but it goes to everybody. I think you’re right. I think [Titans Head Coach] Coach Vrabel’s team takes a lot of pride in being physical and knocking [the opponent] off the ball and penetrating your offensive line and knocking them back. I think that it’s the more players that you have that are able to play that type of game, the physical part of it, down in and down out, the better you’re going to be and I think that’s what we’ve tried to do with this roster is to get a bunch of guys that can play that type of game. I think we’re going to face a good offensive line this week, an experienced offensive line, with a great running back and a quarterback that’s great, the tight ends, the receivers. Every week there’s going to be challenges for our football team, but we’re just going to try to get better, just try to get better than we were last week.”

(On what stood out when watching the Titans’ Week 1 game against the Denver Broncos) “There’s always things. I think [Titans Head Coach] Mike [Vrabel] does a good job that you’re going to have something each week that you might not have seen or might not have prepared for. Same thing offensively, I think you’re always going to. Early on, until you can get a beat, there might be a couple, but you really just have to keep doing a good job, especially when you’re in the division. When you’re playing these division games early, everyone knows each other so they kind of know what each other are expecting, so the unexpected is something that you have to prepare for. To answer your question, I woke up late thinking that the game was still on. I put it on and watched near the end of it and I thought they were doing a good job. I mean they’re a good football team.”

(On if there any health/injury updates) “Tyler Davis won’t be practicing today. We have a couple of guys with a scheduled day off. Josh Allen, we’re just keeping him out as precaution. He’ll be back at practice tomorrow. [There’s an] early injury update for you.”

(On if he looks at previous loses to the Titans to plan for this Sunday’s game) “I think that’s one of the things I’ve changed this year. I used to do that. You kind of look back and you look at things, whether it’s positive or negative. Last week, right before the game, someone told me, ‘Hey, you know the team you’re playing really hasn’t won here?’ and I’m like, ‘What does that mean? That doesn’t mean crap.’ Before I used to look at things like that when you have a lot of guys returning and stuff, but I think, with this team, it’s such a different atmosphere, such a different team and such a young team. At least we’re going up there [and] I know it’s not going to be cold. [In 2017] it was the coldest game I think I’ve been in and I’ve been in some cold places. To answer your question, no. This is our first road game and I’m really curious to see how our young guys on our team play on the road. I mean it’s the first time we’re going on the road, so I’m more concerned just about the operation of that and trying to get into some type of structure for them so this way we can go up there and play well.”

(On what is different about LB Myles Jack’s play besides the position switch this year) “I mean there’s a lot of things that I think you can say. I think that he’s been great. Even in the offseason talking to him, he was away for a while, he was in Australia, when we were talking and just the amount of how he was training and how comfortable he was. So, for me, it started then just in our conversations, and then he’s always been a guy that when you threw the ball out there, he was going to work hard in practice and do those things. I thought he’s done a very good job of keeping care of his body. I told him I thought on Sunday when we played, if you took all the numbers off of everyone and you took what everyone has done or was doing, I thought you could argue [that] Myles [Jack] was probably the best player on the field and I think he played like that. I think he played extremely well. So, like a lot of these guys, I told him you set these expectations or you set these bars for yourself and then now it’s a matter of you have to go out there and be consistent. If you’re not, the same with the coaches, you really don’t know what you have. But I think Myles is in a good place and I think he’s playing well, and we need him to play well. He’s a good football player.”

(On the challenge the physical receivers of the Tennessee Titans bring) “I think you hit it right on the head. I think that’s exactly what you see on tape. I think they’re obviously a good group. [There are] two guys that I coached with in Buffalo and one of them, at Syracuse, is the receiver coach, Rob Moore. Rob does a great job and he’s got those guys playing at a high level and I think we have some young guys we’re going to have to play well. Ryan Tannehill’s a guy that can deliver the football. He has a really good arm and really good arm strength. The O-line can protect. So, like I said, there’s a lot of challenges up there and we’ll just get our team prepared and get them ready.”

(On the plan for the safety position with S Jarrod Wilson out for a few weeks) “We’ve got a couple of guys that we feel good about. Andrew [Wingard] went in there and played for him in the game. Brandon Watson’s been a really good player for us that played corner and he’s been a really good special teams player for us. He can play in there and Daniel Thomas is a guy that’s been playing. Even going into the year, we felt like we had depth at that position. Even though I thought J-Dub probably had one of his better games last week prior to the injury. He was playing at a better level and I’m more empathetic to where J-Dub is. I mean he’s worked so hard, he’s a captain, and I’m happy that the way the league is structured, the IR, so we can get him back here in three weeks. But the guys that are behind him have worked hard too and we have confidence in them that they’ll be out there, and they’ll compete.”

JAGUARS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JAY GRUDEN

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

(On WR Laviska Shenault Jr.’s performance and evolution) “I thought he played well. You know, the first game out, you’re never sure how the rookies are going to be, especially with some of the things we’re trying to do with them. But from a mental standpoint, he did everything right, he did a good job. From a physical standpoint, he’s what we thought he was. He’s a physical guy in the running game, had some good blocks, had to dig out some safeties in the running game, which nobody sees. But when he had the ball in his hands, you could see how explosive he can be. So, we have a good group of guys, good group of weapons and it’s our job to spread it around. But I was impressed with Laviska.”

(On QB Gardner Minshew II’s personality in the meeting room) “Yeah, I mean, there’s time to have some fun. He’s a fun guy to hang around with, he’s a funny guy, entertaining. But for the most part, when it’s business, it’s business and he takes good notes, he studies the game, he spits out the plays in the huddle, which quarterbacks have to do. He’s a student and he knows he’s got a long way to go, from a mental standpoint. And he’s just soaking up the knowledge. It’s exciting to work with him because guys that are aware of how necessary it is to prepare and the guys that do prepare, it’s fun to watch them and develop. So, we’re just scratching the surface. We played one game, we’ve got a whole new game plan for Tennessee, so new plays coming in. So, he’s got to study, he’s got to work and he’s going to do that.”

(On expectations of how quickly QB Gardner Minshew II could learn the new offense) “Yeah I didn’t know him. I knew he played for 14 colleges so he had to learn different playbooks, so I knew he could do that, he could handle that. Obviously, he came in last year as a rookie and played 10 games and won six, I believe it was. So, I understand that getting his feet wet in pro football and the speed of the game and what it takes to be a quarterback—he got a taste of it and I know he wants a bigger bite of it now and he’s studying, and he’s working towards that. So, being only his second year, what he’s accomplished so far, as a sixth-round pick, I think is very impressive. And he’s going to keep working and keep getting better.”

(On his assessment of QB Gardner Minshew II’s performance) “Yeah, I mean, he’s never flawless. He’s 19 for 20, of course, and he had the drop, but I think there’s some things that we can clean up. I think in the pocket, a little bit, he might’ve escaped a little bit too soon on a couple plays where we had down-the-field shots. But for the most part, we’re always going to find something. We’re coaches, we’re not very nice, we’re going to find something to be critical about. That’s just the way it is, we have to. We can’t tell him he was perfect, otherwise he’ll get a big head. So, we’ve got to keep him calm and keep him on the right track. Just continue to learn, continue to study his footwork, his projections and his eyes. And then obviously in the pocket, when things break down, the decisions that he makes. You know, the sack that he took there on third down-and-2, could’ve knocked us out of field goal range. There [are] some decisions there that we’d like to have back. But we’re learning and we’re learning together. I’m learning more about him, what he is as a quarterback, as a person, what he likes, what he doesn’t like. And that’s going to be a process that is going to continue to take place. But as far as his first game with me and me getting to know him, I’m very impressed with the way he played.”

(On RB James Robinson’s performance) “I thought he was great, man. I mean, the first drive of the game, we started out with two runs, really three runs in a row. He got the first down in our first two carries, which is exciting. And he broke the other one, which we got the holding call, the face mask, which I never saw the facemask on that play. But he ran good and the play he caught on the backfield, it really sparked us because it was a second down and 10 or 11, I believe, in the little ho-ho screen that we ran. He broke a tackle, jumped over a guy and got us in midfield, so that was a big spark in the game. But to watch him play, he picked up a blitz extremely well. He stuck his face in there, he ran physical, he ran with good vision like we thought, he protected the football which was critical. He had some runs in between tackles where he had numerous players and arms on his arms, and he protected the ball. So, great start for James, man, very impressive.”

(On the origin of his play designs and WR Laviska Shenault Jr.’s college plays) “Yeah, we used most of it, a little bit in that regard. But yeah these are plays—when you scout a guy and you watch him on tape in college, you try to figure out what they’re good at. And these were some of the things that he was able to do. And when you have a quarterback, or a running back or receiver –so he’s really all three—it puts a lot of stress on a defense. Even during the week, just having to make them prepare for that look and those types of plays are tough on a defense and they forget about the basic plays sometimes. So, being on the move with Laviska around and giving him the ball in unique ways is going to be important. I mean, you saw how physical he runs between the tackles and how explosive he can be outside the tackles. It’s our job to try to get him some touches and whether it’s three, four or 10, we don’t know what the number is going to be because we have other guys who probably, a little bit, didn’t get as many as they wanted. But for the most part, we do a good job of using them in different ways.”

(On RB James Robinson’s role against the Titans Defense) “I don’t know if it’ll change a whole lot, they do a couple things [differently] in their fronts and some of their blitz patterns. But for the most part, if we want to be a successful team here, it should start with the run. And James is going to be a big part of that because everything will open up off of that. We’re able to complete some naked bootlegs, we’re able to do some play actions—which were very beneficial to us. So, in order for those plays to work, you’ve got to stay on track on first, second down and the running game is critical for us. So, different scheme defensively, but we have the same approach. We’ve got to try and run the ball, establish a run, establish our physical identity for us to be successful.”

(On the tight ends role and more opportunities for them) “Yeah, I hope so. You know, that’s the one position that probably didn’t get as many touches as they probably wanted at all. But we only had 46 plays on offense and it just didn’t present itself for them to have any shots. We could’ve hit Tyler Eifert for the touchdown that Laviska caught, but Laviska caught it. So, nobody can be upset about it. But we have some plays that will be specially designed for those guys, but if we don’t get them off the script, if we’re having success doing other things, then they’ll have to wait for another day. But we feel good about our tight ends, just unfortunately didn’t get many looks.”

(On challenges of facing Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel’s defense) “Well, I think Coach Vrabel does a great job, I think he’s one of the better defensive coaches in the NFL. He does a great job when they get to third down with different looks, different people in different spots. And they can rush four or five, six, sometimes they rush three, sometimes they rush two, and they do a good job of knowing your protections, eating up your back and keeping them out and then playing a lot of zone behind it. They can crawl up on you, play a lot of man to man, with different ways to help the man coverage, with different pluggers, it can be the safety coming down, it can be a linebacker, it can be defensive ends dropping. So, they do a great job with their different coverages and different ways they get them. And then their blitz patterns are—I got about one hour of sleep yesterday watching all these blitzes from last year. So, very, very tough to deal with on third down, first and second down, they have some nuisance type blitzes that are tough. But he’s a great coach, man, and he proved it last year going late in the playoffs and [he’s] done a good job.”

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