Week 1 Jaguars vs. Colts Postgame Transcript: Jaguars HC Doug Marrone, QB Gardner Minshew II, RB James Robinson, LB Joe Schobert, and CB CJ Henderson

JAGUARS HEAD COACH DOUG MARRONE

Sunday, September 13, 2020

(Opening statement) “Obviously, the one thing about this team—I’m sure you’ll have a lot of questions and there [were] a lot of good performances and ‘Why the young guys?’ But the one thing that—even as the game started and the ebbs and flows of the game, I never really—at least for me, I can’t speak for anyone else—I always felt like we were going to get better as the game went along. We were going to constantly find someone to make a play for us and keep it moving forward. And I think kind of what you saw today in the game is probably the best indication of what this team has done in training camp. I think this team has been through some things. This team has stuck together. This team relies on each other, for someone to come up with a play. And they continue to keep getting better. When you watch the game and you watch the effort, you tip your hat off to Indy. I mean, they’re one of the—they’re picked to win the division and they’re one of the best teams in the league. They’ve got really good football players, they’ve got good skill, they’ve got good schemes. In a way, we made some plays. I thought we gave up yardage, but when it was time to stop them, we stopped them. They hit us on the two screens, which were great calls, and they got the blockage out there. I thought, we on offense, we took advantage, today, of the turnovers—which is a big key in any game, especially early on. I thought in the beginning, our tackling, we missed some tackles, but I thought we really started cleaning that up as the game went along. We had guys step up. One of our safeties comes out of the game, Andrew [Wingard] goes in there and comes up with a great play. I mean, really great play. He’s sitting all over it, he sees it, he drives on that ball. Fourth down stop early was a big play—I mean, you’re going to wind up talking about a lot of plays within the game. But at the end of the day, I was just worried—not worried, I was just thinking to myself: well we’re just going to the next play whatever happens here, and we’ll get something done.”

(On the play that DT Abry Jones made on the fourth-and-1 that flipped the momentum of the game) “Yeah he came up big. And you know, when I got over, when he came off the field on the sideline, I got the iPad on the side and I flipped it up right away to see who made the play. It was Big Abe [Abry Jones] sitting in that hole. I’m like, ‘Gosh, Abe. What’d you do before that? There was nobody on you, you better have made that play.’ He’s a guy—he’s been solid. And I think this is the point that I’m trying to make about this team. If it wasn’t Abe, it would’ve been someone else, it would’ve been somebody else in there. And it was a great effort, like I said, you look early on—I mean, the effort on that field was outstanding. And I think—but you guys are out there, you watch how these guys practice. They practiced with great effort. So that was able to carry out onto the field. And it wasn’t the ups and the downs, you totally just felt like, ‘We’re in it, we’re battling, and we know it could come down to the end and we’re just going to keep going.’ So those guys did a good job. Early on we were on the field quite a bit, but I thought the rotation was good and we were able to get him in there, feeling good, late in the drive where he’s able to come up with a big play at that 4th down stop.”

(On RB James Robinson’s performance in his NFL debut) “Yeah, I’m probably the toughest guy to talk about James from the standpoint that—you guys know what I’ve done. I liked what I saw early on, I went back and watched all of his film and you get people saying, ‘Well, hey listen, on Sunday, free agent, it was this, it was that.’ And I’m thinking, I don’t know a lot about that stuff. Yes, it’s all true. All I can tell you is what I see the guy do on the field, and unless he just, for lack of a better term, ‘poops the bed’ when the lights are on, I feel that this guy is going to be a good football player. And I think—I didn’t realize that one play, when he jumped up and came through that tackle, I didn’t think he had that in him. So I’m not going to test all that in practice.”

(On CB CJ Henderson’s performance) “Yeah, I mean, we’ve seen that from CJ all along. I mean, he’s a guy that really has great ability and has the ability to make plays and really be a difference-maker. I think there’s probably some technique stuff that we’ll keep going and correct. And that’s what’s great about CJ. He’s constantly wanting to learn, he constantly wants to be a better football player, and we think he’s a heck of a player now. So I think a young player like that, all of a sudden you get out there, thrown out there, not a lot of people saying things and you get your first pick in the first game, plus-two in the turnover bracket. That’s a lot, I mean, he did a nice job. He broke on the ball—but he’s been doing that in camp, so the one thing, if someone said, ‘Hey were you surprised?’ I’d say, ‘No.’ Because you could see his footwork, you could see what he does, and you could see how hard he works when he’s out there. And the greatest part about CJ is just really how important it is to him.”

(On whether this is the product of revamping the locker room) “I mean, that’s probably a better question for the coaches. I’m looking forward with this team. I’ve always been constantly pushing this team, I’ve never gone back, I’ve never said, ‘Hey, we’ve had this problem, we’ve had this problem, or I didn’t like this, or I didn’t like that.’ It’s just been a really—what’s been amazing is—you know, I think a lot of us sometimes we can tend to lose faith in team, just the word team. And this team has really instilled that faith for me. And I can only talk about myself, about how they feel about each other, how close I feel to them—I feel, with no disrespect to any other team I’ve been on, outside of just being a line coach and having your own room, this is the closest I’ve felt to a team since I’ve been a head coach.”

(On QB Gardner Minshew II’s efficient performance) “Like what did I see from him out of the week? Or? I think he’s been efficient for us in camp. I think—one of the first questions, if you remember, when we first came back, ‘Hey what did Gardner work on? What did he need to work on?’ That was a big question early on, which is normal that people are going to ask those things. We ask for a couple things: ‘Hey listen, we want a better completion percentage.’ We talked about that, we wanted to be able to score touchdowns when we get in the red zone, we wanted to be able to protect the football. So it’s just one game in, you can pretty much check all the boxes of all the things that we were looking to improve upon. And I’m sure there [are] some things early on, there might’ve been some opportunities or things like that. Gardner is, like I said before, I don’t know like that personality that everyone tells me about—which I could see him having a great personality—yeah, I see more of the accountant. So I see a guy that’s going to, when he’s playing and he’s out there, he’s going. And then when he’s off and he’s looking at things, like ‘Ugh, I’ve got to do this better, I’ve got to do that better.’ And that’s pretty much the way he’s been since he’s come here and I don’t see him changing. I think when you have that type of attitude, you continue to do a good job.”

(On WR Laviska Sheanult Jr.’s performance today) “I mean, just kind of everything that we’ve seen in practice. I don’t think—unless like what I said before in my one statement ‘poop the bed’, just totally freeze—which does happen, I mean, I’m not going to say it doesn’t. Trying to get him the touches, getting him touches in the back field, you can see how strong of a runner he is. But the one thing I knew, when he got the underneath crossing route caught, he’s such a physical guy, a big strong receiver that I really felt like, ‘Hey listen, it’s going to be hard to tackle this guy,’ going into the season because we haven’t done any live tackling in that situation. I think he made a really good play on the sideline with the big gain, that was a tough catch. He turned his body around, caught the ball, so it’s good. I think he’s a guy that can do a lot of different things.”

(On the offensive line’s performance today) “Yeah I think we put a lot on them. I mean, we’ve been talking about it the whole time. I think—I thought that there were times that we had really good protection, there [were] two breakdowns, Jawaan [Taylor] broke down on one, on a good inside move and [Justin] Houston got around on Cam [Robinson] on the one and we could’ve done a better job there. I’m talking about coaching-wise to help them out. Jay [Gruden] and I talked when the play was over. But overall, I thought early on, they did a really nice job. I thought they were opening some holes, they were moving around on a couple of those plays, you could see that Gardner [Minshew] had time. We knew going into the game, I’ve said it before, we were going to be challenged schematically by what Indy does on defense. They do a really good job with their leverage, they really do a good job on crosses, they really do a nice job. So we needed some of that protection to be able to push the ball a little bit. So I thought it was a really good start for those guys. But again, they’re like everybody else, they’re hard on themselves and they’re going to want to play better and that’s good. But I think they got off to a solid start against a good football team. You know, they’re good up front, in the front seven.”

(On LB Myles Jack’s performance in his new weakside “Will” linebacker position) “Yeah, I felt good about that, during the week I felt really good. I think when you look [at] last year, there [were] a lot of things that hurt us in a certain area of the field, throwing the football wise. And we were able to get Myles there and really work hard on it. You know, [Philip] Rivers has always had a lot of success with a lot of things. And at times, depending on what your call [is], that Will linebacker is the guy that’s going to be there one-on-one or be able to make the play. So again, saw the tough physical, saw the tackling coming up, you see Joe [Schobert] directing everyone. So I was very happy with that. And I think, like I said before, the best part about this team—even if I say, whatever I say, I can say it’s great and everything, they’re going to say, ‘Ugh I’ve got to work on this, I’ve got to get better at this.’ And that’s what I’m talking about [with] this football team. And I really – I know we’re working to get better every day and we’re working to push. No matter what happened today, win or lose—and I know if we lost it would’ve been awful—and we won. But I really believe that this team will get better as we get going.”

JAGUARS QB GARDNER MINSHEW II

(On having a day as close to perfection as you could possibly have) “I’m just super grateful. My mindset today was just to play one play at a time. I have got an offensive coordinator that is calling good plays, receivers that caught the ball, an offensive line that is giving me time, and a running game that really got us ahead of the chains. I’m just trying to do my job one play at a time, and I’m very grateful for the opportunities and the people around me.”

(On the impact Laviska Shenault Jr. made on the game today) “Laviska [Shenault Jr.] is awesome. He’s one of those guys that plays receiver, but he runs the ball like a running back and we just find ways to get the ball into his hands. Even the touchdown to DJ [Chark Jr.], that worked because they were worried about Laviska catching the ball when we were pumping it down to him. I’m very excited for him, and I think he’s going to continue to work and stay humble and I think he’s going to do really good things for us.”

(On the help from the defense to keep the game close and creating stops near the end of the game) “That was huge. That was the story of the day. There’s times where we have to pick the defense up and there’s times they’ve definitely picked us up. I’m super happy for those guys. They really closed the game out. They iced the game and won it for us. That’s what a team win is all about.”

(On feeling more confident this year) “I think one of the things that served us well today was that we all have so much belief in each other. Whether it is me in them or them in me, when you have that, you can trust people to do their jobs. Everybody can focus on their own and I’m really proud of how we played, and I think we are just scratching the surface.”

(On the importance of a young team getting a confidence boost from a win like this) “It’s huge. Until you actually do it, there’s a part of it you have to prove it to yourself. We had a lot of rookies and second year players step up and make huge plays for us today. When they are playing with confidence, you love a young team that plays with confidence. They have the energy. They got that swag about them. I’m very excited for our young guys who really stepped up and made some huge plays for us today.”

(On remembering the feeling after playing first NFL game) “You always say ‘I know I can play in this league’, but until you do it…you know, I know this time last year that was the time when I was really like ‘I really can do it’. Our guys have that same confidence where they know that they belong here, and not only do they belong but they can be really good players for us.”

(On if this win puts a silence on the tanking rumors) “I don’t care what you all talk about. We’re going to do what we do. Try to win one game a week. That’s all we can do. We’re very excited about this start.”

(On what was said to James Robinson on the way out of the media room) “All week, really all camp, we knew what we had in James and we knew he could do it. I’m so happy for him. A guy who really got overlooked in the whole process. He is a guy that I identify with. Coming out of high school a very productive player, but didn’t get recruited like he should. Super productive in college, but didn’t get scouted like he should. He’s a great football player and I’m super glad he got the opportunity to get out there and he made the most of it.”

(On whether he was able to bring any family/friends to the game today) “Yeah, I got some family and a few friends here. I’m very excited to go see them right after I get done with you all.”

(On fans seeing James Robinson and what he was thinking during that hurdle play) “It was kind of funny, after a big play like that, you jog to the ball and look back to see if there are any flags and I think Jawaan [Taylor] and Brandon [Linder] were like ‘who the hell is this kid’. They were astounded and I was too. I’m just happy for him and I’m excited to see what he’s going to continue to do because he’s a really good player.”

(On getting in on some touchdown celebrations this year) “They didn’t tell me anything. I was kind of left out there, but as long as we score touchdowns, I don’t have much to complain about.”

(On the energy drawn from fans today) “It was huge. We had some critical situations where the defense needed big stops and the fans were right there with us. It really felt like a home field advantage even though the limited capacity. I encourage people to keep coming out as safely as possible because it really does help. We’re going to do our best to make sure we are worth watching and we are very appreciative of everyone who came out today.”

(On what he saw in defense that he was able to exploit on his touchdown passes) “DJ’s [Chark Jr.] was kind of a low-high read on the corner. We had Laviska [Shenault Jr.] in the flat. If [Keelan] Cole got any depth, we would throw it to him and hope he is going to go run somebody over. Or if the cover bit up, we would be able to throw the touchdown to DJ. The one to Keelan was a great play design by [Offensive Coordinator] Coach Jay Gruden. He kind of snuck out the back door and was wide open and those are the ones you love to throw.”

JAGUARS RB JAMES ROBINSON

(On if he was surprised at the success he had from the first moment of the game) “No, I wasn’t surprised. The way the O-line blocked today was amazing, and just having guys like that up front and opening up those holes like that, that makes it easier for our running backs. I really thank those guys up front.”

(On his hurdle and if he had ever done anything like that before) “Yeah, I have, my senior year of college. I don’t think I jumped like that before, but it was kind of like a little hurdle. Yeah, I have a few.”

(On the energy the Jaguars got from the crowd) “It was pretty good, other than the energy from ourselves. I think it was pretty good to have the fans, just having fans there helping us out. I think, also as a team, we had a lot of energy going out, a lot of guys making plays, it was just great.”

(On what his approach was for his NFL debut) “Just be myself, not try to change who I am and go and play my game. The coaches told me to just be you and that’s what I did. I didn’t go out there trying to be someone else and someone that I wasn’t. I think, after the first carry, I was like, ‘Okay, I ran it now. It’s my first NFL game, but after that first play that’s gone, now you’ve got to play.’ I just went out there to be myself.”

(On the immediate impact of the Jaguars’ rookies today) “I think, we as a whole, we all wanted the same goal, just have a lot of energy and not have that many mistakes. Coming in as a rookie, a lot of people think you’ll have a lot of mistakes, but I think all the rookies that played today were great. Guys on special teams, everyone just did great.”

(On if his debut exceeded his dreams of playing in the NFL when he was a kid) “Honestly, just being out there, first NFL game as a rookie undrafted, it felt amazing. But I also just wanted to help my team win any way I could. Obviously a score would have been great, but the plays that I think I made helped my teammates out – even receivers told me, ‘You made it easier for us.’ It was great.”

JAGUARS LINEBACKER JOE SCHOBERT

(On how the defense rebounded from a tough start to the game) “Coming into it, you knew it was going to be interesting, the first couple series of the game, because it’s really our first look at live action since December, for me at least. We didn’t go live a lot in training camp, trying to protect the bodies, keep everybody healthy. We were just kind of getting used to it again, and once we were kind of able to weather the storm, everybody on the defense – Abry (Jones), Myles (Jack), me – everybody’s keeping everybody up on the sideline and we were able to start turning it around and create some momentum, and you could just feel it start changing.”

(On the play of CB CJ Henderson and S Andrew Wingard) “CJ’s (interception) was huge, obviously, in the first half. That’s kind of the first play that turned the momentum around for us after those first couple series that I was alluding to. He got his first pick. He just threw the ball on the ground, so I had to go run back and grab it because I had to make sure he got that for his keepsake – I didn’t want the Colts to steal it from him. That was huge for our defense, kind of started to set the tone, like I said, in our turnaround. And then, Dewey (Andrew Wingard) coming in… The NFL is a next man up mentality, you always have to be ready, you always have to be able to play to go into the game and make the plays when they come your way, and he did a great job of that, obviously picking off Philip (Rivers) there in a key crucial moment for us, allowing our offense to go down and score some points.”

(On the biggest adjustment the defense made) “In terms of just adjustments on defense, I don’t think it was anything. It was just settling down, getting used to playing football again in an actual game environment, and then I thought our communication was great all day. There’s going to be hiccups, it’s the first game. There’s going to be a lot of un-scouted looks, but I think we did a great job as a whole defense in communicating from the front end to the back end on the stuff we practiced and worked on all week, and we were able to chase down the things that we didn’t see, like all those 18 screens that they ended up running.”

(On if the talk about the Jaguars tanking motivated the team) “I think when you get on the field, I don’t think anybody said anything about it. You’re in a one-track mindset. It’s something in the preseason and going up, when you see your family texts you about it, ‘Look what this person or this news outlet said,’ it’s something that you always take and put on your shoulder. It creates a bigger chip and it’s something that you can use to work a little harder, work a little bit better, a little bit faster, it’s something we can use. I think Coach Marrone did a great job of not putting a ton of pressure on that kind of stuff that was said, but kind of allowing us to build that chip ourselves, allowing us to get a team-first mentality in the locker room – like the only people that matter are the people in the locker room and build a culture about that, and you saw that on the field today.”

(On how big of a momentum-builder the first win can be) “It’s huge. For me, personally, it’s the first time I’ve been 1-0 in an NFL season in my career. It just makes that whole offseason workload feel worth it. When you come out, and you’re able to come out onto the field and get a win, stuff that you put into the offseason can feel like it’s worth it because you’re able to have this feeling after the game. It’s huge and it’s great for us as a team and we’ve just got to build on it next week – another divisional opponent, so it’s a really important game, so we’ve just got to take it for the next step.”

(On what the defense talked about to play better in the second half) “We came out obviously a little slow in the first half, and it’s the first time of really live-action for a lot of us on defense since last season. So we always talk about coming out fast, but we knew there could be a lethargic start. But once we started getting settled in, we kept communicating, we kept talking, we were able to play off it and everybody got comfortable. We were able to start knocking out the run and make Philip Rivers try to beat us and obviously CJ (Henderson), Dewey (Andrew Wingard), even K’Lavon (Chaisson), even though it got called back, made him pay. Those were huge momentum swings for us and our team. The offense was able to take the ball down and score. When the momentum’s up, it’s a lot easier to play football.”

JAGUARS CB CJ HENDERSON

(On if his first NFL game was as good as he could have imagined) “I mean, I imagined better, but I’m thankful for it. I’m ready to get back to work on Monday.”

(On his first career interception) “It felt good. It was a great play. I studied hard all week, and I was prepared for it, not that it was a surprise to me. But I’ve got a lot to work on, so I’m going to get started on that.”

(On proving people wrong about his tackling ability) “No, I’m not here to prove anybody wrong. I’m here to prove myself right and not worry about what other people have to say, because that would affect the way I play.”

(On whether he baited Colts QB Philip Rivers on his interception) “I saw the ball the whole way with the coverage we were playing, but I was scared as hell that I was going to drop it. So I caught it the way I did and celebrated after.”

(On what he imagined for his NFL debut, since he said he imagined better) “If I tell you, it probably won’t happen so I’m going to keep working and just keep working. I’m about to go home to all my family and a whole bunch of messages, but I’m going to try to block it out and get ready for the next week because I’ve got to do it again.”

(On the Jaguars creating their own energy) “All these guys love playing football. That’s the biggest thing and that’s what helps us get by every day. It’s a long season, and you get through that by being happy with everyone you see in the building every day. Everybody in the locker room knows we have each other’s back regardless of what the outcome is. That allows everyone to play to their highest potential.”

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