Jaguars' Marrone: Message no longer resonates with players
LONDON (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone believes his messages to his players are not resonating.
The Jaguars, who reached the AFC Championship game last season, lost their fourth consecutive game, falling 24-18 to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Jacksonville dropped to 3-5 and failed to benefit from playing in England at their home away from home, Wembley Stadium.
The upcoming bye week should provide everyone with an opportunity to do some soul searching — Marrone included.
"First, I'm going to look at myself," said Marrone, who was hired first as the interim coach following the firing of Gus Bradley in 2016, then as the full-time replacement the following offseason. "Obviously, I'm not getting the job done at the end of the day, so it starts with me. I've got to take a good look at it. (The bye) comes at a good time because I'll be able to see what I'm doing wrong because, obviously I'm doing something wrong."
The Jaguars have been hit hard by injuries this season, including one to running back Leonard Fournette. And, inconsistent play from quarterback Blake Bortles — including a brief benching on Oct. 21 in a loss to the Houston Texans — has not helped.
Jacksonville's biggest strength last season, though, was its defense, and the unit remains statistically strong, entering the defeat on Sunday ranked second in the league after allowing just 301.6 yards per game.
Although Marrone said he believes he can turn the team around, he does need to find a way to get the players to buy in as they did last season.
"Really, it takes everybody," he said. "You can point everyone in the right direction, get everyone together, and if everyone is pulling in that direction and doing what they're supposed to do, doing their job, then yeah, you turn it around.
"But if you don't, then you sit back and make excuses and point fingers or get out of your role or things of that nature, then you can't, and that's my job — to pull everyone on the same thing. Obviously, I haven't been doing that well for the last four games."
Bortles, asked about Marrone's introspection, said the losing streak is more on the players than the coaches.
"We expect to do the same things (as last season)," Bortles said. "We expect to win every time we step on the field and it hasn't happened. That's on us as players to continue to try to go out there and make plays. We've got to execute."
Here's what else we learned in the Jaguars-Eagles game:
A FRESH FACE
Eagles running back Josh Adams, an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame, had team and career highs of nine carries for 61 yards — 44 of which were gained after halftime.
He had a 21-yard carry on second-and-6 early in the third quarter and a 17-yard carry early in the fourth quarter.
"My hope going into it was to take advantage of every opportunity that I got and try to bring it to them," Adams said. "You never know what can happen when you're out there, so try to take advantage of that time."
Adams' most obvious blemish was an apparent fumble with 6:52 remaining, though officials ruled he was down before letting go of the ball after a video review.
"We just felt comfortable with Josh," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. "(Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement) play a lot of special teams, (so it was) keeping everybody fresh and rotated."
HYDE AND SEEK
Carlos Hyde made his debut for the Jaguars after a trade from the Cleveland Browns, and he finished with just 11 yards on six carries. T.J. Yeldon had season lows of two carries and seven yards, but he did catch seven passes for 83 yards.
The Jaguars have yet to have anyone run for more than 58 yards in a game this season, and their leading rusher in the loss to the Eagles was Bortles, who gained 43 yards on eight carries.
"I think that starts a lot with how we do in practice and what we do (in terms of) getting some continuity there," Marrone said. "Right now, we're not doing anything well, so it's time to go back, hopefully get some guys back that have been injured and take it from there."
Fournette, who ran for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns last season as a rookie, has played just twice, and not since Sept. 30, because of a hamstring injury.
"I thought the guys did a good job up front," Bortles said. "Obviously, we got down, so you're going to throw it a little more there ... but I thought what we were doing was fine. We've just got to make plays."
Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson left the game after he injured his left knee on the opening possession and was replaced by Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who made 10 starts last season.
Johnson was trying to make a tackle on Jaguars weakside linebacker Telvin Smith after he intercepted Carson Wentz and needed assistance to come off the field.
Pederson said he had not spoken to the Eagles' medical staff about Johnson, who has been playing through a sprained ankle for the past month.
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