Jaguars 2018 Training Camp Opens, Coach Doug Marone Gives Breakdown

Photos by James Brown

Coach Doug Marone explains, “We open up today, so we are excited. I think that one thing we are looking for as a team is to make sure that over the course of these practices — starting today — is obviously that we have an expectation of how we want to look on the grass, how we want to hold each other accountable, how we want to be running from drill [to drill], how we want to compete and obviously win the day. That is really what we are trying to do, like I said before. We are not trying to look ahead. I am not really worried about tomorrow. I am not really worried about what went on yesterday. I am worried about what is going on now and trying to pick out and point to where we can see this little bit of gain where we are getting better. We watch that every single day and make sure that we are doing that, we are progressing that way, we are grinding it out and at the end of it, make sure we are not going back and just try to keep pushing forward. We are challenged with the different ways to approach the players and the different ways to teach. I think the players have done a good job. We started off our team meeting yesterday talking about focus, and we are focusing on the moment – be where you are-type thing, compete, compete, compete. Be supportive of your teammates and win the day. Really, that is the message and obviously focus is a big point of that — for us to be able to focus on what we are doing now. Training camp is a unique experience. Pretty much everyone knows you are in training camp, so pretty much people from the outside leave you alone knowing that this is a type of a grind. It is a chance for us to be together and try to build this team and try to find the best players to help us for the 2018 season.”

(On how his conversations have been with Dante Fowler Jr. after Fowler’s suspension was announced)

“I think every time a player, somewhere along the lines, has not made the right decisions … Obviously, the league has stepped in, and we support what the league has done. I think it is very difficult. It is something where you have to go out every day and you have to prove until you get to a level of consistency where there is trust. I think it is a matter of doing the right things each and every day, and we will see how it goes.”

(On if he encouraged Leonard Fournette to lose a little weight in the offseason)

“Really, there is a lot of communication with players. There is so much information we have out there with lean body mass and all of the stuff that goes on and, [I ask them], ‘Where do you feel comfortable?’ Where do you feel you need to be?’ There is a lot of interaction between Mindy Black, our nutritionist, Tom Myslinksi, our strength and conditioning coach – there is a lot of that that goes into trying to see what the best weight is for each player. It can change from year to year depending on the player. It wasn’t anything like, ‘Hey, we need you at this. This is what you need to be.’ The conversation is more about, ‘How can we get you to be the best weight you can be? What do you think is the best weight you can be?’ Then, [we say], ‘Hey, listen. Here is the background of what you were over the course of the season. When you felt good, you were at this weight.’ Those are those conversations. Not with just Leonard, but with everyone on the team that we had.”

(On how the rookies did with the rookie program and reporting earlier than the veterans)

“They have done a good job. There is a gentleman that drives a shuttle. The players stay at the hotel and they shuttle back and forth. This gentleman came up to me and he said, ‘Hey, I have been doing this since Coach [Tom] Coughlin was a head coach. I have been taking the players back and forth.’ He said, ‘Not to say anything about the past classes you guys have had, but I just want to tell you that this is a great group of young men. They are very respectful and do all the right things.’ We really have not had any issues. None. If you jinxed us, I am going to be pissed. (laughter) That is the type of class they are. I am excited to see what they can do on the field. That is one of the things I try to make sure I talk to the players about. That isn’t just about how you perform on the grass or how you communicate with your coaches, it is how you communicate and the type of respect you show for everyone in the building and everyone in the community. Those are things that go into it, at least for me and what I look for in trying to have a player on our football team.”

(On how involved he has been in talking about the national anthem policy)

“Zero.”

(On how he plans for the national anthem policy)

“I don’t. My focus is on getting the team better. I know that the NFLPA and the league is working on it. When they pass it down, we will just do what they tell us to do. Really, my focus is on getting this team ready to go for 2018.”

(On his feeling on the right guard position)

“We will see what goes on. The one thing I talk to the players about and I talk to the coaches about … The one thing about training camp is that we are going to move some people around and look at some things situationally. You go out there and A.J. [Cann] will be the first one out there. You guys will see. There are no secrets of what we are doing. You guys are going to be out there and then we will see how it goes. We will put people in there. It is early in camp and you are going to have to perform. If you are not performing at a high level, we are going to look to put someone else in there. We feel like we have good competition there, but again, you never know. I do not want to lose sight of someone that is a backup on the left side or someone along the line that can plug in and play or maybe there is a better combination of the five [offensive linemen]. I want to make sure I keep all of that open.”

(On what progress Taven Bryan has made)

“Well, I haven’t seen him in pads yet. I think that when I say progress, he has done a nice job to date. But again, I have not seen him in pads. We will see how it goes when we go out there. I want to see what they do when they go out there because obviously that is a baseline to see what they can do really when the pads come on in a couple of days. I will be able to see that baseline and then see where he progresses from there.”

(On what he hates about training camp as a coach)

“As a coach, what do I hate about camp? I love camp now! That is what is funny. The irony of this whole thing is that as a player you are like, ‘Training camp is tough.’ It is a battle between your mind and your body. That is how I always viewed it. You always feel great now. But as soon as you go out there you are like, ‘Gosh, I am sore.’ You start getting sore and banged up. You start getting nicks [and bruises]. Then, you have to lift [weights] and your wrist hurts or your fingers hurt. You have to push through it because you have to keep your strength in your legs. Every night you are like, ‘Okay, I’m going to wake up tomorrow, and I’m going to make it. I am going to get this thing done. I am going to practice my butt off, and I am going to compete.’ Then, you get through one practice — we had double [practices]. Then all of a sudden, you go back in and you go, ‘I don’t think I can make this next practice.’ But you say to yourself, ‘I have to do this.’ It was a constant battle and it was a struggle. I say this, and I can’t speak for [everybody.] There are hundreds of thousands of players that played back in the ‘80s when it was two-a-days, but I will say this: What I learned from the double sessions – especially with Coach Shula – after I went through this double sessions, as a man, as a person, I felt like I could never do anything in my life as hard as that. I felt like it prepared me for anything that was going to happen, any type of adversity or anything because mentally it was just so tough to get out there and get my body going and have the anxiety of, ‘Am I going to make the team or not make the team?’ There are some things about camp that I did like as a player. You are not getting phone calls from anyone. No one is really bothering you because they know that your whole day is booked, and you have to sleep and work. It is really a secluded type of environment for you. I think as a coach, you appreciate that you have this long day with the players consistently throughout camp where you have them, you have to meet with them and you are around them more socially than anything else. I think as a coach, I love that part of it. I love that part that we are able to grow together, be together, do things together and have the players for that amount of time. Because when you leave, it becomes more of, ‘Hey, listen, we have to get ready. We have a game to play.’ The players do their job. We are rushing back in to try and do game planning and things of that nature. I do love camp. I remember that our veteran players not here, but in the past, the ones that had young kids – they loved training camp.(laughter) I don’t want to get any coaches in trouble.”

(On what he wants to see the next couple of days)

“We just want to build up. We want to build up and go. Obviously, we are conscious of the players and not being able to go out there and really just turn it on right now and be 110 miles per hour. We are going to gradually build it up. That is why the acclimation period that we are having now – it is a good period, so that we can get a chance to go run around, get ourselves going and get used to the way that we want to practice again. Do that and then obviously when the pads come on, it is not a big shock to us.”

(On the importance of the backup quarterback and what he has seen out of Cody Kessler so far)

“I don’t view – and I said this to the coaches – I don’t go into camp viewing anyone as a backup. I think that can get you in trouble. We want to coach everyone like they are a starter because god forbid if you have injury or anything that happens or anything of that nature … Why keep some one down? I am hoping that they are going out there saying, ‘Hey, listen, I am going to do the best job I can. I am going to win a starting job.’ That is the mentality I want everyone to have because that is how I am going to coach them. When you coach somebody as a backup and then you coach this other person as a starter, you are really not coaching people the same way. Like I told the coaches, we coach everyone like they are going to be starters for us. That is what is going to happen during the year. Injuries are a part of it. My philosophy has always been, ‘Hey, if we have someone on the practice squad or someone behind them, bring them up.’ The only time we will ever go out on the street to look for a player is if we don’t have someone ready to play, which would be our fault if we don’t have someone like that in the building. I don’t put that in my mind right now. I want to see those guys compete, and I want to see them compete like starters.”

(On how Cody Kessler has done)

“He has done a nice job coming in here. He has been in the system some a little bit in the past, but we kind of stressed a little bit more the techniques and mechanics no different than an offensive lineman or a cornerback coming in as far as techniques. I have seen him really put a lot of work in technically and his footwork in what we are trying to get accomplished with him. He has done a good job of it. I know sometimes it is very easy to revert back to old habits and he is trying to break them. That is the case with a lot of players. We are trying to get them to use the technique that we want them to use that is going to put them in a position to be successful. I think he is working his butt off to do that.”

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october, 2021

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