Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone has been steadfast in his approach to the team’s OTAs since day one.
Staying the course, making sure players are prepared mentally and physically, is what got the Jacksonville Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game last year. Now, a new year, a new opportunity and a chance to erase the misfortune of losing a chance at the Super Bowl means everything is fresh for both players and the organization.
"“We’re trying to lay this foundation so there’s no cracks in it and trying to get out there, work through some things and see,” Marrone said before the team participated in its seventh OTA practice. “Obviously it’s a new team, a new year. (We will) try and see what we can do and set our schedules for training camp where we can move forward.”"
It’s a mantra that fits this ball club. A tough-willing group of 90 players who have endured searing heat and humidity on the Dream Finders Homes Practice Fields.
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Veterans are readjusting to the rigors of the daily routine. Newcomers and rookies are still learning what is expected. Even the coaching staff is in mid-season form, barking out instructions and making sure everyone is on the same page in all three facets of execution.
With the third and final week of OTAs underway and the longest week in terms of practices – four – in front of the team, the countdown begins to mandatory minicamp and then the five-week layoff until training camp begins.
"As Brian Sexton wrote on Jaguars.com, “It’s a critical time of year for new players to learn the system, for young players to show their progress from a year ago and for veteran players to show improvement which means the head coach is looking for something from everyone, including the quarterback.”"
Blake Bortles has been impressive so far in practice. Without giving away too much, he has done what has been asked of him and has had a far better camp than backups Cody Kessler and rookie Tanner Lee. Marrone agrees the OTAs are for players to show their mettle. The quarterback position is no different.
"“We’re always trying to push guys along and he’s (Blake Bortles) no different,” Marrone said. “We’re really harping on consistency we need and getting better at situational awareness, getting better at that.”"
And like Bortles’ improvement, Marrone and the coaching staff will use this week to make more adjustments and preparations for what comes next week at minicamp.
"“I really look at those guys as guys we’re developing to be starters. We coach everyone like a starter because those are the next guys up if we have an injury and they’ve been in our system a year and in the meetings. So I’m looking to see if they truly understand what we’re trying to get done.”"