Will youth be served this season as the Jacksonville Jaguars are led to a winning season by head coach Doug Marrone in 2020?
That means he’s going to have to take one of the youngest teams in the league and put together a game plan that is almost full-proof.
As the NFL braces itself for what lies ahead, with the belief that the season will start on time regardless of fears a postponement due to the coronavirus, Jacksonville is in a situation that it knows all too well. Having won a total of 11 games in the last two seasons and riding the roster of key veterans who played a vital role in the 2017 playoff run, Marrone will be tasked with finding leaders and players who will put forth maximum effort over a 17 week season.
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Because the front office understands the importance of putting together more wins than losses, the demand is even greater for the head coach and his staff. Now that he has more say in player personnel moves and how he wants the roster to look over the course of this off-season, his job is on the line just like general manager David Caldwell, and should the Jaguars post another losing record, it’s almost a surety that neither individuals will be back for the 2021 season.
That is more than just a little pressure.
When Marrone spoke to the media last week through Zoom, it was evident he and his staff were preparing for an unknown season. The pandemic that has affected the entire world is beginning to creep into the NFL season. It’s affecting communication with players. It’s affecting how the coaching staff enacts a game plan. It’s leaving a mark on how Marrone works on his day-to-day operation. It’s also having an impact on the players as they would be preparing for their return to TIAA Bank Field.
“We’re always trying to find more weapons whether it be on the outside, whether it be on the backfield or at the tight end position or whether it’s someone that is going to push the offensive line,” Marrone said. “Obviously all the starters are coming back there, our starting running back is coming back. Where do we plug in these players that can get on the field and make plays?”
Marrone knows the offense must score more points. The defense must be able to plug the holes left by losing key payers from the previous few seasons. If there was ever the term “total team effort” used in a situation with this organization, it might be at this very moment.
“Really outside of the offensive line and the quarterback, every other player there is going to be a substitute in there at some time whether it be on the outside at receiver or even in the backfield as much as Leonard [Fournette] played last year, there’s still time where someone else has to come in the game for him…,” Marrone said.
“Obviously, we feel good about the receivers we have and what’s there. We feel good about our running back situation with Leonard [Fournette] and Rock [Ryquell Armstead] and a couple of other guys back there who’ve done a good job.”
Judging by what the front office has already done in free agency, and what holes still need to be filled on this roster, the 12 draft choices the Jacksonville has maybe the most important keys to this franchise‘s future. Marrone and Caldwell haven’t lost sight of that.
“The one thing about offense is you always want playmakers and you’re always looking, Marrone added. “I don’t know that I’ve ever heard said, ‘Oh my gosh, we have enough.’ It’s one of those things that you never have enough. It’s like chocolate chip cookies. There’s never enough in the house for me.”