Jaguars’ Marrone sticking with staff despite 3-game skid
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone is sticking with his staff.
Marrone said Monday he has no plans to make any changes despite a three-game losing streak in which his team has been seemingly outcoached at halftime and clearly overmatched in the third quarter. It’s an obvious trend that could ultimately cost Marrone his job.
But the coach declined to place blame on — or replace — either of his coordinators.
“If it’s going to make our team better and help us win, then I have to do that,” Marrone said. “When you make a decision like that, you’ve got to look at the staff and see if there’s someone who can do it better. ... I don’t believe there’s a change that I could make right now that would make sense for me or this team to help us win.”
Jacksonville (4-7) hosts Tampa Bay (4-7) on Sunday, hoping to play better after intermission for the first time in more than a month.
The Jaguars trailed Tennessee 7-3 at halftime Sunday before giving up four touchdowns in six plays in the third period and losing 42-20. They trailed Indianapolis 10-7 at the break the previous week before getting outscored 14-0 in the third and falling 33-13. And they trailed Houston 9-3 at the half in London earlier this month before getting outscored 10-0 in the third quarter and losing 26-3.
Jacksonville has been outscored a combined 52-8 in the third quarter the last three games — three losses that turned a .500 team into an AFC afterthought for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons.
“When you get into this point in the year and having gone through it as an assistant, as a head coach ... everyone kind of gets protective and they get isolated,” Marrone said. “We’ve been doing more things together to stay together, to keep our head up, to keep fighting, to try to build up those walls on the outside and not concern ourselves with things that are not going to help us fight our way out of this predicament that we all are responsible for getting ourselves in.”
Leonard Fournette had one of his best games of the season, running 24 times for 97 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught nine passes for 62 yards.
But both scores came in garbage time, raising two questions:
—Why were the Jaguars running the ball in the fourth quarter?
—Why was Fournette (and quarterback Nick Foles) still in the game?
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Jacksonville’s run defense is downright awful. Tennessee ran for 219 yards Sunday, becoming the fourth team in the last seven games to gash the Jags on the ground.
Carolina (285), Houston (216) and Indianapolis (264) also ran wild against coordinator Todd Wash’s unit, which is a shell of its 2017 self. Among the issues: losing linebackers Paul Posluszny and Telvin Smith to retirement; having 340-pound defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (core muscle) on injured reserve; watching 33-year-old veteran Calais Campbell lose a step; trading lock-down cornerback Jalen Ramsey; and parting ways with safety Tashaun Gipson in the offseason.
Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue has a strip-sack in consecutive weeks. After being slowed early in the season because of a hamstring injury, the fourth-year pro is starting to come on. He has six sacks, giving him 35 ½ for his career, and making him more likely get the franchise tag next year.
Safety Jarrod Wilson, who took a bad angle on a 65-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to A.J. Brown. He also was comically stiff-armed while trying to tackle Derrick Henry during his 74-yard touchdown run.
Safety Ronnie Harrison left the game with a concussion, forcing rookie Andrew Wingard onto the field.
3 — wins the Jaguars have in three games against Tampa Bay in Jacksonville.
Decide who gets fired? It could be all three: personnel chief Tom Coughlin, general manager Dave Caldwell and Marrone.