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3 things Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone did different

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars came out on Christmas Eve at EverBank Field and gave all Jaguars fans an early Christmas present. Not only did the team blow out their division rival in the Tennessee Titans, but they also essentially knocked the Titans out of the NFL playoffs, putting them in a position where they needed a lot of help in the evening game and in Week 17. Thankfully, the Houston Texans won and sealed the division, officially eliminating the Titans, but the Jaguars got the assist.

The most shocking thing on Saturday wasn’t really that the Jaguars won, but the manner in which they did it. The team marched down the field on their opening drive and effortlessly scored a touchdown. It was only the second time the team had scored on an opening drive in about two seasons. The Jaguars looked like a completely different team, even in comparison to how they looked in London beating the Colts. There was no feeling of dread with a comeback on the horizon, even when the Titans pulled the score to 10-7, which was the closest the game ever got.

Here are three things that stood out to me that Doug Marrone did differently that made a big difference.

Lead up to the game

Marrone had the Jaguars do their final walk through practice in EverBank Field, rather than the practice fields. I don’t know if this really makes a difference, but Marrone does and the team was the most comfortable they’ve looked in quite a while on Saturday, so it obviously made some kind of difference, right? Marrone said late in the week he said it felt it gave the team a sense of familiarity and comfort, because the game situations that came up on Sunday in the stadium wouldn’t be any different than what they practiced in the walk through.

Being vocal with players

The very first thing I noticed about Marrone watching the game was he was very vocal with the players on the sideline. Often people said Bradley was too nice and they wanted someone to scream and get in faces on the sideline, but that wasn’t what Marrone did. For instance, when rookie defensive lineman Sheldon Day got a personal foul, Marrone pulled him to the sideline and spoke with him. He did grab his facemask and scream or bench him the rest of the game, as Day was the one who sacked Marcus Mariota on the play he got hurt, but he pulled Day over and had a word with him. You could also see Marrone going to each unit before they took the field and speak with them. I can’t recall Gus Bradley really doing this ever during his tenure, but it seemed to help the players keep focused on the task.

He was aggressive

One of the biggest issues with the Jaguars under Gus Bradley was they were aggressive on offense, but not really. They would do things like go for it on fourth down, but follow it up with really conservative play calling. Marrone did have the benefit of the team is 2-12, so there’s not really anything to lose in being aggressive, but he kept the pedal down nearly the whole game. Even when the team was up multiple scores, the offense was still aggressive and trying to score points and put the game out of reach. Previously it felt like whenever the Jaguars had a lead, they’d turtle up and just try to stifle the other team’s offense, which usually resulted in the defense finally breaking and surrendering the lead.

It will be interesting to see how things turn out in the regular season finale against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday on the road. Can this Jaguars team show up again? Will Marrone go 2-0 and force himself as a real candidate for the position?