The Jacksonville Jaguars have been bad for quite a while now and it appears hope is creeping back in for a lot of fans as the offseason chugs along. That's not abnormal, especially with a new regime and the addition of VP of football operations, Tom Coughlin. Often forgotten about, the actual head coach Doug Marrone, has been in lockstep with Coughlin about winning being a priority for the Jaguars.
That still feels weird to say/type, but that's something that is different for this new regime compared to the previous one. Marrone knows it should be important and that Jaguars fans are starved for not even a winning team, but a team that just isn't awful.
"Living here for two years I want to make sure that on Monday after we play that we're proud to wear the colors of this team, to wear the Jacksonville Jaguars emblem," Marrone told fans on Tuesday evening. "You get tired of people the way they talk about our team right now and I understand that and I'm going to do everything I can and we will change that."
Now, I think Jaguars fans are resilient, especially in Jacksonville, so I'm not sure the whole embarrassed to wear the emblem thing has really hit yet. Maybe I'm just super jaded and wrong, but I still wear Jaguars stuff all the time and never even think about that. That's not really the thing though, the thing is Marrone recognizing that winning isn't just for the team. It can be a sense of pride for fans and spread from there.
Not only that, this is exactly what fans want to hear. They want to hear a coach acknowledge it's been an issue and tell them that they're going to change it. They don't want a bunch of self help clichés.
One thing Marrone is going to have to work on is the mentality of the locker room, since it appears it will be totally different than it was under Gus Bradley. Marrone is focusing on winning as the goal, whereas Bradley seemed to treat winning as a beneficial side effect. It's something the coaching staff is going to begin working on as soon as April 17, when the players report for the first time this offseason.
"In order to win in this league you've got to put out a substantial amount of work and that's what separates you," Marrone added. "We have quite a bit of separation right now where we are and we've got to close that gap and it starts on Monday."
It will be interesting to see if the vibe during training camp as different than it has been the past few seasons.