Earlier today, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone addressed the media regarding yet another issue with the team’s front office and its disconnection to the players.
This time, the NFLPA (NFL Players Association) released a statement indicating the Jaguars were overruled in their fines against former Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. who was fined upwards to $700,000 for missing voluntary offseason programs during in 2018.
Because the Jaguars have not yet released a statement in response to the NFLPA release, Marrone was tasked in addressing the media on his own.
“I also understand, and you guys know me well enough, that the [NFL] PA [Players Association] came out with a statement the other day,” Marrone said in his opening statement to the media today. “I hope that in the future that as an organization we’ll be able to address that,”
Currently, Jaguars EVP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin has received the brunt of the criticism in regards to how he’s handled players, along with the team’s inability to get back to their 2017 AFC Championship game form. However, he has only addressed the media one time this season, urging fans to show their support moving forward.
While the two — Marrone and Coughlin —, have talked they have not discussed the NFLPA letter in detail at this time.
“We did have a conversation that I just said I wasn’t going to be prepared to address it. That was about it.”
Marrone says players have had conversations with him regarding the fines spread around the locker room, and as a former player Marrone understands where they are coming from in terms of the excessive nature of such fines.
“I’ve always tried to talk to the players from my standpoint,” Marrone said. “I’ve always told the players that these fines, which are very excessive, are collectively bargained. And I would always say, ‘Hey, when you guys get to the table, you have to look at some of these things.’”
The fines the Jaguars — and Coughlin — has handed out over the past three seasons have been very excessive. According to the Associated Press’ Mark Long, Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette was fined $99,000 for sitting on the bench — while inactive —, during the team’s game against the Houston Texans in their final game of 2018.
RB Leonard Fournette confirms he won a grievance against Jaguars to get a $99K fine rescinded. Tom Coughlin fined Fournette for his actions (sitting on the bench while inactive) during the 2018 season finale— Mark Long (@APMarkLong) December 18, 2019
The NFL-NFLPA collective bargaining agreement is set to expire following the 2020 season, a deal has not yet been reaching beyond that final season at this time.
“So, for me, I’m trying to explain to them how the process all works. I’ve always been that way. I’m one of the few people that are around, you guys know, I have two credited seasons [as a player] in the NFL, which is just a cup of coffee, but one of them I was on strike for three games. Three game checks that I’ll never make up that at that time in my life I needed desperately. So, I’ve always tried to make sure that everyone understands the rules from everyone’s standpoint, from an organization of what we’re trying to do.”
The Jaguars will have damage control to do moving foward, and that could very well involve Coughlin as someone who is dismissed from the franchise following the season, or a complete change in philosophy regarding fines. Marrone says after the season, once he is not focused on simply winning games, he will reach out to the NFLPA specifically regarding the union’s final statement warning players about the Jaguars and joining the club.
“For me, I am one of those guys … I kind of overanalyze things and I try to get both sides and see what is going on before I form an opinion on things. When I first heard about it, that is how I felt. I am sure there is a reason for it. I do not think they just throw things out there. I would like to be able to talk to the NFLPA if they want to talk to me.”
Over 48 hours after the NFLPA released their statement, the Jaguars have yet to make an official comment on the ongoing dispute, allowing Marrone to take the brunt of the questions on a matter he simply is not prepared to answer for.
“If things happen at the end and I have time to look into it and find it, shoot you guys know, I’ll stand up here and I’ll answer all your questions on it. But right now, that’s not my focus. I’m trying to save everyone, the players and the coaches.”