After one of the most perplexing offseasons in NFL history, the Jaguars and all 32 teams are set and ready to head into week one of the regular season, and head coach Doug Marrone is excited to see what his team can do.
“You think about a couple of months ago, the anxiety of not knowing what was going to happen or occur. To be here in Week 1 getting ourselves ready to go and feeling obviously confident that we’ll be able to play, it’s really an amazing feat,” Marrone said when talking about the uncertainties that surrounded the NFL season months ago when speaking to reporters on Monday.
“I think that there are still things that we’re all working through from a testing protocol standpoint, which we’ll obviously test during the week, continue to do that, then obviously work out through the days off what we want to do, but there’s a high confidence level in everyone right now.”
That confidence level has only build up over time. Through testing protocols, safe practices and smart decision making, the NFL thus far has been able to pull off a feat that many expected them to fail. While there is still plenty of hurdles to get through; teams still have to travel from city-to-city without incident, it appears everything is ready to get rolling.
“We’ve got some really good people, doctors for both the league and doctors for the PA. I don’t know if it was a matter of ‘Do you believe it?’ but it was a matter of faith in these people that they know what they‘re doing and they’re going to set up the right protocols to make everyone comfortable.”
Without a preseason, a typical offseason, and a “build up,” the start to this season will be different, Marrone says.
“We’re working now as it goes,” Marrone says. “I think it will start building up and building up obviously to the week and that’s how we want to do it with our players. We don’t want a lot of things to all of a sudden change because it’s game week.”
The Jaguars’ head coach feels comfortable with his initial 53-man roster, set for now, it has the makeup of what Marrone wants in his team, particularly with how his team communicates with one another.
“I just like the communication with the players,” said Marrone. “I think some people on the outside are thinking, ‘What does that mean?’ [It means] the talk for the players, the rallying for the players, the team-first attitude that you have. I think that’s exciting because you feel that there’s some years you go in and you’re like, ‘Okay, if we hit adversity, which way are we going to go?’ and you really don’t know until you hit it.”
Last season, the Jaguars went through plenty of adversity. From their starting quarterback sidelined week one to their star player requesting a trade in week three, the adversity the team faced was detrimental to the entire season.
“But this team I feel very confident in handling any type of adversity and we’ll get adversity not just on the field, but off the field with everything that’s going on throughout the year. I feel confident in this football team being able to handle anything that’s thrown at them.”
- Jaguars defensive tackle Taven Bryan was “100%” through the weekend, Marrone says. Bryan has been dealing with a bone bruise in his left knee that had him sidelined for much the the tail end of training camp. While the team is bringing him back slowly, “He looked good and he wound up practicing, so that’s where he is,” says Marrone.
- Running back Ryquell Armstead will be out for a while. On the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list for the second time since training camp began, Armstead won’t be available for quite some time, Marrone says. “I can’t put a real timetable on it, but he’ll be out for a while.”
- The Jaguars released their first “unofficial” depth chart of the season featuring 52 players, and three players as expected starters. While he is not yet on the team’s reserve/injured list, linebacker Quincy Williams was the one player who made the team’s initial 53-man roster omitted from the depth chart. Williams (core) is expected to be placed on reserve/injured at some point soon.