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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars coach Marrone knows it starts with defense Sunday

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With six games to go, the magnitude will increase all over the NFL for teams trying to make a playoff push. And that is definitely the case in Jacksonville, where Jags Coach Doug Marrone already knows his team’s play has got to be better starting this week in Tennessee.

Marrone essentially sounded an alarm Wednesday with the media that the Jags last two performances against AFC South competition haven’t been anywhere close to good enough:

On the heels of having lost badly to the first place Texans 26 – 3 in London three weekends ago, his team came off a bye week last week in Indianapolis and was decisively beaten, again, this time, 33 – 13.

We have to coach better, and we have to play better. We understand that. We’re upset. It’s not good enough. It starts with me. We’re going to fight our way out,” Marrone said.

“Like I told the players: ‘Take all that pissed off, which everyone should be, and don’t make it combative, but we have to be competitive. We have to play well. We have to have a lot of energy and we have to practice well.’”

Without specifically mentioning it in those comments, he’s including a Jacksonville run defense, which has given up 200 or more yards rushing in back-to-back games for the first time since 2012,

There is no doubt that the Jaguars want their defense to set the tone and yet they haven’t been able to stop either of their last two opponents. Now, they have another tough division test on the road coming Sunday.

The Jags will battle the Tennessee Titans this time in Nashville and the Titans have a new look under center. They’ve gone with veteran Ryan Tannehill, who the team got in a trade with the Dolphins in March and has replaced former #2 overall pick, Marcus Mariota.

Tennessee has been solid since Tannehill took over, winning three of the four games including an upset 35 – 32 of the Chiefs two weeks ago. And the worst news is that the Titans under Mike Vrabel want to pound the football with power back Derrick Henry between the tackles.

Henry has feasted on the Jaguars including a Thursday night win in Nashville last year that included one of the plays of the year in the league. It was a 99-yard touchdown run, where Henry broke numerous tackles and then ran away from the entire defense. It capped a 238 yard, 4 TD night for the Titans top weapon.

Jacksonville is battling injuries, like veteran Pro Bowler DE Calais Campbell’s injured back, but Marrone obviously knows they will get no sympathy from their rivals in Nashville.

And if the play of the defense and really, the team as a whole, does not improve? Then, the Jags are looking at three straight defeats to division foes and being 4-7, and the seat will get warmer under the third year head coach.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars hire former Redskins coach Gruden as OC

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It didn’t take long for the Jaguars to come up with a new offensive coordinator and it will be a very familiar name to fans of the NFL and in specific, in Florida. Former Redskins coach and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has been hired buy coach Doug Marrone to assume play-calling duties.

NFL Network insiders Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport had the news first on Tuesday night, that the Jags had settled on the Redskins coach who was fired during his sixth season back in October:

Gruden, the younger brother of Raiders coach Jon Gruden, was fired in October after the Skins 0-5 start and while in his sixth season in Washington. He mostly struggled for the Redskins to have success with a 35-49-1 overall record. However, they won the NFC East in Gruden’s second year (2015) with a 9-7 record, but were beaten at home in the Wildcard Weekend by the Green Bay Packers.

Gruden worked his way up to his first head coaching job after having been the offensive coordinator for Marvin Lewis for three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. There, he worked with quarterback Andy Dalton and spectacular WR A.J. Green and his final year (2013), the Bengals were 6th in overall offense and fifth in scoring.

The Jaguars had also reportedly interviewed former Giants head coach, Ben McAdoo, and had also been considering former Cowboys and Rams offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, for their vacancy. Coach Doug Marrone fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo after just one season last week.

While the team termed it “mutually parting ways,” DeFilippo was quickly hired by the Chicago Bears last Wednesday, as a quarterback coach. And, obviously going from an NFL offensive coordinator job to a QB coach is not a lateral move.

Back to Jay Gruden. He is best known in our state for having been outstanding Arena Football League quarterback leading both the Tampa Bay Storm and the Orlando Predators franchises to Arena Bowl Championships.

Later his career Gruden was a player coach for the Orlando franchise, while also working during the NFL seasons in the fall as an offensive assistant under brother with the Buccaneers, including their 2002 Super Bowl win.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars interviewing former Redskins coach Jay Gruden for OC

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Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars continue to look for a new offensive coordinator in an interesting name with Florida connections has emerged.

Fox Sports NFL Insider Mike Garafolo reported on Sunday that former Redskins head coach and longtime Arena Football League star player and coach in the Sunshine State, Jay Gruden is on their radar:

Gruden was fired in October after an 0-5 start and while in his sixth season in Washington. He mostly struggled for the Redskins to have success with a 35-49-1 overall record. However, they won the NFC East in Gruden’s second year (2015) with a 9-7 record, but we’re beaten at home in the Wildcard Weekend by the Green Bay Packers.

Gruden worked his way up to his first head coaching job after having been the offensive coordinator for Marvin Lewis for three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. There, he worked with quarterback Andy Dalton and spectacular WR A.J. Green and his final year (2013), the Bengals were 6th in overall offense and fifth in scoring.

The Jaguars have also reportedly interviewed former Giants head coach, Ben McAdoo, and are said to also be considering former Cowboys and Rams offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, for their vacancy. Coach Doug Marrone fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo after just one season last week.

While the team termed it “mutually parting ways,” DeFilippo was quickly hired by the Chicago Bears Wednesday, as a quarterback coach. And, obviously going from an NFL offensive coordinator job to a QB coach is not a lateral move.

Jacksonville’s offense sputtered at times this past season, although it was handicapped when prized free agent quarterback Nick Foles was hurt in the first game of the season and missed 9 weeks with a fractured collarbone. Rookie sixth round pick, Gardner Minshew, was good at times in relief and helped Jacksonville win six games overall with his play.

Back to Jay Gruden. He is best known in our state for having been outstanding Arena Football League quarterback leading both the Tampa Bay Storm and the Orlando Predators franchises to Arena Bowl Championships.

Later his career Gruden was a player coach for the Orlando franchise, while also working during the NFL seasons in the fall as an offensive assistant under brother Jon Gruden with the Buccaneers.

Of course, the elder Gruden is now the coach of the Raiders again, and they are slated to move to Las Vegas for this fall. And, it’s entirely possible that Jay Gruden could be joining his brother with them, as well.

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