Just as it is with most every first-year coach, Doug Marrone inherited in Jacksonville last year a Jaguars team mired in a losing culture. A big part of his job then was to erase that culture and cultivate a winning one.
One statistic suggests that if Marrone hasn’t done so already, he’s well on his way to completing the task.
As ESPN’s Michael DiRocco pointed out this week, Marrone’s Jaguars have done a tremendous job so far this year of bouncing back from the few losses they’ve suffered through.
For the first time since 2007, which just happened to be the last time Jacksonville went to the playoffs, the Jaguars have yet to lose two games in a row and many attribute that fact to the culture changes forged by Marrone.
“I think a big part of that is the culture that Doug has kind of created here,” quarterback Blake Bortles said. “That and some of the guys we’ve brought in, like Calais (Campbell), they’ve been outspoken leaders.
“So you no longer have that mindset of, ‘Oh, here we go again.’ It’s more like, ‘That’s not who we are. That’s not how we play football. Let’s forget about it, make the corrections, move on and get back to doing what we do best.’’’
What the Jaguars (8-4) do best it seems is bounce back in a big way from their losses. Each of the four they’ve suffered so far has been followed up immediately not just by a victory but by a route.
The Jaguars average margin of victory in the games they’ve won following a loss is 26.3 points, and they have yet to score less than 27 points or surrender more than 10 in any of those games so far this year.
Their latest such victory, of course, came last Sunday, when the Jaguars bounced back from their 27-24 loss to the Cardinals in Arizona by taming the Colts 30-10 at EverBank Stadium.
It was another example, Marrone said, of the Jaguars players finding a way to move on quickly from the loss and not only identify the mistakes that led to it but effectively correct them.
“I think in order to be able to do that you’ve got to kind of shake it off quickly,’’ Marrone said. “I think if you let it linger for a long period of time then you never really start working ahead to the upcoming game.
“But our players, I think our players have been able to do a good job of realizing what’s gone wrong in the game (they lost), come back in here, be accountable, make those corrections and then it’s ‘Let’s get ourselves started and get back on the winning track.’’’
The Jaguars were an organization in need of a major correction when Marrone took them over late last year. They weren’t much different when the season started this year.
Marrone inherited a team littered with underachievers, including a quarterback no one was truly confident in, and a Super Bowl winning coach looking over his shoulder and calling all the shots.
Those factors combined to make Marrone’s job one of the least attractive in the industry, but by pushing the right buttons, Marrone has done what few thought possible in Jacksonville.
He’s made the Jaguars winners.
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