JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone discussed quarterback Wednesday.
But while discussing his decision this week to start Blake Bortles Sunday, the Jaguars’ head coach on Wednesday reiterated what he has tried to make clear often in recent days:
Among factors ailing the Jaguars, the quarterback is not alone.
“It’s not just that one person,” Marrone said Wednesday morning as the Jaguars (3-4) prepared to play the Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) at Wembley Stadium in London Sunday at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Marrone, who replaced Bortles with backup Cody Kessler Sunday after two lost fumbles in a 20-7 loss to the Houston Texans, on Monday announced to players and to the public that Bortles will start Sunday.
“We’re excited about that,” Marrone said, citing leadership and a “lot of things he can do” as reasons for returning to Bortles as the starter.
Marrone continued to emphasize giveaway-takeaway ratio as a major reason for the team’s three-game losing streak, saying as he did on Monday that the team will spend extra time on the area in practice Wednesday.
“We’re going to make sure we’re putting more of a major emphasis on something we’ve emphasized since the first day I’ve gotten this job,” Marrone said. “That’s what we have to do.”
Marrone made the quarterback announcement Monday after his weekly next-day media availability, during which he said whoever started would take normal first-team repetitions. Marrone reiterated that stance Wednesday after several national members of the national media reported that Kessler would take first-team repetitions in practice this week.
“I’m going to go back to what I said on Monday,” Marrone said. “I sat here, looked you guys all in the eye and said whoever the quarterback was is going to take starter reps. I’ve believed in that my entire life. I answered the question on Monday and I’ll answer the question again: Yes, Blake will take all the starter reps.”
Marrone added that Kessler “will take the normal reps that he did the last six weeks.”
Marrone said he typically adjusts repetitions in practice only for injuries.
“The only time I ever look at someone where they might be on a short-term period is when the starter is injured and the starter is going to come back and play,” Marrone said. “That’s the only time I look at things that way.”
*Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette is not expected to practice Wednesday. He has missed the last three games – and five of the last six – with a hamstring injury sustained in a Week 1 victory over the New York Giants. Marrone on Monday said Fournette, cornerback D.J. Hayden and tight end James O’Shaughnessy “will be with us [this week] and we’re pushing those players to play.”
*Hayden (toe) and O’Shaughnessy (hip) were among four players other than Fournette not expected to practice Wednesday, with the others being linebacker Donald Payne (knee) and cornerback Tyler Patmon (neck). Hayden has been missed the last five games and O’Shaughnessy missed the loss to the Texans. Payne and Patmon sustained their injuries against Houston. …
*Jaguars players expected to practice with injuries Wednesday were: center Brandon Linder (knee), left guard Andrew Norwell (foot), cornerback Tre Herndon (hamstring), right tackle Jermey Parnell (knee), defensive end Calais Campbell (ankle/foot). Linder, Norwell, Parnell and Campbell have not missed games with their injuries while Herndon has missed the last three games.