Jaguars spending time practicing with Patriots
By MAUREEN MULLEN
Aug. 07, 2017
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars are spending a few days in New England as guests of the Patriots for a few joint practices.
Facing the defending Super Bowl champions can give the Jaguars a good idea of what needs work. Jacksonville finished 3-13 last season, in last place in the AFC South, with a better regular season record than only Cleveland at 1-15 and San Francisco at 2-14.
The Jaguars have not been to the playoffs since they lost to the host Patriots in the divisional round of the 2007-08 season. They haven't had a winning season since then. Meanwhile, the Patriots have been to the Super Bowl four times since, coming away with two championships.
"I think it gives us a good feel for where we are," said Doug Marrone, who is entering his first full season as Jacksonville's head coach after taking over on an interim basis for the final two games last season. "Obviously they are a great team and we have a lot of respect for both the coaches and the players.
"There are so many positives coming to work with another team. I felt like we got a great day done today. We have to go ahead and look at the tape and be able to improve. I think when you practice like this, obviously against a great football team, then it is going to make our team better. That really was the goal coming up here."
The Patriots have conducted joint practices for six straight seasons, but never with Buffalo, where Marrone was the head coach in 2013-14, before joining Jacksonville as an assistant.
"I did say that to a couple guys that were with me in Buffalo. I said, 'Can you believe that we're going up there to practice?'" Marrone said. "But again, I'm thankful to coach Belichick for giving us this opportunity because at the end of the day, we're just trying to get our football team better. This is definitely going to help us."
Marrone was satisfied with the performance of quarterback Blake Bortles, who is entering his fourth season after Jacksonville selected him with the third overall pick in 2014, but knows there is work to do.
"I thought calm, cool, different defense and things of that nature," Marrone said. "I think we have to see where we are from that standpoint of being able to get open in a press-man and things of that nature."
"Then, just ball location. I thought for the most part, he seemed to have control. He got stepped on at the goal line. That can't happen, that is not his fault. We have to be able to come off the ball better."
But he downplayed what Bortles or any of his players might get from watching quarterback Tom Brady, a future Hall of Famer and the engineer of the Patriots' improbable come-from-behind, overtime win over Atlanta in Super Bowl LI, his fifth Super Bowl title.
"You know what, I'm so focused on what we're trying to do, I don't really focus on the other team," Marrone said. "I'm not here to evaluate their team, their players. I'm here to make sure that our players are getting better."
NOTES: Wide receiver Allen Hurns left practice after attempting to catch a pass from Bortles during the scrimmage session. Hurns appeared to be injured but there was no information available. "They told me they brought him in and one other player just for evaluation and they will tell me when I get in," Marrone said. ... The temperature was mid-70s and muggy. Rain was predicted but practice wrapped up before any began to fall. ... The teams will have another joint practice on Tuesday and a walk-through session on Wednesday before the preseason opener Thursday at Gillette Stadium.