As the Jaguars recovered during week eight of the NFL season, the lone positive was the fact that they did not surrender over 30 points. That’s right, it was the bye week for the Jaguars. A much needed one at that.The bye week presents a time of reflection and evaluation of the first seven games. A chance to heal nagging injuries and prepare for the remainder of the schedule. However, the problem in Jacksonville, is that this could take more than a week, along with more aspirin.
Doug Marrone taking things "outside the box" in Jacksonville https://t.co/mOzzuEIDPG
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 28, 2020
Ah, but there is hope. According to head coach Doug Marrone he is going to start “going a little outside the box”. Furthermore, he is excited about it. What? After six straight losses he believes now is the time for innovation (cue laughter)? Actually, his timing couldn’t be more obscure. Why now? What about last season or the one before that? Surely there was a time for innovation since the start of the 2018 season (12-27 record).
Clearly Marrone understands that he is firmly on the hot seat. In fact many believe he should not have returned from Los Angeles after last week’s 39-29 loss. Yet here we are again. No hope for the postseason and no hope for future seasons. However if Marrone really wants to think outside the box for the remainder of the 2020 season, here are three suggestions.
The Jaguars selected wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft with a vision of the future. However due to COVID-19 there was a lack of opportunity to prepare Shenault for the speed of the game and get him acclimated. This was evident in the Jaguars coaches keeping his total touches to 40 during the first seven games. Now sitting with a 1-6 record at the bye, now is the time for Marrone to unleash Shenault. If Marrone is truly looking to go outside of the box, Shenault is the perfect weapon for his epiphany.
Shenault has the ability to line up all over the field, as a receiver, running back, or quarterback. Unfortunately he does not play defense. However, starting week nine it should be his time to shine. His time to get the ball in his hands and be the playmaker the fans have yearned for. Perhaps get him involved in the return game as well. Whatever Marrone does he must get him the ball. Grab the popcorn! This is sure to be fun.
As the Jaguars enter a treacherous portion of their schedule, the time to be creative is now. Time to go back to drawing plays in the sand with Gruden. Marrone needs to let go of any reigns he might have on the offense. Let Gruden do his thing and have some fun. I mean, why not? It is apparent that Jaguars defense cannot stop the opposing team. In order to steal a victory, the offense will need to outscore the other team with trickery.
In addition to creativity on offense, take a risk on special teams. Marrone and the coaches can scheme a fake punt or field goal here or there to keep the Jaguars defense on the sidelines. If all else fails, perhaps Marrone can trot out an extra player or two on defense without being noticed. This will at least give the defense a puncher’s chance when they are on the field. Just kidding, but seriously….
Be a Leader, Prepare for His Future
For Marrone this should be his last games as the head coach or the Jaguars. These final games are a chance for him to build a resume for his future. Show a little tenacity and imagination as the season winds down. Make it fun for the young players. This is a young an impressionable team with talent at a few positions. A little motivation and encouragement can go a long way for these players and bolster his sub-par resume. It is time for Marrone to get out of his comfort zone and lead. Time to take charge and be confident. Who knows what will happen if that confidence trickles down to the players.
Maybe Marrone can hold the attention of the Jaguars fans for three hours on a Sunday. Perhaps win a game or two, if that is the direction the front office wants to go. Then again, who knows what the front office wants these days?