JAGUARS HEAD COACH DOUG MARRONE
Q: Did Leonard Fournette practice today?
DM: No, he did not practice. He was out there on the field.
Q: What are you expecting with him for Sunday?
DM: I think we're going to know more as the week goes on. I think our guys are out there today and I told them the same thing. I said, 'You're going to be able to see him.' He's working out and stuff on the side. They'll be able to see him go and we're going to wait and see how we can strengthen it and see where he's at later in the week.
Q: Jalen Ramsey made some high-profile comments about many players around the league, including Rob Gronkowski. Did you ever talk to Jalen about some of those comments? How do you feel about what he said?
DM: Well, Jalen and I have had conversations. Obviously, those conversations remain between me and the player and I've said that before. I know that I have the greatest amount of respect for Rob. I've known him a long time, know his dad, family, the whole nine yards, and we've played against him quite a bit and we have a ton of respect for him. He's probably one of the best guys, if not the best, that's ever played the game at his position, and we know that he's a challenge in many different ways in what he can do. That's how I feel and that's how our team feels.
Q: Are you worried that Jalen put a target on you guys by speaking out?
DM: I mean, it is what it is. We're all men and we've got to stand by what we say and you've got to speak for yourself and be able to do that. We've just got to go out there and play.
Q: Your players talked a lot about the AFC Championship game over the offseason. Do you want them to use that as motivation, or are you trying to get them to put it to bed?
DM: No, this the second game in the first quarter for us. We're playing an AFC team that's a heck of a football team, and we've just got to get ready and do the best job we can to prepare for them. That's how I've approached it with the team.
Q: So, this isn't like a revenge game for you guys?
DM: No, it's a different team, different year.
Q: What is it about Rob Gronkowski's game that stands out to you?
DM: He's unbelievable. I mean, matchup problem - I mean, how do you match up with him? How do you defend him? You've seen it throughout the years, whether you put two guys on him, he still goes up and makes the play, You put one guy on him, you put a smaller guy, a bigger guy. I mean, through my time with Buffalo and then obviously we try to do many different things and we try to do different things here, the guy just always comes up and he always makes plays.
Q: Did you watch the Super Bowl last year?
DM: No, I haven't.
Q: I'm sure you've seen clips of it. Do you get any sense of the approach...
DM: I haven't. I have not watched the Super Bowl.
Q: So you're unaware the Eagles took a 'no holding back' approach to beating the Patriots?
DM: That's them. I'm worried about our team.
Q: Tom Brady wasn't happy with the offensive performance of the team last week, and yet they scored 27 points. What does that say about the offense in New England and what you saw from the game last week?
DM: You're going to have to ask him. I mean, I have a ton of respect for him and they're a heck of a team. We know we're going to get the best, and we've got to play well. I'm not really worried about how they feel about themselves.
Q: What impresses you about the Patriots offense?
DM: There's a lot of things. I've always thought that offensive line wise, they do a heck of a job. Coach [Dante] Scarnecchia is probably one of the best that's ever coached the position. I have a ton of respect for him. I think that the wide outs - obviously, Chris Hogan was with me. I know what he can do. Phillip [Dorsett] has done a great job coming in there and being around for a year. You can see he's getting comfortable with it. Obviously, the two backs have great skill and different sets, whether it's running, catching, whatever it may be. And then you have probably one of the best tight ends in the game - obviously, probably the greatest quarterback that's played, and I mean that sincerely. Tommy's a - you know, I've seen him for a long time and he's a great competitor. The guy's won a ton of football games and he's very difficult to beat.
Q: You never watched the Super Bowl?
Q: Not even live?
Q: There's like over 100 million people in the country that watch the Super Bowl.
DM: No, but I don't watch it. I got a question about if I saw Coach - wasn't it last year somebody asked me about did I watch Coach [Tom] Coughlin's Super Bowls? I'm like, 'No.' I don't know why everyone doesn't believe that.
Q: You never watch the Super Bowl live?
DM: No, I'm usually so pissed off I can't handle it.
Q: Was that even more so the case because your team was so close last year?
DM: No, I just always said - hey, listen. I just don't watch it. That's all. I watch enough tape during the year.
Q: So, what was the last Super Bowl you did watch?
DM: Probably when I wasn't coaching and I was allowed to gamble. Probably when I was like 12... when I had a little money on it. You guys write that. I'll probably get [expletive] investigated.
Q: Wouldn't watching the Super Bowl help you guys prepare for this week's game?
DM: I think our defensive and offensive coaches obviously have watched it.
Q: Can you speak to the different skill sets of Fournette and T.J. Yeldon?
DM: Yeah, I think Leonard, obviously, has a lot. He's obviously a little bit bigger than T.J., but T.J.'s been our starting running back here before I was the head coach and has done a nice job, and he filled in last year and did a good job when Leonard wasn't playing. We don't feel like he's a guy that can't carry the load. And then, obviously, Corey's a guy that we probably should have got him a little bit more reps last week - we had a couple things in for him - but we feel comfortable with him. So, we're sure we've got three good guys and we feel like they'll all be ready.
Q: As an offensive line guy, what do you think Trent Brown provides for the Patriots at left tackle? He seems like a unique body to be playing that position.
DM: Yeah, I mean, I think he has a lot of things that I know I would always look for. He's got size, he's got good feet, he's got long arms, he can really crush in the run game and it's tough to get around him in the pass game, so I think he's played extremely well. I think the best part about it is all those five guys play so well together and they always have. You can look at all the different groups they've had. The three inside guys are solid with [Joe] Thuney, [David] Andrews and Shaq [Mason]. I mean, those guys do a good job, and Marcus Cannon's been around a while. I don't know if he's going to play or not, but he's good. If he doesn't, probably [LaAdrian] Waddle will go in there. I mean, they do a good job. Really, no one does a better job than Dante. I mean, I have the utmost respect for him. He was someone that I've always tried to get with and learn from and try to shadow him at the combine. I can't say enough good things about him.
Q: How much, if at all, will you guys try to prepare for some of the newer players the Patriots just acquired in the last 24 hours?
DM: It's the same thing. I think, if they're out there, we've got to be ready for them. It's just trying to keep the focus on ourselves and what we have to do and how well we have to play, and really that's what our focus is about. We're trying not to hurt ourselves and give ourselves an opportunity against a team that rarely makes mistakes and they're well-coached and they'll be ready to play, and that's really been the message to our team.
Q: From what you've seen, what are the primary differences between the defense that played Houston on Sunday and the defense you saw from the Patriots last year?
DM: I can't - we keep going back and it's just hard for me because I'm probably more knowledgeable, to put myself to date, of what they did last week. I think that the one thing I've always admired is the guys up front. I think from Trey Flowers to whether it be [Adrian Clayborn] or whoever's in there on the end, whoever is playing there, Lawrence Guy - I mean, those guys are just all-day suckers now. They work their butt off. I think Malcom Brown's probably the most underrated guy. I mean, he's really done a heck of a job. He was a load for us last year. I think he's a load again this year. He's a three-down player, plays really well. I think the linebackers, they're excellent, they hold the point real well, they're downhill, they're good in coverage. And they've got a lot of different personnel groups, so they've got a lot of guys playing and we've got to be ready for it. I think that, obviously, [Patrick] Chung and [Devin] McCourty have been back there. We know them. Obviously, [Stephon] Gilmore I know well from Buffalo. I think he's a great player. And then Eric Rowe's out there. So, the combination of all those guys and the different guys they play create great challenges for us.
Q: I've got to be honest, I'm still intrigued by the Super Bowl thing...
DM: You've got to let it go, man.
Q: While the whole country gathers for parties and stuff, what do you do during the Super Bowl?
DM: I usually just - I mean, is this on the record or off the record?
Q: Whatever you want.
DM: Off the record, I just sit down and drink some beer and be miserable.
Q: So, you don't go bowling or have an activity or anything? You just sit at home and don't watch the Super Bowl?
DM: What makes you think a guy - are you saying because I'm fat that I bowl? Is that what you're trying to say? I like bowling because I'm a fat guy?
Q: You said it, not me.
DM: You think I can't go out there for a jog? Maybe I go out for a run. How about if I go out there and run a marathon? You don't think I'm that guy?
Q: You tell me. I left the question open-ended for you.
DM: No, I'm not that guy. You know, when you aspire to go there and you're not there, it's something that - I just don't want to go through the whole season again in my mind of not being there. That's the truth. Even when I was a player and even when I was a coach - and obviously you guys know we get tickets - I just never, even when I was a player, we'd always say, 'Look, we're never going until we go.' That's always stuck in my mind when I was a player. Hopefully one day - that's what we work for. And if not, then, [expletive], I'll probably start watching.
Q: Do you have any good stories about Hogan or Gilmore from their time in Buffalo?
DM: You know what, I really don't. Those guys are so business-type approaches. I remember the one thing about Stephon, when we were there early on, I just remember how much he wanted to be the best, like all the little things, and really wanted to know everything inside and out - the way he practiced and the way he played and how competitive he was. I mean, shoot, when we played with him, he had one hand basically. He had hurt his wrist and he wound up out there and he was playing his butt off and just a really competitive kid. With Chris, Chris' story is a long road, one of those underdog type stories, but he was - whether we were drafting guys or bringing guys in, I mean, nobody was going to beat him out. I mean, he was just smart. He can play all the positions. It's not unusual why they are where they are right now and how they wound up there. They're both really good football players that are both really smart and really team-conscious guys. I mean that.
Q: Blake Bortles doesn't look like your prototypical mobile quarterback. Are you ever surprised at just how mobile he is?
DM: Yeah, I think I've said that many times. I've always said that's probably the one aspect of his game that gets overlooked - his ability to run or scramble. He's really helped us quite a bit in those things. Just last week, obviously, coming out backed up, you know, he had the big run and kind of flipped the field position, which was a big play in the game. So, I think that's one part of his game that people tend to overlook - I'm talking about from media. I don't think coaches that we play, obviously, overlook it on tape.
Q: Is it a challenge for a coach when you don't know who an opposing defense is going to play up front?
DM: Well, I think the players that have to either run into those zones or block those types of players or pressure with those players, I think it's one of those things that you've just got to make sure that you do your work. You're going to be pushed, not just when you're in the building from whatever time you get here till when you leave. It's about, hey, when you go home, putting in the extra time, looking at those things, getting a good feel of each of those players because not everybody's the same, and you've got to look at everyone's strengths and weaknesses and look at yourself and figure out, 'Hey, if I've got to block this guy, if I've got to cover versus this guy, what am I going to do? How am I going to be able to win?' So, I think that's part of the game, and that's what a lot of these guys do when they're not in the building.
JAGUARS DEFENSIVE END CALAIS CAMPBELL
Q: Is this a revenge game for you guys? How hyped up are you guys to get another shot at the Patriots so soon after the AFC Championship game?
CC: No, it's not a revenge game at all. You know, this is just an important football game. It's a conference game, at home. You know, these are the kind of games you want to win just to set yourself up for where we want to go but revenge? No, not for me.
Q: Seems like there's still a bitter taste in the Jaguars' mouths though with the way the game ended and the Myles Jack ruling and everything like that.
CC: Well, I mean of course. You know, we weren't happy with losing the game. Nobody's going to be happy losing when you're one game away from the Super Bowl. But that was last year. We had an opportunity, we didn't get it done and now it's a whole different scenario, whole different season, whole different situation. So this is a different team, they're a different team and we're a different team, so it's a different ball game. We just got to go out there and find a way to get this one because it's important because we're at home and we want to protect - we want to create a home field advantage.
Q: How'd you guys feel about Jalen Ramsey talking smack about Rob Gronkowski and other players around the league?
CC: I mean, Jalen - he's a very outspoken guy who loves to talk trash, that's part of his game. And I tell him all the time, "Man, hey, whatever you do, just make sure that - we are going to back you up. We are going to back you up. We're going to be there for you." I have nothing but confidence in Jalen. He's a very smart guy and he loves the game of football, very passionate so I won't ever try to contain somebody and not let him be himself.
Q: Are you guys worried that you gave the Patriots bulletin board material?
CC: You know, every team's always going to find bulletin board material. At the end of the day, we just got to play football. They're motivated to win the game just like we're motivated to win the game because it's an important game. It's a conference game against a good opponent. I think there's mutual respect on both sides of the field. We know that they're a really good team that's going to be there at the end and I hope they think that we're a good team that's going to be there at the end. And that's enough motivation already just because we have these two teams, you know you're competing for a chance to be there at the end and have control when the end comes.
Q: Do you have to emphasize to the defense to play the full 60 minutes given the way the Patriots came back in last year's AFC Championship?
CC: Yeah, finishing is an important part of the message this whole year. We have to finish games. That's important, especially against a team like the Patriots who have the best quarterback to ever play the game. It's never over when you have Tom Brady back there and he has weapons. He's a special guy so we have to play for 60 minutes and maybe more because it's never over with him. We've seen it time and time again. You go back to the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl, I mean, it's like, wow. Tom Brady can do amazing things so for us, even though - even if we do get a big lead, which would be nice, that'd be awesome - we know it's never over until there's zeros on the clock.
Q: Did you turn off that Atlanta Super Bowl game in the second half? Were you watching that game?
CC: Yeah, I watch football. I'm a big football fan so I watch everything much as I can. So yeah, I watched the second half. I didn't turn it off.
Q: So you did watch the Eagles Patriots Super Bowl this past year?
CC: Yes I did, I watch every game.
Q: Because Coach Doug Marrone said he didn't watch it and he says he never watches the Super Bowl. Can you believe that?
CC: With coach? Yeah I can believe that. I mean, his personality and the way he does things, I can see that. I'm sure he watched it, he just watched it on film. He watches things with a clicker in his hand when he can rewind and do things. It's different for him. It's just his mentality though because he's a head coach, he sees things differently. Even when I watch games, I can't help but to critique and see things that guys can do better or things that guys did well and admire it. It's kind of hard, but I'm still a fan of the game so I try to watch it like a fan sometimes but just naturally, when you play the game and you're studying tape all the time, you can't help but to see things differently.
Q: Believe it or not, Coach Marrone says he never watches the tape because he gets so angry his team isn't in the Super Bowl so he never watches it.
CC: Oh, yeah. Well, hey, that's his prerogative.
Q: Since you watched the Super Bowl, what was your biggest takeaway from the Eagles' approach?
CC: Oh man, I mean I don't know. I just liked that when the game was on the line, you see d-lineman come up with big plays. I mean, obviously, you guys probably were upset with it, but Brandon Graham coming up and getting that forced fumble at the end of the game, you know that was impressive. I like seeing just good d-line play and that was a very, just incredible play.
Q: As a defensive lineman, was it hard not to overlook the fact that the Eagles were so aggressive offensively against the Patriots instead of holding back a bit?
CC: I mean, I think that was an interesting way to play them and it worked out for them. I think every game individually has different things that you got to go to in it and it's all - it's a momentum game. But the Eagles had a good game plan and they executed well and they found a way to win it.
Q: What did you learn from losing the AFC Championship last year?
CC: I don't know what I really learned. I think the biggest thing is when you get that close, you have to find a way to win it. I think it's just experience more than anything else. The team, we've all been experiencing big games. I would have loved to win the game, but at the end of the day, what you can take from it is that we're good enough to get there, we're good enough to win so it gives you confidence and it just comes down to executing and being prepared to go through anything. Tom Brady is an incredible player, Bill Belichick is an incredible coach, the whole staff, the rest of the team. I mean, they're unbelievably prepared and they're tough and they work hard so when you get a chance to play a team like that, you have to match their intensity. It's always fun, it's a treat.
Q: Is it a relief when you look across to the Patriots offense and there's no Danny Amendola given the great game he had in the AFC Championship game last year? No Brandin Cooks, Nate Solder? Obviously three guys that are tough to play against.
CC: Uh, yeah those guys are special but when you got 12 [Tom Brady] back there, he's done it time and time again with so many different people that he's thrown the ball too. I don't know how many completions he has to different receivers but I guarantee it's a crazy number. Obviously he's played for a long time, but he's played with so many different receivers and won and made them look incredible. So I don't think - I think they have good receiver talent and I think Tom Brady, with his ability, can bring the best out of those talented receivers. So it's definitely not a relief. I've got to bring my A-game if I want to win this one.
Q: Did you go up against Trent Brown when you played for the Arizona Cardinals?
CC: You know, what I believe he was out there one game. I was playing more inside though so I don't remember going against him directly. I might have to go back and check that tape. But you know, watching tape, he's a big guy. So I think I did go against him. I remember, he's bigger than me and that doesn't happen too often. Usually when I'm on the field, I'm the biggest so it's always impressive when a guy's got more size than I do.
Q: Do you think it's a little crazy when people say a quarterback can be the next Tom Brady?
CC: Yeah, you know, everybody's always trying to compare you against the greatest. You're a young kid, you do well, they want to compare you against the best. Can you be as good as Tom Brady? Or, he might be as good as Tom Brady. But, the thing that makes Tom Brady successful is that he's done it consistently for a long period of time and with so many different people. I think it's impossible to do that in a short period of time. The only way you can be on Tom Brady's level is to be able to play a 20-year career and win consistently and I don't think many quarterbacks will be able to do that.
Q: Blake Bortles takes a lot of criticism. Do you guys take it as a source of pride to go out there because he gets a lot of disrespect?
CC: I mean, I think people can have an opinion all they want to but we in the locker room see what he does every day. We see his preparation, we see the way he goes up there and competes in practice so we got a lot of love for him and respect for him because we've seen him make unbelievable plays time and time again. We believe that when we go out there on Sunday, he's going to play the way he can play. Every day's not going to be your best game, you're going to have some bad days. But I've seen Blake throw incredible passes time and time again so I have the upmost confidence in him.
Q: Tom Brady says he wants to play until 45. Would you like to play that long?
CC: I'm pretty sure I will not be playing at 45. That's a long ways away from me, I'm only 32 years old and I'm considered old in this league. But also, being a quarterback, you get away with a little bit more. You can play a little bit longer because they protect you a little bit more. He doesn't have to do as much as far as just physicality on your body. Being a d-lineman, there's contact every single play so I don't think a d-lineman is playing until 45. I mean, the guys who play to 40 have been incredible. I mean, just seeing what Bruce Smith did and seeing what James Harrison did even last year in the Championship game, James Harrison had some incredible plays at 39 years old, it's like, wow. That's so impressive to me because I know how I feel at 32 so I can imagine how he feels at 39. But, for me, no. I don't see myself playing that long. But I won't put anything past Tom Brady. Tom Brady, if he wants to play until 50, he can be great at 50, I'd believe it.
Q: How do you feel the rule changes have allowed quarterbacks to play longer?
CC: I mean, first things first, the NFL wants to keep the game safe. Makes sense to me. I'm all about keeping the game safe. I never want to see guys get injured and obviously it's a business and the quarterbacks are the biggest driving force in this business so of course they're going to try to protect those guys and keep them on the front as long as possible because that's what people tune in to see. It's my job to stop the quarterback but I have to do it within the rules. So I understand the NFL, just the mentality that they have. They want to keep Tom Brady on the field as long as possible. I just want to put him on his back a few times.
Q: Do you feel like you guys have to do anything differently defensively to try to keep Tom Brady on his toes or confuse him?
CC: Yeah, I think some people - when you try to do things differently, it takes you out of your game. We believe that - we try to play our game and make him change to what we're doing. I think that's what makes them so special is that they can do a lot of different things to beat you. They have a crazy game play. Bill Belichick, he prepares, you can tell that by how you watch the game. He has different attacks every game. But for us, we know what we're good at and I think that we have to do what we're good at. But obviously, it's all situational. We can do whatever we need to to win. At the end of the day though, my job is to get to the quarterback and make him uncomfortable. Doesn't matter who it is, but the more you hit a quarterback, the more you make him uncomfortable, the more normal they become. Doesn't matter who you're talking about. So that's my job and the rest of the d-line's job to try to get Tom Brady as uncomfortable as possible.