By Hays Carlyon
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone has radically changed how he conducts training camp as he enters his third season.
He wants a healthier team after last season’s injury-plagued 5-11 failure.
On Tuesday, he presented the details for the change. Marrone indicated he will not play many (if any) starters in Thursday’s second preseason game vs. Philadelphia at TIAA Bank Field.
“Probably not play some of the players [on Thursday],” Marrone said. “We will play [our starters] the third preseason game.”
Marrone sat the starters in the preseason opener last week at Baltimore.
He explained his approach on Tuesday.
“I used to go really hard the first 10 days or the first eight days,” Marrone said.
Marrone would then taper down practices as starters got ready for their normal preseason workload: 10 snaps in the first game, 20 in the second, 32 in the third and off in the fourth game.
“I would say normally you are talking about 10 plays, 20 plays, 32 plays and no plays,” Marrone said. “That’s basically what you’re doing. … In order to play those 10 plays or to play those 20 plays, you have to make sure from a player standpoint that the day before, you can’t do anything with the players. Then you have the whole day the next day to sit around a hotel and then you are going to go play a night game. Then the next day you have off and then the next day, you bring them back slowly. There is a lot of time in between that where you are sacrificing a lot of work to prep for 10 or 20 plays.”
Marrone’s decision to de-emphasize the preseason snaps comes with an uptick in reps the starters get in practice. That protects the players. The Jaguars have only conducted live tackling in goal-line work in two practices.
“What we have done differently is obviously those players haven’t played, but what we have done differently is we have added a ton of reps,” Marrone said. “At the end of the day, I’m getting extra reps. To get 10 reps in the first preseason game, is that better than getting on average, 60-something reps during the week against our ones, ones versus ones? So when I went back, I thought this is good for our players.”
Marrone said the third week of the preseason is important for starters to play because it represents a simulation of the regular season.
“We’re going to do the exact schedule that we do during the year,” Marrone said. “The players come in at a certain time, the reps are going to be exactly what we are going to do during the year. It’s a dry run. If there are any issues, we can go ahead and clean some things up. I think it’s important that you play that game because you are presenting and you want to get the players in the right frame of mind.”
Marrone did offer that until the Jaguars starting offensive line is healthy, he still might not play quarterback Nick Foles even in the third preseason game at Miami. Left tackle Cam Robinson might not be ready to play against the Dolphins.
“If the third preseason game comes and someone doesn’t play, it’s probably on the verge of just being cautious,” Marrone said. “I’d like to get all of the offensive linemen back before I put Nick back there.”
(You can email Hays at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)