No rest for the winners: Jaguars ‘all in’ on winning finale against Titans
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jaguars coach Doug Marrone has no plans to rest starters in the regular-season finale even though Jacksonville is locked into its playoff seeding.
“We are 100 percent all in on winning this football game,” Marrone said Tuesday.
Jacksonville (10-5) exhausted any chance of getting a first-round bye by losing 44-33 at San Francisco on Sunday. Coupled with wins by New England and Pittsburgh, the Jaguars secured the No. 3 seed in the AFC and will host their first playoff game since the 1999 season.
That would lead some coaches to rest starters in a game with little, if anything, at stake.
Marrone said there’s no chance he takes that route at division rival Tennessee (8-7).
“Make no mistake about it, just so there is not a lot of talk during the week, when the players come in (Wednesday), we are talking about how we are going to play to win and do everything we possibly can to win this game. Period,” Marrone said. “I am not even thinking about what happens beyond that, and that is the way we are going to go about our business this week.”
Marrone added that it was an easy decision.
“I think that is what we have been about all year,” he said. “That is what this team has been about. For me, I don’t think it is a problem at all.”
The game has plenty of postseason repercussions, including for two of Jacksonville’s previous coaches, Gus Bradley and Mike Mularkey.
The Titans and head coach Mularkey would clinch a playoff berth with a victory against Jacksonville. The Chargers and current defensive coordinator Bradley need the Jags to win to have a shot at securing the No. 6 seed.
“When we go over the games and everything, I said, `We are going to bounce back and we are going to work our (butts) off this week and we are going to go out and win this game and win this quarter,'” Marrone said. “That was pretty much the conversation and there wasn’t, `Are you sure?’
“There wasn’t any wavering from anyone of what we want to do and what we want to accomplish this week.”
The Jaguars need to erase any lingering hangovers from the team’s worst performance since a Week 2 loss to Tennessee. Jimmy Garoppolo shredded Jacksonville’s vaunted secondary. Matt Breida and Carlos Hyde gouged the Jags on the ground. And San Francisco intercepted three passes by Blake Bortles, who delivered his worst outing in a month.
Still, Jacksonville clinched its first AFC South title in franchise history in the first quarter when the Titans lost to the Los Angeles Rams.
“Anytime we’re kind of winding down the season, you lose a game like this and you got one more opportunity before going into the playoffs, you want to make sure you’re kind of clicking on all cylinders going into the playoffs,” Bortles said. “I think it’s exciting. It’s an opportunity to kind of get back on track and get rolling going into January.”
NOTES: Marrone said left tackle Cam Robinson (abdominal strain) and receiver Allen Hurns (ankle) are “trending in the right direction.” Robinson left last week’s game in the first half and did not return. Hurns missed his sixth consecutive game.