JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone.
He lost quarterback Nick Foles for at least two months in the season opener, allowed his defensive staff to get “too cute” against high-powered Kansas City, was involved in a sideline argument with star cornerback Jalen Ramsey at Houston and then called for a run up the middle on a 2-point conversion attempt that likely would have avoided a 12th loss in 14 games had it succeeded.
Now he’s 0-2 for the first time in three seasons in Jacksonville.
It could get worse, too.
The Jaguars host rival Tennessee (1-1) on Thursday night and have dropped four straight and six of seven in the AFC South series.
And Ramsey wants out. The disgruntled defender’s agent, David Mulugheta, requested a trade following Ramsey’s heated exchange with Marrone, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Monday. ESPN and NFL Network first reported the trade request.
Marrone said Monday that Ramsey would not be punished for the outburst.
Still, it was the latest incident for Ramsey, whose four-year NFL career has included publicly questioning defensive coordinator Todd Wash; roundly ripping several NFL quarterbacks; and getting suspended for a week in the 2018 preseason for threatening a reporter.
Ramsey was upset that Marrone didn’t challenge DeAndre Hopkins’ first-down catch late in the first quarter of the 13-12 loss . The Texans moved the chains and ended the drive with a field goal. Ramsey clearly said something to Marrone as he walked off the field and appeared to put his hands on the head coach as he made his way to the bench. Marrone responded by getting in Ramsey’s face and yelling.
Marrone offered few explanations for the intense altercation.
“There are a lot of emotions in the game,” he said. “I don’t know. I can’t recall.”
Gardner Minshew looks nothing like an overwhelmed rookie. A week after setting records for completion percentage, Minshew flashed again in his first NFL start.
He completed 23 of 33 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown at Houston. He also ran for a team-high 56 yards. He was at his best in the fourth quarter, directing drives of 61 and 68 yards to get Jacksonville out of a 13-3 hole.
Marrone probably should have let Minshew throw for the 2-point conversion. After all, Leonard Fournette’s six carries in the second half totaled 9 yards and Minshew had just made a nice play to find DJ Chark for a short touchdown.
“You could see the poise the kid has,” Marrone said of Minshew. “He’s not a guy that gets rattled. He’s fine on the sideline. He understands what we’re trying to get accomplished, what we want to do. I couldn’t be happier with him.”
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Jacksonville’s offensive line had issues for the second straight week.
Fournette was hit behind the line of scrimmage often, finishing with 47 yards on 15 carries. Minshew was sacked four times and lost one of his three fumbles. The line was flagged three times for holding and twice for false starts — all in the second half.
Most glaring, center Brandon Linder and guard A.J. Cann got no push on Fournette’s 2-point run.
Chark had seven receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown, giving him 11 catches for 201 yards and two scores in two games. He’s already topped his yardage total (174) from his rookie year and is showing the kind of consistency coaches have craved from the 2018 second-round draft pick.
Former All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell signed a five-year, $66.5 million contract in 2018 to join Jacksonville. He’s yet to prove his worth.
Jaguars hope to get two defensive starters — pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback A.J. Bouye — back against the Titans. It will be interesting to see what happens along the offensive line: Left tackle Cam Robinson (knee) has been cleared to play, and assuming he returns to his usual spot, Richardson likely could slide back to guard.
41 — total points the Jags have scored in their last four games against Tennessee.
Be more creative on offense, especially in the run game.
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