Eagles Point the Jags Toward the Bulletin Board
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - A "Fearless" coach and socially-conscious safety have given the Jacksonville Jaguars all the bulletin-board material they could ask for in advance of the United Kingdon's Desperation Bowl between two 3-4 teams.
To start Jags coach Doug Marrone steered clear of Doug Pederson's accusations in the latter's book, “Fearless: How An Underdog Becomes a Champion.”
Pederson, known for his aggressiveness, questioned Marrone’s tactics against the New England Patriots in last year’s AFC Championship Game and seemed to at least intimate that Super Bowl LII should have been the Eagles and the Jaguars if Marrone pushed the envelope even a little bit.
“That was a year ago,” Pederson said when asked about his thoughts on Wednesday. “Different set of circumstances. I have a lot of respect for Coach Marrone and what he's done. He's got a good football team now. None of that has any impact on what's going on this week.”
Marron took a similar approach on his conference call with Philadelphia-area media, claiming any outside criticism, even from a peer, doesn't impact him.
“I have a ton of respect for [Pederson] as a coach,” Marrone claimed. “I think [the critiques is] fine. That stuff doesn’t really faze me. Whenever you do something and you’re not going to win a game, it opens it up for everything. I had times myself and looked back and, hey, I could’ve made better decision to put our team in a better situation, there’s no doubt about it. I don’t have any problems at all. I know he’s a great coach and I’m sure, from everything I heard from everyone, he’s a great guy."
Perhaps Marrone does have an issue with opposition players taking shots at his embattled quarterback Blake Bortles, however.
During a wide-ranging conversation with 973espn.com and other reporters regarding the Players Coalition and Eric Reed's negative assessment of it, Jenkins veered toward Jacksonville's QB struggles when discussing Colin Kaepernick.
“You still have the blackballing of Colin Kaepernick. I’ve always maintained every chance I get to say Colin Kaepernick started this," Jenkins said when discussing the social injustice protests some NFL players engaged in. "Colin Kaepernick deserves a job. I can turn on the tape this week of our opponent and see that Colin Kaepernick deserves a job.”
Bortles was benched in the third quarter last week after losing his second fumble of the game against Houston, finishing just 6-of-12 for 61 yards before being replaced by Cosy Kessler, who finished things by completing 21-of-30 passes with a touchdown and an interception.
Despite Kessler producing more Marrone is going back to Bortles this week against the Eagles at Wembley Stadium, although the leash probably isn't going to be a lengthy one.
"I spoke to both quarterbacks [on Monday] and told them that Blake will be our team's starting quarterback," Marrone said earlier this week. "I believe this gives us the best opportunity to win."
Others might argue the best opportunity to win is the fire being lit under the Jags.
Both Marrone and Bortles have something to prove on Sunday morning and all they need to do is read the belletin board tbulletininded of that.
973espn.com Prediction: Jacksonville 20, Eagles 17
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen