Marrone says camp practices highlighted the gap between Patriots, Jaguars


Marrone says camp practices highlighted the gap between Patriots, Jaguars

FOXBORO -- They just weren't at the same level.

After a series of training camp practices between the Jaguars and Patriots, that was the takeaway new Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone underscored. The Patriots were the Patriots. And the Jaguars . . . well, they had work to do. 

"I viewed that as we really had a lot of work ahead of us," Marrone said on a conference call Wednesday, just days before the teams met at Gillette Stadium once again for the AFC title game.

"I think that's the one thing that I learned from practicing up there for those three days. How much stuff that we were behind on, and how much ground we needed to make up in a short period of time. Obviously we were all new, and I just thought that they were much further ahead than we were. I think it was good for me to point out to our players how much further we had to go. How long we had to go. And how much work we had to put in."

Since then, with some help from Marrone's hard coaching, the Jaguars went 10-6 to win the AFC South, and they recorded one of the best defensive seasons for any team in recent memory. They finished the year as the league's top passing defense and its second-ranked defense in terms of points allowed, yards allowed and sacks. 

The defensive talent in Jacksonville is top-tier, no doubt. And president Tom Coughlin seems to have made a sizable impact on the identity of the club. But Marrone, an old-school coach by all accounts, deserves some credit for helping his team embrace its punch-you-in-the-mouth mentality.

The question is, is it possible that Jaguars fans may have Bill Belichick to thank, in part, for the Jaguars landing Marrone in the first place? Earlier on Wednesday, The MMQB's Albert Breer tweeted that Marrone received a "glowing recommendation" from Belichick when Marrone was being considered for his current gig. 

Asked about his relationship with Belichick on Wednesday, and what a recommendation like that meant to him, Marrone was eager to throw praise Belichick's way. 

"I think if you're a coach, I don't care what level you're at -- you're at high school, college, NFL -- you look at the success of Coach Belichick, and I was always the type of guy that would try to learn as much as I can from people that've been successful, so that maybe I wouldn't make a mistake, or maybe that person made a mistake while they were coming up.

"Obviously, Coach is an outstanding person. And we all know what kind of coach he is, but he's an outstanding person. It's just been difficult obviously to draw that information out of him so I try to get around him as much as I can to try to learn. That's the truth.

"I have an unbelievable amountt of respect for what he's done. It's really . . . You look back and just being able to compete against him, with the challenges it presents, is what you thrive on from a competitive standpoint. I can't say enough good things about him, really." 


Julian Edelman posts video of resistance-band training

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Julian Edelman posts video of resistance-band training

Julian Edelman is grinding.

The New England Patriots receiver, who is recovering from an ACL repair surgery that ended his 2017 season, shared a quick video from his workout on Tuesday. Edelman is shown running with a resistance band and a trainer in-tow.

Edelman has posted a few tidbits on social media to show encouraging signs during his recovery since he got surgery in October after suffering an ACL tear in a preseason game. He was spotted around the locker room a few times during the final weeks of the 2017 season.

"Rehab is a [expletive]. It sucks," Edelman said in November on Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take podcast." "You go in and you’re feeling decent and then you warm up, you beat it up and then you get stiff again. I mean it’s just a process and you go in six days a week and you’re going into work it, work on everything — your flexion, your extension."

Jesse James relieved Patriots didn't win Super Bowl LII

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Jesse James relieved Patriots didn't win Super Bowl LII

Steelers tight end Jesse James is glad the Patriots' Super Bowl pursuit is done -- mostly because he played a big part in helping accelerate it.

In the final moments of the game, James failed to catch the ball during a Week 15 contest between the Steelers and the Patriots. The non-catch was a controversial one.

James told Centre Daily Times' Josh Moyer he finally felt relief on the morning after the Super Bowl when the Patriots fell to the Eagles, 41-33.

“I don’t feel like I gave them a Super Bowl with that,” James told the Daily Times. “So I’m over it now, but it’s going to be a topic of conversation until the rule gets changed — or it doesn’t.”

James' play was initially ruled a touchdown before the referees overturned the play, and took the lead away from the Steelers in the final moments of the game. Ben Roethlisberger then threw an interception a few plays later. By winning, the Patriots took a huge step in locking themselves into the AFC's top seed with a first-round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, which they rode into the Super Bowl.

But of course, they couldn't finish their Super Bowl pursuit -- to James' satisfaction.