For a couple of years, Doug Marrone tried to unseat the Patriots when he was the head coach of the Buffalo Bills. That didn’t go so well - Marrone’s team winning only once in four meetings, and even that had an asterisk next to it, with Tom Brady giving way to Jimmy Garoppolo midway through that 2014-15 season finale. Now Marrone is back at it again, but this time piloting the AFC South Jacksonville Jaguars in joint practices prior to Thursday’s preseason opener at Gilllete Stadium.
“I did say that to a couple of guys that were with me in Buffalo. I said ‘can you believe we’re going up there to practice?’’ laughed Marrone before turning serious, “I am thankful to coach Belichick for giving us this opportunity because at the end of the day, we’re just trying to get our team better and this is definitely going to help us.”
Marrone inherits a program that never gained traction under previous coach Gus Bradley, who was fired after almost four seasons of futility. Marrone was the offensive line coach on that team last year and took over on an interim capacity for the final two games before being named the permanent boss this winter by none other than Tom Coughlin. The organization is now absorbing a more disciplined culture than previously existed.
“I think every team needs that,” said Marrone “You look at the teams that are successful in this league consistently, that’s the one thing: they’re always in shape, always well-conditioned, always very physical, have great discipline, and they’re great in situation football and can execute. I think you need those things to be a successful football team.”
For a model, Marrone and the Jags need to look no further than their competition this week.
“I think we look at the history - everyone understands where they are, what they’ve done, and like I said before, we have a great deal of respect for their coaches and players.,” he said. “It’s a fact. I don’t think you have to talk it up. Everyone knows.”