Jaguars hope to avoid another slow start vs Colts in finale
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Jaguars are making a few tweaks for their season finale against Indianapolis. They're probably long overdue.
But given the way Jacksonville has struggled early in games, coach Doug Marrone felt he had to do something - anything, really - to change the team's fortune.
"I think we have some things we're planning this week to try to mix it up," quarterback Gardner Minshew said. "At this point, we're kind of throwing (stuff) on the wall, seeing what sticks and hopefully we'll get it figured out and we'll get rolling."
The Jaguars (5-10) have been outscored 108-22 in the first half over their past seven games, a series of woeful starts that have resulted in six double-digit losses and left Marrone needing to convince owner Shad Khan he deserves a chance to fix his mess without overbearing personnel chief Tom Coughlin. Coughlin was identified as the franchise's biggest problem and fired last week.
Marrone was left with two games to prove he's the right man in charge. Jacksonville responded by falling behind 14-0 at Atlanta last week - another ugly start - before Minshew even touched the ball. The Jaguars never recovered, an all-too-familiar script for Marrone.
"I understand this business," he said. "I understand what my job is. It's to win games, and when you don't do that, then you've got to be able to accept whatever the consequences are, which I think that I've always been a realist.
"I've never ducked things or anything. Again, it doesn't go like an inner feeling of, 'Oh, I didn't have this,' or, 'I didn't have that.' It goes more to, 'I let a lot of people down.' That's how I look at it. If you're in this profession and you don't understand that, you probably shouldn't be in this profession."
Marrone probably can't afford another embarrassing loss to end another dismal season in Jacksonville. He's 22-28 in three seasons and has dropped 20 of his past 27 games.
Talent is a huge issue, but Jacksonville also leads the NFL in penalties and has looked unprepared at times. Slow starts have been the most glaring issue in November and December, with the Jags falling behind in every game.
It's unclear what changes are in store against the Colts. Take the ball? More scripted plays? Some trickery?
Nothing should be too risky given Marrone's status and Jacksonville's losing ways.
Indianapolis (7-8) was leading the AFC South and had just beaten Jacksonville by 20 points in mid-November before losing four straight and falling out of playoff contention. The Colts ended their skid last week by crushing Carolina 38-6 and now can finish .500 or better for the seventh time in the past eight years.
"It's just the momentum that you take with that into the offseason training, into next season," Indy quarterback Jacoby Brissett said. "That's our primary focus. We have a great opportunity to do it."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.