JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone is excited about the second half of the season.
Marrone knows that may not make a lot of sense to anyone outside the organization considering the Jaguars are 1-6, have one of the league's worst defenses, and have won just three of their past 15 games dating back to last November, but that's going to be his approach -- and he said he's willing to get a little unorthodox, too. Too bad if you don't like it. And in reality it may be the only chance he has of saving his job.
"I'm not going to bulls--- anyone, I'm kind of fired up," Marrone said Tuesday. "And I know you guys are probably sitting like, 'What the hell's going on? How can this guy be fired up? They just lost six games in a row,' and I understand that. I totally do but I'm going to bust my ass, I mean I'm telling you now. I'm going to look at some things, I want to go a little bit outside the box. I want to challenge these coaches and challenge these players and see [what they can do]. I'm going to do whatever can to get the best out of this team and best out of these players.
"I'm sure people are going to mock me for that or say whatever the hell they want, but I really don't give a s---. I'm fired up. I'm going to go after it and however it falls, it falls, but it's open for me. I've done crazy s--- before. A lot of people don't know, we changed an offense four or five days prior to the opening of our season in Syracuse my last year. We just went in a whole different direction and, s---, it worked out."
Syracuse finished a disappointing 5-7 in 2011 in Marrone's third year leading the program, but the Orange rebounded in 2012 by winning six of their last seven games of the season to finish 8-5, which included a Pinstripe Bowl victory over West Virginia.
Things are in much worse shape in Jacksonville. The Jaguars have lost 26 of their last 35 games under Marrone and 16 of those losses have come by double digits. Miami, Cincinnati and Houston picked up their first victories of the season against the Jaguars and, per Elias Sports Bureau, that makes the Jaguars the first team in NFL history to lose three consecutive games to winless teams (excluding season openers).
The Jaguars have lost six in a row and have given up 30 or more points in six consecutive games, joining the 1968 Broncos and 1984 Vikings as the only teams in NFL history to allow 30 or more points in six games in a row in a single season.
Marrone didn't get into specifics on what kind of crazy things he may do in the second half of the season -- he said he didn't consider benching quarterback Gardner Minshew last Sunday but that certainly could be on the table -- but he knows he has to try something, because the second half of the schedule is significantly harder than the first.
The Jaguars' opponents are a combined 37-20 and include quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Baker Mayfield, Ryan Tannehill, Lamar Jackson and Philip Rivers. The Jaguars have given up the fourth-most passing yards (1,973) and touchdown passes (15).
"I want to stop going back in the past, thinking about the record, where it is, and let's go ahead and let's get after this nine game season and break it up into three quarters and let's get excited and let's go play football," Marrone said. "Let's play at our best, let's coach at our best, and let's coach each game like it's the most important game in the world. I know that's cliché because every game is, but I also have a level of excitement too for me thinking [of] it that way because if I keep going back and going, 'Oh s---, we should've done this or hey we're 1-6 and we're this,' I mean that's going to get you down.
"I'm not wired the same as a lot of people. I think you guys know me for a long time now, so I'm going to be able to block that out of my mind and go forward and be the best I can be for the coaches and the players."