Marrone, Jaguars hope to learn from Patriots' model of success

Marrone, Jaguars hope to learn from Patriots' model of success

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.

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“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.”

Goodell statement calls Trump's comments 'divisive'

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Goodell statement calls Trump's comments 'divisive'

In separate statements Saturday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association chief DeMaurice Smith each criticized President Donald Trump's verbal attack on NFL players. 

Goodell's statement: 

The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month.  Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.

 

And Smith's statement: 

Whether or not Roger or the owners will speak for themselves about their views on player rights and their commitment to player safety remains to be seen. This union, however, will never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens as well as their safety as men who compete in a game that exposes them to great risks. 

 

NFLPA president Eric Winston, a tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals, also tweeted a statement critical of the President:

At a rally in Alabama on Friday night, Trump said NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. And he encouraged NFL fans to walk out of games in protest. 

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ’Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,” Trump told the rally. 

He also lamented that football has become less violent.

“They’re ruining the game,” he complained.

McCourty tweets criticism of Trump's shot at NFL players

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McCourty tweets criticism of Trump's shot at NFL players

Patriots safety Devin McCourty tweeted criticism of President Donald Trump's harsh words toward NFL players who have been kneeling in protest during the national anthem.

McCourty shares a Twitter account with his twin brother Jason of the Cleveland Browns but put his DMac signature on this tweet. Devin McCourty was one of several Pats who didn't go to the White House this past spring to celebrate the team's Super Bowl championship with Trump. 

At a rally in Alabama on Friday night, Trump said NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. And he encouraged NFL fans to walk out of games in protest. 

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ’Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,” Trump told the rally to loud applause.

McCourty and then-teammate Martellus Bennett raised clenched fists in protest after the anthem at the Patriots opening game last season and McCourty said he received plenty of criticism for it. 

“I got a lot of [backlash],” McCourty told CSN Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran last year in the days following that protest. "You gotta remember, a lot of these people, they don’t know me. They like the way I play football and they like some of the things I do in the community but they don’t know me. I talked to my brother [then with the Tennessee Titans] because we have the same Twitter and the Titans got a bunch of calls from people saying they don’t respect [the Titans who made symbolic gestures] and they need to be gone. He said their community relations people said, ‘If you just knew them, your opinion would change.’ ”

Several NFL players and other athletes, most prominently former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, have refused to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest the treatment of African-Americans by police.