Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
What has Gardner Minshew II meant to this team, with Nick Foles going down?
"It was big. I mean, even just the way it all came about too. We signed Nick in the offseason and he was doing a great job and working hard and playing well and practicing well. (With) Gardner we were looking to see really who was going to be the backup and Gardner probably took the lead early. We were able to get him a bunch of reps and then we really played him a lot in the preseason. But, obviously we didn't play a lot of our starters, so it was kind of difficult looking back, to probably get a good evaluation on him. But, he really did well in practice and the one thing that probably we were all excited about was he was one of those guys that can kind of take it from the classroom and go on the field and just kind of get it done. He's someone you only had to tell him something once and he could figure it out, but with the performance in the preseason, you don't really know and then (in the game vs.) Kansas City, first quarter, Nick (Foles) throws a touchdown pass gets hurt. The guy hasn't taken a rep all week, you guys know how it works and he goes in there and completes all those passes in a row and then the following week he's kind of working through the game than the last two series leads us on the two scoring drives and almost wins the game. Wins the game in Denver, comes back and just has a confidence about himself, but it's not a cockiness. He has an unbelievable work ethic and I think a lot of things kind of, it's crazy on the outside (with the perception), people with the mustache and all that other stuff. But, he's a really focused individual when he's in this building."
What have you seen out of Teddy Bridgewater since he started playing for the Saints last year?
"I'll tell you, he's been outstanding. He's someone that obviously I competed against when I was in college at Syracuse (and he was at Louisville) and had a ton of respect for him and then he was really playing well and then he had that injury and everyone really appreciated what he can do from a leadership standpoint and the battle to come back and to see him out there on the field and see him playing at this level, is not something that I think people looking at going, gosh, we didn't expect this. He was a really good quarterback prior to it and I think that now he's on the field and he's having an opportunity to do it (he's shown he can) and we have a ton of respect for him. I don't look at Teddy as a backup guy. I look at him as a starter in this league."
What have you seen from Leonard Fournette in his third season in the league?
"I think he's done a really good job. I think coach (Terry) Robiskie, we brought him in. you know how it is down there…You've got to get as many LSU guys as you can around LSU guys. Terry came in and he did a nice job and Leonard's been great, he's really worked hard. Probably the part of his game that people just don't ever talk about where he's really improved is his pass protection and then I think his ability not to become frustrated has gotten better. I think there were times, obviously we weren't running the ball well, not doing a good job and he kind of just stayed on track and didn't try to make plays all the time and then wound up having a good game and doing that it's given him the ability to make some big runs. But, we still have to improve quite a bit in that phase of what we're doing."
What's been the biggest key for D.J. Chark this season?
"Yeah, I think it goes back to the thing that people can't see. I think that last year, DJ came in and he was really was doing well and probably did not perform in the games as well as he would have liked to. He is a great kid, he really worked hard in this offseason and going into it we as a staff were talking about (how) we really need this kid to come on and really play well. That would really help us. Obviously, prior to the season our skill players were ranked 32nd in a league, by ESPN. I'm not saying they were right, wrong or whatever, but we know we had a lot to prove and D.J. really worked hard and he's been really playing well. He's playing at a high level, (and I) couldn't be happier for the kid. To see someone put in the work and (he) really cares about the game and to be able to go out there now and perform and really reap the fruits of that labor it is excellent."
How has sort of him coming on maybe helped a (Gardner) Minshew, really step into that role?
"I think anytime you have someone that can come on and help (it is a good thing). With (Dede) Westbrook, Marqise Lee, Chris Conley, Keelan Cole that we have, we have some good guys and. I think D.J. (Chark) is a guy that is a big receiver. He has got really good speed. He could take the top off of the defense. He is a big target coming across the middle, he'll do that. Those things will open up other opportunities for the other receivers. Right now Gardner (Minshew) has a good connection with him, but he has a good connection with the other guys. I don't think, it's not like they would be spending the whole time together. They've had some connection, but Gardner (Minshew) is just going through his reads and trying to throw the ball to our team and not the opponent."
Eli Apple's a guy whose name we haven't said a lot this year and I feel like maybe that's a product of how he's playing. Is there anything that's standing out about him for you this year?
"I think he's defending very well. I don't see a lot of people on the outside winning against him. I think both the corners are playing well. You can see they're covering well, getting pressure on the quarterback, and are in a lot of offenses against the defense in a lot of bad situations. You look at the tape and it's fourth and 15, fourth and 12. It's like holy cow they're getting these offenses in tough situations. I really think Eli and Marshon Lattimore are playing really well defending and it's going to be a great challenge for our receivers. That and obviously trying to protect against those guys up front."
Is there anything in particular that kind of stands out about the way the Saints are playing defensively through five weeks?
"When you watch the team, all three phases are good and they're good at all the different levels. So I think when you look at the defense in particular, you're looking at a front line and has a lot of good players up front and a lot of good players behind them. Even when the second wave or this next group of players come in, you're not really losing a lot in both the run and the pass. The linebackers, obviously I know Kiki (Alonso) obviously really well because we drafted him in Buffalo. But, when you look at the type of guy Demario Davis is and how strong handed he is and making plays all over the place and (A.J.) Klein. Those guys are solid, second level guys where they can make things happen, they can rush, they can beat running backs, they can pressure well, they do those things well. And then, obviously, (Vonn) Bell and (Marcus) Williams are playing well at the safety level with the corners outside. When you look at them, all three levels are playing well. Schematically, they're difficult to go against, but I think like anything else, I think it starts up front and those guys are really playing well."
What's it like for you going back up against Sean Payton, obviously you spent some time on his staff here. Does that mean anything personally to you?
"I wouldn't be where I am today if I wasn't in New Orleans. Just so many things. Obviously all of the things I've learned from Sean, which have been a bunch, things that I really needed to work on to really change the corner for me to be a better coach, I really learned from Sean. I can't say how much I appreciate it, but really through the whole organization. I can get on this phone and (talk about everybody). Mickey Loomis is awesome and like I said, Greg (Bensel) and Doug (Miller). Before Mr. B passed, he was always great to me and now Mrs. B's running the team and she's been awesome. She's always so nice. Just everyone, the equipment guys, trainers, doctors. I look back at it and it's kind of like I know I'm from New York originally, but I always think of New Orleans as home to a certain extent because I just feel so comfortable with the city and the people and I really can't say enough about it."