Jacksonville, FL — There is a shakeup at the quarterback position for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Head Coach Doug Marrone says Cody Kessler is starting as QB against the Colts this weekend, not Blake Bortles. Asked whether the job is Kessler’s moving forward even past Sunday, Marrone indicated that’s the plan.
“Hopefully, he can stay healthy and win games for us, yeah. My plan is for him to go in there and play,” Marrone says.
This announcement comes the same day the Jags let go of Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Marrone says he will always be appreciative for what Hackett has done both for the team and for Marrone personally, and he thinks Hackett will have success in the future- but he needed to do something to spark the offense.
“I felt I needed to make a change to get us an opportunity to win some games,” Marrone says.
Marrone says QB Coach Scott Milanovich will handle play calling moving forward.
Marrone says he didn’t think about doing only one change at a time. His hope is that changing the coordinator and starting QB will lead to better and more consistent production in the passing game. He says Kessler appreciates the opportunity and will get a full week of reps in with the team. Asked how Bortles reacted, Marrone said only that it was a tough day, but that’s how the business is.
Despite making the changes, Marrone added that he believes everyone shares responsibility, including himself. He says, across the board, they need to do better.
“Anytime you’re losing, it’s not just on one person. It’s on everyone. And obviously, when I say that, I understand and take responsibility for that it starts with me as the Head Coach,” Marrone says.
And he takes that responsibility seriously, especially for the fans.
“I know that we had expectations and we haven’t met them, and it’s disappointing. It’s very difficult. And- like I said before- my position, you know, my job is clearly defined- to win football games. Haven’t done it. And when the fan base is upset, when people are- like you said- losing interest, that falls directly on me. No one else,” he says.
Marrone says he hasn’t considered firing Defensive Coordinator Todd Wash up to this point. He would not, however, rule out further changes.
“I’m gunna do whatever it takes to win football games, so you know, for me to say- I’m considering everything,” Marrone says, adding “any time I see a situation where we can get ourselves better, I’m gunna take advantage of it.”
The Jags’ loss to the Buffalo Bills this past Sunday marked the team’s seventh straight loss of the season. They play the Indianapolis Colts at home at TIAA Bank Field this Sunday. Kessler’s start will be a little more challenging because of yet another injury to the offensive line. Marrone says they are placing Andrew Norwell on the IR with an ankle injury.
While Marrone acknowledges that they’ve had a lot of important players go down this season because of injuries, he says that can’t be an excuse, because they’ve had the opportunity to win games, but they’re not delivering. An example of that came this past weekend, when RB Leonard Fournette was ejected because of a fight- at a time when the game was tight. He says he had a one-on-one conversation with Fournette about his actions, and he has spoken with the team overall about the number of personal penalties.
Marrone wouldn’t speculate on what next season will hold in terms of the team’s relationship with Bortles. He says there will be time to consider that when the season is done, and his focus right now is winning games.
This is a developing story that will be updated through the day.
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