Preseaon Game 1 vs New Orleans Saints August 9 Saints_Digital_LAYOUT - Page 73

STEP BULK OF AFC SOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM RETURNS, EXPECTATIONS HIGH AS 2018 PRESEASON OPENS JACKSONVILLE – You could hear the grumbling begin early during last season’s training camp. It was the fi rst training camp under Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin and Head Coach Doug Marrone, and it included a run of consecutive practices in full pads, long stressful hours in the meeting rooms – a general lack of comfortability. It made the team tougher. It made the Jaguars learn how to overcome “adversity.” It brought the team closer as they headed into the regular season. As the Jaguars enter tonight’s Preseason Week 1 game against the New Orleans Saints, it’s clear that even with the success from a year ago that a Marrone-led training camp will always shake up a locker room, hopefully in a good way. “In a sense, it does feel like unfi nished business as far as we didn’t fi nish what we said this time last year we were going to do and we were a game away,” quarterback Blake Bortles said early in 2018 training camp. “I know everybody is excited for the chance to get back to that and go do that (go to the Super Bowl), but I think we have to make sure that there’s a lot of stuff that happens before we get to that point, and we can’t overlook that. “We have to go through this process and this camp just like we did last year in order to end up in the situation that we did, and hopefully win that game.” “My philosophy has always been that I like a little grumbling, to be honest with you,” Marrone said as players reported for camp July 25. “If there is not a little bit of grumbling, then maybe you’re not doing the right thing. I really believe that. That goes back to making sure that we’re being uncomfortable. “I think the players understand … I think the ones that have been here can kind of understand what it’s going to be. But they understand why; I think that’s the most important thing.” The 2017 Jaguars fi nished the regular season with a 10-6 record and were the AFC South champions. Unfortunately the sting of a loss in the AFC Championship game remains, but it drives this team as it heads into 2018. AP IMAGES