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View from the O-Zone: A welcome sight

Posted Aug 12, 2017

Oehser: Few things more welcome around the Jaguars in 2017 Training Camp than seeing cornerback Jalen Ramsey back in full pads

JACKSONVILLE – Now, this was a welcome sight.

Jalen Ramsey practiced Saturday – on a limited basis, at least.

After he practiced, he talked to the media.

Both happenings were big news at EverBank Field Saturday. It had been a while since the second-year cornerback did either. And know this: few things are more welcome around the Jaguars than seeing Ramsey back in full uniform and full pads.

“It was cool,” Ramsey said Saturday following the team’s Day 13 2017 Training Camp practice on the practice fields adjacent to EverBank Field.

Cool? Darned right it was cool seeing Ramsey Saturday. Really, really cool.

If he’s not the Jaguars’ best player, he’s close.

If he’s not their biggest star, he’s close – and if the Jaguars are going to be the defense many expect, he needs to be on the field. So, even if there never has been a lot of worry that Ramsey would miss any regular-season time …

Yeah, Saturday was a welcome sight.

Ramsey, who spent the first two weeks of 2017 Training Camp on the physically unable to perform list after mid-June core surgery, said he doesn’t yet know when he will practice full. Head Coach Doug Marrone didn’t offer specifics on that front on Saturday, either.

“I just think the first plan: it’s the first time he’s been out there, so let’s see how he does in individual and communicate with him, see where he’s at, how he feels and then just take it day-by-day and see how he develops,” Marrone said.

Here’s what Ramsey does know:

While the Jaguars’ secondary has been less than full strength during training camp because of injuries to him and nickel corner Aaron Colvin, the group will be ready when the Jaguars visit the Houston Texans at on September 10 in the regular-season opener.

Of that, Ramsey has no doubt.

“We’re going to be ready for opening day,” Ramsey said. “I can’t talk about day-to-day, but I’ll let you know that we’ll be ready for that. I’ll promise you that.”

Here’s saying the time frame isn’t a big worry. Sure, the Jaguars would probably like him to get a few repetitions in the preseason. The guess here is he perhaps plays a series or two against the Carolina Panthers in Preseason Week 3.

Beyond that?  While playing time, repetitions and comfort level aren’t unimportant to Ramsey, they’re not critical issues. If he’s healthy for the regular-season opener, he’ll be fine – and he’ll play at a high level. That wouldn’t be true of normal second-year players, but Ramsey isn’t your normal second-year player.

This guy is different. While it’s not time to put him among the game’s elite corners yet, it’s not too early to think he’s heading there.

He’s also a pretty entertaining press conference – even if he doesn’t always appear thrilled to be involved. Ramsey, who hadn’t previously spoken during ’17 camp because he hadn’t yet practiced, offered a few short answers early during his Saturday media availability – and he obliged the media with a couple of details on his core surgery. He said he fought through some pain during the team’s offseason program, then opted for surgery because the timing was right and he figured, “Why not do it, fix it completely, so it won’t come back and linger around?”

The presser got more interesting when he vowed the secondary would be ready for Week 1, then got pretty entertaining when asked if he and newly signed cornerback A.J. Bouye had a chance to be one of the NFL’s best cornerback tandems.

Ramsey paused. His brief answer spoke volumes.

“Y’all will see,” he said.

Ramsey closed his briefing discussing his number. He wore No. 20 as a rookie after a well-publicized, futile effort to acquire No. 23 from then-Jaguars safety James Sample. He said he considered moving to No. 23 following Sample’s recent release, but opted against it because “I would have to pay a nice amount of money to get all those 20 jerseys out there.”

“We’ll see about next year,” he said.

And with that, Ramsey’s first meeting with the media of ’17 training camp was over. He informed a little, and entertained at times. And make no mistake:

Seeing the player who might be the Jaguars’ best player and biggest star back in full pads …

Yeah, it was a welcome sight.

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