JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser's notes and observations from the 2019 Reese's Senior Bowl – with a strong dose of the 2019 Pro Bowl, too …
1.We begin this "Bowl Week" notes and observations with Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who while preparing for Sunday's 2019 Pro Bowl made the following proclamation: "New year, new me." Ramsey, making his second consecutive Pro Bowl appearance, spoke following Wednesday's practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports – a media session that marked his first comments to Jacksonville media since immediately following a season-ending loss to the Houston Texans. That game was played December 30, 2018 – a date that matters to Ramsey. "I'm kind of letting it go," Ramsey said of the Jaguars' 5-11 season in 2018, a season that ended with 10 losses in the final 12 games. "The last game was in 2018, and that's where I plan on leaving it and that's where I plan on leaving the season. I'm just enjoying the moment, enjoying the Pro Bowl."
2.Ramsey for the most part avoided serious topics Wednesday, emphasizing that "it's a super-fun week" and saying he planned to go to Disney and Universal Studios with family – as well as Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James, a former teammate at Florida State. "Derwin's my family," Ramsey said. "That's my brother." Ramsey said he has also this week has enjoyed spending time with former Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley, now the Chargers' defensive coordinator; the Chargers' staff is coaching the AFC In the Pro Bowl. "That's been cool for me," Ramsey said. Ramsey said he hasn't yet met new Jaguars secondary/cornerbacks coach Tim Walton, hired last week to replace dismissed secondary coach Perry Fewell. Ramsey, asked about Fewell's departure – and about what went wrong last season – focused on the future rather than the past. "You can look at it a bunch of different ways," Ramsey said of the '18 season. "But the way I'm going to look at it is I'm not. I'm going to worry about next year because that was in 2018." Ramsey added of the postseason changes to the coaching staff, which included three changes on defense as well as a new offensive coordinator, new running backs coach and new offensive line coach, "I'm very optimistic about the future. I don't know all the changes. I don't control the front office. I let them handle that. I don't control my future. I just trust the front office. I let them handle that. I just trust in God and what will be will be."
3.Projected first- and second-round selections Drew Lock (Missouri), Will Grier (West Virginia) and Daniel Jones (Duke) are the 2019 Reese's Senior Bowl's highest-profile quarterbacks. But rivaling that trio as a story this week has been quarterback Tyree Jackson of Buffalo. Jackson (6-feet-7), who declared for the draft following last season, now is considered a rising pre-draft talent and is projected as a third-or-fourth-round selection. Jackson, who had a year of eligibility remaining, entered his name into the NCAA Transfer Portal, but said this week he never seriously considered transferring. "I consider myself a loyal person," Jackson said this week in Mobile, Alabama. "I spent my time at the University of Buffalo. I loved my coaches and my teammates, and I couldn't do that to them. I was never going to transfer to another school." Jackson, who showed good arm strength during Senior Bowl practice Tuesday, was 5-feet-9 as a freshman in high school but was 6 feet as a sophomore, 6-3 as a junior, 6-5 as a senior and 6-7 by his freshman season at Buffalo. "It's just one of those things," Jackson said of the growth spurt. "I was very fortunate."
4.A couple of the better quotes of Senior Bowl Week came from the game's coaches: San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan (South head coach) and Oakland Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden (North head coach). Shanahan early in the week was asked about the "non-interference" call at the end of Sunday's Los Angeles Rams-New Orleans Saints NFC Championship Game. "I thought the same thing everyone else thought – that it was interference and they [the officials] missed it," Shanahan said of the call that went against the Saints and helped send the Rams to Super Bowl LIII. "You get used to it as a coach and you have to deal with it sometimes. I'd like to see when things are obvious and everyone in the world knows that you do whatever it takes to get it right." Gruden the same day was asked about Kansas City Chiefs second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is a favorite to be named the NFL's Most Valuable Player after throwing 50 touchdowns with 12 interceptions in 2018. "I can't get over how he performed – in bad weather, in good weather, in adversity – as a first-year starter," Gruden said. "I can't get over it. I think it's one of the greatest accomplishments I've ever seen."