JACKSONVILLE – Jalen Ramsey is confident, and doesn't mind saying it.
That's how teammates long have seen the second-year veteran, and that's how they said they heard his comments Sunday that the Jaguars "are going to the Super Bowl, and we're going to win …"
Ramsey said that to a crowd of about 10,000 at EverBank Field on Sunday celebrating the Jaguars' first trip to the AFC Championship Game in 18 years.
A day later, his teammates said they liked what they heard.
"The man has confidence in his team," defensive tackle Abry Jones said as the AFC South Champion Jaguars (12-6) began preparing to play the AFC East Champion New England Patriots (14-3) in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium Sunday at 3:05 p.m.
"What's he going to say? He knows what we're going up there do to. It's not like he's saying anything that's not true."
The Jaguars on Sunday advanced to the AFC Championship Game with a 45-42 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC Divisional Playoff in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Jaguars players following the victory talked about feeling disrespect when Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell tweeted Saturday night about playing the Patriots in the title game. Jaguars players said they didn't see Ramsey's comments as being the same.
Images form the AFC Divisional Round as the Jaguars travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers.
"We're so close that I think it's OK to say, 'Hey, we're going to do this,''' said defensive tackle Malik Jackson, who said during the offseason that the Jaguars could go 16-0 and win the Super Bowl. "I said that in April. I think he [Ramsey] believes in himself after the game he just had been locking down one of the best receivers in the game [Steelers All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown]. He's pretty hyped and he wants to let everybody know that he's hyped.
"He's just happy. He understands we have a giant in front of us and he's got to pay all of his attention to this team. We don't even know who's going to play in the Super Bowl. We're not looking ahead of that…. We understand we have to do what we have to do or we'll be watching the Super Bowl at home like everybody else."
Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue said whatever Ramsey said, "I'm going to back him up 100 percent. That's my brother."
"He's going to talk, but he's going to show up," Ngakoue said. "I just don't like people talking all week. You talk reckless, man, and you lose. It is what it is."
*A day later, Jaguars players said they were pleased with the turnout at EverBank Field Sunday. "There's a lot of pride out there for the team, and I like it," Jones said, with Ngakoue saying, "The crowd was dope." Ngakoue referenced a recent team meeting in which Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin – the team's head coach from 1995-2002 – discussed with players the rabid fan support of the fan base during his first tenure. "TC was telling was about our history," he said. "A lot of us were uninformed of our history, back when we made it to the playoffs – how we have a great fan base, and how we're trying to win that back by winning. It was definitely special to see everybody out there, all the fans. We definitely appreciated it." …
*Ngakoue on the Steelers: "All week we were quiet. We didn't really talk too much. Those guys were talking, and we really wanted to see what they were about. We don't talk; we throw the first punch. We threw the first punch yesterday and we got the victory." …
*Respect also remained a topic in the Jaguars' locker room Monday, with Jackson said, "We just keep proving people wrong. No. 5 [quarterback Blake Bortles] keeps proving people wrong and we just keep going on and pounding period. It's just awesome to see and awesome to be a part of. We're searching for respect and we want people to start respecting us." Jones said a victory Sunday is a game where respect can be earned, calling it, "A step toward where we're trying to go – to make a name for ourselves in the AFC and to let people know we're a team here to stay. It's one of these games you have to win to prove that."…