JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines the day that was around EverBank Field Wednesday – with an eye on CB Jalen Ramsey being named AFC Defensive Player of the Week …
A "COOL" HONOR
Jalen Ramsey has been improving by the week.
That improvement was acknowledged Wednesday, a day Ramsey became the first rookie defensive back in Jaguars history to be named AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
"It was cool," Ramsey said Wednesday as the Jaguars (3-12) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (7-8) in the 2016 regular-season finale at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, Sunday at 1 p.m.
"Like I've said all year: to do stuff like that and get rewarded for it is cool, but as long as my teammates and my coaches see what I'm putting on out there, that's really what matters."
Ramsey, the No. 5 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, registered four solo tackles and four passes defensed in a 38-17 victory over Tennessee at EverBank Field Saturday. He returned an interception 30 yards for a game-clinching touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
The play was the first time in Jaguars history a rookie has returned an interception for a touchdown.
Ramsey also had an interception the previous week in Houston, making him the first rookie in franchise history with interceptions in back-to-back games. He had five passes defensed against Houston, giving him nine in the last two games along with eight tackles and a forced fumble.
"It's just been opportunity, really," Ramsey said of his performance in recent weeks. "I feel like I've progressed every week and gotten better as the year has gone on. I'm just trying to keep grinding and finish strong."
He became the first Jaguars player since wide receiver Rashad Greene to be named AFC Player of the Week. Greene earned the special teams honor in Week 14 last season.
Ramsey is the first Jaguars player to win AFC Defensive Player of the Week since linebacker Telvin Smith won it in Week 7 of last season. Smith also won it in Week 7 2014, and he and Ramsey are the only rookies in franchise history to be named AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Ramsey on Wednesday said one thing did go wrong on his interception return for a touchdown Saturday: his celebration. As Ramsey approached the goal line, he said he originally planned to do a "Deion" in the vein of Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders, who often high-stepped/strutted as he approached the end zone on a return. "I kind of slowed down, then I saw [Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews] behind me and I couldn't do it," Ramsey said with a smile. "That's what was going through my head, to be real."
BACK AT IT
Jaguars running back Denard Robinson (ankle) and offensive lineman Josh Wells (clavicle) returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday.
Robinson has been out the last four games with a high-ankle sprain, and Wells missed this past Saturday's victory over Tennessee.
Robinson's potential return gives the Jaguars an added option at a position that has been hit by injuries in recent weeks. T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory have been the top two players at the position this season, with Yeldon (ankle) being placed on injured reserve Monday and Ivory practicing limited Wednesday after leaving Saturday with a hamstring issue.
The Jaguars currently have four healthy running backs: Corey Grant, Bronson Hill, Daryl Richardson (claimed off waivers Monday) and Joe Banyard (signed as a free agent Tuesday).
Quarterback Blake Bortles (right shoulder) and defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (hip) practiced full after playing through their injuries Sunday.
Left tackle Kelvin Beachum (knee) worked limited Wednesday as he has done much of the season, and wide receiver Arrelious Benn (concussion) worked limited after missing Saturday's game in the concussion protocol. Tight end Neal Sterling remains in the concussion protocol.
Strong safety Johnathan Cyprien (knee) also worked on a limited basis Wednesday, as did safety Tashaun Gipson (neck), tight end Ben Koyack (knee) and wide receiver Marqise Lee (hip). Cyprien, Gipson and Lee sustained injuries Saturday and Koyack played through his issue Saturday.
Wide receiver Allen Hurns (hamstring), defensive tackle Jordan Hill (calf) and Sterling were the only three Jaguars players not practicing Wednesday.
"If God has that for me, then it's for me. If not, it won't make me feel sad or mad if I don't get it. I know how I've played this year. To me, it's a successful rookie season. It would be great to have that honor if I deserve it."
--Ramsey on potential Defensive Rookie of the Year honors
"A lot of us coaches – obviously we don't know what our future is. But the majority of the players in that room will be here, so I think it's important to have some sort of foundation to be able to look back on. But my focus when I talk to players is about winning a game, and the focus is on the now, the moment. I think that's what gives you the ability to win football games."
---Jaguars Interim Head Coach Doug Marrone