JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser's Tuesday Jaguars notes and observations: Defensive tackle Malik Jackson on not starting last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, cornerback Jalen Ramsey on new NFL direction and more
1.Malik Jackson didn't like the decision. That didn't mean he couldn't handle it. "It was probably one of the tougher things I've had to go through," the 2017 Pro Bowl defensive tackle said of Abry Jones and Marcell Dareus starting at tackle against the Pittsburgh Steelers this past Sunday. Head Coach Doug Marrone on Monday said the move was about playing the larger Jones and Dareus in anticipation of the Steelers trying to double-team the Jaguars' tackles and wear down the interior of the defense. Jackson, who played between 62 and 85 percent of the defensive snaps in the first nine games, played 50.8 percent of the snaps Sunday. "They talked to me earlier in the week and let me know, so I had a week to understand and prepare," Jackson said. "It doesn't make it any easier, but that's what's best for the team. As soon as you start forgetting it's a team game in this business, then you're wrong. At the end of the day, it's about what's best for the team, do the best I have with my reps and go from there." Jackson, after registering a career-high eight sacks last season, has one sack in 10 games this season.
2.Count Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey among those who liked the style of the Los Angeles Rams' 54-51 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs Monday – a game considered by some an example of an ongoing change toward an offensive-oriented NFL. The 2017 All-Pro selection's logic is simple: the more emphasis the NFL places on passing, the more important his position. "That is kind of what the league is turning into," said Ramsey, who Sunday against the Steelers had perhaps his best career game with two interceptions, three pass breakups and a team-high eight tackles. "They want exciting football. It is an offensive league. As a corner, that is why we are so valuable nowadays. It makes our job tough, but you have to embrace that challenge." Ramsey on Tuesday also addressed his preseason comments criticizing Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen, opting not to provide details and instead saying "Everyone who knows me knows why I was so hard on him." Ramsey was asked to elaborate. "If you do not know me that is on you," he said. "Y'all don't know me. If you look deep into, it you will be able to figure out why I was so hard. It is what it is." The Jaguars (3-7) are scheduled to visit the Bills (3-7) at New Era Field in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday at 1 p.m.
3.Jackson was not among Jaguars players who liked Rams-Chiefs. "Because a guy playing defense … somebody's getting fired, or somebody's getting switched out of position," Jackson said, laughing. "That's how it usually happens after a 105-point game: both defenses have to look in the mirror, so no: I don't think that's the future. I hope not." Said defensive coordinator Todd Wash: "I think they started a football game and it ended up being a track meet. Some of it's the rules. But we have to find a way defensively to slow some of these teams down. It's always a vicious cycle. Offense does well, then it turns into a defensive year and stuff like that. There are a lot of good players in this league on the offensive side and a lot of good quarterbacks. They're putting up points right now."
4.Wash also discussed the two-interception game by Ramsey Sunday, a game that was perhaps the best of the three-year veteran's career. Wash said of Ramsey's first interception Sunday, a leaping catch of a pass from Ben Roethlisberger to All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown: "I turned to [defensive backs coach Perry Fewell] and said, 'That might have been the best interception I've seen in my 11 years in the league,' just the system of how he played that play. It was unbelievable. He came out with a purpose, obviously. He knows he didn't play very well [in a loss to Indianapolis] the week before. He wanted to go out and obviously rectify that and I thought he had a very good game."
5.The Jaguars continued to deal with injuries on the offensive line Tuesday, with starting right guard A.J. Cann missing practice with a hamstring injury and offensive lineman Josh Walker missing with foot/ankle issues. Cann left the Pittsburgh game Sunday after reaggravating the injury and did not return. Ereck Flowers started at left tackle Sunday in place of Walker, who had started the previous four games at left tackle after injuries to starter Cam Robinson and Josh Wells. Dareus missed practice Tuesday with a back injury and rookie cornerback Quenton Meeks missed with the knee injury that has kept him out the last two games. Three Jaguars players practiced with injuries Tuesday: nose tackle Eli Ankou (calf), right tackle Jermey Parnell (knee) and linebacker Lerentee McCray (hamstring).