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O-Zone: Breathe... breathe

JACKSONVILLE – All Jalen Ramsey all the time today. No other choice.

Let's get to it … John from Jacksonville:
Ok, at this point the Jaguars should never do rookie minicamps … this is ridiculous. How is it we are the only team that loses top-quality rookies like it's going out of style? I'm sick of this.
John: Your reaction to Thursday's news of Jalen Ramsey's injury is understandable – and far from uncommon. In fact, it was pretty much the norm. Ramsey, the No. 5 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, indeed sustained a knee injury in Phase 2 of the Jaguars' on-field offseason workouts recently. Let's clarify a few things before we answer questions and hear reaction about this topic for pretty much the rest of today's O-Zone, though. First, while the timing doesn't matter too much in the big picture, the injury was sustained in Phase 2 of the offseason program and not in rookie minicamp. Second, the Jaguars are far from the only team that loses top-quality rookies – though this indeed has happened two consecutive seasons. Third, and perhaps most importantly, the injury is not necessarily a tragic blow – or even nearly as significant as that sustained by Dante Fowler Jr. last offseason. Fowler sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in rookie minicamp and as a result was out for his entire rookie season. Ramsey sustained what the team is calling a "small tear" of the meniscus in his right knee. Recovery time from a meniscus injury can vary widely – from a little over a month to four-to-six months – based on the nature of the injury. I have heard nothing to indicate that the Jaguars believe it's the latter, though nothing will be official until Ramsey gets a second opinion next week. None of this is to say Ramsey's injury is good. It's not good to have your first draft selection sustain a knee injury two consecutive offseasons. But this injury doesn't necessarily have to be as damaging as other knee injuries sustained by Jaguars first-round selections. And the overall vibe I got around the building late Thursday afternoon and early Thursday was that this is not thought to be a big deal.
John from Cape May, NJ:
We're in some sort twilight-zone time loop, aren't we?
John: I won't deny that it feels that way at times.
Tom from Virginia Beach, FL:
If not for bad luck, Jags would have no luck at all! The injury to Jalen Ramsey is just another disappointment concerning first-round picks. With the last two being on the field, can it be time to change the grass or how it is cared for? I think there are too many "leg" injuries not to consider this. Your thoughts?
John: My thought is while the injuries to Ramsey and Fowler are frustrating, the Jaguars have practiced on these fields for a long time and these sorts of injuries don't seem to occur at an unusual rate over the course of the year. These are injuries, which happen in the NFL. Don't overreact to them; the Jaguars won't.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ:
The good vibe was good while it lasted. I guess it's unfortunately time for the doom and gloom to return. Darn.
John: The inbox since the announcement of the injury indeed has had a decided feel of doom and gloom, bringing with it a decided feel of jumping the gun. I absolutely understand why people feel as they do about this. I understand the history of first-round selections with this team and I understand that fans have been through enough that they feel snake bit or cursed. But a meniscus does not have to be a long-term thing, and it's possible Ramsey could be ready for training camp. In fact, it's very possible. His return could predate that of Kelvin Beachum, who fans have anointed the starting left tackle. I'm not saying I know what the immediate future holds for Ramsey, but I am saying I don't have the feel that this is a Fowler situation.
Trae from Jacksonville:
Ramsey now? Seriously? Like, I can't even!
John: I feel ya, Trae.
Matt from Easton, PA:
There's got to be something wrong somewhere. There HAS to be. Whether it's the turf or the training program or the equipment or a combination of the three, there's no way that this is just a once-in-a-lifetime coincidence. Give me something to blame, O-Man. This type of news, no matter how damaging, is franchise-altering.
John: Easy, Matt … if Ramsey isn't out for an extended period – and actually, even if he's out a few months – that's not franchise-altering. Disappointing and discouraging? Yes. Franchise-altering? No. There is no early indication that Ramsey's injury will be performance-altering or career-diminishing for the long-term. It's discouraging for the short-term, but as my rival Tony Boselli – yes, that skinny guy – said on Jaguars Thursday radio last night, if not for Fowler's injury last offseason the reaction to Ramey's injury would have been far, far less panicky.
Brian from Staten Island, NY:
Here we go again...
John: Nah.
Mark from High Springs:
Joeckel fractured his ankle, missed the first three games of the season. Thomas had thumb surgery, misses September. Fowler tears his ACL, out for the season. Now Ramsey tears his meniscus. I'll bet my dollar to your doughnut he doesn't play opening day. You know why? Because we haven't had a first-round draft pick play Opening Day since 2010. I know it's all just bad luck, but at some point by the sheer law of averages we should be able to catch a break, right?
John: I'm out of doughnuts (check with Shadrick as to their whereabouts) or I'd probably take the bet and win. But the bad luck? The can't-catch-a-break stuff? I can't disagree.
Scott from Aurora, IL:

John: Yep.
Newt from Jacksonville:
We have some stupid, overanxious coaches who just can't realize these players need down time and just stretching over a long period to rest their bodies. So foolish ... One of 32 teams two years in a row is not a coincidence, it is systemic. … Will someone get fired or is that going a little too far? ... It is like getting a thoroughbred horse and immediately putting it out on the track to see how fast it is … stupid!
John: Passion and exclamation points make for exciting reading. What they don't make for is the truth. The Jaguars, like all teams, do less and less each offseason and are more and more conscious each offseason with these sorts of injuries. They in fact turned rookie minicamp this offseason into a rookie orientation to avoid just this sort of thing. While fans will blame everyone from trainers, to coaches, to strength guys, to senior writers, there is no blame. When athletes of this size and speed move at the rates these players do, these things can happen. They just do.
Tim from Winston-Salem, NC:
What was Caldwell thinking, using a first-round draft pick on a player with a meniscus that could be torn??? He should be fired immediately because he probably drafted other players with minisci and also probably knees, tendons and hamstrings. Who knows what sort of ticking time bombs he wasted money on in free agency? Might as well call the London Moving Company because we will never win another game and no free agent will want to play in Jacksonville and the Apocalypse will start. I am glad I do not overreact like a lot of your readers.
John: Give yourself more credit, Tim. You actually fit right in.
Rudy from Baldwin Lives in Connecticut:
I'm sure he's a nice guy, but we clearly need a new trainer. This doesn't happen back-to-back years without a level of incompetence. I know he was highly-regarded and recommended by our last trainer, but it's enough already. Fowler and Ramsey both had clean health histories. Can't keep chalking it up to bad luck. He's not performing.
John: Injuries are frustrating, maddening and damaging, but to think the strength-and-conditioning coach or trainer could prevent an injury to a player with whom they had been working a few days or a few weeks – or in the case of Fowler, a few hours – is to not understand the nature of injuries, the NFL or the profession.
Mike from Eagan, MN:
Should be a fun inbox today, John. Please give me the company line about how injuries always happen at this level, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Jaguars' conditioning staff?
John: I pretty much just did in the previous answer, although I prefer to call it by its proper name: the truth. Fowler was injured the first day of rookie minicamp, remember? Never mind the fact that an ACL tear can occur randomly with or without contact and in any number of circumstances, I fail to see how anyone could think a conditioning staff that literally had just met the player less than a week before could be held remotely responsible for his conditioning.
Jerry from Tamarac, FL:
For all things holy …
John: Breathe, Jerry … breathe.

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