O-Zone: Counterargument

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Michael from Franklin, IN

It's obvious Jalen Ramsey doesn't want to be here and we're probably hard-pressed to get fair market value due to that team having to back up the Brinks truck for him. Could we just make him inactive and shelve him for the rest of this season and next so he is not to be a distraction? Are we there yet?

We’re not there yet. We’re not close to there. And you know what? It’s time to reassess this idea of a “distraction” as it relates to Ramsey – and to many NFL situations. It seems every other email I read – and practically every radio, internet and television commentator I hear – bases their Ramsey discussion on this overwhelming terror that he might be a “distraction.” As if Ramsey’s unhappiness might be so intense as to overwhelm all else around this team – and if NFL players are so fragile that someone unhappy two lockers down will cause them to completely lose the ability to function as a human being. Guess what? Not everyone’s happy; that doesn’t cause the wheels to come off the train. I’m dreadfully unhappy most of the time and do everything possible to negatively impact those around me; Sexton and Shadrick function fine despite this – and perhaps even flourish. Three thoughts here: First, it’s not as if Ramsey has spent the first three years of his career toeing the company line and doing everything by the book; second, every team has “distractions;” third and perhaps most importantly, Ramsey is not so powerful a locker room presence that this will implode if he is not happy – whatever his reason. The most likely scenario at this point appears to be the Jaguars not trading him and him playing here for the foreseeable future. If that’s the scenario, he will play here or he won’t play at all. He’s unlikely to choose the latter with two years left on his contract. He’s unlikely to play poorly on purpose, because that’s not who he is – and because that won’t help him land the contract he covets wherever he signs next. As far as him causing a “distraction,” stop worrying about it: The rest of this team will focus on the task at hand – as it has done in the last seven quarters since the latest version of the Ramsey saga started intensifying. If the team wins, things will be fine. If it loses, there will be many “distractions” – but they won’t be because it did or didn’t trade Ramsey.

David from Oviedo, FL

Zone - I think, we’ve tried to force feed Leonard Fournette and it hasn’t worked, what's next?

Block better.

John from Edmonton, Alberta

Trade Ramsey to Miami. They have a bunch of first-round picks and it will be a satisfying demonstration that just because you pout and request a trade doesn’t mean you get sent straight to a winning team in contention for the Super Bowl.

This isn’t how this will work, mainly because it appears more and more that the Jaguars aren’t inclined to trade Ramsey. Even if they were, Miami is trying to trade players for draft capital and not the other way around – so this isn’t something the Dolphins will be interested in. This isn’t Madden where you get to trade when you want to trade; the other team must agree to it.

Julio from Southern Cal

O, does Ramsey really make that much of a difference on the defense especially with the pass rush of late? The team could pay three good players, one at each level, with the money they would pay Ramsey. Any player especially at the pro level who literally cries when the team loses has emotional issues. He is a malcontent and a cancer. He is a sore loser. And a spoiled brat. Does the team really want to pay a guy top dollar who can blow up at any moment? Pay guys like Calais Campbell and trade away guys like Ramsey. I would sacrifice some talent for character any day. Get rid of this diva today!

So, one not fer Ramsey!

Jess from Glen Carbon, IL

Regarding Gardner Minshew II remaining the starting quarterback when Nick Foles returns, not only are we not there yet, we shouldn't ever get there if Foles is who we thought Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin was. It will take going 6-0 or 5-1 to even consider keeping Minshew as the starter; 4-2 or worse doesn't do it. And even 6-0 or 5-1 would depend on how the Jaguars won those games. How did the defense play? How did the O-Line play? How did Fournette do? How did the receivers perform? Most importantly, how did Minshew perform? With the contract they gave Foles and the guaranteed money he's getting, it will be far worse than how the fans feel about the Bortles extension. If they stick with Minshew once Foles is healthy, every Jags fan within a three-hour drive of the stadium should show up and start chanting "Coughlin must go!"

So, if they stick with Minshew because Minshew is special – and because the Jaguars are winning – they’re supposed to fire someone for it? I’m not saying that will happen, and my guess here is that the team likely will return to Foles when he returns, but the only way Minshew will remain in the starting lineup is if the Jaguars are winning at a mind-blowing rate. It’s hard to blame an executive for that.

Ben from Columbus, OH

How has Quincy Williams been performing at the weak side? It looks like he’s really come on these last two games. Also, if Telvin would decide to come back during this year – which I feel is good chance of happening – how do you see that playing out?

Rookie linebacker Quincy Williams has performed fine at weak-side linebacker; he is what you need at the position: a fast player who can pursue and hit. As for former Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith coming back … if that happens the team would probably have to take him back – at least for this season. But if you think there’s a good chance of it happening, you and I are talking to different people. I would be shocked if he were to return this season and very surprised if he plays for the Jaguars again.

Travis from High Springs, FL

I read that Jalen Ramsey said if he was not traded that he would play out his fifth -year option with the Jaguars, but then would absolutely not re-sign with them and enter free agency. Have you heard this? Just wondering if were true?

I haven’t heard this, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that were his mindset. If he wants to be traded and the team won’t do it, his only options are to play for the Jaguars or not play at all. If he never changes his mind about wanting to be traded over the next two seasons, it would only make sense that he would want to sign elsewhere after his rookie contract runs out after the fifth season. One issue if this indeed want Ramsey wants: The Jaguars have the option to exercise the franchise tag after his fifth year, which essentially would keep him with the team for a sixth season.

Mike from Jacksonville

Is wide receiver Marqise Lee back to 100 percent from last season's knee injury? It appears he's only being used for blocking. Is this an example where a player lost his starting job due to injury or because we have a surplus of good wide receivers that we're still bringing him along slowly?

Lee’s return from three torn ligaments is and likely will remain for this season a process. I expect him to be more a part of the passing game as the season continues.

Ray from Jacksonville

John: Can we all pump the brakes on Minshew Mania and talk of Foles being on the bench? The offense scored 12 against Houston (OK, 13 assuming they would have made the PAT) and 20 at home against the Titans – and one drive was seven yards. Minshew has been a very pleasant surprise as a rookie coming in and possibly keeping the team afloat, but discussion of Foles not being back in the starting lineup when ready is very premature. And, yes, I know you have discouraged such talk.

Fair.

Bradley from Carson City, NV

Jalen Ramsey could very well go down as one of the top five at his position of all time. Would you take anything less than a decent corner and two ones?

Not any time soon. I would let Ramsey play out the season and revisit the situation in the offseason, and my guess is that’s how it will play out.

John from Lake Asbury

John: You've said it repeatedly: If a team jumps out to a lead, the opposing team will have to pass to catch up, and there will be more opportunities for sacks. We definitely saw that happen Thursday, and we definitely didn't see that happen last season. Turns out you kinda know what you're talking about. Will that surprise your wife??

It will run so counter to everything she believes I can’t imagine her considering the possibility.

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