O-Zone: Here's hoping

JACKSONVILLE – Monday was earth-shaking for Jaguars observers.

Two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey reportedly has asked the Jaguars to trade him, news that broke on ESPN early Monday evening.

There’s much to sort through in this story, and emotions undoubtedly will run high on both sides of an issue that escalated quickly and undoubtedly will dominate this forum in the coming days.

We don’t yet know the end game. We do know that it’s unfortunate it has reached this point – unfortunate, disappointing and not a little confusing.

Let’s get to it …

David from Denver, CO

Keep Marrone or keep Ramsey? Marrone is not a generational talent at coach, as he proved at the end of the Texans game. Show him the door.

I anticipate many fans and observers making this argument, and I understand it. Ramsey and Head Coach Doug Marrone had words Sunday during a 13-12 loss to the Houston Texans – words that turned into a heated sideline exchange that involved other players. A little more than 24 hours later, news broke that Ramsey wants a trade. Sunday’s incident stemmed from Marrone not challenging what Ramsey believed was an incorrect call on a reception by Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. It seemed an overreaction by Ramsey at the time, and reports on Monday were that Ramsey is upset with how the team uses him in the defense – and that he believes he doesn’t get to play enough press man coverage. Many are also reaching a conclusion that it has become a question of who stays: Ramsey or Marrone. The fundamental problem here: If Ramsey indeed is so upset with how the Jaguars use him that he asks for a trade, and you fire a coach to hire one who will always use Ramsey how he wants to be used, what happens when the next coach calls a defense that doesn’t cater exclusively to Ramsey? What happens if the coach sees that playing zone against a certain offense for “X” number of plays better suits the strength of the entire defense even if it isn’t what Ramsey wants to play? Do you fire that coach and bring in another? And another? Do you hire Ramsey as the coach and let him make all decisions? No, you can not. You absolutely can’t. Neither should you fire a head coach to keep a player, even a player as good as Ramsey.

Aaron from White Hall, QO

Sometimes, it's time to move on....

I hope not. For the Jaguars’ sake, I hope there’s some way to sit down with Ramsey and calm the waters. I understand it’s doubtful. Either way, I wouldn’t trade Ramsey, certainly not immediately – and certainly not for less than two first-round selections from a team that I thought was going to be picking in the Top 10 for a couple of years. If I couldn’t get that, I would tell him, “Look, we have your rights for two more years. We have the right to franchise you after that and that’s what we plan to do. This is where you’re going to play. This is how it’s going to be because we like you and think you’re a great player. If you don’t want to play here and put the team first, then you can watch on television. Or not. Whatever.” I would not trade him for less than a whole lot, and I would not let him dictate the situation.

Tom from Shanghai, China

Yelling at the coach on the sideline and then requesting a trade. I don't think we're quite there yet and I hope it can be avoided, but we're almost at “time to move on,” wouldn't you say?

Not yet. Hopefully.

Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL

Zone: I have liked and supported Marrone. I am really surprised Marrone has not had more success. But the team’s lack of discipline has been off the charts since last year and he has now created conflict with our best, generational-level-talent player who has consequently asked for a trade. One has to ask how much more Marrone has to do to establish that he may not be the most effective option. Go Jags!

Created conflict? By not calling for a challenge play that Ramsey wanted? By not letting Ramsey always play the defense he wanted? I’ve written favorably about Ramsey as much as anyone. I like him. I believe he is a generational talent. I never cared all that much about the GQ stuff, or not attending the offseason program, or most other things about Ramsey that many considered distractions, because a lot of that is overblown. But to ask for a trade because you don’t get to always run the plays you want called … that’s a different thing – and if that’s indeed the core issue, I just don’t know if you can make him happy. And I don’t know that it’s worth trying.

Eric from Columbus, IN

Is anything ever going to go right for this franchise? Holy cow... we get one day of Gardner Minshew II excitement before the next bomb gets dropped.

That’s part of what’s disappointing: The Jaguars played well Sunday despite Ramsey’s sideline antics. Minshew provided some hope, as did the play of the defense. Ramsey had an otherworldly good game. It felt as if there was some optimism and hope. Ramsey evidently didn’t feel that. That’s disappointing. Very disappointing.

John from Section 206

We now have a quarterback who seems to be able to generate excitement and could get the city rallying around him and the team. We’ve been Day 1 season ticket holders and we had decided with a loss in Houston we wouldn’t be going to the Titans game, but after watching the kid play we’ve changed our minds and are looking forward to hopefully seeing him get to sling it around a bit more.

Minshew’s easy to like. He’s exciting. He’s fun. He’s going to have another seven games to show if what we’re seeing is the start of something real. Stay tuned.

GPP from Savannah, GA

John, do you mean to tell me that Bill Belichick would allow such behavior on the field? He also would probably listen to the player about a challenge if the player was in a better position to see the play then just blow him off. Marrone had no reason not to throw the red flag. We still had three timeouts and eventually led to three points for the Texans.

I doubt Belichick would allow such behavior on the field, but I seriously doubt he would listen to the player about a challenge. Most coaches don’t, and the Jaguars do not. The reason is simple: players and coaches always want to challenge because in the emotion of the moment they – like fans – typically believe a close call has gone against them. In the case of Sunday’s play, Marrone was in communication with the coaches in the press box responsible for monitoring potential challenges. He was asking the coaches if a challenge was warranted. Based on the replays available, they informed Marrone a challenge was not warranted. That’s the system and that must be the system because the replay officials are going to make their ruling based on the replays available – and not based on the opinion of the players involved in the play. In that sense, Marrone had every reason to not throw the red flag. As it turned out, the system worked. Replays didn’t show clear evidence that the pass was incomplete. It’s very doubtful it would have been overturned.

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

The whole time I was watching Sunday, I couldn't help but think this guy – Minshew -- plays like Tebow, but with Brady's brains, and Rodgers' accuracy... I've been wrong before, though.

LikeTebow

Darrell from Fernandina Beach, FL

Little production from Dede Westbrook. Injured, not playing, not open?

Westbrook caught one pass for three yards Sunday but was targeted five times. He made a great catch in the fourth quarter on what should have been a long gain that instead was negated by a questionable offensive pass interference call. Westbrook will get his opportunities/production as the season continues. These things tend to balance themselves out.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

I love Jalen and I thought he was better than this. All the drama on the sideline and everything he did up to this point was not negative or a distraction for the team. Requesting a midseason trade over a challenge non-call? That is a real distraction for the team; it will cause so many uncomfortable questions for the coaches and his team and he has now officially become a negative distraction. I am so sad and disappointed. Right when the team needs him the most and when the team needs unity he turns his back on all his teammates, coaches and our city. Shame on you Jalen, you are my favorite player and you really let me down!

I like Ramsey, too, and I didn’t anticipate this. I believed – and said and wrote as much – that for all of the perception that he was selfish player and prima donna, that he first and foremost wanted to be a great player and wanted to win. I still believe he wants to be great, and that he wants to win. But if he’s asking for a trade because he is unhappy about how he is used, then he’s fundamentally missing the point – which is that the way he wants to be used is not always what’s best for the team as a whole. And while the idea of players causing a distraction is often overblown, there’s no question that in this case he is causing a distraction. It’s unfortunate and disappointing. I honestly believed Ramsey was maturing and that a lot of people had him pegged wrong. Here’s hoping this is something that Ramsey recognizes as a lapse in judgment, and here’s hoping he doesn’t really want to be this guy. Otherwise, I’m disappointed to be have been very wrong.

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