JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jordan from Jacksonville
The media has to do their thing. If the video was unauthorized, that's a different story completely. But posting what happened isn't unfair treatment. This is by far one of the easiest media markets in the NFL. New York is far more critical. Jalen is my favorite player, but he's way off base here.
You're referring to the now well-chronicled video featuring a skirmish following Jaguars practice Sunday. The video, featuring defensive ends Dante Fowler Jr. and Yannick Ngakoue being separated by teammates, was posted on Twitter by Florida Times-Union Jaguars beat writer Phillip Heilman. Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey later criticized its posting on Twitter. By early evening, both Ramsey and Fowler had been suspended for violation of team rules and conduct unbecoming of a Jaguars football player. This obviously is the overriding topic in the O-Zone this morning, and I'll answer questions best I can based on what I know, but make no mistake: you're correct that the media broke no rules or "code" in this incident. This was an open practice and media was within its right under the Jaguars media policy to post the video. Something else should be made just as clear: these suspensions don't make Fowler/Ramsey villains or awful people. They're young people who the team clearly deemed to have made mistakes. They're being disciplined for those actions. It's not a minor incident, but neither is it an end-all statement on their characters. May we all remember that in the coming days.
Kyle from Palm Harbor, FL
Is Ramsey only suspended for a preseason game or does this extend to the regular season? Second of all, this is why people hate the media. Kudos to the guy who failed broadcasting school on getting a high-profile player suspended. You're a stand-up guy. Your kids would be proud. Get a real job.
We have heard nothing official about the length of the suspensions for Fowler or Ramsey. Second of all, your venom is displaced – and that's as kind a way to describe it as I can conjure. Heilman didn't get Ramsey suspended. He did his job. Nothing more. Nothing less.
James from Jacksonville
I wonder if too many quarterbacks who had the potential to be quite good were not summarily dismissed after a couple of years. I think Blake could actually lead this team to a Super Bowl victory.
This is a legitimate question that of course never will be satisfactorily answered. It's also a dilemma of the times in which we live. There once was a time when NFL people believed a quarterback needed four or five years to develop. There also was a time when NFL head coaches arrived on the job with a five-year plan. It was rare in that time to see coaches fired after two or three seasons. In recent years, NFL coaching dismissals after one year aren't far from the norm. In that same vein, teams these days often take the stance of saying a young quarterback needs time to develop only to play him as a rookie and see early results as the final verdict on that player. The patience of fans and owners for the most part has grown shorter in this era where the NFL is covered year-round on countless social media, television and internet channels. It's remarkable in that sense that Blake Bortles is still the Jaguars' starting quarterback considering the criticism he took – and considering the team's record – early in his career. I agree he could lead the team to the Super Bowl this season. If that happens, it would be nice to think teams and fan bases would use it as a lesson to be more patient with quarterbacks and coaches. That won't happen, of course. But it would be nice.
Renee from Duval
Oooooooh John! Someone made Coach mad -- that being Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone and/or Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin. So, we will see how Ramsey and Fowler react. If I was either one of them l would be mortified. A good player that believes in your team, wants to do well for the team – a leader – does not get suspended. It doesn't matter what was done, they hurt the team. So, they will either come back humbled and apologetic or brash with bravado. This Jaguars team is good, but they can be great. The axiom "there is no I in team" is in play here. I'm holding my breath until I see how the young men respond. If they respond the way I hope then Coach Marrone is a genius and this Jaguars team is going to be a force to ......to be reckoned with. GO JAGS.
I imagine they will respond well. It's easy to forget sometimes that these are young men playing an emotional game, and they spend a lot of time on an emotional edge. Maintaining that edge and managing them as people and players is the job of coaches and football administrators – and yes, Marrone and Coughlin are very capable in that area. As far as Ramsey and Fowler, I don't pretend to know either well enough to know everything about them as people. I have been around them enough to know that there is a lot about both young men I like. I use that phrase, "Young men," intentionally because they both are young. Ultra-talented? Certainly. Key to the Jaguars' success? Certainly? But they are nonetheless young. They are also imperfect, as is the case with many people – if not all O-Zone readers. I believe both will respond to this discipline. I expect Sunday to be remembered because it was in many ways a strange, memorable day – and those sorts of days are remembered. But I don't expect it to define the Jaguars' season, and I doubt it hurts this team moving forward.
Nathan from St. Augustine, FL
I'm not as concerned with Ramsey's suspension, he is hardly the first player to yell at the media, but Fowler has got to be becoming a very big distraction and concern. I can't keep up with all his incidents now. In his second practice he gets suspended by the team after already being suspended for the opener. I also find it very telling about Sunday's incident that Yannick Ngakoue was not suspended. At some point does your distraction to the team outweigh your value? Where do you see this going, John?
This is Fowler's fourth season with the Jaguars. While you're correct that he has been involved with multiple on-field incidents, I never have gotten the impression that the team or players are particularly distracted by Fowler. As for where this is going, Fowler has a year left on his contract. He's a talented player. He's not as consistent as you would like from the No. 3 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, but he showed last season he can make a lot of plays that matter. While the Jaguars obviously would prefer no distractions, I sense Fowler will play for the team this season with a decision made on his future after that. I think that decision will be made more on Fowler's salary and production than his off-field incidents and I continue to believe that Fowler is unlikely to be with the Jaguars in 2019. I also believe the Jaguars will miss Fowler if he isn't with the team. He's a good player.
Chris from Goodnight, TX
This team is a powder keg of emotion – has been for at least the last couple of years. Sometimes it is helpful, and other times it is destructive (recall the Raiders game from 2016). I hope the suspensions quell this nonsense and does not exacerbate it.
That's the hope, though honestly the makeup, chemistry and character of this team is so different than the 2016 team that the reference doesn't really apply. Either way, I don't anticipate emotion being a problem for this team, and I don't see Sunday's incident – or the suspensions that followed – derailing anything. The fight doesn't bother me much. This is a team of high-octane personalities, and fights between teammates – albeit mostly unreported – happen all the time in the NFL. There's also no rule that football players or any teammates must be best friends or even like each other. As far as Ramsey's suspension, I suspect he'll handle it well and grow from it. That's often what young people do.
Bryan from Round Rock, TX
Why was Ramsey suspended? Is his me first, prima donna act still A-okay with you?
For conduct unbecoming of a Jaguars football player. And yes, I still overall very much like Ramsey's demeanor and how he approaches things. And I'm still absolutely OK with him not participating in voluntary workouts in the offseason and remaining away from the team following the birth of his daughter. Does that mean he never missteps? Of course not. He is human. He also is young. He makes mistakes. (Congratulations, incidentally on not falling into that category. You're one of the lucky few.)