MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Let's get to it …
Terry from Chester, VA
John, after the GQ article, is it officially time to tell Jalen to shut up and let his play do the talking?
Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey made headlines Wednesday for his comments in a recently published/posted GQ article. The headlines and accompanying reaction were understandable because his comments in the story were … well, volatile. Ramsey in the GQ article offered his thoughts on several NFL quarterbacks, praising some and … er, not praising, others. The headlines about the story dominated the Twitterverse all day – and not unexpectedly kept him very much in the NFL consciousness. That's a place he seems increasingly destined to remain for the foreseeable future. I have received multiple emails from fans expressing concern over this, some not liking it and some not sure what to think. So, how to react to this? My best answer: Get used to it. Ramsey is who he is, and he's not going to change. Did he go too far in the GQ article? Probably. Would it be easier if he hadn't said what he said? Again: probably. The more pertinent question: Is it going to have much of an influence over what happens to the Jaguars on the field? Nah. As for Ramsey, he's going to draw attention – and some of it's not going to be "comfortable" attention. If you're waiting for him to not make headlines, or not be the center of attention, it's not going to happen. Nor should it. He's a star and he's good enough to say controversial, uncomfortable things and quite often back it up. As for telling him to "shut up…" this is professional football, not high school or college. Ramsey is an adult. He can say what he chooses in interviews.
Brian from Nocatee, FL
John, this is who we are. We finally have an identity and it has been a long time since we have had one. We need to embrace it. Accept it. And mostly enjoy it. We are the Jaguars and we are a bad-ass team with bad-ass players. No more underdog, feel sorry for us … we're coming, and Ramsey is leading the way.
Braddock from Askonville
I'm super-concerned with Dante Fowler Jr. because of his history and just as concerned with Ramsey's recent behavior. I get it that part of their game is their ego and that's something that makes them great. You have to have an edge. Are they that oblivious that this team and fan base wants them to act like they have been there? For me personally I watched Fowler every game and thought he was over-drafted; however, he is pretty good. I also thought Ramsey was over drafted; however, he is special. My concern is will they both lose their momentum as players because they behave like children? Can a guy like Calais Campbell save them? I really hope so.
This is a big week for worry in the O-Zone – and that's understandable considering Ramsey and defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. are serving one-week suspensions this week. And those are each high-profile, lightning-rod guys – Ramsey for his confident persona; Fowler for his history of on- and off-field incidents. The suspensions are drawing a lot of attention along with the accompanying angst. And there's little question this is an important time for this team. How this team responds to this – and how in particular Ramsey and Fowler respond – upon their return next week will be big stories. At the same time, it would be incorrect to paint this team as a ship careening out of control. This isn't a team on the brink. The Jaguars are a team defined by big, confident personalities. Those personalities fueled a remarkable turnaround last season. The franchise's leadership – and particularly Head Coach Doug Marrone – did a remarkable job last season maintaining balance and ensuring the energy of this young team was channeled in the right direction. Nothing that has happened in the last few days is so outrageous or damaging to make me think that balance can't be maintained. These guys are good. They're motivated. Winning is first for this locker room and the coaches. That hasn't changed.
Scott from Jacksonville
Did Jalen block you on Twitter too?
Not to my knowledge.
Fred from Naples, FL
I am not sure why Jalen Ramsey has such disdain for the media. I remember one time when he was at Florida State and he gave a "Marshawn Lynch" type of interview. I also remember when two of the Seminole beat writers just walked away when he started giving "non-answers." Don't misunderstand me: I love his play and his swag, and I do think he will go down as one of the all-time greats. I just hope he eventually treats the media like Fred Taylor did late in his career. If you remember Fred was somewhat surly to the media early in his career and eventually grew out of it as his stellar career went on. I hope the same for Jalen.
Quickly about Taylor: I covered him in his first three NFL seasons; while he was shy, he wasn't surly. He was always an intelligent, respectful young man who I always considered remarkably mature for a young NFL player. As for Ramsey, I can't speak to why he feels as he does about the media – or even exactly how he actually feels. Nor do I particularly care whether he likes the media. I can tell you in my one-on-one dealings with him he typically has been engaging and pleasant. I have been present in many group settings when he has been engaging and pleasant, and I have been present in other settings that haven't been as "friendly." Bottom line: how Ramsey handles his dealings with the media is Ramsey's business. Not every NFL player likes or loves it, and there's no rule that says NFL players must love it. Ramsey didn't much like the actions of some of the Jaguars' local media earlier this week, and he has every right to feel that way. Maybe the relationship will improve. Maybe it won't. But that's an ancillary story to what's most important – and that's Ramsey as a football player. He's a very good player who the team felt mis-stepped enough to merit discipline this week. That sort of thing happens in life and in the NFL. Marrone, remember, similarly disciplined running back Leonard Fournette last season. A situation occurred. It was dealt with and moved on. I suspect the same will happen with Ramsey and I suspect Ramsey will keep being good and the Jaguars will keep being better because of him when he returns. I also suspect that will happen whatever the relationship between Ramsey and the media.
Peter from Jacksonville
John: I've never been in a 747, was it cool? How did the Jags get a line on a 747? Pretty cool I think!
Oh, it was just great. One of the great joys of my life is air travel.
Ian from Duval
O man! Oh man, do fans fan. I love that Jalen stuck up for his teammates!!! He probably shouldn't have called out any one particular guy, but having his guys' back is probably making Marrone smile a little bit when he's in his office by himself. The website seems determined to not let me view the O-Zone entry "American Beauty," but I remain hopeful the situation will improve. The play of Leon Jacobs in the first preseason game has largely gone untamed about from your readers. His first tackle was picture perfect. Once he knows the system, we should be solid at all three levels! I just realized I have not yet asked a question. Do you think Marrone is secretly smiling alone in his office?
The Jaguars are in Minneapolis. If Marrone is alone in his office, someone on the logistics staff's got some 'splainin' to do.
Andy from St. Augustine, FL
Wow - you pulled out a "Logan from Wichita" quote from a year ago? I guess we all need to be more careful from now on! So, can you search for questions from a specific person - or do you just keep a handwritten list of Logan and Jerrell questions taped to your computer screen for future reference?
Little-known fact: I have a photographic memory – and this really doesn't accurately describe it. I am, in a word, a "prodigy." If I weren't as humble as I am, there would be stories in periodicals and journals documenting what are known around the jaguars.com offices as my "O-Zone feats of memory." I don't mention this a lot, because I typically shun the spotlight, but suffice to say I am extremely talented in this area. I can recall not only every O-Zone question and answer since 2011, but everything that has happened that I have witnessed dating to when I first began to gain consciousness between the ages of four and five. I am a remarkable person, and my memory is particularly remarkable.
Scott from Jacksonville
Why did you put "career" in parentheses?
I don't remember.