O-Zone: The time is now

JACKSONVILLE – Consider this the last Jalen Ramsey-centric O-Zone.

My sense is readers are growing tired of the topic. More importantly in my me-focused world, I’m growing tired of the topic. Not that we’ll never talk Ramsey again, and the topic sure is to come up from time to time – even in the coming days.

But the Jaguars have the rest of the season to play. That process begins Sunday. While there may be Ramsey questions and answers here, this will be the last to devote large number of questions to the topic. It’s time to move forward.

After one more day.

Let’s get to it …

John from Jacksonville

A simple eye test shows the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts being much better and more solid teams than the Tennessee Titans and Jaguars. I can see one of them winning the division while the other getting a wild card spot. The Jaguars will likely have a better record than the Titans to earn third place in the division this season. It's a shame another season will pass us by soon, but you can't win with an underachieving defense that isn't creating turnovers and an offense that will take most of the season to find its groove. I can see about an 8-8 record. Do you agree?

I don’t know if the defense is “underachieving” or if it’s just “achieving” to its current level. The unit has played three good games, one OK game and two bad games. Considering it was without its best cornerback for three games, and considering its linebackers and safeties are unproven except for middle linebacker Myles Jack, three good games out of six probably makes sense. That’s not what I expected before the season, but it makes sense based on the reality of what’s on the field. As for the Jaguars’ expected record … I thought before the season the Jaguars were about a 9-7 team, so yeah … I could see 8-8 for a team that lost its starting quarterback Week 1 and is playing without what was its most-talented defensive player.

Aqeel from Toronto, Canada

Do you think it will be a while before anyone wears number 20 because of the childish behavior, deceit and abandoning teammates, coaches and fans that is now associated with it?

No. I think it will be used relatively quickly.

Brian from Jacksonville

I know it's all about the love, but I'd like to see Ramsey's reaction at receiving his first Rams game check. Ouch. Do you think celebrity will fit Ramsey well? He's kind of grumpy isn't he?

The California taxes will take a bite from Ramsey’s game check now that he is with the Los Angeles Rams, but he obviously will be fine financially. As for how he will like celebrity, I don’t know that the light will shine as brightly on him in Los Angeles as some believe. There are many, many celebrities from whom to choose in Los Angeles – basketball players, baseball players, hockey players, entertainers, bigger stars on his own team. Will the city care about a cornerback? Even a very good one? We’ll see.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

Referring to your lead-in to a recent O-Zone, I find it bold of you to state that the trade was unavoidable, but OK: Maybe it was. Maybe if certain people within the organization - particularly those who are older than 24 - might have handled things differently, this could have been avoided, and the Jaguars could have had a long, productive relationship with one of the most talented players (who happens to play a premium position) they ever drafted. Maybe that would be just expecting too much to ask from a player like Ramsey, but it feels like a bit of a copout to fans to say that this was unavoidable, no?

A trade obviously could have been avoided because the Jaguars could have simply opted to not trade him. But the idea that Ramsey would become discontented … no, I don’t believe that was avoidable because I don’t believe in retrospect that Ramsey wanted to operate within the framework of a team. Any team. And I certainly don’t believe the Jaguars “handled Ramsey poorly.” I understand that there are those who believe that’s the case, and I understand there’s a perception – created in large part by Ramsey – that he somehow was mistreated or “disrespected” by the organization. Please.

Gary from Centerville, Ohio

O' mighty King of Funk. I've noticed a certain "tone" from you on the questions regarding Ramsey since the trade. I feel like you feel like you were duped and are a little irritated by it. Remember, it's not personal, it's just business.

It’s not personal, and I have no skin in the game when it comes to Ramsey. I have stated before that I liked covering Ramsey, and that before his actions during the last month I believed he was more positive than negative. And I honestly don’t care about his back and him not playing the last three games with the Jaguars; I said from the beginning of the saga that a player who loves his teammates and plays for that love would be on the field unless an injury was serious, and nothing happened to make me feel differently. But requesting a trade because you felt “disrespected” during a conversation when team officials were trying to discuss your inappropriate behavior on the field? Giving up on the teammates you proclaim publicly to love over that? Yeah, maybe that’s a little irritating.

Bradley from Carson City, NV

Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin has a more-than-solid resume and is the boss. Do you see the Jags being more diligent in selecting "Coughlin Culture " types even if the talent level is lower than non-Coughlin types?

I think teams will continue to seek high-character players, and I think teams will continue to select talented players whose characters are somewhat questionable because people who evaluate talent in the NFL have a tough time passing on it no matter the player’s character.

Taylor from Columbia, MD

When your longest-tenured first-round pick was drafted in 2017, you've either drafted very poorly or mismanaged the good picks you did make, right? I mean, my word. We're going on 14 years without a first-round pick who's been a long term contributor to the team.

This is true, though I will stop well short of saying the Ramsey situation was “mismanaged.” Sometimes, in rare cases, people aren’t “manageable.” This is how I see Ramsey. My guess is that more and more people will agree with this as times goes on.

Mike from Spanish Fort, AL

How would you compare the Jalen situation to that of Andre Rison in ’96?

They’re barely comparable, mainly because wide receiver Andre Rison was a short-term free-agent signee at the end of his career in 1996 while Ramsey was a premier cornerback who had been drafted by the team and was in his prime. The Jaguars released Rison in 1996, and it was a comparatively straightforward decision. Trading Ramsey was not an easy decision at all.

Mike from Jacksonville

Twenty-five years as a season ticket holder I have never experienced anything like this. I am glad the Big Baby saga is finished. Before I move on, I would like to predict that he won't sign a long-term deal with the Rams and will be somewhere closer to – if not IN – Nashville for his next temper tantrum. The Rams have already invested a ton of money in that defense and I don't believe there is enough left to secure Big Baby for the long term.

You could very well be right.

John from Cape May Courthouse

So, the next question and arguably the most important; who is going to be making these picks in 2020 and 2021? It better not be the chuckle heads currently running this zoo.

Time will tell.

Jordan from Jacksonville

If Gardner Minshew II is a franchise quarterback, then we have four first-round picks in two years to help build this team around him. If he is not, we have the ammunition to do whatever is needed to go grab a quarterback. Win-Win

Four first-round selections in two years represents a potential franchise-changing opportunity. The hope now is that the Rams finish poorly so that their selections are premium selections, and the trick after that is to utilize the selections wisely. The Jaguars haven’t done well enough with the latter task in recent seasons. That must change.

Braddock from Jacksonville

This is what happens when you draft a guy that's never had a confrontation in his entire life. I'm so ready to move on, but I've been saying for two and a half seasons that this would be the end result. I should feel vindicated, but I have such a low level of respect for this child that I almost feel bad for him. Almost...

Fair.

John from Jacksonville

The best remedy that will help make Ramsey mostly forgotten is to win the next two games and to prepare for battle with the Texans at 4-4. The thought that the front office is to blame for Ramsey leaving is absolutely ludicrous. Some kids take longer to grow up. He will someday. It certainly wasn't one incident or one heated discussion that caused him to abandon his team and fans.

Fair.

Nick from Palatka, FL

Z: We need to move on.

Fair.

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