O-Zone: True colors

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Tom from Jacksonville

It is my humble opinion that Mr. Ramsey just wants a bigger stage to display his talents. Tom C. is just the disrespect vehicle he is riding to those bright lights. There is no amount of money Shad Khan can offer him that will make him stay. So adios and vaya corn dabo swinney senior.

This is a fair opinion, and there quite possibly is part of Jaguar cornerback Jalen Ramsey that would love the big stage of a more nationally prominent market. But remember 2017? When the Jaguars were winning the AFC South and Ramsey was further removed from the time he could renegotiate a contract? I don’t recall an overwhelming vibe of unhappiness or longing from him that season. My point? I suppose it’s this: Circumstances can change fast in the NFL. A big contract, team success and the buzz of this thing going in the right direction could change his perspective. Or perhaps the wind blowing a different way one hour from the one before. As far as the Ramsey using a disrespect vehicle with Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin as the focus … sure, there may be a little of that. The bottom line on this remains the same: This story likely will have more twists and turns in the coming weeks and months. I still believe Ramsey will play the rest of this season in Jacksonville, and that he will play at a high level. Perhaps something will happen in the offseason that he will play elsewhere, but I don’t get the idea that’s as much of a done deal as many in the media believe.

Robert from Jacksonville

I'm not naive enough to believe this is possible BUT what if Khan directed TC to call his bluff? Tell him he won't be traded this season. Would he sit out the rest of the year? Then don't trade him in the offseason, either. Does he take another year off? Then slap that franchise tag on him. Does he really sit out two or possibly almost three full seasons during what would be prime earning years? I don't think many would. Again, I understand the chances of this happening are nil, but if I become a billionaire NFL owner anytime soon, this would be my play. I'm a billionaire and while I would want to win, I would much rather use my unique position in the world to test my theories on human psychology.

I can’t predict what will happen in the offseason, or in 2020. I can tell you I will be very surprised if Ramsey is traded this season, and I would be very surprised – if that scenario occurs – if Ramsey sits out anything close to the entire year. My best guess at the most likely scenario: Ramsey not missing any games this season.

Joe from Fleming Island, FL

John, it seems as though a lot of cap money is tied up in left guard and center, and it seems as though that money is not particularly well spent. If the level of play continues at present levels, might one or both be released? Cap space has not been an issue for the Jags in the past decade, now …

The Jaguars will have a slew of cap-related decisions following the 2019 season. Center Brandon Linder and guard Andrew Norwell will be among them. With 13 games remaining in this season, it’s far too early to handicap those decisions.

Spazman from Jacksonville

I just want to say that you have really had your "A" game going lately with your dry wit and humorous commentary. Perhaps you should consider demanding a pay raise and contract extension.

Oh, my achin’ back and come to think of it … I’m feeling a little queasy, too.

Royce from Jacksonville

Great job, Mr. O, defending football boss Tom and GM Dave on the players they have brought in. I wonder why you failed to mention Taven Bryan, Jake Ryan and Blake's extension doubling the amount of dead money for the team. Great job telling both sides of the story.

Great job reading more than one answer, Royce. Loyal O-Zone readers – and he knows who he is – can tell you that Bryan and former Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles have been discussed ad nauseam in this forum, and they can tell you that I’ve never made the case that Coughlin and General Manager David Caldwell are without mistakes. No NFL decision-makers are without mistakes. The point of the recent O-Zone answer to which you refer was to point out that Coughlin during this current stint in Jacksonville has made plenty of good decisions in addition to the errors. That gets lost sometimes.

Bilbo from Jacksonville

You and Sexton are staunch Coughlin defenders. Your go-to response is always bringing up the 2017 season. Correct if I’m wrong, but the NFL is no different than any other business; “What have you done for me lately?” You’re right, John, these successful teams that use and deploy innovative offenses will never get far. In fact, if you don’t have a plodding running back getting the ball in a run-first oriented offense you’re never going to make the Super Bowl. Look at the last 15 Super Bowl winners!

When did I ever, ever, ever write that teams that use and deploy innovative offenses never get far? As for bringing up 2017 … yes, it should be mentioned when discussing the job Coughlin has done here. It’s as important as the 2018 season, and both seasons are as important as the current season. But you’re right that the NFL is very much about what have you done for me lately. On that front, I imagine we’ll know in the next couple of months better how accurately to judge the entire body of work of the current regime.

Dave from Atlantic Beach, FL

Hey, John. A lot is made of home-field advantage, but after the first three weeks of the season visiting teams hold a slight edge 24-23 with one tie. Has home-field advantage become a thing of the past?

The early results of this season not withstanding … no.

Chris from Space City, TX

If Calais Campbell played his way to All-Pro status this season, would you rank him in your top 25 Jaguars of all time if you were to do the list again? If so, what number?

I would place defensive end Calais Campbell among the Top 10 Jaguars of all-time if doing the list, and I would have ranked him there this summer. The reason I didn’t was the list only included players no longer in the NFL.

Sonny from Melbourne, FL

Correct me if I am wrong (and I know you will) but isn't it Coach Marrone's decision who plays and not Coughlin?

Yes.

Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville

Strange how having standards, discipline, and work ethic expectations is now seen as "abuse." When I was growing up, we called it character and integrity. Usually it was a good thing; not sure where this became a bad thing. If you young people want to rail against the establishment, that is your choice. But remember we have experience and wisdom on our side. #ONEFORTC

Young people always have recoiled against authority, and NFL players never have loved discipline-oriented old-school coaches. The main difference now is free agency has given players a touch more freedom to “force their way out of situations.” Will Ramsey eventually “force his way out of Jacksonville?” Perhaps. But the end of this story isn’t written yet, and those assuming otherwise are incorrect – just as those who assume he will never play for Jacksonville again or that his presence will somehow be destructive couldn’t be more incorrect.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, I don’t in any way mean for this to be mean spirited, but can we all just agree that Tre Herndon can have all the work ethic, team spirit, and appreciation for his shot as an undrafted free agent in the world, but the Jaguars defense is nowhere even close to the level it is with Ramsey when Herndon is starting. The D line may be good for the D backs, but the D backs are also good for the D line. It’s a symbiotic relationship. So Todd Wash needs to stop the rah-rah nonsense about being prepared either way!

Of course Herndon isn’t as good as Ramsey, but if I have to choose between a great pass rush and a great secondary, I choose pass rush. The Jaguars are absolutely better with Ramsey on the field – but even with him on the field, they won’t win if the pass rush isn’t effective.

Travis from High Springs, FL

We have the ability to ask questions and talk to someone everyday who's actually in the Jaguars facility... I think that's pretty cool.

If I wasn’t so damned biased and scared to address real issues it would be even cooler.

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