JACKSONVILLE – Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue’s stance is one of a professional understanding.
He shares a bond with two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and he also understands the NFL is a business. Because he understands the latter part, focusing this week is not hard.
“That’s not my problem or my situation,” Ngakoue said Tuesday as the Jaguars (0-2) prepared to play the Tennessee Titans (1-1) in an AFC South game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Thursday at 8:20 p.m.
“That’s my teammate. All we can do is focus on ball.”
That was a common refrain in the Jaguars’ locker room Tuesday, one we will discuss in this Jaguars update – that while teammates of course know about Ramsey’s reported request for a trade, they can’t let it distract from preparing for their division rivals.
We’ll discuss the Jaguars’ thoughts on that rivalry and their health entering Thursday later in this story, but the major Jaguars story Tuesday was Ramsey.
Teammates’ reaction echoed that of Ngakoue – and they believe if Ramsey plays Thursday, he will play well.
“He hasn’t shown me anything else,” defensive end Calais Campbell said. “All I know is greatness from him on the football field. It’s all I know, so I expect him to go out there and perform at a high level, and hopefully it will help us win some ball games.”
Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, who said players understand that the NFL is a business, also discussed Ramsey’s frustration.
“I totally understand where he’s coming from,” Fournette said. “It’s all about winning. I talked to him. It’s only two weeks into the season, but losing like that it feels like it’s going on Week 8. It’s challenging us as men and as players. A lot of people say he comes with a lot of baggage, but he is one of the key parts of our team.
“Whatever they have going on, hopefully they’ll work it out – whatever the case may be. But I know as long as Jalen’s here, he’s going to work his tail off. He’s going to compete. That’s what I’ve always loved about him. He’s like me. He’s winning.”
While Fournette said he didn’t anticipate Ramsey requesting a trade, he added “It’s a business.”
“He wants to get paid,” Fournette said. “It’s out there. It’s not like he doesn’t want to get paid. We know what’s going on.”
Also around the Jaguars Tuesday:
*Ngakoue on the Titans, who have won the last four meetings between the teams and who beat the Jaguars, 30-9 in a prime-time meeting in Nashville last December: “They feel like they have our number. We’ve got to change that.”
*Ngakoue and Ramsey are members of a Jaguars 2016 draft class that many consider the best in franchise history, with Ramsey being selected in Round 1, Ngakoue in Round 3 and linebacker Myles Jack in Round 2. Jack signed a multi-year extension the week before the start of the regular season, but the team has yet to sign Ngakoue to an extension. With Ramsey now asking for a trade, Ngakoue was asked Tuesday about the possibility the Jaguars might not retain what once seemed like the future core of the defense. “I feel like that would be devastating,” Ngakoue said. “But it’s all part of the game. At the end of the day, things happen.” …
*Fournette was asked if Head Coach Doug Marrone had the confidence of the locker room. “Most definitely,” he said. Marrone and Ramsey had words Sunday late in the first quarter after Ramsey became upset when Marrone did not challenge a pass completion to Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins that Ramsey believed was incomplete. “That one incident doesn’t define the whole team,” Fournette said. “He’s our coach.” …
*Cornerback Josh Robinson (foot), linebacker D.J. Alexander (hamstring) and tight end Josh Oliver missed practice while the following players were listed as practicing full: wide receiver Marqise Lee (knee), wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. (ankle), safety Ronnie Harrison (ankle), left tackle Cam Robinson (knee), offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi (hamstring) and Ngakoue (hamstring). Wide receiver Chris Conley (hip) and cornerback A.J. Bouye (hip) were listed as working limited. …