View from the O-Zone: "It's 11 versus 11…"

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JACKSONVILLE – The time for talk is over.

Jalen Ramsey knows this. And if that made Twentyland less headline-grabbing and Twitter-friendly than usual on Thursday, that's OK.

The Jaguars' All-Pro cornerback spent the offseason entertaining off the field. Now is the time to perform – and entertain – on the field. Ramsey knows this.

And that was more than evident Thursday.

"A lot of people are going to try to make it about me and him specifically, but that's not what it's about," Ramsey said early in his weekly media availability. 

"Football's a team game. It's going to be 11 guys out there for us, and 11 guys out there for them. We're going to have to come together and do what we have to do to try to get a win.

"I'm going to try to do my part."

And that was pretty much it:

Maybe fans and observers locked onto Ramsey's media availability Thursday expecting the third-year veteran to criticize or trash-talk New York Giants All-Pro wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Maybe they expected chest-beating in advance of the Jaguars' 2018 regular-season opener against the Giants at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Sunday at 1 p.m.

Maybe they expected Ramsey to repeat in a live setting the things he said to GQ and ESPN The Magazine this summer that has so many people loving him and so many others disliking him.

Instead, what people watching Ramsey got Thursday was a steady dose of the quote above. He reiterated often that he respects Beckham, but mostly he talked about being ready for the regular season. Not that the media didn't try to get more.

But each time, Ramsey deflected it – knowing this wasn't the time for talk.

After his first response about thinking more about team than a potential matchup between All-Pro corner and receiver, Ramsey was asked if he indeed realized that that the star power of he and Beckham Jr. elevated the matchup just a bit. He paused.

"To ya'll?" he said.

"To everybody," was the response. 

"Not to me," he said with a shrug. "I think it's a team game. It's 11 versus 11. It's not me versus him all game. I'll be on him my fair amount, but I'm sure other guys will be on him as well."

Ramsey's right about that, of course. The Jaguars often don't play man to man an entire game. While Ramsey in the past often has covered a team's best receiver one on one, the Jaguars during such games also have varied their defense – sometimes playing zone. There also is the presence opposite Ramsey of Jaguars All-Pro cornerback A.J. Bouye.

There is the presence on the Jaguars' defense, too, of multiple Pro Bowl selections – and Ramsey spent much of Thursday's availability discussing those players and that defense. Ramsey was asked about his confidence in what last seasons was the NFL's No. 2-ranked defense.

"Last year it was at an all-time high," Ramsey said. "It still is."

Know this: 

If Ramsey's quotes Thursday seemed bit un-Ramsey like, that's probably design – though not usual. Not every Ramsey press conference during his two-plus NFL seasons has been headline-grabbing, and he certainly has grabbed enough in recent weeks that there was little need to grab more.

Besides, however often Ramsey is assigned to Beckham Jr. Sunday, that matchup has plenty of hype. It already is assured of being a pre-game SportsCenter topic, an in-game focus and a post-game point of analysis. Ramsey didn't need to say anything inflammatory Thursday to ensure that.

As for what he might say during the game, that was another topic Ramsey deftly side-stepped Thursday. His reputation for verbally irritating opponents may be well-earned, but it wasn't something he discussed much Thursday.

"I don't know," he said, adding: "Again … it's not me. It's about the team."

Don't get the idea that Ramsey was rude Thursday. Not at all. He smiled throughout his time speaking to the media and was characteristically cordial. He also answered a few personality-based questions, including one about whether he was OK with how he was perceived. Again, he shrugged.

"Not too many people truly know me," he said. "I've got a beautiful girlfriend at home – a beautiful baby girl family that supports me, teammates that support me. 

"What people who don't know me think about me doesn't affect how I live my life."

He also took some time to praise Beckham, calling him a "premier player" and "a fun challenge." But if you were looking for more than that, you were looking in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ramsey on Thursday wasn't about grabbing headlines or trending on Twitter. The time for talk is over. Now is the time to perform – and entertain – on the field. TwentyLand knows this.

And that was more than evident Thursday.

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