Jalen vs. Doug

The Pro Bowl corner or the sub-.500 coach? Who ya got.

Jim Rome
September 18, 2019 - 9:23 am
Jalen Ramsey

USA Today

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It’s only Wednesday, but it has already been a helluva a week for Jalen Ramsey and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Starting Sunday, when Ramsey and head coach Doug Marrone were up in each other’s grills on the sideline. 

Then a day later, reports surfaced that Ramsey wanted out of Jacksonville and asked for a trade. 

Then yesterday, Jalen Ramsey met with the media.

That, in and of itself is pretty interesting. I don’t know how many teams, upon learning their best player wants out would have that same player up at the podium 24 hours later.  But that’s what the Jags did and that’s where Ramsey was.

And he was doing work. He opened things up by saying: "I know there's a lot going on in the media these past couple of days. A lot of speculation and nobody's really heard from me.” 

He went on to say: “I wanted to talk as soon as I could today just because I don't really want to be a distraction for my teammates getting ready for a game on Thursday ... and right now I'm still a part of the Jacksonville Jaguars and I'm happy about that and I'm getting ready for the game as well, and that's where my focus is."

And for a moment, there was part of me that was concerned that this was going to be a total letdown. That there was going to be a lot of corporate talk and not a lot of Jalen Ramsey.

You know, the Jalen Ramsey who came into the league as a rookie and less than a month into his career called Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith an “old man.” Correction, after he and Smith got into it on the field, the full quote was: "He came up to me after the game, you feel me? Y'all tell me who got in whose head. He's an old man acting like that.”

He’s an old man acting like that…, like Smith was too old to be talking junk. You know this is maybe the biggest Steve Smith house ever. Steve Smith is one of my favorite athletes, in any sport, ever. But even I had to respect the audacity of the rookie, calling out my guy, saying, “he came up to me after the game, you feel me? Y’all tell me who got in whose head.  He’s an old man acting like that.” Hell yes, that got my attention.  And that was just the beginning, of course. 

There was the time he called Josh Allen “trash,” Matt Ryan “overrated,” and said that Joe Flacco “sucks.”

Of course, that’s the guy I wanted to hear from yesterday. And fortunately, that’s the guy we got! He said that if you think that trade request is because he doesn’t love the city of Jacksonville, you’re wrong. He loves the city and they love him back.

"Last night I was in Ruth's Chris and they were showing hella love"

Now we’re talking. Of course. You were at Ruth’s Chris. And of course, they were showing you hella love. You’re Jalen Ramsey, and they’re not. What else you got, player?

“Ever since I’ve gotten here and was drafted here, I’ve given the city my all. I think everybody knows that. They’ve gotten some really good years out of me. And for however long I’m gonna be here I’m continue to give it my all out there. All I care about is winning, man. Bleep. Everybody know that. Bleep. I want to bleeping win. Straight up.” 

And then a quick apology. 

“Excuse my language but bleep, everybody knows that. That's who I am. That passion, that fire, that heart, that's what you all love, right? And I'm going to continue giving that as long as I'm here."

That IS what we all love, Jalen. Keep on giving it. And a little context here…he wasn’t smiling when he said that, he was dead serious. He was locked in and telling you how he feels.  

"I have nothing bad or negative to say about anyone in the building. Bleep happens. It is what it is.” 

And then he capped off the opening statement with saying that his focus was on preparing for tomorrow night’s game, being a good teammate, “and just being Jalen, man, at the end of the day.”

And that was all in the opening statement. When the floor was opened to questions, he was careful and polite in sidestepping most of them, but you didn’t really need to hear his answers to know how he feels.

He wants to bleeping win AND he wants to get paid. AND NEITHER OF THOSE THINGS ARE HAPPPENING. AND IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE EITHER OF THOSE THINGS ARE GOING TO HAPPEN. OF COURSE HE’S PISSED. He’s playing for a team that has gone 3-13 in its last sixteen games. And it’s no secret that he’s been frustrated with his contract situation for a while now. 

And not just how HIS CONTRACTUAL SITUATION has been handled, but others AS WELL. Because he was lobbying for his teammates to get taken care TOO.

From where I’m sitting, 3,000 miles away, it sure doesn’t seem like this is only about money. That’s part of it, but I’m guessing a big part of it is the fact that he knows he was a play away from the Super Bowl in the 2017 season. I mean… did that really happen or was that all a dream?

Because everything since has been a complete nightmare for that team.  

They went from nearly beating the Pats in New England to reach the Super Bowl, to having a worse record than the Miami Dolphins in the last 16 games. And there have been multiple complaints about how the defense has been run, and then the blowup with head coach Doug Marrone during Sunday’s game.

So this really might just come down to a simple choice – Marrone or Ramsey. Who is more valuable – Jalen Ramsey or Doug Marrone? 

The Pro Bowl corner or the sub-.500 coach? The guy with a legit claim to being the best corner in football or Doug Marrone? The guy who can transform a defense or Doug Marrone? The guy who is one of the most exciting and entertaining players in football or the guy who’s had a losing record in both head coaching gigs?

I’m never looking to call for someone to get fired. I’m never looking to take food off someone’s plate, but if the decision is Ramsey or Marrone, the answer better be Ramsey. 

Marrone’s chased that playoff run with a 5-11 disaster and this 0-2 start. The team has imploded. He’s going to have to turn into Vince Lombardi in the next three months to justify bringing him back next year. 

I know teams don’t want to give players any power at all and that it scares the hell out of them, but if this is a battle between Ramsey and Marrone, and you pick Marrone, you’ve said you don’t care about winning. 

The question now is, whether or not that legendary chap ass in the front office will see it this way. Times are changing, Tommy you should too. Jalen’s the future.