The Jacksonville Jaguars not only got embarrassed on essentially national television against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, but they also had two players ejected in the second half of the game. Big money free agent signing Malik Jackson, who has had a nice season so far, was tossed from the game after he was yelling at the referees when he was flagged for a personal foul. His reaction to the penalty drew another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which based on the new NFL rules meant he was disqualified from the game. Jaguars rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey was ejected later on in the game for fighting, but it was clear a lot of the players on defense were frustrated and it got the best of them.
Veteran linebacker Paul Posluszny wasn’t very happy with how his teammates reacted, however.
“I think it’s terrible,” Posluszny told Phillip Heilman of The Florida Times-Union when asked about the two players who ended up ejected. “We need to act like professionals at all times, regardless of what happens. To have guys get thrown out, multiple penalties over and over again, that’s not who we are and we can’t tolerate that moving forward.”
Unfortunately, getting flagged for multiple penalties over and over again is exactly who the Jaguars are, at least this season. They continuously draw penalties game after game for the same mistakes over and over, so I don’t think that really goes against “who they are”. It isn’t something they should tolerate though, so Poz is right in the regard.
Poz didn’t stop there, and while I understand where he’s coming from, I completely disagree with his assessment of the situation.
“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Poz told Heilman. “That’s unacceptable on a lot of different levels. Fans don’t want to see that, you guys don’t want to see that and we don’t want to be a part of it. Just from a higher standard of playing in the NFL, we can’t have that.”
I think fans do want to see that. Fans complain all the time about wanting to see that players and coaches care. That’s why so many people get upset with players smiling and laughing on the sideline while they’re losing, or shaking hands after the game, or the coach not completely losing his mind on the sideline and laying into players. Fans are emotionally invested and they want to see that players are too. I don’t get upset about those things because I know it’s a job for the players and they do care, but again for them it’s a job. They’re not living and dying each week with a win or a loss.
But, in this instance I felt like most fans were happy with how Malik Jackson and Jalen Ramsey reacted, because it showed everyone they were not going to accept losing. These are two players who are both new to the team and used to winning, so getting beat down this season and struggling to even beat bad teams is a new feeling for them. Their frustration boiled over and while it cost the team yards, the game was already out of hand so ultimately it didn’t matter.
Jackson and Ramsey will get talked to by the coaches and pay their fines from the NFL, but I think Posluszny missed the mark here. Fans absolutely want to see players show their frustration when things hit rock bottom.