The Jacksonville Jaguars defense showed up on Sunday against the Houston Texans, holding them to just 13 points and keeping the team in the game with a chance to win it at the end. The dominating story from the game however was the sideline spat in the first quarter between All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey and head coach Doug Marrone.
Ramsey was defending Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on third down and Hopkins attempted to make a catch for a first down as he was falling and twisting to the ground. On live watch it appeared like a catch, but Ramsey bounced up waving his arms incomplete and frantically pointing at the ground, signaling it had bounced, and waving his arm in a flag motion looking at the sideline, begging Marrone to challenge it.
He didn’t, the drive continued and the Texans kicked a field goal to go up 3-0.
Ramsey was livid the flag was not thrown to review the play, and regardless of what Gene Steratore said about the play in the booth, it looked pretty clear it would have been overturned and forced the Texans to punt.
The Jaguars defender came off the field clearly upset and when Marrone said something to him he spun around and the two went at it, with Ramsey yanking away from Marrone as he put his hand on his shoulder pad. This set off Marrone, who moments later walked over to a seated and stewing Ramsey and said something that set both off again, and a short shouting match occurred before safety Ronnie Harrison got between them and walked Marrone back.
That’s where it ended. Ramsey went back into the game the next series, continued his excellent game guarding Hopkins and the two went on their way. Marrone feigned forgetting about the whole incident in the post game, which is probably for the better, and in an usual circumstance Ramsey declined to speak to the media, also probably for the better.
The situation is a lot to unpack, but the knee-jerk reaction that some people have had is ridiculous. Both parties were wrong in the incident, more-so Jalen Ramsey, but it’s also not something worth pointing to sending Ramsey off to another team or anything else that drastic.
I’m sure Marrone and Ramsey will sit down, discuss it, and move on. Emotional blowups happen in football from time to time, though one between a player and head coach is rare, it happens.
Ramsey was in the right to beg Marrone to challenge the play and Marrone was in the right to ignore it, how it was handled after that is where things went awry. It’s a delicate balance with a player like Ramsey, who’s passion and emotion are a big part of his game, you don’t want to neuter it. That being said, Ramsey should have just gone to the bench and stewed about it, not blow up on Marrone as he’s going by. There’s a time to discuss it on the sideline, but right in the moment like that wasn’t it.
Jalen Ramsey has to hold that in in that moment, because that’s something that can spiral to the rest of the team. Even though Ramsey may have been correct that it was incomplete and should have been challenged, that’s not the way to handle it. Be upset, be mad, but don’t undermine the head coach right as you come off the sideline like that. And despite what a bunch of the knee-jerk people scream and yell, that isn’t something common for Ramsey and I don’t expect it to be something that continues nor something that will force him off the team.
I’m not going to ding Marrone for walking back over to Ramsey to finish it, because honestly he’s the head coach and that’s what he should do, but it might have been better to let it simmer down a bit before addressing it.
Thankfully, Marrone didn’t take it personal and sent Ramsey back out for the rest of the game. I’m sure we will hear from both about it Monday or Tuesday when the team meets with the media, but I’m not expecting anymore fireworks on it.
It’s water under the bridge.