Jacksonville Jaguars fans held their breath upon finding out 2016 first round pick Jalen Ramsey suffered a meniscus tear, continuing a trend that may be borderline curse territory.
Sports curses are interesting. They create a narrative around a team that can persist year after year and, occasionally, take on a life of their own.
Hopefully the Jacksonville Jaguars don’t have anything terrible on their hands.
2016 first round pick Jalen Ramsey has reportedly torn his meniscus, continuing in the line of 2015 first rounder Dante Fowler Jr., and 2013 first rounder Luke Joeckel as suffering injuries as first year NFL players. The good news is that a second opinion is being sought.
If everything turns out alright then it’s a bullet dodged. If things go poorly, then it’s about time we started the tantalizing discussion on whether the Jaguars have been cursed since general manager Dave Caldwell took over in 2013.
Joeckel’s broken ankle five games into his rookie season in 2013 was devastating in part because it was right after he moved to left tackle and the Jags shipped off the previous starter in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens. It was also devastating because it has impacted his career, affecting his weight and training before 2014 and forcing the Jags to evaluate him conditionally. It wasn’t until 2016 that the team brought in true competition for him through free agency and Joeckel may be out the door sooner than later.
2015’s injury to Fowler was arguably far more devastating. While Joeckel’s descent to mediocrity has been long, Fowler’s injury completely sapped the high expectations surrounding the talented pass rusher. The Jags’ offseason went from 100 percent enthusiasm to a dead halt in a blink. It’s affected how the Jags drafted in 2016 and the true repercussions for evaluation and performance are still uncertain.
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Ramsey could join both of them if he ends up missing significant time. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Jags take a “better safe than sorry” approach and ask little of their coveted fifth-overall selection. Ramsey was supposed to be a difference maker immediately, but the team would likely rather wait to see what he can become than rush him onto the field.
Do these three of four first round injuries equal a curse?
The true outlier here is quarterback Blake Bortles. The most sacked QB in the NFL for two straight seasons has been beyond resilient thus far, even with a shoulder deterioration that limited his capacity through his rookie season. He didn’t suffer an injury that caused him to miss significant time, making the case for a curse far from complete.
At this point – before a second opinion on Ramsey’s knee – the thought that the Jags are cursed is far from fully formed. It’s half-baked and presumptuous.
Still, it’s a fun sports topic and the discussion will likely continue through social media while Jags fans hold their breath, cross their fingers, and do anything else superstitious that may ward off bad news. Curses are for other franchises, not the Jaguars. It’s time to win and the franchise can’t afford another crushing blow to their fortunes.
I suppose a curse would be something head coach Gus Bradley can point to if the Jags don’t end up posting a good record again in 2016.