It would be easy to report on what Jaguars’ cornerback Jalen Ramsey said at his press conference on the first day of the team’s mandatory minicamp.
It would be easy to give you a straight story on it was good to see the third-year pro on the practice field with the other 98 players in camp. For Ramsey, there is one thing on his mind now that he is back in Jacksonville and in a Jaguars’ uniform – he wants to win football games.
As a crowded media room listened, it was vintage Ramsey. To the point, poignant and stylish. There is no waste of words or expressions. This is the Ramsey the Jaguars need. This is the Ramsey they got last season and will hopefully get in 2018. At this stage of his career, he is one of the best, if not the best cornerback in the NFL. He is also one of the biggest young names in this league.
Ramsey wants to get better for himself and this team and spoke about it on Tuesday.
"“For me, I am trying to improve on all my game, really. It was an offseason of getting back to the basics for me, kind of doing what got me to the position that I am in right now,” Ramsey said.“It was also an offseason for me that I kind of labeled as ‘no setback season,’ just because in the previous two years, I have not even made it this far. Rookie year, I did not get to mandatory minicamp because I had knee surgery. Last year, I did not make it to mandatory minicamp because I had sports hernia [surgery]. So, I think I am ahead of schedule right now.”"
His stat line was impressive. Four interceptions and 63 tackles. He took on the best wide receivers in the game along with his “running mate” and fellow cornerback A.J. Bouye. The results were undeniable – as both went to the Pro Bowl and received All-Pro recognition. But truly, it’s just the start of a career that could label him one of the best of all time.
While Ramsey stood at the podium with a cool confidence, the media also saw another side to him. He paused when asked about working with his father this offseason. It was a moment of mortality of sorts – where the brash young star showed a softer side to his personality. He said working with his father this offseason was the best thing for him to get ready for this season, to be ready to help his teammates win games.
"“He does a whole lot to motivate me. He is my toughest critic besides myself probably. Really, everybody in my family [is my toughest critic] and it is not so much that they are super hard of me. Yes, they are critical of me sometimes, but that is my motivation,” he explained.“I never want to let them down – my nieces and nephews who look up to me. Everybody in my family is kind of my motivation, so being back home and working with my dad and everybody and having them push me in my training schedule … Also, just being there and seeing how much my nephews look up to me and stuff like that is just extra motivation.”"
Ramsey said he is looking forward to facing the best wide receivers on opposing teams this season. He starts with a matchup against the Odell Beckham, Jr. of the New York Giants. There is also DeAndre Hopkins and Antonio Brown on the schedule. Like other players, Ramsey looked at the Jaguars’ schedule when it was released and immediately thought of who he would be facing in 2018.
"“Everybody does that, though. I think that is like a special thing. Once the schedule comes out, everyone knows who they are going to be playing, and they want to know the matchups. I am positive I am not the only one who looked at the receivers that we are going to be playing,” he said."