It’s business as usual for the Jaguars, with or without Jalen Ramsey on the field.
It remains the same narrative that the Jacksonville Jaguars have used the past two weeks. This is a football team preparing to play a football game on Sunday with or without Jalen Ramsey on the field.
When Todd Wash spoke with the media on Thursday, he reiterated having his star player on the backline will help this team. After reports surfaced about the potential for Ramsey to play on Sunday after a meeting earlier this week with team owner Shad Khan, it is still up in the air whether fans will see No. 20 on the field when the Jaguars face the high-powered offense of the New Orleans Saints.
"“Ramsey has missed the last two games with a back injury, but Jaguars Owner Shad Khan told The Street this week that he had a “heart-to-heart” conversation with Ramsey – and that he thinks the two-time Pro Bowl selection will play Sunday,” John Oehser wrote on Jaguars.com on Thursday."
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Ramsey has been dealing with a back injury that he saw a specialist for in Houston this week. He has been listed as “day-to-day” and has been on the practice field for the last two days in a limited capacity.
Aside from Ramsey, Wash and his staff are preparing for the Saints passing game, which will have Teddy Bridgewater under center instead of Drew Brees, the versatility of Alvin Kamara and the running game, and the aerial attack led by wide receiver Michael Thomas. As one local sports talk radio host commented this week, watching Ramsey, if healthy, and Thomas play against each other will be worth the price of admission.
Still, Ramsey was limited in practice the past two days and is still questionable for the contest.
After watching Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey carve up the defense for three touchdowns last week, Kamara is another player who can run through a team and hurt them in the passing game as well. Wash’s defense must do a better job upfront closing up gaps on the line to stop the run game.
The addition of Ramsey helps the defensive front and the linebackers because of his coverage skills. Wash is aware of the difference. Jacksonville held the Texans to 13 points and the Titans to seven points in Ramsey’s last two games. There was a big drop off as they allowed 24 points to Denver and 34 to Carolina in the two games he has missed.
This is a big game for the Jaguars to get back to .500 and remain in the playoff hunt in the AFC. With each game Ramsey is not on the field, there is a growing belief he still may not play another game in a Jaguars uniform.
"“Obviously he’s a guy you can put over there and for the most part you say, ‘I don’t have to worry about that wide receiver,’ ” Wash said. “When Jalen’s healthy, we put him on the best guys they have. He allows us to do some things schematically. When Jalen’s not out on the grass, then it probably maybe opens up their packages. I’m not sure how they feel, but we feel he can eliminate a side of the field.”"