If the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to make their Super Bowl dreams come true, Doug Marrone will need to get control of his locker room.
Suspending players for violating team rules is commonplace in college football. It’s a relative rarity in the NFL. That’s why the Jaguars decision to levy that sort of punishment against Jalen Ramsey and Dante Fowler is garnering such attention around the league.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Ramsey earned a week’s suspension after going after a reporter on social media. The rationale behind putting Fowler on the shelf is still a little unclear. He was involved in a fight on the practice field on Sunday which apparently initiated the conflict between his teammate and local reporter Phillip Heilman.
Rapoport reports Fowler’s suspension is for violating team rules and conduct unbecoming of a Jaguars football player.
Ramsey responded to the breaking news about his suspension by claiming he was just trying to support his teammate. No matter what his motivation, both he and Fowler will miss a full week of activities with the Jaguars. That means no practice reps for the two defenders.
The week off is going to lighten Ramsey’s wallet, but it probably won’t mean much to him on the field. He’s already one of the best defensive backs in the NFL. Giving him a week off to rest might actually boost his energy levels once the regular season begins.
Fowler, on the other hand, needs to do everything he can to impress the organization this season. The Jaguars declined to exercise his fifth-year rookie option earlier this summer. That means he’s fighting hard to earn a massive payday this offseason.
He was already facing an uphill battle to take playing time away from Yannick Ngakoue. Missing a substantial part of the team’s preseason preparations could cost him a meaningful role on the Jacksonville defense once the season arrives.
The Jaguars front office, undoubtedly, thinks head coach Doug Marrone is right to take a hard-line to make sure their players understand blasting the local media charged to cover the team is unacceptable.