By Dustin Fletcher | firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, Jacksonville was flipped upside down like an alternate universe after the win over the Tennessee Titans. Jalen Ramsey’s locker was cleaned out after the game. Derek Henry and company did not wreck the Jaguar’s early season optimism. The Jaguars came out on top 20-7, and the score could have been even higher with a better second half display. Here are three talking points from Thursday’s game.
Gardner Minshew is the real deal; Chark is becoming a star before our eyes.
The first point here should be obvious. Cult hero, “Minshew Mania” or my own personal nickname “Jockstrap Jesus” is on a level of fame never achieved in Jacksonville. [See Ramsey, Jalen for a second place trophy]. Minshew opened the game coming off of a loss four days earlier in Houston, which he would have won if Leonard Fournette had not stopped a two-point conversion.
Minshew threw for 204 yards on 20-30 passing with two touchdowns. He could have had two more to Dede Westbrook if the passes had not been dropped.
Another rather unforeseen hero early on in the season is wide receiver DJ Chark. Chark has been nothing short of incredible this season, even leading the league in receiving yards for a brief couple of days. His incredible play has earned him the nickname “Chark Kent” from myself.
There is also a petition from fans to rename the stadium’s swimming pool “The Chark Tank.” Chark is one of only three players in franchise history to have 250 or more receiving yards through three weeks of the season. Chark caught four balls from Minshew for 76 yards and a single touchdown.
If the partnership continues to flourish, the Jaguars should be perfectly fine on offense for the rest of the season.
The defense proves it will not be distracted by Ramsey drama.
All week there was a dark cloud looming over the franchise with Jalen Ramsey’s status in limbo after his trade request. Many were uncertain about how it might affect the team’s play against their kryptonite.
The answer was a resounding no, as the front seven notched nine sacks and 15 more quarterback hits.
Veteran Calais Campbell had three sacks and was constantly putting Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota on his back.
Rookie Josh Allen finally got some sacks in the column, erasing the goose egg from the first two weeks. He also forced a fumble, spiking the ball out of Mariota’s hands. After the game, Allen couldn’t decide which was more impressive, nine sacks or 15 quarterback hits.
Even the much maligned first round pick from 2018, Taven Bryan got high praise from his teammates after the win.
Everyone chipped in on a huge team effort that resembled the team from 2017, not 2018.
AJ Bouye played arguably his best game since 2017 and shut down wide receiver AJ Brown all night.
Ramsey was shut down until the fourth quarter, where Corey Davis had a few good receptions on the disgruntled cornerback.
This team may not be far off from the form that brought them to an AFC Championship game in 2017.
Ramsey and the front office are locked in a stalemate over the trade request.
One thing is certain after Thursday’s game — Ramsey would like a new home. After his spat on the sidelines with Doug Marrone, many thought the issue was with the head coach. However, sources told Stephen A. Smith of ESPN that his issue was with President of Football Operations, Tom Coughlin.
Ramsey felt “disrespected” by some things said to him after the 14-13 loss to Houston, and the spat with Marrone was “the last straw.”
The issues could also could stem from Coughlin calling out Ramsey for not showing up to voluntary preseason workouts to spend time at home with his family in Nashville, Tennessee. The team rejected an offer of Hayden Hurst and a future first and second round pick for the pro-bowl cornerback. His locker was mostly cleaned out after media availability on Thursday night.
The team does not intend to grant Ramsey’s wishes unless they get a suitable offer, so let the standoff begin.
Dustin Fletcher is the sports editor of the Flagler College Gargoyle and is the official source of Jacksonville Jaguars news for Flagler College.