JACKSONVILLE: Jaguars prefer to keep, not trade, Jalen Ramsey

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars aren't giving up on disgruntled defender Jalen Ramsey.

The Jags would prefer to keep their star cornerback after several days of trade talks with other NFL teams, according to a person close to the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Friday because details of trade talks have not been publicly discussed. The decision came amid a much-needed, 20-7 victory over Tennessee.

Ramsey hugged several fellow defensive backs after the win, appearing to say goodbye in what many believed would be his final game with Jacksonville (1-2). Behind the scenes, though, teammates, coaches and members of the front office were working to try to repair Ramsey's fractured relationship with the franchise, specifically with top executive Tom Coughlin.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan had several meetings at the facility earlier in the week in hopes of solving issues. That might include giving Ramsey the long-term contract extension he wants, the person said.

Jacksonville told Ramsey during the offseason that it had no plans to pay him with two years remaining on his rookie deal.

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz and Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott — three of the four players selected ahead of Ramsey in the 2016 NFL draft — already have signed extensions.

Although Ramsey causes as many headaches for his own team as he does opponents, there's no question the Jags would have a difficult time replacing him — even if they receive two first-round picks in a trade.

"My focus is so high on one thing that I really try to avoid all things that are going on around me," said coach Doug Marrone, whose heated exchange with Ramsey in Houston served as the catalyst for the player's trade request. "I've just been focused on really helping the players, really helping this team, win football games. All the other stuff — you guys know me better than anyone — my social skills aren't very good."

WHAT'S WORKING

Minshew Mania is trending in Jacksonville.

Rookie Gardner Minshew threw two touchdown passes against Tennessee and would have had a third if not for a drop in the end zone. He's already beloved after three games, with some fans chanting his name every time he steps on the field and others adorning fake mustaches and bandanas to mimic his signature style.

"Nothing rattles this kid," Marrone said. "He's really good at communication and I think he's really good at preparing himself and making sure there are no surprises out there for him. That's just a guy that has a maniacal work ethic."

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Jacksonville's ground game has been mostly dismal.

Leonard Fournette carried 11 times for minus-8 yards before breaking a 69-yarder late Thursday. Marrone said the offensive line is getting little push to open holes, but doing fine in pass protection.

"We're not doing a good enough job up front," Marrone said. I have no issues with how Leonard is working and trying. I think he might be trying too much because of the frustration. He has the ability of being a great player, but we have to do a much better job all around. ... We've got to get this thing going."

STOCK UP

Jacksonville's defense held division foes Houston and Tennessee to a combined 20 points while recording 13 sacks. Calais Campbell had three of the unit's nine sacks against the Texans, with Josh Allen, Dawuane Smoot and Taven Bryan also chipping in.

"When you look at successful defensive lines, it's about waves and how you can bring them in waves and keep them fresh and keep them going," Marrone said.

STOCK DOWN

Dede Westbrook had three drops Thursday, including one in the end zone with no defenders on him. Westbrook was widely expected to be the team's No. 1 target, but DJ Chark and Chris Conley have been more consistent options.

INJURED

Linebacker Myles Jack was placed in the NFL's concussion protocol. Campbell left the game twice and is nursing injuries to both legs — his right foot and left ankle.

KEY NUMBER

110.6 — Minshew's passer rating, the highest for any rookie after three games in the Super Bowl era.

NEXT STEPS

Find ways to renew Ramsey's faith in the front office.

-- By Mark Long, AP

TENNESSEE: Titans have lots to fix after 2 consecutive losses in AFC South

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans have talked for months about going from good to great in coach Mike Vrabel's second season.

Right now, they'd settle for good.

After blowing out Cleveland on the road in the season opener, the Titans (1-2) have lost back-to-back games inside the AFC South in the span of five days. The latest loss was 20-7 loss Thursday night in Jacksonville with an ugly performance allowing nine sacks.

When the Titans weren't giving up sacks, they got caught holding with five of their nine penalties holds wiping out nice gains

"We put ourselves in this position three games into the season," Vrabel said Friday. "We're going to do everything we can to get to 2-2."

The Titans knew the start of the season wouldn't be easy, not with three of the first four on the road. Then three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan was suspended for the first four games for using performance enhancers. The Titans now have lost a pair of division games to a quarterback who was a backup until Andrew Luck's retirement and a rookie who was a sixth-round pick in April.

Vrabel plans to work on fundamentals and accountability, taking advantage of an extra practice Monday to do just that before a trip to Atlanta on Sept. 29.

"It's a gut check," quarterback Marcus Mariota said after the game.

WHAT'S WORKING

Tennessee's defense has kept the Titans in striking distance under coordinator Dean Pees. Even that unit has had its issues, giving up a big run in the fourth quarter of each of these losses. Leonard Fournette finished with 66 yards rushing thanks only to breaking loose for a 69-yarder to the Tennessee 9.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

The offense. Mariota was 6 of 16 passing in the first half and took blame for missing teammates. He was 17 of 24 in the second half and finished with 304 yards passing. The Titans failed to score in the third quarter with Mariota unable to hit three-time Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker twice on a drive that ended when Vrabel went for a touchdown on fourth-and-6. Mariota said he didn't know why there was the difference in his play before and after halftime.

"I got to find it out because I can't start games that way," Mariota said.

They also must protect Mariota better. The Titans changed out both guards from that offensive line, signing veteran Rodger Saffold to a big deal. The line is missing Lewan badly, and he won't be back until October .. New right guard Kevin Pamphile has yet to start after hurting his knee days before the opener. Rookie Nate Davis, who missed a couple weeks of training camp with an undisclosed injury, might be an option now.

Quarterback is not a spot the Titans are thinking of changing Mariota for backup Ryan Tannehill.

"Not right now," Vrabel said.

STOCK UP

Humphries finally got a chance to show why the Titans signed him to a big deal in March with his best game yet in Tennessee. He finished with six catches for a team-high 93 yards that was the fourth-best total in his career, a night that included a 30-yard catch.

STOCK DOWN

Adoree' Jackson as punt returner. The third-year pro has all the physical skills and speed, but Jackson's decision making and ball handling keep costing the Titans. On a rainy night, Jackson muffed the first punt and failed to fall on the ball as several Jaguars closed in for Tennessee's first turnover of the season. He also failed to fair catch another punt, costing the Titans 17 yards.

INJURED

Linebacker Rashaan Evans was hurt in the final seconds of the first half. But Vrabel said Evans should be OK.

KEY NUMBER

17 — Mariota already has been sacked more through the first three games than any quarterback in the NFL since 2002, according to the NFL. That's not improvement over last season when he was sacked a career-worst 42 times.

NEXT STEPS

Time to work on fundamentals again before a short trip to Atlanta.

-- By Teresa M. Walker, AP