Perhaps Jalen Ramsey is showing a sign of maturity with the Los Angeles Rams, or the All-Pro cornerback has enough respect for Josh Allen's game heading into Sunday's showdown with the Buffalo Bills. Two years ago, Ramsey called Allen "trash" and a "stupid draft pick," but now he's reversing course as he's set to face him for the first time since that 2018 season.
"He's talented," Ramsey said, via Eric D. Williams of Sports Illustrated. "He presents challenges. Every week you have to face a new challenge, and this is our third week so we have to face the challenge of him and that Bills' offense. He has some weapons around him. He can make plays running the ball and extending plays, etc, etc. ... Kind of the things everyone knows about him.
"But I'm confident in what I can do and this Rams' defense can do, and that's kind of what matters the most to me and the guys around here."
A mature response from Ramsey, as head coach Sean McVay has seen in his $100 million cornerback.
"I think the thing that stood out to me when he first got here, was the way that he practiced, how quickly he was able to pick things up," McVay said Friday. "He brings it, he's got a good swagger and confidence about himself, and I think his play energy is contagious for our football team and I'm really fortunate to have him here with us."
Allen is the one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL through the first two weeks of the season, ranking highly in several key categories, including third in passer rating (122.9). Allen is just one of four quarterbacks in NFL history to complete 70% of his passes, throw for 700-plus yards and six-plus touchdowns and have zero interceptions through the first two weeks of a season, joining Peyton Manning (2013), Tom Brady (2015) and Patrick Mahomes (2019).
The Bills quarterback brushed off Ramsey's initial comments from the GQ article in 2018, calling Ramsey a "great player" and mentioning he's "only gotten better." In fairness to Allen, he's only gotten better as well.
Allen has two games with a completion percentage over 68% this season after topping that mark only three times last year. Allen threw 35-plus passes in a game six times in his first two seasons with a completion rate under 60% in four of those games. This season, Allen has attempted 35-plus passes in both his games while completing over 68% of his passes and throwing for two-plus touchdown passes in each.
Both Ramsey and Allen have evolved as players over the last two years, and their battle will be a fun chess match Sunday. The Rams defense will be a true test to see how much Allen has evolved as a passer.