Jalen Ramsey has a very large blowtorch and an unlimited fuel tank. The Jaguars cornerback continued setting fire to the NFL this week, this time unloading on another fairly random group of players in an excellent feature by Mina Kimes of ESPN. (Mina will be a guest on the Pick Six Podcast this week, subscribe right here to stream or listen to the interview.)
Ramsey drew headlines earlier this offseason when he called Josh Allen "trash" and pretended not to know who Matt Ryan was while performing a simultaneous drive-by shooting on every single quarterback in the NFL.
"I don't think Gronk's good." Registering my involuntary blinking, he course-corrects. "Let me say -- I don't think Gronk is as great as people think he is." Before the Patriots game, he explains, he had the Jaguars' analytics staffers pull some numbers for him. "Any time Gronk has been matched up with a corner, he's had a very bad game -- and that corner has had a very good game."
This is a pretty bold take on its face, but Kimes points out that Gronk's catch rate falls from 71 percent to 56 percent when the tight end moves from the slot to the corner, which makes him a below-average pass catcher in that regard, relative to other tight ends. So maybe Ramsey is correct?
That's an underlying and hidden theme of the piece, and perhaps of Ramsey in general: he talks a lot of trash, but he does it with the knowledge that his claims are largely backed up.
Reading his takes on quarterbacks from earlier in the summer, there were some that stood out as incorrect -- saying that Ben Roethlisberger isn't that great was notable -- but Ramsey's life experience and/or the statistical explanation behind the claims actually tend to back up what he's saying. (Big Ben famously threw a bunch of picks in a horrific Steelers home loss to the Jaguars.)
"Before every game, I'll say: 'Tell me about the receiver you're going up against,'" Jags coach Doug Marrone said. "He's as thorough as anyone I've ever been around."
He also had some words for Danny Amendola, as well as a joke about all of Brady's receivers looking the same.
In general, Ramsey continues, fans underestimate the effect that quarterback play has on wide receivers. For example, he says, look at Danny Amendola, who just signed with Miami. "Or is it Edelman?" he asks out loud. He mulls it over. No -- he's thinking of Amendola. "He just got a brand-new contract and he is terrible," he says. "People think he's so great. No, he's not. Tom [Brady] made him look good. Tom could take me as a receiver and I'd be a first-team All-Pro."
Again, there's some truth to this. Amendola was a good receiver with the Rams, but he was also a guy we all thought would be perfect with the Patriots. Small white slot guy who played a lot like Wes Welker, etc.
It's also possible that the Patriots -- and not just Brady -- make these receivers great. Being in the offensive system, being in a place that cranks up the discipline and requirements for offensive personnel and makes everyone accountable. Grinding and getting on the same page with Brady.
And it helps to have Brady there making tons of accurate throws too.
The Cowboys and Jerry Jones certainly qualify, with Ramsey saying, "I will never play for them ... unless the Joneses leave," because he believes the Cowboys coaches wanted him and Jerry, et al, made them go for Ezekiel Elliott instead.
"The Jaguars can win a Super Bowl with Blake Bortles at quarterback," Ramsey said.
Maybe that can be considered a blind spot for Ramsey? Maybe not though; he admits the Jaguars need to win a Super Bowl this year, because things are going to get tough for the team once free agency hits next year and they have to worry about locking in "all those defensive lineman" that he admits they can't keep.
Ramsey oozes honesty, even if it comes across as absolutely brutal for anyone he's focusing on.