Among the things Ramsey thinks: Josh Allen “is trash.” Jimmy Garoppolo is “all schemes, but I guess you could say he’s good.” Jared Goff is “average to above average.” He feels that Odell Beckham Jr. does more of the heavy lifting than Eli Manning. Ben Roethlisberger “ain’t all that.” Joe Flacco “sucks.” Matt Ryan’s “overrated.” Andrew Luck’s success is mostly the work of T.Y. Hilton, he said of a quarterback he will face twice. Dak Prescott seems to fall in between because his offense relies on Ezekiel Elliott: “He’s good. He’s all right. He’s okay.” Tyrod Taylor is a better QB than people think.
Some quarterbacks, Ramsey allows, are pretty good, guys like Derek Carr, Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz and Aaron Rodgers. (Some of those, it should be noted, would carve him like a Thanksgiving turkey if he talked trash about them.) Marcus Mariota, whom the Jags will face twice, is “a great quarterback for their team.” Kirk Cousins is a “hell of a competitor” who “coming off play action,” is the “best quarterback in the league.”
And what about his guy, Blake Bortles?
“Blake do what he gotta do … I think in crunchtime moments, like last year’s playoff game — not as a team, because we would have trusted him — but I think as an organization, we should have trusted him more to keep throwing it. We kinda got complacent and conservative,” he told Clay Skipper. “And I think that’s why we lost. We started running it on first and second down, throwing it on third down, every single time we were out there. [The Patriots] caught on to that.”
Those are some open and meaty observations, the kind that Tom Coughlin, Jacksonville’s vice president of football operations, typically takes really poorly. Ramsey was interviewed in late May, but the quotes are just hitting now, coinciding with his week off. As Mike Tomlin likes to say, such is life.
Next, let’s go to his observations on Lamar Jackson, the Heisman winner who was the last player taken in the first round of last spring’s draft. “If all those teams were wanting [Cleveland Browns’ No. 1 overall pick] Baker [Mayfield] so bad — Baker compares better with Lamar than any of those other quarterbacks. So if they want that type of quarterback — confident, get out the pocket, throw on the run, big plays, charisma — then yeah, I understand Baker going number one. But if all the other people were competing and wanting Baker, too, then why wasn’t Lamar the second quarterback chosen?”
The second QB was Sam Darnold, who went to the Jets. Which brings us to the third QB taken, the Bills’ Allen.
“I think Allen is trash. I don’t care what nobody say. He’s trash. And it’s gonna show too. That’s a stupid draft pick to me. We play them this year, and I’m excited as hell. I hope he’s their starting quarterback.”
Naturally, reporters around the NFL began asking some of Ramsey’s targets what they thought of his barbs. Allen dismissed them, saying, “I don’t care. It doesn’t bother me one bit. I care about my teammates and what my teammates think of me.”
True to his low-key form, Manning initially offered a “No comment.” However, the Giants quarterback followed that up (per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post) by saying under his breath — and with a smile — “Who?”
In Minnesota, where the Jaguars, sans Ramsey, are practicing against the Vikings ahead of a preseason game on Saturday, wide receiver Adam Thielen said of the trash-talking, “It’s all part of the game. It’s all fun.”
“When we’re out here, we put everything we’ve got into this and I think that’s just part of the game,” continued Thielen (via 247 Sports), who caught four passes for 101 yards against the Jaguars in 2016, Ramsey’s rookie season. “You’re competitive and the guy you’re going against is competitive, and it’s going to come out. I love that about this game. I try not to let it get to me, that’s for sure.”
Another game from Ramsey’s rookie season featured a loss to the Lions that left the Jags 2-8 and their talented young cornerback in tears on on the bench. After Ramsey damned Detroit’s Matthew Stafford with Bortles-level faint praise, telling GQ, “I think he’s straight. I don’t think he the best quarterback out there, but he do what he gotta do,” Stafford’s favorite target, wide receiver Golden Tate, brought up that painful 2016 moment on behalf of his quarterback.
“He has his opinion,” Tate said of Ramsey (via Pride of Detroit), then asked reporters, “I don’t know, when’s the last time they played us?”
Told, “Two years ago,” Tate asked, “What happened?” He was told, “You guys won. Made him cry, too.”
“Oh,” replied Tate, in a mic-drop moment.
Ramsey predicts big things for Jackson because Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg “likes running quarterbacks, likes that read option. And just being honest about it, Flacco sucks. I played him two years in a row. He sucks.”
And then there’s Garoppolo.
“I don’t know yet,” Ramsey said, when asked if he believed last year’s hype. “Just cause when they beat us, his hype picked up. They were like, ‘He beat the number one defense.’ It was all schemes. He didn’t beat us. It wasn’t like he diced us up. It was literally all schemes. They were doing flat routes to the wide open fullback, and he’s running for 20 yards down the field four times during the game. . . . So he didn’t really dice us up. It was their fullback and their tight end on over routes. But if you know how to work within your scheme then it means you’re good. I guess you could say he’s good.”
For what it’s worth, NFL Research did a little digging in an effort to determine just how Ramsey has performed throughout his career when facing the quarterbacks he named in the interview.
Ramsey was suspended for cursing at media members who filmed a post-practice incident involving teammate Dante Fowler Jr., who also gets to take the week off. All in all, that’s quite a week for a team nearly reached the Super Bowl and is one of the NFL’s most highly regarded for 2018. Never mind that Ramsey’s observations might be pretty accurate, they’re a distraction that won’t help overcome the impression that the team has left on one unnamed AFC assistant coach.
“The greatest threat the Jaguars face,” the assistant coach told Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, “is believing their own hype.”
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