Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ramsey Wants Swagger to Rub Off

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ramsey Wants Swagger to Rub Off

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette

He's probably the Jaguars' most brash and outspoken rookie since dynamic tailback Maurice Jones-Drew charmed his way into the hearts of the fan base a decade ago.

The difference with cornerback Jalen Ramsey is his demeanor tends to exude a more serious tone. The 21-year-old Florida State product is friendly and outgoing enough, but his confidence level is such that he almost feels compelled to stay on edge when he's not on the field.

Ramsey, the Jaguars' first round and No. 5 overall draft pick, wasn't shy about telling general manager Dave Caldwell before the draft he thought he was the best player. And nothing we've seen through the first four games of his NFL career suggests Ramsey's bring-it-on swagger is going to let up.

"As far as having confidence and expressing it, personally, I don't think there's a problem with it," said Ramsey. "I think most dogs are like that, they want to let people know, 'Hey, I'm the --.' Plain and simple.

"People say sometimes it's bragging. My aspect is if it's factual, I don't think it's bragging. It's telling the facts. I'm going to talk the talk. I need to make sure I back it up by walking the walk. That's what I try to do."

Clearly, Ramsey relishes the mano-a-mano confrontation with another team's top receiver, though the Jaguars' coverage doesn't always dictate it. How often Ramsey is assigned single coverage with the Chicago Bears' Alshon Jeffery on Sunday at Soldier Field remains to be seen, but you can bet the 6-foot-2, 209-pound cornerback wants that challenge.

Ramsey can be like a wild horse in need of taming, and defensive coordinator Todd Wash occasionally has to rein him in.

"He doesn't want to lose in checkers," said Wash. "There was one play we called a zone coverage and he comes off and he was like, 'Just leave me on him.' I said we have to do other things, too.

"He is so competitive. I think that is one of the things that is going to make him a special player throughout his career is how competitive he is... . It is amazing, his mental makeup."

But it's also inevitable that a cornerback with Ramsey's macho-heavy style is going to sometimes provoke receivers. That's what happened toward the end of the Baltimore Ravens game, when Ramsey and 16-year veteran Steve Smith both drew unsportsmanlike conduct penalties following a Paul Posluszny interception.

The jabbering didn't stop there. Ramsey and Smith got into a verbal altercation on the field after the Ravens' 19-17 victory, forcing parties to separate them. A war of words escalated later through the media and on social media.

Ramsey acknowledged Smith, who had eight catches for 87 yards, is "a good player, but I don't respect him as a man." Smith, one of the NFL's big trash-talkers, responded hours later on Twitter, saying: "I gave U every opportunity to speak face to face. …

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