Jalen Ramsey might be the best cornerback in the NFL this year. I feel comfortable saying that because “the best” is subjective and Ramsey has one of the strongest cases to be made. The fact that Richard Sherman is out for the season only aids the argument. Richard Sherman was last year and the year before that and the year before and so on.
And Ramsey doesn’t care about anything other than this year.
That was Ramsey’s message when a reporter asked him this week if beating the Seahawks would be a big win for the Jaguars in order to prove themselves. At 8-4, with the best defense in the NFL by most stats, Jacksonville is in contention to win the AFC and make the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history. They also went to Houston in Week 1 and won. They blew out the Ravens 44-7. They blew out the Steelers 30-9. They beat the Chargers 20-17. They outscored the Colts 57-10 in those two wins.
Do the Jags need a “signature win” after losing to the LA Rams, Arizona Cardinals, NY Jets, and Tennessee Titans? I think they’ve done plenty to prove themselves. But even if they did need something to prove, Ramsey doesn’t necessarily believe that Seattle is the team they once were. He just sees two 8-4 teams, and Ramsey is at home.
Jalen Ramsey isn't worried about the Seahawkspic.twitter.com/miyIWpaS6z— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) December 6, 2017
Another thing we’ve learned about Ramsey in his 1.75 seasons in the NFL is that like Sherman, he will not let his ego be silenced. Like Sherman himself did in 2011, Ramsey trash talked A.J. Green. (But Sherman did not end up in a headlock.)
A.J. Green and Jalen Ramsey (!!): 1/2 a game pic.twitter.com/K1tp4LgrAe— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) December 5, 2017
He has shut down the league’s top receivers. He has told them they aren’t special.
Jalen Ramsey highlight video pic.twitter.com/fHnve0cXlU— Falcons 7-5 (@fillinthablankk) December 7, 2017
But the Seahawks probably deserve some credit for what they’ve done from 2012-present. This is Jacksonville’s first important December game since 2010, when they were 8-5 and then lost three straight games to end the season. Seattle plays in 3-4 important December games every year. That experience matters. Russell Wilson, the quarterback who he must contain, also matters. Doug Baldwin matters.
Reporters in Jacksonville asked Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey if his willingness to trash talk will be different Sunday against #Seahawks Doug Baldwin than vs AZ WR Larry Fitzgerald:— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) December 6, 2017
"No disrespect to (Baldwin), he’s a good player. But he ain’t Larry Fitzgerald" @GeneFrenette
But teammate Malik Jackson does not agree with Ramsey that beating the Seahawks is no more special than beating another team.
“We’re trying to transcend into that next stage of having people actually worry about us and say, ‘That’s a good team,'” Jackson told Bill Polian and Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio. “Who better to come in here than a two-time Super Bowl team that’s at a high level in their confidence, that just beat the No. 1 team in the NFC [the Eagles]? I’m excited.”
I agree, beating the Seahawks would be special for a team like Jacksonville trying to rid itself of a decade of pointless football. Similarly, I think it would be special for a team like Seattle to go on the road and beat the number one defense in the NFL at a time that many are questioning Pete Carroll and Wilson’s ability to do so with a depleted defense and zero support at running back.
It’s a big game, no matter how you look at it.