Jalen Ramsey is largely viewed by people on the outside looking in as one of the game's best cornerbacks. And Ramsey's coaches and teammates can attest to that sentiment.
“It’s different," defensive tackle Aaron Donald said of Ramsey Thursday. "I was watching film and seeing him coming up in the box, hitting offensive linemen and holding the ends. Ain’t no player like him in the National Football League. He can do it all. He’s a special talent. He loves the game. He plays with a lot of passion. He flies around and he’s a playmaker. So I’m just happy he’s on our team.”
Ramsey quickly became a young star during his early years in Jacksonville. Rams' general manager Les Snead identified Ramsey's fit in Los Angeles, prompting him to send two first-round picks to the Jaguars in return for the talented cornerback. And since his arrival to the Rams, Ramsey has elevated his game to yet another notch.
Last season, Ramsey allowed a 50.7% completion percentage when targeting him – the best of his career. On 71 targets, just 36 passes were completed.
“He’s a great teammate, great guy,” Doanld said. “Like I said, he plays with a lot of passion. You could tell he cares about the game and cares about his performance, the way he does things and it shows. So that’s why he’s able to play at a high level like he does.”
Ramsey has been named a Pro Bowler four times and an All-Pro twice. Ramey is a cornerback who embraces tackling in the open field. While that may sound like a given in the game of football, there's a lot of cornerbacks who are labeled as just cover guys and shy away from tackling. That's not the case for Ramsey.
This season, Ramsey has been moved all around the field, playing several positions. Most notably, he's seen time in what is called the star position. Instead of lining up on the outside – along the boundary – the Rams coaches have kicked him inside at times in order to play slot cornerback and have the ability to contribute more in the running game.
"A lot of time you have to be reactive," defensive coordinator Raheem Morris said. "You have to catch up to what people are trying to do to you. You got to go on the sidelines, make adjustments. I think he (Ramsey) makes people adjust. When he comes out and he's lined up at corner, he's lined up at the star position, he's lined up at the safety position – at times he lined up at the outside linebacker position – he makes people adjust to what he's doing."
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Ramsey has been the team's tone-setter. Not only can he lock down the NFL's best receivers, but he’s also a fundamentally sound tackler, offering support to the Rams run defense.
"He's a person that allows you to go out and dictate terms," Morris said of Ramsey. "And the fact that he's so smart. He's able to communicate exactly what happened when he comes off the field. I had no idea how calm he was in the game-type of environment until last week."
Ramsey finished the Week 1 contest with nine tackles, two tackles for loss and one pass breakup. He allowed four completions for 27 yards.
During coach Sean McVay's Friday media availability, he says he believes Ramsey is "one of one."
The coaching staff, players and fans all knew about Ramsey's profound skill set. But one factor that’s different this year: his leadership quality. McVay and Morris have both praised his nature of teaching and leading by example, and based on their recent comments, he's rubbing off on other plays on the team in an uplifting spirit towards the youth on the roster.
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Nick Cothrel is the Publisher of Ram Digest. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel.