LA Rams DB Jalen Ramsey silences NFL’s best receivers
By Bret Stuter
The LA Rams are no strangers to gambling a bit. When the Rams traded for Jacksonville Jaguars star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, they assumed three very large risks. First of all, they traded away significant value for a player who they hoped could duplicate his production for the LA Rams defense. Second of all, the Rams hoped that he would be happy and fit the culture of the team, and the city.
The Rams trade package was somewhat controversial when it occurred. It was a huge investment for a player that some had already labeled as a malcontent. The Jacksonville Jaguars knew that a player of Ramsey’s abilities was a rare find, perhaps a generational talent. So they asked for a huge investment, and the Rams were happy to pay the price.
To make sufficient cap space, the Rams dealt cornerback Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens for a fifth-round pick and ILB Kenny Young. Then, the Rams dealt a 2020 first-round, and 2021 first-round, and 2021 fourth-round draft picks to the Jacksonville Jaguars. What did the net effect look like?
Few thought he was worth it at the time. But the LA Rams did not hesitate to make that deal. After all, Jalen Ramsey was confident in himself and knew the value of his contribution to an NFL football team. That confidence is vital to achieving an elite status as an NFL defensive back. And that is how the front office anticipated his fit with the team and the city. Ramsey was a self-starter. He would do everything required to be and remain the best in the NFL.
Rolling the dice
Thirdly, the Rams were taking a huge gamble that they could re-sign him to a multi-year extension. And believe me, there was no shortage of detractors every step of the way who were happy to ridicule the Rams for making such a move, and chiding the Rams’ foolishness for thinking that they could extend Ramsey. But it was only a bad hot take.
The LA Rams and Jalen Ramsey were in agreement in kind over his contract terms early on. That is why Ramsey left the details to his agent as he shopped for a new home in Los Angeles. When the pen met paper, the LA Rams had made Ramsey the highest-paid defensive back in the NFL.
Ramsey getting paid did not relax his competitive instincts. Jalen Ramsey is fiercely loyal, and he now knew that the LA Rams valued his talent more than any other NFL team. Not only did the Rams trade a huge package to acquire him, but the Rams are paying him more than any of his contemporaries. That triggers Ramsey to prove that he was worth it.
And he is worth it. He has left a path through the NFL like a category 5 tornado. But rather than devastation for miles, he silences the best receivers. They don’t catch many passes against him, and that means all of the top receivers.
Now Ramsey will face one more of the top receivers in the league. Ramsey silenced Buffalo Bills receiver, Stefon Diggs. He silenced Arizona Cardinals receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, twice. Now he will have the opportunity to silence Green Bay Packers wide receiver, Davante Adams.
Other Packers offensive options
Of course, the Packers have a solid running game thanks to RB Aaron Jones. And they have scored nearly as many times through the air by targeting either wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling or tight end Robert Tonyan. Shutting down Adams is just one step of many required to hold the Packers’ potent offense in check for this game.
But it is a huge step. When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers held the Packers to just 10 points, their lowest scoring total of the season, Adams caught just six of 10 passes for 61 yards and no touchdowns. He may find the sledding a bit tougher against the Rams defense.
That is the key to victory for the Rams. There is little chance for the Rams to win an all-out shootout at Lambeau field. Not only is quarterback Jared Goff recovering from thumb surgery on his throwing hand, but the Rams’ offense has not been putting up the points totals as they had in the past.
That is why Jalen Ramsey has been so brutally critical for the team’s defense. He forces the quarterback to hold the ball longer, allowing the Rams proficient pass-rushers to get to their intended prey. And he forces offenses to reroute their offense to lesser players. Finally, he gives the Rams defense the luxury of dedicating double coverages to other receivers.
You won’t hear much about Ramsey on game day, and that’s just fine. The key point to track is just how seldom you will hear about the receiver that Ramsey is covering.