When it comes to Jalen Ramsey, Rams hope they have Seattle’s DK Metcalf covered
The video clip was omnipresent among NFL players and coaches, and it launched a slew of memes by fans.
On Oct. 25, Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker intercepted a pass by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson near the goal line, and then began sprinting up the sideline on his way to a possible 98-yard touchdown.
But Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf did not quit on the play. Instead, the second-year pro ran down Baker and tackled him at the five-yard line.
“I saw it live and I thought to myself, ‘HOLY…!’” Rams coach Sean McVay said, laughing. “I mean, that’s one of the greatest effort plays I’ve ever seen.”
Said Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey: “That would be a guy who I would like to play with — just that effort and not giving up on a play.”
Ramsey is expected to see Metcalf up close Sunday when the Rams (5-3) play host to the Seahawks (6-2) in an NFC West game at SoFi Stadium.
For the Rams to compete with Seattle, Aaron Donald says the defense must prevent Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson from making impromptu plays under pressure.
“This is going to be a great chess match between these two guys, if they line up near each other,” Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley said. “We all know it’s a team game, but there’s that game within the game and these two guys are as good as I think that I’m seeing right now in the NFL at their positions.”
Metcalf, 6-feet-4 and 229 pounds, is a key part of an offense that is averaging a league-best 34.3 points per game.
The Rams are familiar with Metcalf. Last season he burned them for a 40-yard touchdown in a 30-29 loss to the Seahawks in Seattle. He also had six catches for 78 yards, including one for 35 yards, in a 28-12 Rams victory at the Coliseum.
The former Mississippi receiver has by all accounts improved immensely in his second season. He has 43 catches — fewer than 18 NFL receivers, including teammate Tyler Lockett’s 53 — but ranks second with 788 yards receiving. Metcalf is tied for second with eight touchdowns and tied for third with an average of 18.3 yards per catch.
“It’s not like he’s just feasting on some guys that you don’t really know,” McVay said. “He’s done it and he’s produced against some of the guys that are perennial All-Pros, which is where you say, ‘This dude is the real deal and it’s going to be a great challenge.’ ”
Ramsey is a three-time Pro Bowl selection. Before this season he signed the largest contract by a cornerback in NFL history. Staley, the Rams’ first-year defensive coordinator, has deployed Ramsey on the outside, inside and other spots. So it remains to be seen whether Ramsey will matchup solely against Metcalf.
“He’s good,” Ramsey said. “He’s even taken a huge step from where he was last year to this year. It’s undeniable talent and he’s just taken it to another level.”
Sam Farmer makes his picks and predictions for Week 10 of the 2020 NFL season.
Wilson told Seattle reporters this week that Ramsey was “arguably the best corner in the league,” and a challenge on several levels.
“His type of athletic ability is rare, you know, just the things he can do, and he’s a great physical tackler too,” Wilson said. “Some guys don’t want to tackle: He likes tackling. He likes playing ball.”
Staley is utilizing Ramsey in ways similar to how the Cardinals have taken advantage of the talents of perennial Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
“He’s a fantastic player,” Carroll said. “Jalen can do everything and he’s a playmaker. He plays with great confidence and all of that too.”
Rams outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (knee) practiced and outside linebacker Terrell Lewis (shoulder) was limited. Both are listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, but McVay said they were expected to play. ... Seahawks center Ethan Pocic (concussion) and cornerbacks Quinton Dunbar (knee) and Shaquill Griffin (concussion/hamstring) were ruled out for the game. Running backs Chris Carson (foot) and Carlos Hyde (hamstring) and linebacker K.J. Wright (ankle) are questionable.
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