From Cardinals’ corner, Jalen Ramsey has been most valuable Ram in 3-0 start

The Rams' Jalen Ramsey (5) intercepts a pass intended for Indianapolis Colts' Jack Doyle.
Jalen Ramsey, who seems to be all over the field for the Rams’ defense this season, clinches a Week 2 victory with this interception against the Colts in front of receiver Jack Doyle.
(Michael Conroy / Associated Press)

Details are important to Jalen Ramsey, so he took time Friday to make sure he was clear.

The Rams’ do-it-all cornerback says he considers Hall of Famer Deion Sanders the best cornerback in NFL history. He regards Hall of Famer Charles Woodson as the best defensive back.

“Charles did it all,” Ramsey said after practice, “He played corner, he played safety, he played nickel. I mean he was all over the field at all times.”


Woodson, who played 18 seasons before retiring after the 2015 season, also occasionally lined up as a pass rusher.

Ramsey, 26, is doing all of that and more for the Rams (3-0), who play the Arizona Cardinals (3-0) on Sunday at SoFi Stadium in the NFC West opener for both teams.

“He’s probably been the defensive MVP thus far this year when you look at the impact he’s had on games and how dominant he’s been on the perimeter,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “And then as a corner, at any point he can lock anybody down man to man.

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Oct. 1, 2021

“He’s as versatile a player as there is and it’s been really impressive to watch the physicality he’s playing with this season.”

With new quarterback Matthew Stafford leading a prolific offense, Ramsey and lineman Aaron Donald anchor a defense that has helped the Rams defeat the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


When it comes to defensive player of the year talk, Ramsey defers to Donald, a three-time defensive player of the year.

“I always like to kind of have high expectations for myself and hope that I’m living up to them,” Ramsey said. “But Aaron Donald’s my teammate, so he’s the MVP of the whole world.”

The Rams traded for Ramsey six games into the 2019 season, and he played mainly as a lockdown outside cornerback for a team that missed the playoffs.

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Sept. 30, 2021

Last season, first-year defensive coordinator Brandon Staley deployed Ramsey from various spots for a unit that helped the Rams advance to the divisional round of the NFC playoffs. Raheem Morris replaced Staley and has expanded Ramsey’s role.

Ramsey, the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback, made several key stops and delivered multiple big hits against the Bears. He intercepted a pass to seal the victory over the Colts. And in last Sunday’s 34-24 victory over the Buccaneers, Ramsey made plays in the secondary, at the line of scrimmage and in the backfield, forcing seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady to constantly account for him.

During a postgame exchange that was captured by NFL Films, Ramsey told Brady that he loved playing against him.

“Hold it just a little bit longer next time,” said Ramsey, who narrowly missed deflecting several passes.

Said Brady: “Gotta get rid of that thing.”

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Sept. 28, 2021

On Sunday, Ramsey is expected to match up at times with receiver DeAndre Hopkins. It will be the 10th time the All-Pros have played against each other since the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Ramsey with the fifth pick in the 2016 draft.

Hopkins has 13 catches for 158 yards and three touchdowns for a Cardinals offense that is thriving with third-year quarterback Kyler Murray. The Cardinals are averaging 34.3 points, tied with the Buccaneers for best in the league.

Hopkins is “the best in the game” and an “ultimate competitor,” Ramsey said.

“I’m wired the same way,” he said.

Last season, Ramsey helped limit Hopkins to five catches for 52 yards and a touchdown in a 38-28 Rams victory at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Hopkins had four catches for 35 yards in an 18-7 season-ending defeat by the Rams at SoFi Stadium.

First place in the NFC West is on the line when the Rams and Arizona Cardinals meet Sunday. Which undefeated team is the favorite to win in Week 4?

Oct. 1, 2021

Ramsey, Morris and coach Sean McVay were cagey when asked if Ramsey would shadow Hopkins on Sunday.

“I’m sure he’ll have his moments on him,” Morris said.

Ramsey has utilized his competitiveness and intelligence to grow into a player that is “bringing people with him,” McVay said.

“He seems like he’s having fun,” McVay said, “and it’s fun to watch him do his thing.”


Running back Darrell Henderson was limited at practice and is listed as questionable, according to the injury report. McVay said before practice, however, he expected Henderson would be available to play Sunday. Receiver Tutu Atwell (illness) returned and was a full participant. McVay said Cooper Kupp or DeSean Jackson could return punts against the Cardinals if Atwell was not available. … Linebacker Obo Okoronkwo is expected to be activated for the first time this season. Okoronkwo was on injured reserve because of a neck/shoulder issue.