Rams’ Jalen Ramsey is grateful for corner of his NFL life with Jacksonville
He was selected fifth in the 2016 NFL draft and played three-plus seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
But Rams star cornerback Jalen Ramsey said Thursday that it would be just another game when the Rams play his former team Sunday at SoFi Stadium.
Ramsey, 27, earned three Pro Bowl selections with the Jaguars. But his time with the team also was marked by his arrival to 2019 training camp in a vehicle that resembled a bank truck, an on-field argument with former coach Doug Marrone and, reportedly, a request to be traded.
In October 2019, the Rams sent two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick to the Jaguars in exchange for Ramsey. Eleven months later, they gave him a five-year extension that included $71.2 million in guarantees and could be worth as much as $105 million.
“I’m genuinely grateful for my time there and that whole experience,” Ramsey said of Jacksonville after practice. “Like, it was a part of my life that I needed, that I appreciated, and I went through things there that make me a better man today, make me appreciate the situation I’m in today even more.
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“Just some things I went through there. … I’m grateful for that part of my journey. Now, I’m super blessed and happy to be on this part of my journey too.”
Since Ramsey’s arrival in Los Angeles, Rams coaches and teammates have spoken often about his leadership and maturity.
Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris said he did not expect Ramsey’s demeanor to be different Sunday when he plays against his former team for the first time.
“His maturity level has taken off to a whole different level when it comes to those type of things,” Morris said. “Before, I think he … felt like he had to garnish attention at times. ...
“I think he wants people to stop looking at him, and now challenge him more so he can make some more plays and be more part of the game as much as he possibly can. So, I think he just views the game a little bit differently now.”
Ramsey aims to help change the trajectory of the Rams’ season Sunday.
The Rams (7-4) are coming off a 36-28 defeat to the Green Bay Packers, a loss that extended their losing streak to three games. They will be favored against the Jaguars (2-9), who are struggling under first-year coach Urban Meyer.
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Ramsey has lined up as an outside cornerback, inside cornerback, linebacker and edge rusher. He has intercepted three passes. One sealed a victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Another clinched a victory against the Detroit Lions. He also intercepted a pass in a loss to the Tennessee Titans.
“He’s got one of the best game-day demeanors of anybody I’ve ever been around in terms of a fearlessness, but a confidence,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “He’s got a controlled aggression during the course of games that I think is really impressive.
“And then he’s bringing people with him.”
Ramsey and the Rams defense, however, have been challenged to create turnovers during the losing streak. In each defeat, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford committed errors that resulted in multiple touchdowns and forced the Rams to play from behind.
“I don’t think we’ve done bad,” Ramsey said of the defense. “I think we can do better.”
According to McVay and Morris, early deficits have hindered the Rams from fully unleashing a pass rush that features Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd and Von Miller.
Newly acquired Von Miller says there is no need to worry about the defense as long as the Rams stop making mistakes to put themselves way behind early.
“You’re not going to see it unless we can capture leads, unless we can go out there and play more even ball,” Morris said. “You’ve got to go out and dictate terms, and when you dictate terms, you get games where you get to rush the passer, you get more opportunities.”
Ramsey said the defense needs to be more dominant and create turnovers. His interception against the Titans is the only turnover forced by the Rams defense in three games.
“That kind of goes hand in hand,” he said. “For us to be dominant, we need to get those turnovers. And we haven’t gotten as many as we need.”
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