What a difference a great cornerback makes

What a difference a great cornerback makes

Jalen Ramsey, a Ram for all of five days, brought the secondary a swagger it hadn’t had in weeks, if not months. Ramsey joined Los Angeles in exchange for two first-round picks and a fourth-rounder, and immediately proved why it cost so much to pry him out of Jacksonville. After all, not everybody could take a month off in the middle of the season and match up with Julio Jones on his first play from scrimmage.’ data-reactid=”17″>The Rams notched only one win in the standings from Sunday’s 37-10 annihilation of the Falcons, but it felt like much more than that. Jalen Ramsey, a Ram for all of five days, brought the secondary a swagger it hadn’t had in weeks, if not months. Ramsey joined Los Angeles in exchange for two first-round picks and a fourth-rounder, and immediately proved why it cost so much to pry him out of Jacksonville. After all, not everybody could take a month off in the middle of the season and match up with Julio Jones on his first play from scrimmage.

Ramsey entered the game on the Rams’ third defensive snap, mouthguard dangling — as it always does — from his facemask. (It’s easier to talk clear, unimpeded trash that way.) From that play right on through the end of the game, he and Jones jabbed at each other on every snap, and when the Falcons weren’t able to convert on third down — which happened nine times out of 12 this game — Ramsey would hop-skip back to the Los Angeles sideline, jawing all the way at the Falcons sideline in general and Jones in particular.

Troy Hill said. “We kept talking to him. Communication was big out there. I felt like we gelled out there.”’ data-reactid=”33″>“Our coaches did a good job as far as, like, making it easy for him,” fellow cornerback Troy Hill said. “We kept talking to him. Communication was big out there. I felt like we gelled out there.”

“I feel like I played OK,” Ramsey said. “I got to get in my groove a little bit more. There’s maybe one, maybe two plays that I wanted to have back or play a little bit different … I want to know my safeties and know the guys I’m out with. I really trusted them a lot.”

Ramsey specializes in an in-your-face man-to-man defense that neutralizes an opponent’s best asset. He has been the ultimate shutdown cornerback since his days at Florida State, where he was the first true freshman to start at corner since a guy by the name of Deion. He edges up to the line, right in the receiver’s face, and cocks his arms like he’s about to get in the ring. And then it’s on.

“He doesn’t shy away from anybody, any challenge, any receiver,” safety Eric Weddle said. “You don’t know how his body is going to react. We had limited role for him, I just talked to him … just so he can play fast. It was fun.”

The Rams defense held Ryan to 16 completions, 159 yards and a 60.6 rating, all season lows. Ryan was one of the lone standouts of this miserable Falcons season, and the Rams took even that away from Atlanta.

“It was a full team effort,” Ramsey said. “We played sticky defense, sticky coverage, and a lot of man. I only had a couple of days to prepare so I really appreciate the guys going with their game plan because it wasn’t the best for them.”

per Football Outsiders. Thanks to losses against Seattle and San Francisco, Los Angeles is already a distant third in the race for the NFC West.’ data-reactid=”45″>There’s a bit of nice circularity in Sunday’s blowout, if you’re into that sort of thing: it was in this very building, eight months and 17 days ago, that the Rams got their spine, their spirit and their soul crushed in the Super Bowl. You could argue that the team hasn’t recovered from the Patriots beatdown; Goff has looked ordinary, and Gurley hasn’t even hit the level that made him a star. The offense’s efficiency has fallen from No. 2 last year to No. 17 this year, per Football Outsiders. Thanks to losses against Seattle and San Francisco, Los Angeles is already a distant third in the race for the NFC West.

There’s no doubt Sunday injected some life into this team. Granted, there’s only so much Ramsey can do on the field — he can’t help Goff make better decisions in the pocket, for instance. But he brings a presence that radiates throughout the secondary. That corner of the Rams’ locker room already sounds like they’re ready to run through walls for Ramsey.

“Obviously he’s the best corner in the league. We just helped him with a little bit of coverage. A player like him can hop in and just do his thing,” safety Marqui Christian said. “When you got a guy like him, that’s one half of the field locked down.”

Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.’ data-reactid=”53″>Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.



Source : Yahoo Sports Link

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