Mon, 24 Jan 2022

Rams' Jalen Ramsey to face Jags, whom he couldn't wait to leave

Field Level Media
03 Dec 2021, 14:40 GMT+10

Jalen Ramsey has three interceptions this season, and you can rest assured the standout cornerback would like to add to that count when the Los Angeles Rams host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

The 27-year-old veteran will be suiting up for the Rams (7-4) for the 36th time when he faces his former club for the first time.

Ramsey's antics were often over the top during his three-plus seasons with the Jaguars, and things got ugly when he clashed with then-coach Doug Marrone early in the 2019 season. He requested a trade and repeatedly criticized the franchise until Jacksonville dealt him to the Rams in mid-October.

He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection for the Jaguars and has added two more Pro Bowl appearances to the resume with the Rams. First-year Jacksonville coach Urban Meyer isn't surprised after viewing film of Ramsey.

"You know that I would like to have him," Meyer said. "When he left here, I was like, I didn't follow it that closely, but, 'What in the world?' I see what I see on videotape."

Two-plus years later, Ramsey says he has no hard feelings against the Jaguars.

"Just because I'm genuinely grateful for my time there and that whole experience," Ramsey said Thursday. "It was a part of my life that I needed, that I appreciated it. I went through things there that make me a better man today, make me appreciate the situation I'm in today even more, just some things I went through there. I'm grateful for that part of my journey."

Ramsey's journey now leads to a matchup against a Jacksonville team that is struggling to put points on the board.

The Jaguars (2-9) have averaged 11.4 points while losing four of their past five games, including their last three. Jacksonville ranks 31st in scoring offense at 15.7 points per game.

Meyer said the team will switch to a faster up-tempo style that is pleasing to quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The No. 1 overall draft pick threw three touchdown passes in his NFL debut against the Houston Texans on Sept. 12, but hasn't thrown for more than one in a game since then.

In fact, Lawrence's touchdown pass in last Sunday's 21-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons was his first since Oct. 31.

"The last few weeks, we've kind of been a little stagnant offensively," Lawrence told reporters. "We've had a few good possessions here and there, but it's not as consistent as we want to be. I really felt like last week was the first game in a couple of weeks where we really got in a flow and it felt good."

The loss to Atlanta was the Jaguars' 15th straight against NFC teams. Their last such win came against the New York Giants 20-15 in Week 1 of the 2018 season.

The Rams have their own issues with three straight setbacks. Los Angeles allowed an average of 31.7 points in the defeats and scored 16 or fewer points in two of the games.

"I still got all the money on this Rams rush," Los Angeles outside linebacker Von Miller said. "I'm really excited to see what we do in the future. We've got six games left."

The Rams fell 36-28 to the Green Bay Packers last Sunday in a game they trailed by 19 after three quarters. Los Angeles coach Sean McVay said he was looking past the football aspect when examining what has gone on during the skid.

"These things present a rare opportunity to really learn about people, and you almost appreciate them even more in the way that our guys came in today," McVay said Wednesday.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown five interceptions during the slide after tossing just four through the first eight games. Stafford did throw three touchdown passes against Green Bay to raise his season count to 27, second in the NFL.

The Rams are still working on getting Odell Beckham Jr. acquainted with the offense to be a complementary option behind star Cooper Kupp, who leads the NFL with 92 receptions and 1,237 yards and is tied for the league lead with 10 touchdowns.

Beckham (hip) was limited during Wednesday's practice. Running back Darrell Henderson Jr. (thigh) and cornerback David Long Jr. (non-COVID illness) sat out.

As for Jacksonville, linebacker Myles Jack (knee) and cornerback Shaquill Griffin (concussion) were among the five players who sat out.

--Field Level Media

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