Jalen Ramsey dishes on ‘star’ role, unique All-Pro aspirations and Rams’ blessing in disguise

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·8 min read
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  • Los Angeles Rams
    Los Angeles Rams
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Jalen Ramsey
    Jalen Ramsey
    American football player
  • Cooper Kupp
    Cooper Kupp
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|

Jalen Ramsey has been a star for the Rams ever since he was acquired by Los Angeles in 2019. But this season, he took on a new role that literally made him a “star.” After mostly playing on the outside throughout his career, Ramsey has moved inside to the slot or the box on nearly half of his snaps – a role the Rams and other teams call the “star.”

In an interview with Rams Wire, Ramsey opened up about the way the team has deployed him this season, saying it’s “probably the most fun” he’s had in his entire career. And now that he’s playing more than just cornerback, he hopes to do something special by being named an All-Pro at corner and defensive back – similar to the way Christian McCaffrey received that honor at RB and Flex in 2019.

Ramsey also discussed Cooper Kupp’s remarkable season, LA’s dominant pass rush, his search for that elusive first sack and why December’s COVID-19 hurdles might’ve been a blessing in disguise for the Rams.

Do you find that playing the star spot prevents teams from avoiding you in coverage? You’ve been targeted more this season than last. Do you welcome that?

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

“It’s definitely something I welcome and it’s been fun seeing the different game planning of other offenses trying to figure out where I’ll be, if I’ll be inside or at outside corner. At times, they’ll still try to go away from me but being able to move around so much, we try to have me in positions where the ball is forced to come my way, so I’m able to make a play and make an impact for the whole team. That is something I definitely welcome and something I hope I can continue making a big impact for the team.”

You’re the only player with 15 PBUs and 5 TFL. Do you take as much pride in tackling and stopping the run as you do covering receivers?

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

“I do, for sure. Hopefully with this last game, I can add to that total. I think I only need one, maybe two TFLs to have 10. That’s something big for me because I’ve exceeded all of my career numbers in a lot of areas this year and I’ve been able to make sure my impact has been seen and known. This year I’m definitely happy with how my role’s been going and hopefully after this week when All-Pros come out, maybe I can do something super special and not only be an All-Pro corner, but an All-Pro DB, as well. So get All-Pro in both of those things.”

What’s your favorite type of coverage to play? Man up outside? Hook zone over the slot?

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

“It depends on the game, depends on the game plan. It just depends on who we’re playing. Sometimes I may want to be inside and try to get in more action. Get into run fits sometimes and control the perimeter screens, things like that. But there are other times where I miss being on the island and being in man-to-man coverage and telling my safeties and other players that they can free up to go make plays and if the ball is forced my way, being able to stand up and make a play with the team.”

Do you miss being on an island on the outside, going up against No. 1 receivers?

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

“At times, I’ll miss it. But honestly, playing that star role is extremely fun. I would say at times, I miss it, but I love the way I’ve been playing this year. I love that star role. It’s been probably the most fun I’ve had all career is playing this year.”

You’ve come close to sacking the QB but still haven’t yet. How badly do you want that first sack?

(AP Photo/Eric Smith)

“Me and some of the guys and coaches joke about it all the time because it’s crazy how I still don’t have one. If it’s for me, then it’s for me. If it comes, it does and I’ll be happy. Trust me, I’ve been practicing my sack celebrations with Von (Miller). Von’s the king of sack celebrations and sack dances. So I got it in store. I got it ready. If it happens, hopefully I don’t black out and do something else but if it comes, I’ll be super excited for it.”

What makes Cooper Kupp such a tough receiver to defend?

(AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

“I joked about this last week when I talked to the local media and I said, ‘Man, I lock up Cooper Kupp all the time in practice and during camp. I was half-serious and half-joking because honestly, me and Cooper have had some great battles – especially with me playing the star role, he’s helped me elevate my game and try to perfect my short-area quickness. Just playing in the slot because he is dominant in that slot. He is the best in the league doing it. He’s so savvy. He knows how to work off leverages. He knows how to read coverages pre-snap, during the middle of the play. And he knows how to use his strengths to be a strength and he knows how to limit his weaknesses so they’re not taken advantage of in the game. He’s just the ultimate professional and the ultimate teammate. I could go on and on about how good of a teammate he is, how good of a player he is.”

What does having a pass rush that features Aaron Donald, Von Miller and Leonard Floyd do for the secondary?

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

“It makes us play with a lot of confidence, I’ll tell you that much, knowing you have a pass rush that’s dominant and as good as these guys who have been doing it for years and years and years. And the way they’re leading the younger guys to come in and play and do it, as well, it lets us play free and with a lot of confidence. And honestly, it pushes us to up our game and try to be as dominant as they are up front on the back end.”

What’s been the biggest difference during this winning streak compared to November’s losing skid?

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

“I think we’re just catching our stride. Maybe all the issues that were going on with COVID and stuff, maybe it was a blessing in disguise because we kind of had to figure out some things and figure out who we are. We had to get together, be unified as a team, be unified as certain groups, go through some tough things with each other and still prevail in the end and know we can do that. We can go through the ups and downs and still lock in and focus and get wins at the end of the day. I think that was super good for us and when it’s about football, we’re going to make it about football and we’re going to ball out. We’re going to make it happen. So that was good to know we were doing it and I think that’s something we can build off of.”

What's been your view of the way Greg Gaines has played this season?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

“He has made some big plays for us. Just this past Sunday, a couple plays automatically stick out in my mind that he made and I know he was playing through a lot of pain and discomfort. What he’s done this year, it’s kind of been overshadowed because the guys we have on the defensive line and outside linebacker. But he’s stepped in when he’s needed to and his number’s been called. He’s been a baller for us. Plays with tremendous effort and a lot of heart, things you can’t measure. Sometimes people want to measure height and things like that, but man, he’s way more than that. He’s a really good football player and he’s been a really great piece of this defense.”

What makes the 49ers tough to beat?

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

“They have had our number. It’s OK to say. That’s the truth. They’ve played pretty good ball during those games that they’ve beat us. They’ve been physical during those games. We have to be super physical. We have to set the tone, not match the tone. We’ve got to be the tone-setters. We really do have to play good complementary football this week. Offense, defense and special teams. We have to limit turnovers on offense and we have to get some turnovers on defense, for sure. We fought through some adversity. We fought through losing turnover battles these last couple weeks. We fought through it, so we know we can do it. We know what we have in us, but it would be great to put it all together and end the season on a high note.”

What are you and Snickers up to with this new partnership?

“Me and Snickers partnered together for their initiative that they launched this year. They’re rewarding a fan with two tickets to Super Bowl LVI for entries about what they consider a rookie mistake in their life.”

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