Rams' Jalen Ramsey plays it cool about facing Tom Brady and the Buccaneers

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Los Angeles Rams' Jalen Ramsey (5) celebrates his interception with Darious Williams (11) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (5) celebrates his game-clinching interception against the Colts with Darious Williams. (Michael Conroy / Associated Press)

Don’t expect Jalen Ramsey to get overly amped about playing against Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

Ramsey, star cornerback for the Rams, has utmost respect for Brady — “the greatest to play the game,” he said — but the two-time All-Pro said he takes every opponent seriously and does not place more importance on one game over another.

“It’s definitely cool though,” he said of matching up against Brady. “It’s something cool to like be playing against somebody who you believe is the greatest to ever do it.”

The game between the unbeaten teams could be a preview of an NFC playoff game in January.

Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris is deploying Ramsey from numerous spots, sometimes as an outside cornerback, inside cornerback, safety and linebacker. Last Sunday, Ramsey intercepted a pass in the final minutes to clinch a 27-24 road victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Ramsey, a two-time All-Pro, switched his jersey from No. 20 to No. 5 this season. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians, after recounting the multiple ways Ramsey can line up, sounded pleased that the single digit stood out. The better to avoid confusion, Arians intimated.

“That’s one number I’m glad he’s wearing,” Arians told Los Angeles reporters. “We can find him now.”

This is the fourth time that Ramsey will face Brady, including twice when Ramsey played for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In the 2017 postseason, Brady led the New England Patriots to a 24-20 AFC championship game victory over the Jaguars. During the 2018 regular season, the Jaguars defeated the Patriots, 31-20.

Last season, Ramsey had six tackles in the Rams’ 27-24 victory at Tampa.

Ramsey, the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL, teams with lineman Aaron Donald to give the Rams foundational pieces for a defense that must neutralize the NFL’s top-scoring offense.

“It’s not just those two though,” Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles told Tampa reporters this week. “They have good players really all over there in every position.

“That’s what I think may get overlooked. You don’t play defense at the level they played it with two good guys.”

Brady has passed for nine touchdowns, with two interceptions, for a Buccaneers team that defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 31-29, in their opener and the Atlanta Falcons, 48-25, last Sunday.

Brady is only one of the stars for an offense that also features receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and tight end Rob Gronkowski, among others.

“He does a good job of leading his team, having his team ready to play,” Ramsey said of Brady. “That's one thing that I respect even more is just his team's always ready.

“No matter who it is.”

Etc.

Running back Darrell Henderson (ribs) did not practice. Coach Sean McVay said Henderson could be a game-time decision based on his pain threshold. Sony Michel is expected to start. ... Cornerback Darious Williams did not practice because of illness, but McVay said he expected Williams will play Sunday. Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (ankle), who had sat out two days of practice, was a full participant at practice.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.