Patriots

Can Jaguars' Jalen Ramsey back up his dismissal of Rob Gronkowski?

Can Jaguars' Jalen Ramsey back up his dismissal of Rob Gronkowski?

If you listen closely, you can hear a high-pitched “beep-beep-beep” coming from northern Florida. That would be the sound of brilliant and brand-conscious cornerback Jalen Ramsey backing away from his offseason persona.

The Jaguar who was the subject of two deep-dive interviews with major magazines (GQ and ESPN The Magazine) in August and dutifully gave the people what they came for by strafing the league with opinions, has dummied up a bit.

Leading into last week’s game with the Giants, Ramsey downplayed his looming matchup with Odell Beckham by blaming “people” for trying to “make it about me and him specifically.”

“That’s not what it’s about. Football is a team game,” Ramsey added. 

Beckham caught 11 passes for 111 yards against the Jaguars. They weren’t all on Ramsey. They didn’t tip the game in New York’s favor. And there is no denying Ramsey is one of the top (if not the top) corner in the NFL. 

But when you take a flamethrower to the talents of virtually every skill position player in the league, your matchups are going to get scrutinized for evidence that you backed up your claims. Even if you don’t match up with whoever it was you scorched.

And among the scorches was Rob Gronkowski, the likely future Hall of Fame tight end who – when mentioned to Ramsey by ESPN’s Mina Kimes – elicited this response and passage.   

"I don't think Gronk's good." Registering my involuntary blinking, he course-corrects. "Let me say -- I don't think Gronk is as great as people think he is." Before the Patriots game, he explains, he had the Jaguars' analytics staffers pull some numbers for him. "Any time Gronk has been matched up with a corner, he's had a very bad game -- and that corner has had a very good game." (Gronk has performed much better when lined up in the slot than he has on the perimeter, where he's more likely to encounter elite corners -- his catch rate drops from 71 percent to 56 percent, which is lower than that of the average NFL tight end.)
 
I ask him what Gronk did in the AFC Championship Game. "Literally nothing. He may have had, like, one catch," he says. (Ramsey is correct, though Gronkowski left before halftime because of a concussion.)

The thing about Ramsey is that he can back up with his play every single check that he writes with his mouth. He’s brilliant. And his opinions – while maybe not always fact-based – are not fact-free.

Gronk is better against linebackers and safeties than he is against corners because he isn’t going to get the same level of separation against quicker outside players and they are expert (or should be) at disrupting when the ball arrives. Corners, as Jerod Mayo pointed out after this Ramsey quote was mentioned to him, are supposed to be able to cover better than linebackers and safeties.

Gronk would also knock a corner’s ass to Pluto in the running game, whereas it’s a much fairer fight for a linebacker.

The flip of this would be Gronk pointing out that Ramsey is a better tackler against wideouts than he is against running backs (I don’t know if that’s a fact...just a for instance).

It’s early in the week so we don’t know yet whether Ramsey will continue to be buttoned-down in his commentary. We hope not. Cuz...content. 

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Roger Goodell gives update on Patriots investigation, Antonio Brown and more

Roger Goodell gives update on Patriots investigation, Antonio Brown and more

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with reporters Wednesday at the league meeting in Dallas and provided updates on several different topics, including the ongoing investigation into the New England Patriots.

Here are the answers to some of the questions Goodell was asked.

On the Patriots-Bengals investigation...
The New England Patriots are being investigated by the NFL after a video crew taped the Cincinnati Bengals' sideline at last Sunday's Week 14 game in Cleveland. The Patriots said in a statement that the video crew was set there to shoot footage for an upcoming episode of their "Do Your Job" web series. 

There is no set timetable for when the investigation will be concluded, according to Goodell.

"I've actually been down here almost the entire time," Goodell said. "I only had an opportunity to spend some time with a couple of our staff. Obviously, it's under review. We're going to be thorough. We'll take our time and make sure we look at everything that's pertinent here, and then we'll make a decision."

Will the Patriots' history of illegal videotaping (a.k.a. Spygate) play a factor in this current investigation?

“Of course. That's a factor,” Goodell said. “But I think the key things are the new information that we have — that (old) information, we obviously already had. I think the issue is what information do we have from this incident.”

Does Goodell anticipate a conclusion to the investigation by the end of the season?

"I don't have any anticipation," he said. "We're going to be thorough. We're going to get all the facts. We'll go from there."

On the Antonio Brown investigation...
The investigation into the allegations made against former Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown has not concluded. Goodell noted investigators still have more work to do before giving the league an update.

“They still have not completed the investigation,” Goodell said. “The investigators did; I did not meet with Antonio. They have more work to do. They are following up on that. I will get an update when they have more information.”

Brown was released by the Patriots on Sept. 20 after a brief 11-day tenure in New England.

On the possibility of reseeding in the playoffs...
It's looking increasingly likely that the winner of the NFC East -- the Dallas Cowboys or Philadelphia Eagles -- will finish with a losing record, but based on the current playoff format, that division winner probably will host a team with 10-plus wins (likely the NFC West runner-up) in the Wild Card round. Should the league reseed in the playoffs to not give teams with losing records a home playoff game just because they won their division? Goodell admitted it's not something being discussed right now.

"This is not the first time this conversation has occurred, or the situation has occurred," Goodell said. "Teams go into the season and the first objective is to win the division. That's what they work on -- we win the division and we get in the playoffs. That is something that we've considered over the years. I have not heard that this year. I don't anticipate hearing it again. It's been discussed in the past, but I don't see that as an issue. If it comes up, we'll certainly have the conversation. I don't anticipate it."

These stats paint ugly picture for Patriots offense>>>

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Patriots add kicker, two other new players to practice squad

Patriots add kicker, two other new players to practice squad

The NFL's roster merry-go-round never stops, and the Patriots kept busy on the transaction wire Wednesday by signing three players to their practice squad: DE Eric Lee, DB Adarius Pickett, and K Josh Gable.

Gable's addition is the most out-of-the-box, as Phil Perry explained earlier Wednesday afternoon.

The 28-year-old never played college football, but made a name for himself with compilations of trick shot videos on YouTube. Gable most recently played for the Tucson Sugar Skulls of the Indoor Football League, where he went 6-for-16 on field goals and 50-for-57 on extra points.

The Patriots had brought him in for a workout earlier this season, but ultimately signed Mike Nugent, who only lasted four games.

As for Lee, this marks his second stint in Foxboro. New England signed the 25-year-old late in the 2017 season, and he racked up 2.5 sacks, four quarterback hits, and an interception in his first two games.

He played in Super Bowl LII against the Eagles, but didn't survive roster cuts for the 2018 season. He bounced on and off the Lions active roster and practice squad over the last two seasons.

Pickett, the final practice squad addition, is an undrafted rookie out of UCLA who spent some time with the Bears and Chargers earlier this year.

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