Earlier this month, GQ’s deep dive on Jaguars corner Jalen Ramsey caused a stir when Ramsey strafed a bunch of quarterbacks with harsh reviews.
New week, new deep dive, this one from ESPN’s Mina Kimes. And the targets this time are Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola.
“In generall . . . fans underestimate the effect that quarterback play has on wide receivers. For example, he says, look at Danny Amendola, who just signed with Miami. "Or is it Edelman?" he asks out loud. He mulls it over. No -- he's thinking of Amendola. "He just got a brand-new contract and he is terrible," he says. "People think he's so great. No, he's not. Tom [Brady] made him look good. Tom could take me as a receiver and I'd be a first-team All-Pro.".
Kimes offers up Gronk as a rebuttal.
"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. "Literally nothing. He may have had, like, one catch," he says. (Ramsey is correct, though Gronkowski left before halftime because of a concussion.)
The kernels of truth in Ramsey’s statements are what make his trash-talk so much more interesting than, say, blather we used to hear from someone like Terrell Suggs.
Brady undoubtedly got more from Amendola than most quarterbacks would have because Brady is really good and -- over five seasons together -- he and Amendola reached a point where they could outthink and outmaneuver defenses. And Amendola is smaller and a lot less imposing than conventional receivers.
But alleging Amendola is “terrible” conveniently overlooks his short-area explosiveness, leaping ability, game sense and hands. He’s been a good player in the NFL for a decade.
As for Gronk, Ramsey is right. When he’s covered by corners, his size advantage is occasionally negated somewhat by smaller, quicker players who can get under him and agitate.
But if a team has to use its No. 1 corner to deal with a tight end, the defensive domino effect that follows leads to matchups elsewhere that Brady will pick on.
Which, in a roundabout way, is the point Ramsey was trying to make. The quarterback makes all the difference in the world.
The Patriots will see Ramsey in person in Week 2.