"We're going to give the people a show the first game of the season."
-- Jalen Ramsey
Showtime is upon the NFL, and fans aren't the only ones who will be watching an individual matchup in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday when Ramsey lines up opposite Odell Beckham Jr.
Players who have faced both of them talked to ESPN about what makes each unique, what kind of trash-talking the two will be engaging in and who they expect to win the matchup when Ramsey covers the New York Giants superstar.
What does Ramsey do that most cornerbacks don't?
Los Angeles Chargers receiver Tyrell Williams (18 routes, 5 targets, 4 receptions, 105 yards, 1 receiving TD when lined up opposite Ramsey): "Being super-athletic, he kind of trusts his athleticism a lot. So he's able to not guess, but kind of bait you into stuff. And he's so fast that he's able to recover on stuff, so he's kind of a physical freak, being long and fast. He's able to rely on that stuff, and he's a smart player, too."
Philadelphia Eagles receiver Mike Wallace (23 routes, 5 targets, 1 reception, 15 yards, 0 TDs when lined up opposite Ramsey): "He can touch you from so far away because he's got a lot of length. He's one of the most athletic guys in the game. I think he's arguably the best cornerback in the game."
Indianapolis Colts receiver Chester Rogers (28 routes, 3 targets, 3 receptions, 48 yards, O TDs when lined up opposite Ramsey): "He deserves the credit he gets because he can take away one side of the field. He picks and chooses his opponent when it comes to being physical at the line of scrimmage. He's not a guy who is going to press every time. He switches it up. He's the type of cornerback you love competing against."
Describe his trash talk. How personal does he get?
Rogers: "He talks. His mouth is always running. But it's nothing crazy. He doesn't cross the line with the things he says. He's never said anything about my family or anything like that. He talks his trash because that's what you're supposed to do. It's just a game. I like it."
Wallace: "He didn't talk trash to me but he was talking to some of my teammates. He got real personal, talking about your game, how sad you are, you can't move, you can't do this, you can't do that. When we played against him maybe two years ago [when Wallace played for the Ravens], him and Steve [Smith] had a real beef, they got into it. It was one of the biggest things of the whole season with the media and everything like that. A lot of personal cursing back and forth. 'Mother F' this and 'Mother F' that. A lot of that type of stuff."
"That's great on great, honestly. That dude Jalen, not taking anything away, dude's a baller. Watch his tape all the time. And Odell at the same time, those are going to be great, great competitions." Joe Haden
New England Patriots receiver Chris Hogan (22 routes, 3 targets, 2 receptions, 20 yards, 0 TD): "He keeps it PG for the most part. He's a competitor. He likes to compete and he likes to let you know you're competing against him."
What does Beckham do that most wide receivers don't?
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden (lined up opposite Beckham for 23 routes, including 9 targets, 4 receptions, 85 yards, 1 touchdown): "Super-quick, fast, humongous hands, can go up and grab everything. My thing is, the more difficult receivers for me are more like my size that I can't really get my hands on and are super-duper quick. He's one of those dudes that has everything."
Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (lined up opposite Beckham for 39 routes, including 13 targets, 7 receptions, 86 yards and a TD): "He's a great athlete and he makes plays. He's trying to score all the time. Like even on little quick passes, he's trying to break tackles, he's very shifty. That's his thing. He's a competitor. He loves to compete. Sometimes, as you can see, he's had some bad instances, but that's because he's super-competitive. That's a good thing. It can boil over and have some bad showings, but it's coming from a good spot, honestly. You see all the physical things he can do with catches and running, but he's very, very competitive and he wants to win at all times."
Describe his trash talk. How personal does he get?
Haden: "Honestly, he really doesn't. I'm not too much of a talker, either. I think he's more of a guy where if you start it up, then it is what it is, but I don't think he's really bringing it there originally. And I know how defensive guys feel when he's catching it, getting up, dancing, talking, doing all that, maybe not even the talking but just the actions that seem like they are disrespectful. That's probably how the talking starts."
Grimes: "He doesn't talk to me. I can't speak to what he talks to other guys. I'm not really a big trash-talker. Maybe if somebody's talking to him, he talks a lot -- I don't know. I just think he's a great player. There [are] a lot of great receivers. He's definitely one of them."
Who wins the matchup?
Haden: That's great-on-great, honestly. That dude Jalen, not taking anything away, dude's a baller. Watch his tape all the time. And Odell at the same time, those are going to be great, great competitions. I can see Odell getting him, but at the same time, receivers are going to get theirs and Jalen is going to get his. It's going to be just a battle."
Williams: "I'm always going to side with the receiver. It's going to be a good matchup. They're both great players, so it will be fun to watch."
Green Bay Packers receiver Randall Cobb: (ran 19 routes when lined up opposite Ramsey in Ramsey's first NFL game, including 2 targets, 1 reception for 10 yards, 0 TDs): "It all depends if the quarterback comes his way. With a guy like Odell, he's definitely going to get targets. You would imagine that they would have that opportunity, but I think it comes down to balls in the air. As a receiver you can beat a corner on a play and the ball gets thrown somewhere else. In our mind that's a win. In their mind that's a win for them because they didn't have the target. "
Grimes: "I don't know. I can't call it. They're both good. It's whatever happens. That's gonna be a good game. It's football. They're both competitors. There's gonna be some plays Odell makes, they're gonna be plays Jalen makes. We'll see what happens. But I can't call, 'Oh, Odell is gonna go off' or 'Jalen's gonna shine.' I don't really know. We'll have to wait and see, wait and see what happens.