Trash talking an opposing team’s best wide receiver has become part of the weekly game plan for Jalen Ramsey. But when it comes to covering Antonio Brown the Jaguars All-Pro cornerback pays the Steelers leading receiver the upmost respect.
“There’s not many receivers that I would say are one of the best in the league, because that’s not true,” said Ramsey. “But that’s the truth about him. He’s an elite player. He’s highly regarded by everybody.”
This season Brown led the NFL with 1533 receiving yards, even though he missed the final two games of the regular season with a calf injury. Ramsey admitted that he views this match-up as measuring stick for himself.
This will be round No. 2 for Brown vs. Ramsey. Back in October the Jaguars won 30-9 in Pittsburgh. The overall battle that day was clearly won by the Jaguars who intercepted Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger five times and sacked him twice. Brown finished with 10 catches for 157 yards and no TDs, although most of his damage was done when the game was already out of reach.
Although Brown hasn’t played in a game in three weeks the Jaguars know he’s a threat any time he touches the ball. “He can run the deep routes or the immediate routes,” said Jaguars free safety Tashaun Gipson. “He can take a short gain and turn it into a long gain. If I’m drafting a wide receiver I’m taking him.”
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said that the Steelers are the most talented team that they have faced all season. Roethlisberger, Brown and running Le’Veon Bell get most of the headlines in Pittsburgh but Marrone and the Jaguars defensive staff also have a game plan in place for rookie receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
“An outstanding first year for him,” said Marrone. “He has a lot of good players around him. He makes other people around him better too. He’s really good run after the catch. He can make people miss. He was a good player coming out of college. You take a good player like him coming out of college and put him around a bunch of other good players and he has a chance to play and he has played extremely well. He’s one of many players that will be a challenge for us defensively to contain. I don’t know if it’s a team that you can stop. You have to make sure you can contain them.”