Ramsey on Gronk? Expect a little of everything from the Jaguars

Ramsey on Gronk? Expect a little of everything from the Jaguars

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars are being quiet about what their plan is for dealing with New England tight end Rob Gronkowski on Sunday.

Expect a little bit of everything.

Linebackers Telvin Smith and Myles Jack, safeties Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson, and cornerback Jalen Ramsey are likely to all get reps against the 6-foot-6, 268-pound Gronkowski. Smith or Jack could get him with safety help over the top. Gipson might draw him in certain formations.

Or the Jaguars could go unconventional and put Ramsey — regarded as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL — on Gronkowski one-on-one. Bet on their best to limit one of the best tight ends in NFL history at TIAA Bank Field.

“This is definitely a tough matchup because he’s a big, physical guy,” said Gipson, who had his snaps against Gronkowski in last year’s AFC Championship Game. “Catch radius is tough. Any time you’re dealing with a guy like that it’s always tough. You throw up a prayer and a wish [and] it’s a good likelihood he might come down with it, so it’s always tough playing guys like that.

“Just like last year we’ve got a good game plan. I would like to tell you but I can’t. But just know, just like last year, we’ve got guys that we’re comfortable with covering and we’re going to definitely try to take advantage of our matchups and take advantage of our opportunities when we get a chance.”

Ramsey might have unintentionally tipped part of the Jaguars’ plan, however. When responding to a question about Gronkowski being the best tight end in NFL history, part of his answer included this: “He’s going to have to come out there and line up on me, or however it goes.”

Regardless of how the Jaguars cover Gronkowski, Gipson said the most important thing is to keep Gronkowski from making big plays. No long receptions in the seam. No jump balls or back-shoulder catches in the end zone. Limit the damage.

“It’s unrealistic to think that you’ll hold a guy like that catchless, so obviously you can’t get frustrated,” Gipson said. “You’ve just got to come down with the plays. You’ve got to definitely do your best no matter who’s guarding him, whether it’s Jalen, whether it’s myself, whoever’s guarding him, whoever’s on him for that opportunity.

“We’re going to win some, he’s going to win some, and that’s just part of good on good. He’s going against the best secondary in the National Football League. We’re going against the best tight end in the National Football League. It’s going to be a fun matchup.”

The Jaguars limited Gronkowski to one catch for 21 yards before he left the AFC title game late in the first half with a concussion because of a helmet-to-helmet hit from Church. Tom Brady didn’t throw Gronkowski a pass until seven minutes remained in the first half. Gipson was in coverage deep down the right sideline and Gronkowski got his hands on the ball, but couldn’t haul it in.

Brady went back to Gronkowski on the next play for a 21-yard gain. The Jaguars were in zone coverage and Ramsey hit Gronkowski hard after he caught the pass.

The only other throw to Gronkowski came with 1:23 remaining in the first half. Gipson had Gronkowski, who had lined up next to the right tackle, one-on-one, but he slipped just before the ball arrived. Gronkowski couldn’t haul it in and Church came over and delivered the helmet-to-helmet blow that knocked Gronkowski out of the game.

Smith said the Jaguars are pretty confident they can limit Gronkowski again on Sunday.

“It’s not like they go out and do something crazy,” Smith said. “They run him on the route. Most of the time it’s a basic route. And they’re throwing the ball and saying, ‘Go get it.’ We’ve just got to make sure that we stop him when they’re throwing the ball. We’re working. We’ve got good matchups.

“You know he’s a great player, so either you stop him or you’re going to see him do all that crazy dancing and stuff that he does.”

Gronkowski, who caught seven passes for 123 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots’ season-opening victory against Houston, has danced a lot. His 77 touchdown passes are the most of any player in the NFL since 2010.

“Hands down the best tight end in the league,” defensive coordinator Todd Wash said. “We faced a real good one last week, obviously, [in Evan Engram] but there’s no question he’s the Cadillac of tight ends in the league and we’re going to have our hands full.”

NFL News

via http://www.espn.com – NFL http://www.espn.com

September 15, 2018 at 06:38AM

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