Packers rookies Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs will get first earful of Rams CB Jalen Ramsey
GREEN BAY – When the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams faced each other in the playoffs two years ago, receiver Davante Adams and cornerback Jalen Ramsey couldn’t even wait until kickoff to start trash talking.
Ramsey was caught on tape before warmups responding to something Adams said, presumably about whether the three-time all-pro was up for the challenge of going head-to-head the entire game.
“Then don’t run,” Ramsey yelled at Adams. “Make sure you go where I go.”
The rest of the day was a school yard one-off as the two knocked each other around and talked trash afterward. Adams caught nine passes for 66 yards and a touchdown in the Packers’ 32-18 victory at Lambeau Field.
Adams was traded in the offseason, so the best-against-best matchup between them this year occurred last week when the Las Vegas Raiders and Rams met Thursday night.
Ramsey’s targets when the Rams come to town for a Monday night meeting will include rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, which should make for an interesting evening. When and how much Ramsey matches up against the youngsters will depend on the Rams’ game plan, but it’s going to happen.
“They won’t be intimidated,” veteran receiver Sammy Watkins, a former teammate of Ramsey’s, said Friday. “They’ve played enough ball this year not to be intimidated. I think we all know he’s the top cornerback and he’s going to talk trash. And I think it will be critical to play their game. Don’t let him dictate anything.”
It might be easier said than done for the typical rookie, but lately Watson is on a touchdown tear with eight in his past four games. And Doubs returns from a four-game absence due to a high ankle sprain with 31 catches for 314 yards and three touchdowns under his belt.
Ramsey is going to want a piece of them. It’s questionable whether he’ll follow Watson around wherever he goes, given his recent hot streak, but they will meet up. Same with Doubs, who stands to benefit if the Rams decide to keep a safety over the top against Watson.
Whatever the case, the two better be ready for an earful. They vowed not to let it get to them.
“I’m not a trash talker,” Doubs said. “I never was a fan of it. And that’s pretty much what this entire league is and I don’t care. I know I can play ball, so I can care less what he says. If anything, I laugh at it.
“You can be a great player and talk trash and you can also be trash and still talk. A lot of dudes thrive on it. I think it’s pointless, but some may think otherwise.”
It doesn’t mean that Doubs won’t enjoy facing Ramsey. He said he’s ready to get back to the full complement of snaps he was receiving before getting hurt, but he doesn’t know how much coach Matt LaFleur will let him play or if he’ll line up on Ramsey’s side more than a few times.
Regardless, he welcomes the challenge.
“He’s one of the best in the game,” Doubs said. “He’s one of the highest-paid in the league. I know what greatness looks like. I go against Jaire (Alexander) and so I’ll go up against him. I know I’ll get some reps, Christian will get some reps, we’ll all get some reps against him.”
Watson may be more of a target. He doesn’t know how the Rams will react to the four-game stretch in which he has caught 15 passes for 313 yards and seven touchdowns. Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris has had 10 days to prepare for the Packers and will have a plan to keep the rookie in check.
It would be quite the honor if Ramsey followed him wherever he went, but the Rams have two other good covermen in slot corner Troy Hill and outside corner Derion Kendrick.
“At the end of the day, regardless of who is across from me, my goal is to win on that play,” Watson said. “But I mean if they try to cloud me or protect things over the top, someone else is going to be open.
“The caliber of a player like Jalen Ramsey, you know, he's a really good player. But I'm not thinking into that too much. I know he’s going to talk a lot, I know he’s going to be pretty chippy. But I’ve got to do me.”
Watkins said he’s interested to see how the rookies fare against Ramsey and the entire receiver room has talked about what they need to do to attack him. He can be unpredictable given the freedom he gets from his coaches, so the focus has to be on sticking to the plan.
“We have to dictate what they do as far as our releases and stems and stuff like that,” Watkins said. “You’re going to have to find one or two plays to change things. Don’t run straight line. Be a little bit different. He’s a savvy veteran. He knows how things work, how things are meant to be done.”