For the second straight week, Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey will be facing an offensive player who has in at least one past game reacted strongly enough to an opponent to get himself suspended. Last week, OBJ avoided taking the cheese. This week, Gronk will try to do the same.
“There can always be talking going back and forth, tempers getting heated up and everything,” Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski told reporters on Wednesday regarding his preparation for a Jaguars defense that may try to bait him. “You just got to keep your cool, and I don’t see any benefit to getting a 15-yard penalty out on the field because you lose your cool. So, you’ve just got to keep your cool and keep your head on straight.”
Gronkowski failed to do that last year against the Bills, ultimately blowing a gasket and pouncing on Bills defensive back Tre'Davious White. The league suspended Gronkowski for one game as punishment for his behavior.
“I’ve had players on my team before where they just get in people’s heads and they react and then they get the 15-yard penalty, so you’ve just got to keep your head straight, keep your cool and just play ball,” Gronkowski said.
He admitted that he finds motivation, but also doesn’t find motivation, in recent criticism from Ramsey that appeared in ESPN The Magazine.
“There’s always motivation you’re looking for,” Gronkowski said. “It does and it doesn’t. . . . Because it motivates you to hear that. Obviously, there’s something out there that he saw on film and stuff that I can probably get better at football in some certain categories. You don’t always feel the best every single day when you’re out on the field, so if that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels.”
“I don’t think Gronk’s good,” Ramsey said regarding Gronkowski. “Let me say, I don’t think Gronk is as great as people think he is. . . . 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.”
“I mean, if that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels,” Gronkowski said Tuesday. “It’s a big game this Sunday, we’re playing them. I’m sure I’m going to have opportunities to go versus him. I’m sure he’s going to have opportunities to go versus me. I’m just preparing like I always prepare. I’ve got to just do my job out on the field, just worry about that.”
Gronkowski hasn’t worried about communicating with Ramsey in advance of Sunday’s game.
“I don’t have his number and he doesn’t have mine,” Gronkowski said.
However, the two players apparently agree on Gronk’s aversion to be covered by corners. If he had his way, he’d be facing a different type of player on a regular basis.
“I like going versus D-lineman, not in the blocking game, but when they drop in the passing game,” Gronkowski said.
Chances are the Jaguars won’t be throwing that curve at Gronkowski on Sunday, as the two AFC finalists meet early in 2018 for a rematch.