Super Bowl LVI will take place this Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. There are plenty of tantalizing matchups all over the field. None more so than Los Angeles Rams All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey against Cincinnati Bengals All-Pro wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. That’s best on best. Ramsey for one, hopes he has the opportunity to line up across from the rookie receiving sensation.
“It’s me now, it’s me, keep it real,” Ramsey said. “Of course, that’s what I’m asking for. That’s what I want. Whoever you think their best man is, put me on him. Let me help the team win this game. That’s what it’s all about.”
The confidence from Ramsey is not surprising. In his six seasons in the NFL he’s been named to the Pro Bowl five times and an All-Pro three. He’s that dude.
But football is such a team game. Eleven as one. All things must be flowing together to achieve ultimate success. It’s highly unlikely that Bengals’ offensive coordinator leaves Chase alone with Ramsey on an island all game long. They will want to create mismatches and look for advantages.
Ramsey understands this and knows there is a larger strategic game plan to work within.
“There are different areas where we might have to do something different because it might put the team in a better position to win. So, wherever the game may take us, it will take us and we are going to do what we’ve got to do from there. But you’re going to get to see that matchup, you’re going to have the opportunity to see it and I’m going to be ready for it.”
There is the flip side that Ramsey is alluding to here. If he shadows Chase all game, that could play into the Bengals’ hands offensively, allowing fellow receivers Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd favorable matchups to exploit.
The Bengals wide receivers know Ramsey is a problem, and they will be looking to gain any kind of edge they can.
“I think he’s definitely probably the best cornerback in the NFL,” Tyler Boyd said. “He’s a great player and he understands his assignments, he understands how to play football and he does a great job of doing that. So, we’ve got to be at our best — any one of us — when we go out there and line up in front of him to figure out ways to win our matchup.”
According to Football Outsiders, the Rams are fifth in defensive DVOA and sixth in weighted defensive DVOA. They are sixth in pass DVOA and fifth in run DVOA. Of course Aaron Donald and Von Miller play huge roles up front, but Ramsey’s shutdown ability is just as important.
Come Sunday, he will have to do what he’s basically done since he’s set foot in the NFL. Be great. He knows it.
“This is normal,” Ramsey said. “I’ve been the best in the game for years now, consistently showing greatness week in and week out. So, it’s another workday at the office for me on Sunday. I don’t really think about what anybody says about what I should do or how I should play, I have consistently been great over the years. So, I have shown that I will show up when I need to show up and that’s what I plan to do again on Sunday.”
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