New England Patriots

Jalen Ramsey first made a name for himself by being very, extremely good at his job. He’s arguably the best cornerback in the NFL as he enters his third season. But he’s starting to make even more of a name for himself with his recent interviews, particularly with his brash talk against future opponents.

Ramsey’s newest target happens to be, without question, the best at his position in the NFL and maybe the best ever. Yes, Ramsey said out loud that he’s not impressed with Rob Gronkowski.

“I don’t think Gronk’s good,” Ramsey said while making a face at the mere mention of the tight end’s name. Speaking in an interview with Mina Kimes for ESPN The Magazine, Ramsey saw Kimes’ reaction to that comment and decided to immediately re-phrase. It didn’t get much better.

“Let me say – I don’t think Gronk is as great as people think he is,” Ramsey said. “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.” To be fair, Gronk had a quiet day in the AFC Championship Game against the Jaguars, catching just one pass on three targets in the first half before leaving with a concussion. But his one catch came with Ramsey in coverage.

According to the story, Ramsey bases his Gronk take off data from the Jaguars’ analytics staff. That includes his catch rate dropping from 71 percent to 56 percent when lining up outside rather than inside.

Rob Gronkowski is hit by Barry Church of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second quarter during the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

You don’t need analytics, however, to understand that part of the greatness of Brady, Gronkowski, and the Patriots is that they take advantage of mismatches. The Patriots are great at getting Gronk into favorable matchups against undersized defensive backs or slower linebackers, where he can exploit and overpower them.

It’s smart. Just because Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels don’t stubbornly have him butt heads with an elite corner like Ramsey on every snap doesn’t mean Gronk isn’t good. People with eyes know he’s an excellent player regardless of who he’s facing. This argument is just as annoying as people who weren’t impressed with Brady in Super Bowl XLIX because “he didn’t throw to Richard Sherman once!” Yes, because he’s not stupid.

Anyway, of course Gronk is going to have more trouble with big, talented defensive backs like Ramsey than he would with someone who’s overmatched. Ramsey played well overall against him in the AFCGG. The Chiefs’ Eric Berry shut him down in Week 1 last season. These are elite defenders. They should give any player a challenge, even the best.

Ramsey knew he misspoke as soon as the first comment spilled out of his mouth. He knows damn well Gronk is good, and in fact he’d probably acknowledge off the record that Gronk is one of the greats at the tight end position. He’s just an outrageously outspoken person, and someone like myself is ultimately thankful for the content.

If nothing else, this will make the Patriots’ Week 2 matchup at the Jaguars a little more interesting. Looking forward to Gronk’s response … “I didn’t hear about that. He’s a great player.”

— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.