New England Patriots

Just days away from their Week 2 head-to-head in Florida, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has made it clear: He doesn’t have Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s number, and Ramsey does not have his.

Not that you would expect the two to be friends, especially after the extremely outspoken Ramsey spent his summer trash-talking everybody in the NFL for not being all that great, including Gronkowski.

“Let me say – I don’t think Gronk is as great as people think he is,” Ramsey told ESPN. “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.”

“If that’s how [Ramsey] feels, that’s how he feels,” Gronkowski said Wednesday. “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.”

And while No. 87 was quick to brush it off, he couldn’t deny the fact that it does give him an extra boost this weekend.

“For sure,” Gronkowski said when asked if that motivates him heading into Sunday’s 2017 AFC Championship Game rematch, just with the venues changing. “There’s always motivation you’re looking for. It does and it doesn’t [motivate me].

“So, that’s tricky right there – doesn’t give you the answer you’re looking for. That was a trick question – you were trying to get me to say something, right? But, it does and it doesn’t, you know what I mean? 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.”

Although Ramsey’s mouth never stops — and when you’re that good, I suppose it doesn’t have to — his confidence to smack-talk Gronkowski comes after some research from Jacksonville’s analytics department (which suggested that Gronkowski’s catch rates go down when matched up against a cornerback) and after the Jaguar defense knocked him out of the 2017 AFC title game with a brutal headshot. That hit ended Gronkowski’s afternoon with just one catch for 21 yards on three targets.

There’s no doubt that both topics are likely to be brought up by Ramsey and the Jaguars this weekend, and while Gronkowski admitted that he’s willing to engage, he’s not trying to cross any lines and put his team in an unfavorable situation.

‘You’re allowed to talk smack back and forth out there on the field, but no, I’m not trying to get a 15-yard penalty for overdoing it or anything,” Gronkowski acknowledged. “That’s not one of my goals. I would say it’s not a team goal at all. But, you’ve got protect yourself, you’ve got to protect your teammates and you’ve got to stand up for yourself when it comes to that time.”