Former Arizona Wildcats tight end Rob Gronkowski and the New England Patriots take on Jacksonville this Sunday, setting up an interesting meeting against trash-talking cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
Read about Gronk's visit with the media this week, via the Patriots' media relations and check out the video above for Tedy Bruschi on ESPN talking about Gronk/Ramsey (starting at about the 3-minute mark).
Q: Any conversations with Jalen Ramsey this week?
RG: No, I don't have his number and he doesn't have mine.
Q: What are your thoughts about him saying stuff about you?
RG: I mean, if that's how he feels, that's how he feels. 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.
Q: Does that motivate you?
RG: For sure. There's always motivation you're looking for. It does and it doesn't. 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.
Q: Do you have to prepare for them baiting you into more words and 15-yard penalties?
RG: Oh, definitely during the game on the field. There can always be talking going back and forth, tempers getting heated up and everything. 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.
Q: Is that part of it? Do you think it's mind games, like he's trying to mess with your head?
RG: I'm not sure. I'm not down there. I'm not on the Jacksonville squad. It could be, and I've seen that done before. 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.
Q: One of the things he said is that when you face an elite corner, your catch percentage goes down from 71 percent to 56 percent. What do you think about that?
RG: That's some good percentages still. I mean, I don't really go into statistics like that. I've just got to play ball. That's basically all. I've got to come out and play ball.
Q: Do you like it when someone starts it up a little bit? Do you enjoy the added level of competition?
RG: Depending on game, depending on atmosphere and I'm sure one of these games will probably be like that. There's some times you enjoy it, some times you really don't think it's necessary, but I feel like this game, you've got to keep your head on a swivel and be ready at all times and be ready for anything.
Q: How good are guys like Myles Jack and Telvin Smith at being able to affect the offense?
RG: Their linebackers are fast and they can get to the ball, they can cover and you've got to be ready at all times. They've got a little different style of play with how fast they are. It's usually not typical to see guys that are that fast in the middle of the field, but they are and got to be prepared for it.
Q: If somebody engages you in talk on the field, will you talk back?
RG: 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. 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.
Q: What level of trash-talker is Tom Brady?
RG: One out of 10.
Q: That low?
RG: Yeah, right?
Q: He's not good?
RG: He's focused always. He gets going sometimes out on the field, I've seen him. Depending on the game, depending on the situation, where he is compared to the defensive players. He hands off the ball, he's 10 yards back, so it's not like he can really get after it. I would say usually on his QB sneaks is when he talks trash if he does.
Q: Can you talk about the importance of taking care of the football against this Jacksonville defense?
RG: It's very important. I didn't do that good of a job last week and definitely can focus on that this week in practice, just throughout the week and ball security is huge. I think they get a turnover one out of every five possessions they average. That statistic right there is unbelievable. It just shows how good of a defense they are, and you can't just go out there and just jog around. You've got to be ready in all parts of the game -- run game, pass game. When you have the ball, you've got to protect it and get up the field.
Q: One of Jalen Ramsey's criticisms of you is your struggle against corners. Do you have a preference to who covers you?
RG: I like going versus D-lineman, not in the blocking game, but when they drop in the passing game.
Q: Linebackers would be your second preference?
Q: Then corners?
Q: Do you remember the first time someone trash-talked you?
RG: Oh, I got it all the time when I was younger. It's just part of the game. It's part of being an athlete. There's opportunities you can take in it and take advantage of it and there's other times where if you take it the wrong way, you can lose your cool and it can go the opposite way and hurt your team. I've just got to keep doing what I've got to do and keep doing my job.
Q: Do you think Jalen Ramsey is the best trash-talker in the NFL?
RG: There's a lot of good trash-talkers in the league but I'll put him right up there for sure.