Sunday’s matchup is full of some elite play. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ elite offense. The Jacksonville Jaguars’ elite defense. And by the sounds of it, some elite trash talking.
Throughout the week, each side has taken some shots and gotten in on the chirping. Jalen Ramsey cautioned Ben Roethlisberger to “be careful what you wish for,” after Roethlisberger’s comments about wanting to play the Jags again. And today, Ramsey responded to something Mike Mitchell said when he said the Steelers would beat the Jaguars.
Full context. Mitchell has taken issue with the context and timing of his quote, which we’ll put below, saying it was made weeks ago. From Greg Bishop’s excellent SI piece on Ryan Shazier, Mitchell said they were going to beat New England again.
“We’re going to play [the Patriots] again,” Mitchell promises. “We can play them in hell, we can play them in Haiti, we can play them in New England. . . . We’re gonna win.”
This was made well before the playoff schedule was set so Mitchell wasn’t taking a shot at the Jaguars or any specific opponent. Essentially, he only echoed what Mike Tomlin told Tony Dungy before the first Patriots’ game. And Mitchell made that point very clear on Twitter.
The quote all you guys are talking about is pulled from an interview done a month ago about Ryan’s shazier. Media shouldn’t pull one sentence out of a two day interview a month later and make it a story.
— Mike Mitchell (@iammikemitchell) January 11, 2018
So there’s every angle. The media outrage over these comments shouldn’t exist. But everything got lost in translation and the Jaguars seem set on using it as motivation this weekend. Ramsey was asked about these comments and chose to play dumb about who Mitchell was.
“Who?” Ramsey responded when a reporter clarified it was Mitchell making the comments.
Another reporter tried to help him out, mentioning it was the safety Leonard Fournette challenged in the first matchup.
“Ohhh, I don’t know him.”
So yeah, safe to say those two aren’t going to be swapping jerseys after the game.
They won’t see each other on the field either. But Ramsey is sure to get a heavy dosage of Antonio Brown, who he gave props to in the interview.
“Antonio is one of the best receivers in the league. He can about do it all, honestly. All around receiver. Good routes, good hands, just a good player man. Knows how to play ball.”
We’re not at a Bengals/Steelers level but the disrespect and dislike of each other seems in full swing for this weekend’s playoff matchup.