ALLEN PARK, Mich. – The Giants play the Jaguars in the opener on Sept. 9, but the game already is starting to get a little juicy.
When Eli Manning was asked if he had any comment about criticism levied against him by Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey, the quarterback, who had clearly not heard about the trash talk, gave a quick “No.” Then, when it dawned on him that he was engaged in a duel of words, Manning smirked and asked: “Who?”
It was a one-word return to a player that Manning has certainly heard of. Ramsey is not an unknown. He’s one of the top corners in the NFL on what is expected to be one of the top defenses in the league this season.
Ramsey had plenty to say about a lot of quarterbacks in an article in GQ that was published on Wednesday. On Manning, Ramsey said he thinks the quarterback is being carried by his wide receiver.
“It’s not really Eli,” Ramsey said. “I think it’s Odell [Beckham, Jr.]. I won’t say Eli’s good, I’ll say Odell’s good. And their connection is good.”
Those comments were quickly working their way through the Giants’ locker room after Wednesday’s joint practice with the Lions. They were quick to defend their 37-year-old teammate.
“Eli got here because he is a hard worker and a great quarterback,” Giants cornerback Eli Apple said. “He’s someone who is very accurate, watches a lot of film, puts a lot of time in. He definitely has the talent. Even now…. He’s still a great quarterback.”
Manning seemed amused by the whole thing, though his quick retort illustrated that there is still plenty of bite in him as he heads into his 15th NFL season. At this point in his career, though, he appears to know that the true battle will take place on the field and not through comments.
“Hey, I’ve got work to do,” he said, “and I’m going to be excited about Week 1 no matter what.”
RAMSEY'S BIGGEST HITS
Three days after being suspended for screaming obscenities at reporters, the Jaguars All-Pro cornerback offers these critiques.
Bills rookie Josh Allen: “I think Allen is trash. I don’t care what nobody say. He’s trash. And it’s gonna show too. That’s a stupid draft pick to me. We play them this year . . . I hope he’s their starting quarterback.”
Falcons’ Matt Ryan: “I think Matt Ryan’s overrated. You can’t tell me you win MVP two years ago, and then last year, you a complete bust, and you still got Julio Jones? There’s no way that should ever happen. I don’t care. You know what that tells me? That tells me Shanahan left, went to San Francisco, got [Jimmy] Garoppolo, made Garoppolo this big thing. And now Garoppolo is a big name — and now [Ryan] has this bad year? “All right, well, was it really you, or was it your coach? He was doing what was asked of him and it was making him look really, really good.”
Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger: “decent at best.”
Rams’ Jared Goff: “average to above average.”
Vikings’ Kirk Cousins: “a winner.”
Colts’ Andrew Luck: “I don’t really think he’s that good.”