By Nick Shook
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These Jaguars haven’t been here before, and they aren’t exactly keeping quiet.
Clearly feeling himself and his teammates, cornerback Jalen Ramsey grabbed the mic at EverBank Field late Sunday and told fans welcoming the Jaguars home that the team was going to the Super Bowl and was going to win it.
That’s great. Reach for the stars, Jalen. There’s just one detail that needs to be mentioned: They haven’t yet won the AFC.
The seasoned Patriots, a team that has most definitely been there before, await Ramsey’s Jaguars. They’re sending a warning shot south before their meeting.
“If you’re going to make a statement like that, you better be able to back it up,” Patriots defensive tackle Adam Butler said Wednesday, via ESPN.
“It’s a bold statement to make,” Butler added. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. But like I said, be humble or be humbled. That’s all I can really say about that.”
Jacksonville upset an overconfident Pittsburgh squad that was guilty of publicly discussing a rematch with New England before actually earning the date. You’d think Ramsey would learn from that, but these Jaguars aren’t your conventional upstart. Led by Ramsey’s constant trash talk, they play with a chip on their shoulder that they aren’t afraid to point out from the outset.
“The Super Bowl stuff? I mean, obviously, that’s his game,” Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe said of Ramsey. “He’s a confident dude. … Obviously, they’re happy to go to the championship game, but, you know, that mindset of thinking ahead of yourself, I don’t think it’s a good idea.
“We saw what happened to the Steelers,” Rowe added. “But on our end, obviously, we’re not thinking ahead to the [Super Bowl] because we have to get past [the Jaguars]. So, we heard it, but we’re not too focused on it because we have to focus on doing our job for the game.”
It wouldn’t be a Patriots quote if it didn’t include a mention of one doing his/her/their job. And for most of the last decade, it wouldn’t be a must-see AFC final without New England in it.
It also wouldn’t be one of the most intriguing stories in some time if it didn’t involve a potential upset of the Patriots. Perhaps a changing of the guard is in order. Or perhaps Ramsey is in line to learn a tough lesson.
It appears as though he learned one — the identity of Butler — on Wednesday: