Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen is less concerned about the hot air escaping from Jalen Ramsey’s big mouth than he is about the All-Pro cornerback’s play on the field.
Ramsey, who called Allen “trash” in a GQ story published this offseason and didn’t back off those comments this week, is tied for third among NFL cornerbacks with three interceptions this season. He had two in last weekend’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Jaguars’ sixth consecutive defeat. The Bills (3-7) host the Jaguars (3-7) on Sunday at New Era Field.
“How I deal with that is I don’t deal with it. It doesn’t matter to me,” Allen said about Ramsey’s comments after practice Wednesday, as he prepares to start his first game since spraining his right elbow on Oct. 14 in Houston. “Everybody’s got their own opinion. I’ll say it over and over again: The only people I care about their opinion (are on) this team, the people in this franchise and organization, how they view me as a person and as a football player. Everybody’s got their own say, and that’s fine. We move on.”
Allen, drafted seventh overall, has completed 54 percent of his passes (75 of 139) for 832 yards, two touchdowns, five interceptions and a 61.8 passer rating in six games this season, five of them starts.
Allen said people have doubted him for years.
“I was a kid that came out of high school with no offers,” Allen said. “I went to junior college and had one offer. I went to Wyoming and that’s not the biggest school. I was fortunate enough to be there and be under the coaches there and really had my opportunity. I would say that a lot of people have probably said (something) about me, but maybe I wasn’t listening or I didn’t really care what anybody was saying. That’s how I’m going to deal with things from now on.”
Bills coach Sean McDermott said he expected Allen to take the high road, and that his character factored into the decision to draft him.
“When you go back and you draft certain types of players and the DNA we look for, and you try and develop those players, this is all part of Josh’s growth,” McDermott said. “There’s going to be times when he’s questioned, whether by a player of someone else out there. I’m sure it’s not the first time, right? We’ve all gone through moments in our careers where we’ve been questioned. How you handle it determines how far you go.”
Ramsey blasted Allen and several NFL players in a profile published by GQ Magazine on Aug. 15.
“I think Allen is trash,” Ramsey said. “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, and I'm excited as hell. I hope he's their starting quarterback. He played at Wyoming. Every time they played a big school -- like, they played Iowa State, which is not a big school in my opinion because I went to Florida State, and he threw five interceptions, and they lost by a couple touchdowns or something like that. He never beat a big school.
“If you look at his games against big schools, it was always hella interceptions, hella turnovers. It's like: 'Yo, if you're this good, why couldn't you do better?' He fits that mold, he's a big, tall quarterback. Big arm, supposedly. I don't see it, personally.”
This week, Ramsey said he had no regrets about his earlier remarks.
"Everyone who knows me knows why I was so hard on him,” he said. “If you do not know me that is on you. Y’all don’t know me. If you look deep into it you will be able to figure out why I was so hard. It is what it is.”
Allen did not play against Iowa State during his college career. But ESPN noted that he completed just 50 percent of his passes for 427 yards, one touchdown and eight interceptions in games against Nebraska, Iowa and Oregon, which Wyoming lost by a combined 92 points.
"I can’t speak for Jalen," Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. "I don’t see that at all in Josh. I think watching him coming out, when he was at Wyoming, I just felt he was big, he was strong, he can make all the throws, he’s a heck of an athlete for a guy his size, being 6-5, 240, he has the ability in the vertical passing game. There’s just a lot of things that he can do. He’s a dangerous player. He’s a young football player. He’s only going to get better. And that’s what I see on tape."
Allen said he has nothing but respect for Ramsey’s abilities as a football player.
“He’s one of the best corners in the game,” Allen said. “He’s physically gifted, he can run with anybody, he can stand up in the line and press almost anybody. It’s going to be a test for us, and we’re looking forward to this test. It’s a good Jaguars defense. He’s just one of the keys to what they’ve got going on there. Obviously, they haven’t had the season that they’ve wanted, so they’re going to be coming out and wanting to prove people wrong, too. We’re trying to prepare for everything and like I said, this is a good test for us.”
Clay, Lawson sidelined; Murphy limited
Tight end Charles Clay (hamstring) and defensive end Shaq Lawson (elbow) did not practice Wednesday. Lawson “tweaked” his elbow late in practice on Tuesday, McDermott said, and may not play against the Jaguars.
Defensive end Trent Murphy was limited and has a chance to return to the lineup for the first time since a knee injury on Oct. 21 at Indianapolis. He has 14 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles in seven games.
“It would be good to get him out there,” McDermott said. “But whether that happens or not remains to be seen.”
Linebacker Matt Milano has cleared concussion protocol and was a full participant at practice, as was running back Chris Ivory (shoulder).
Quarterback Derek Anderson remains in the concussion protocol. Anderson, center Russell Bodie (shoulder) and cornerback Taron Johnson (shoulder) were limited.
Wood hosts charity event
Former Bills center Eric Wood is hosting a "Flights & Bites" event from 6-9 p.m. Monday at Big Ditch Brewing Company. The proceeds will directly benefit chronically ill children through the Eric Wood Fund, which supports The Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Foundation. Tickets cost $100 per person and are available for purchase online at wchob.ejoinme.org/flights-bites.