FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- As they normally do when the opposition says something you might post on a bulletin board, the New England Patriots reacted diplomatically Monday to Jacksonville's Jalen Ramsey guaranteeing his team is "going to the Super Bowl and we gonna win that b -- -."
"Man, that guy's really good," said a smiling Pro Bowl special teamer Matthew Slater, asked to react to Ramsey. "He should be confident, because he's very, very good.
"The good lord made that guy and he said, `let there be corner' and there he is, so I'd be confident if I were him as well."
That's just the way the Patriots, who never say anything negative about their opponents, handle these things.
Safety Duron Harmon, asked the same question, said, "Hey, man, Jalen Ramsey's a good player. He talks a lot of trash, that's part of his game and you can't take it away from him. He's confident -- he should be confident in his team. He has a really good football team.
"The top two AFC teams are left and he's a part of one of them, so . his approach to the game is different than ours, but we can't knock him for it," Harmon said. "We know they're going to come ready to play and we just gotta match their type of physicality, and also just their emotion and their readiness to get ready to play."
The Patriots, appearing in their seventh straight AFC title game and seeking the sixth Super Bowl trip of the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady (in their 12th title game), got an early taste of the Jaguars way back in August. That's when the teams held three days of joint practices before a preseason game won by Jacksonville 31-24.
"That was like eons ago, when you think about the course of a football season and how long it is and what happens over the course of the football season," said Slater. "You look at those joint practices, for example, Jalen Ramsey wasn't even out there and this guy . he's elite. There are different dynamics to both teams. I don't know how much we'll look at those practices and that preseason game; I'm sure we'll take a look at it, but both teams are very different."
Veteran offensive lineman Nate Solder was impressed with what he saw from the Jaguars on Sunday.
"Their front stood out to me, the way they get after the quarterback, the way they stop the run . they were ball hawks, went after the ball on every play," he said.
Looking back on the Jaguars in August and now in the conference title game, Solder said, "It's a unique scenario, but I'm not surprised because we knew that they were good then as we know that they're good now."
Asked about how impressive it was for the Jaguars to go into Pittsburgh and win, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said, "Very impressive; yeah. They did a great job. Again, they do a lot of things well, play good defense, can rush the passer, can stop the run, turn the ball over, can run the ball, have a lot of explosive players in the passing game, they're good in the kicking game, they're very aggressive in the kicking game."
"They're well coached. I know that, for sure. They've handled the situations that have come up in those games very well -- fourth-and-1 in the first quarter, things like that. They've really done a good job, so yeah, it's impressive."
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