"I respect his game," Ramsey said. "He knows that. He respects my game as well. You've got bring some fire. You've got to bring some rivalry in to it."
That certainly seems to be brewing. It started with the Texans' 24-21 victory on Nov. 14 at EverBank Field. Ramsey held Hopkins to just five catches for 48 yards on 13 targets, but Hopkins caught perhaps the game’s most critical pass against him: a 10-yarder to convert a third-and-5 just after the two-minute warning. That catch allowed the Texans to run out the clock.
Ramsey clearly won the next matchup, though. The Texans beat the Jaguars 21-20 at NRG Stadium on Dec. 18, but not because of Hopkins. Hopkins caught eight passes for 87 yards, but Ramsey broke up a pair of passes to Hopkins in the end zone (including one on fourth down), tackled Hopkins short of a first down late in the first half to force a field goal, and blew up Hopkins as he tried to catch another third-down pass that would have gone for a first down.
After former Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye signed a free-agent contract with the Jaguars early last month, Hopkins told a Houston radio station that he had spoken with Bouye before free agency began and joked that he expected Bouye to guard him on third down.
“I told A.J. if he goes to [Jacksonville] then he better be the dude guarding me on third down instead of Jalen [Ramsey] because he couldn’t get the job done," Hopkins told CBS Houston 650 AM. "I love A.J., but hopefully he’s the one guarding me on third down to win the game next year for those guys. They might have a better chance.”
Ramsey responded with the following tweet:
Been on flights all day... is a response to nonsense really needed? 😂😂😂 I told y'all I just chill 😬
— Jalen Ramsey (@jalenramsey) March 11, 2017
"It was purely entertainment for me," Ramsey said. "Everybody watched the games so it was entertaining. We've got a mutual respect for each other.
"... You've got to bring some rivalry in to it. Everybody's always talking about how our [division] is weak. We're trying to bring some fire to it. If that's what we have to do then that's what we have to do, and I know when we play them we're going to go at it. Whether it's me guarding him or A.J., we're going to go at it."