Ben Roethlisberger respects Jalen Ramsey but doesn't fear him

PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger isn't about to fire verbal shots back at Jalen Ramsey, who called him "decent at best" in the offseason.

But Roethlisberger won't be scared to fire a few footballs Ramsey's way in Sunday's Steelers-Jaguars clash in Jacksonville.

"I’m not going to fear anybody, no matter who they are," Roethlisberger said. "But you respect [Ramsey], for sure."

Ramsey, the talented and talkative Jacksonville corner, critiqued several NFL quarterbacks in an August interview with GQ. His assessment of Roethlisberger was not kind.

"Big Ben, I think he’s decent at best," Ramsey said. "It’s not Big Ben, it’s [Antonio Brown]. Big Ben slings the ball a lot of the time. He just slings it, and his receivers go get it. He has a strong arm, but he ain’t all that. I played him twice last year, and he really disappointed me. He’ll be in the Hall of Fame and all that."

This comment came after Roethlisberger threw for 469 yards and three touchdowns on Jacksonville's defense in a 45-42 divisional playoff loss last season. To be sure, Roethlisberger had seven turnovers in two games against the Jaguars last year, including a five-interception game in Week 5 that prompted him to openly question his skills as an NFL quarterback.

When asked about Ramsey's comments in the preseason, Roethlisberger said Ramsey was a "fantastic player" who can say what he wants, pointing out the Jags and Steelers will see each other again.

On Wednesday, Roethlisberger continued to praise Ramsey's game.

"He has all the tools," Roethlisberger said.

Ramsey will face one of the league's hottest quarterbacks.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin called Roethlisberger's recent play "outstanding" after seven touchdowns and zero interceptions the last two weeks.

Roethlisberger scored a perfect 158.3 passer rating in Thursday's 52-21 win over the Carolina Panthers, the third of his career, tying Peyton Manning and Kurt Warner for the most ever in the Super Bowl era. He's on pace for more than 5,100 yards and 37 touchdowns.

Roethlisberger can "destroy you" if he has too much time in the pocket, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said.

The Jaguars are 3-6 but still have the league's second-ranked total defense, which always features Ramsey front and center.

"It doesn’t matter what coverage it is, [Ramsey's] up and pressing," Roethlisberger said. "Combative DB who has great ball skills and great speed."

Roethlisberger said he respected Jacksonville’s skills leading up to the playoff loss despite the fact "we heard a lot going into it from other players [teammates] or what not."

Mike Mitchell and Le'Veon Bell were among those discussing a playoff rematch last season with the New England Patriots in the days before the Jacksonville game. Mitchell was quoted in a Sports Illustrated article saying the Steelers will beat the Patriots "in Haiti or in Hell." Bell tweeted about his excitement for "two round 2s" against Jacksonville and New England, which never happened because the Steelers couldn't get past Jacksonville.

This week won't feature the same headlines. Guard David DeCastro wants to make sure of it.

"I just wish we'd been more humble before the game," DeCastro said. "Just play the game instead of talk, [which] I think is pretty cheap ... Just go play a good football game."