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Transcripts 1/14/22

January 14, 2022 03:40PM
Los Angeles Rams Transcripts - Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris, Offensive Coordinator Kevin O'Connell, DL Aaron Donald, CB Jalen Ramsey - January 14, 2021
Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris, Offensive Coordinator Kevin O'Connell, DL Aaron Donald, CB Jalen Ramsey
Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris
(On the process of bringing in DB Eric Weddle)
“It was a process early in the week, after losing (S Jordan) Fuller and knowing that it was going to be a significant amount of time – the process of replacing him and getting some other people in here. We actually had a chance to bring in (Dcool smiley Blake Countess, a guy that has some experience around here and does some things with ‘E’ (Secondary Coach/Pass Game Coordinator Ejiro Evero). We also signed a guy that I was familiar with in (Dcool smiley Sharrod Neasman. We were just talking about those veteran type presences that you are able to add this time of year and (Dcool smiley Eric Weddle had come up. He had come up a couple of weeks ago when we had our COVID outbreak and nobody knew what was going to happen. We talked about it but did not call him as of yet. Then I was able to get permission from (Head Coach) Sean (McVay) to actually give him a call and just test some interest. You know me, I just did it in a playful way, asked him was he fat? He said, ‘I'll never be fat.’ I know he consistently works out, keeps himself in good shape. His brain is like no other, it’s like a coach. Being fortunate enough to coach this guy in I think 2007, in our Senior Bowl when I was there as a secondary coach – a young secondary coach – and my assistant Jimmy Lake at the time and I were able to be around him, (former NFL Ccool smiley Josh Wilson and (former NFL S) Tanard Jackson, a guy that I drafted, people that got to play within our unit and our crew. The bond that we formed from that point (made it) an easy call, easy transition. (I had been) keeping in touch with him and watching throughout his potentially Hall of Fame career, it had been a lot of fun. And getting a chance to coach him – he wanted to check with his family. He did. He got back to us. Obviously, the wife runs the show and he said, ‘Man, now I finally get a chance to get coached by you, full-time.” So, he was excited to come in and do that.”

(On how he navigates the loss of two great signal callers in S Taylor Rapp and S Jordan Fuller)
“No doubt about it. Fuller going down with the mic, (Ccool smiley Jalen (Ramsey) took it over to finish off that game, which he's capable of doing. But he is a corner and you don't want to necessarily give it to him at all times. Particularly in those moments, you can have him as an emergency. He is always a valuable guy to be able to have, but (ILcool smiley Troy Reeder is one of the guys that would be able to run those things for us, run our mic. We got some really good candidates. We've been able to test throughout the offseason, been able to work through the season and to get some of those people going on (the mic). So, it's nice to have Troy having it. (He is) another cerebral, smart, sharp, young man that can get through process and do everything we need to do as far as communication. I can't wait to get out there and play with these guys.”

(On what made Weddle the best option right now in addressing the losses due to injuries at safety)
“It’s really more about (losing) Fuller and what you're losing with Fuller. You're losing your leader, losing a guy that communicates really well, a guy that does all those things great. That's how his name kind of got brought up. You talk about everyone and you think about communication, instincts, ball awareness, you think about all the things that we have been talking about all year. The ability to add a guy like that on short notice, who better to come in as a backup quarterback than Eric Weddle? When you’re talking about defense. When you're talking about television, talking about getting these guys off of it – you think about those people all the time. Every time a quarterback goes down, (Qcool smiley Dan Orlovsky’s name got brought up to be able to come in and be the backup. Every time a person goes down, you're talking about these guys. They're cerebral thinkers. They can come in and play the game and do it on short notice, without many reps. Out of the other guys that you think about and Eric Weddle definitely fit that mold for us. So, having the ability to get him, with our constant communication with Sean, the familiarity of the system and how it was played. The familiarity with the coaches and how they coach and how they talk. Being able to speak a lot of the same language, the movement, skills, all the things that we value, are some of the things and the reasons that you're bring in a guy like Eric Weddle.”

(On what challenges are posed when CB Jalen Ramsey has the green dot at his position)
“It just makes Ramsey have to take a little time when he has to do it. Right now, we have Troy doing it. So, you're still in the middle of the defense. But when Ramsey does it, he has to probably lock-in a little bit more. He's less effective on his trash talk than normal. He has to get the defense to the guys and then get out to his position, wherever it is in that particular snap. Where it be corner, whether be the inside of the star position or some of the other various positions that he plays for us. So, it presents a little bit more of a challenge for him just moving around, but it's probably a more of an issue for him than it is for anybody else because he's able to do those things to get there.”

(On what leadership techniques are needed to bring out the best in star players)
“It's funny we were talking about this last summer – when Sean turns into one of you and becomes a media guy in the summertime and he does his deal with (Peter) Schrager. We were on his radio show (Flying Coach) – or however you want to look at it. And it was (Steelers Head Coach) Mike Tomlin and myself. We talked about A-players playing A-like football. And as a coach, that's what you pride yourself on. We want those A-players to be able to play A-football. No matter how many people try to double-team (DL) Aaron Donald or whatever they try to do to get hands on him. You find ways to either coach it or he finds ways to just dominate the game no matter what. Same thing with a guy like Ramsey, so on and so forth, with (WR) Cooper Kupp. Those guys know they're going to command double-teams. Those guys know they're going to command the hardest cover, they're going to command the hardest amount of issues because people are going to plan for them because they are game-wreckers. So, to see those guys play that well under those type of circumstances, that lets you know that you are an AP All-Pro football player in this National Football League. Being around those guys, especially, because of how they prepare. They look at it like a coach. They dive deeper than people are willing to go. I think that's the thing that makes those guys great.”

(On if the notion that there are pitfalls in having too many stars is imaginary)
“It probably is for people who think that kind of that way. I don't think anybody in these positions think that way. I don't think you think that way as a coach. When you have great players, I don't think you can think about, ‘What if we fail?’ I don't think that's the first thing I think about during the week. I think about the succession plan. I think about what's the best formula to make us be the very best that we can be, win as many football games as we can and be in these type of moments where you are going into the playoffs, going to play a significant game versus a very good opponent that happens to be your division. Those are the moments you think about. You don’t think about the failure part of it. I think that comes when you evaluate.”

(On his experience and lessons managing star personalities)
“The management of those guys, I wouldn't say (is) easy. I'd say they’re challenging because the management of those guys just can go to a whole different level and you got to take it as far as they're willing to take it. So for me, I enjoy that a lot. Particularly when you're talking about a guy like Jalen Ramsey, those are like the best moments of my coaching career. Being able to handle the Jalen Ramsey’s, the (former Ccool smiley Aquib Talib’s, the guys that are so great that they just take it to a whole new of that ability. Then you got the Aaron Donald’s. We used to joke all the time, when we talked about (former Buccaneers Lcool smiley Derrick Brooks and Mike Tomlin used to call (former Rams Assistant Head Coach and Linebackers Coach) Joe Barry, the luckiest coach in the National Football League because he had the greatest player and the greatest human in the world running his room. All those types of things are great. I love managing the players. I love being able to manage those personalities. And it just happens to be great when they're great players as these guys are.”

(On the challenges of scheming to play a team for the third time in one season)
“For me, the thing is to look internally first. Look at yourself. Look at what you've done. Look at what you've been able to accomplish. Look what you failed at. Look at what didn't go as well as planned and then be able to correct those things first and foremost. There's always an inside out approach. Look at yourself first and then, go on to (looking at) those guys. Kind of dive back into their formula. What remains the same? What is consistent? What have they changed? What are the things that they've gotten better at? What are the things that you can see the vast improvement on based on their coaching? Then you try to go into it with a whole new game plan, a whole new week and a whole new perspective. That helps you go through your week, your processing and everything else. It helps you make everything fresh. I don't think you look at as playing them three times. I think you look at every time as an individual game. You got to go through the whole process every single time. If you trust your process, that's the way to go about your business.”

(On if facing the Cardinals for the third time is like a chess match in terms of each team being familiar with the other’s tendencies)
“It's almost scary. You go to those guys and you lose. And then I remember the first game we played them when we lost and I went to those guys and I say, ‘Hey man, great game plan. That was awesome.’ And then I remember the second time we beat those guys and the head coach came to me and said, ‘Man, it was a great plan, Rah.’ And those are the scariest moments, because he's just trying to lull you to sleep in that chess match, right? So let me go back to the drawing board, not try to act like you can recycle over information. And you got to go through the whole process over and over again and make sure you do it right. And I think that's what the best thing about the chess game that you're talking about. It's like, what do you want to change? What is changing too much? And what do you want to repeat to try to see if you can get the same results.”

(On how much energy Weddle brings to the team and how important it is right now)
“That’s funny you mentioned energy. You must’ve been here when he came into the building the other day as he drove in this big truck and he just screamed at me throughout his window, as we’re walking into the office. He was probably one of the first players in the building. This guy is a pro. He's a pro’s pro. He's the guy that loves being around football. He's a guy that loves watching football. Right now, he's catching up and he's catching up fast, and he's watching tape and he's doing all the things that you want to do. He's one of those guys that commands respect right away. He's one of those guys that can absolutely pick on Jalen and get on him about some things, and make him show up to different things, and talk about different things, and walk-thu and make him interested. So that kind of energy alone just screams the things that you love about him and you couldn't have said it better with the word ‘energy’ because it’s exactly what he is.”

(On how much better he expects Cardinals QB Kyler Murray this time around)
“(Cardinals Qcool smiley Kyler (Murray) is a phenomenal player. And when you talk about going out there, you talk about stopping the run game. Normally (you) talk about stopping these running backs and these dynamic guys that got back there, but Kyler can spit off a run and he rushed for about 60 yards last time. And he was in a comeback-mode and he was able to throw the ball around the yard and make some really dynamic plays on the – I think it was a Monday night as well. But, those kinds of guys, you got to find a way to win the game. You got to find a way to stop him. And I expect him to be at his very best.”

(On what he has seen Fuller do from the time he has been coaching him – not just as on game day, but in the meeting rooms, practice field, watching film, etc.)
“It's been more about the meeting presence that he has – his ability to go in there. He's the one that asks the questions for the group. You could tell he's always the one to stop a meeting and talk about how we want to present it, how he wants to say it in the field. It's been more of those things as opposed to the things naturally on the field. I think the things on the field kind of started from last year, but now he wants the answers that the people are scared probably or don't really want to ask in the meeting room. He is the guy that has been the presence as far as asking the questions, getting the answers, getting the appropriate things that he has to do so he can go out and get people lined up that way and to be able to talk in the same language as you're thinking. So, I think that's his biggest growth and maturity. That's probably the thing you'll miss the most. And that's why you bringing a guy like a Weddle to try to replace some of that feedback, even though he won't be out there nearly as much as a Fuller would.”

(On what he thinks – as a former head coach – is necessary that need to be installed as far as having more opportunities for black coaches and black coordinators to have opportunity to be head coaches and to be more coordinators in the NFL)
“I think the process has started. I think the process of getting people in front of owners, the process of getting people in front of GMs, the process of the cross mesh that we're trying to already start, the process that (NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations) Troy Vincent and the National Football League has already got us into. All the things that you can do, all the things of getting people in front of people to talk. I think the process of just having this information right here with us talking about media things and everything you do is an interview. And I think as coaches, you got to be where your feet are. And right now, our jobs are to be the best that we can be at our position until asked to give our opportunity and our opinions on what we need to get done in order to run our own programs one day. And when those things happen, you just got to be ready. And I think a lot of people are ready and I think a lot of people will get more opportunities based on the awareness of it all and how we talk about it every single day. I think those things will happen. I was fortunate enough, at the young age of 32, to take over an organization to be able to run it and have some success. Not enough, obviously. I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you, but when you get into those positions and get into those spots, you try and take advantage of it.”

(On what OLB Von Miller has brought to the defense, if he has been contacted by any teams with eight openings in the NFL and if he’s optimistic about more black coaches opportunities)
“(OLcool smiley Von Miller – it was kind of great. He started off a little bit slow when he got here and he showed us some dynamic rush. And I talked to you guys I think earlier about how the guy has not really lost the one-on-one and he just hadn't got there yet. Now it’s starting to come to fruition. Last couple of weeks, we're talking about a guy, won these one-on-ones and getting to the quarterback. I think he has about four or five sacks within the last couple of games. And he is really becoming a factor and he's really starting to find his way. He's really starting to find his way around Aaron Donald and how to play with him as well because that's a part of it as well. Him and ‘Flo’ (OLB Leonard Floyd), which side? Who's going on what side (inaudible)? So, I think all those things over the last course of the season, back from the second half of the season, that's been and really good for us. So, I'm really fired up to see that and how that's going to transpire throughout the playoffs. The second part of your question was me being contacted. That's why I have an agent. I'll leave that up to you guys. You (media members) are my agent. You guys figure that out, and who wants to talk to me and who wants to talk about being a head coach running their program. But for me, myself, I am concentrating on Arizona Cardinals moving forward, trying to get a win for (this) Sean McVay’s coached football team, that is definitely ‘we not me’ mentality. So, that'd be a completely selfish idea of me to think about not putting out my full effort towards that. Do I think black coaches are going to get the opportunities? Yes, I do. I really honestly believe that. And I think when you stop believing that, I think that's when it won't happen. I think when you give up in hope, I think that'll be the issue. And I would never give up on the hope part of it because I believe there are great people out there. There are people that are going to do the right things. There are people that want you not for the color of your skin, but for the nature of the beast that you are the job you do.”

(On what he has seen in regards to other teams defending the Cardinals differently without WR DeAndre Hopkins)
“You do look at how other people defend it, but I think it's more based on your strengths and the things that you have. For ‘D-Hop’ (Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins), you’re missing an All-Pro. You're missing one of the better receivers in the National Football League and that's shifted some attention to more (Cardinals WR) A.J. Green. That shifted more attention to (Cardinals WR) Christian Kirk and those guys have become more productive. So, now those guys are getting more production and more attention, so to speak, than they had probably had in the past. So now you're starting to see those things. Now, A.J. Green is accustomed to that because of his time in Cincinnati, but Kirk is getting a little bit more attention and all those guys. They've had some injuries, definitely. Their running back’s out. They had their (Cardinals WR Rondale) Moore – their dynamic joker or so to speak. He's been out of the game and they're getting those guys back. So, I look forward to those guys being able to come in here with their best self and hopefully we could be our best self and get the win.”

(On how important it is for the defense to get a fast start)
“I think people that say fast start, it’s pretty true. When you're an offense, you do want to do those things because you want to stay ahead of the change. You want to stay ahead of the curve. For a defense, I think it's about finish. We got off to a pretty fast start last week. We didn't finish the right way. We got to finish the right way. We got to finish the games. We got to finish those third downs. We got to finish and it comes to tackling. I think the finish word becomes a little bit more important when you're talking about those things because everything that we do is kind of around finishing – tackling, third downs, get offs, turnovers. All those things are finishing moments, and let's go finish this game and find a way to get the Rams a win.”

(On if finishing has been the focusing this week)
“I think it's been the focus all year, is finishing. I don't worry about stats. Pardon my ‘stats are for losers’ comment. You can't get the 12 wins without having a bunch of good finishing opportunities, and hopefully we can get to our 13th win by having some really good finishing moments if that makes sense.”

Offensive Coordinator Kevin O'Connell
(On if the wind is going to affect the quarterbacks at practice today and tomorrow)
“If I was throwing the football a lot today at practice, I'd be very concerned about it. But fortunately for us, (Qcool smiley Matthew (Stafford), (Qcool smiley John (Wolford), and (Qcool smiley Bryce (Perkins), I think they'll be in good shape. We'll get all our work in.”

(On how he balances the task at hand with his name being thrown around for some of the open head coaching positions and if he’s able to share anything about his schedule on those opportunities)
“First of all, thank you for the kind words and stuff. My focus 100% is on this game. It is a real honor to have your name thrown out there. I think it really speaks to the head coach I work for now -all of our coaches, all of our players, and what our guys have been able to do this year - that it really is something that I do believe that. As far as this week, my focus – this is such a big opportunity for us hosting a playoff game against a division rival that we've already played to twice. So there's a lot to focus on, a lot of tape that we've had this year against these guys over the matchups, over the years against these guys. They're playing really good defense right now. And we've got our hands full with how the healthy they're getting and the guys they're going to have out there on Monday night. So, my focus is all right there. And then obviously as we move into next week and the rules allow for what they allow for - making sure first and foremost that my priority is always these guys and our staff and players. That timing will always work out. I'll be ready to go when that time's right.”

(On what it’s like being able to work RB Cam Akers back into the offense and what his involvement may look like Monday night)
“It’s pretty spectacular. You think about, obviously, where he's come from that injury, but then to actually (go out and compete). It's not like he got to dip his toe in the water in a preseason game or the lead up to a regular season getting started. That was – as those games versus the Niners always are – it was physical. They’re flying around. Lot of high-level ball going on and (Rcool smiley Cam (Akers) fit right in. We were able to get him going, get him some touches here and there – both in the run and pass game. And it'll be a continued priority for us. He's a playmaker. We view him as one of the many guys on the offensive side for us that we want to try to feature and allow the ball to be in their hands and come to them in the rhythm and timing of our offense and no different this week. It’s just good to have some snaps under his belt in that competitive environment that he can build off of.”

(On what the greatest challenge is in balancing scheme versus tendencies when you’re seeing a team for the third time in a season)
“It's a great question because you could talk yourself out of a lot just by knowing some of the things you've not only put on tape versus this opponent, but some of the other people that maybe play similar styles or similar matchups throughout the week in and week out process of the NFL season. But at the same time, that's why we teach a lot of the things we do from a core foundational standpoint of our system. Because everything is built off the marriage of the run and the pass. It's built off of sameness and likeness and, really, attacking the defense in a smart way, having the ultimate respect for this opponent because they've played really, really good defense all year long. They've got skill players. They've got defensive skill at all three levels. It really is a challenge for us. So really what you're doing is you're really measuring the things you've been able to have success on, maybe things they've had success on against us. And then where does it all meet somewhere in the middle where we're actively trying to maybe take advantage of any area that we see and I'm sure they're doing the same over there. So, the chess match will go on. It obviously goes on all the way up until kickoff, but then, that can be a separator during that three-and-a-half-hour window on Monday night.”

(On what the offense was able to do better in the second game against the Cardinals as opposed to the first)
“I think there were some opportunities in the first game to get the ball down the field a few times that we weren't able to connect on. We weren't able to make the plays. I thought, obviously, the long pass to (WR) Van (Jefferson) for the touchdown. And then we were able to get (WR) Cooper (Kupp) down the field a couple times as well. I thought those were big plays to kind of loosen up what can be a really physical, fast defense. A lot of guys flying around the line of scrimmage. So maybe to loosen things up for some of the other phases of our offense, but at the same time, those plays took really, really high-level execution by our guys to make. Their guys were right there. Coverage was tight. The protection was right. The timing and the detail in which we had to execute – both from a route-throw protection standpoint needed to be top-level against an opponent like this. And we happened to make a couple of those plays. I think that was obviously something that jumps out. And then, we were able to possess the football, convert some things on third down. We were able to stay on the field and have plays kind of have an impact on the next by extending drives and kind of staying on the field allowing ourselves to be efficient, which I thought was big in that second game.”

(On what QB Matthew Stafford’s best attribute is)
“I could very easily sit here and say his ability to throw football at an elite level. But I continue to go back to the human being, the leader, how he's elevated everybody in our organization – coaching staff, players training staff, everybody around here. If you asked to a man or woman individually how Matthew's affected us since he his arrival here, I think he'd be hard pressed to find somebody that wouldn't say just, ‘He's made me better at my job.’ He's made our team better. He's made it a great place to come to work every day. And when you combine your quarterback being like that with your head coach having those same qualities, it makes for an unbelievable atmosphere. The culture from top to bottom, the accountability, the work ethic, the support that we give one another on a daily basis, it really is something. And when you're head to coach, like I said, and your quarterback are like that, I think those traits are hard to measure.”

(On what the key is for bringing out the best in a team with this collection of stars - like All-Pro picks DL Aaron Donald, WR Cooper Kupp, and CB Jalen Ramsey – and guys acquired midseason)
“I think the biggest thing that (Head Coach) Sean (McVay) has emphasized from day one is, this is about the players and it's about the players having ownership over the information from a schematic standpoint, technique and fundamentals of what we ask and what we coach, giving them the why behind what we do. Those three players – like a lot of our players, in my opinion – are three of the smartest, hardest working players that I've been around. Those guys – to go along with our quarterback and some of our other guys – they set the stage. They set the table for our whole process here because there's a daily level of accountability and a daily level of performance – both within meetings and understanding information to how they practice to how they know that practice performance will equal a game reality. All those guys are our leaders. They're our best players. And when they're doing those two things from a leading you with their performance but then also with the standard they set as leaders, that does so much for all of us and does so much for our football team, our younger players. I just can't say enough about those guys and what they've done on a daily basis to be at their best to help us get better every single day.”

(On if he brought any valuable experience from his Patriots days, in regard to managing big personalities)
“One of the things I always thought (Patriots Head) Coach (Bill) Belichick did an unbelievable job of was, was holding the veteran best players on our team to the same accountability that every man on the roster was held to. And they knew that. The standards and expectations were clearly laid out and those guys responded on a daily basis because they knew how valuable that is when your best players, your biggest leaders, your most influential leaders on your team understand that how important that is. When those guys, like I said are like that, it nearly makes it impossible for you, as another player in that locker room or even a coach on our coaching staff, to not hold the standard for yourself that pushes you to be the best possible version of yourself.”

(On how imperative it is for black and minority coaches to have the same opportunities to get coordinator and head coaching positions
“I think it's a great question. It’s one of those things where the opportunities to coach certain positions I think are really important. I think the opportunity to be around the quarterback position is really important. Being around the league, I just think there's so many good coaches that can get in those roles to really elevate a performance of players. Whether it's the quarterback room or any other offensive or defensive position room, being in those roles to get in front of the players, get in front of not only their own position group, but their whole unit – offensively or defensively. And then those guys continue to grow to the point where they’re coming up for jobs every single year. I think across the board, there's a lot of really qualified candidates out there. Just as long as the process is right for when these opportunities come up, enough folks are interviewed that the best person for the job and each individual opening can get that opportunity. And I think that happens just by surely having the willingness to talk to a lot of people about those jobs and finding the best possible fit.”

(On what has emerged positively and what are things that he’s still trying to figure out in terms of replacing all the things that WR Robert Woods did)
“It’s been an ongoing process all season long, just because of the sheer multiple jobs that he did on a snap-to-snap basis. Not only just catching the football, but his impact in the run game, the screen game, his ability after the catch to generate explosives. He’s such a unique, special player for us. We've been able to continue to try to have (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) be in his role. And he's really thrived for us, especially down in the redzone. Then the emergence of Van Jefferson being able to shift over to that Z spot and really be backed up and really to some extent, one-two punch with him and (WR) Ben Skowronek which has allowed us to keep both those guys fresh, give them some specific things that we can ask them to do that maybe (WR) Robert (Woods) did at a really high level. And then, like I said, continue to feature Odell right along there with Cooper Kupp.”

DL Aaron Donald
(On if there’s a way for them to replicate their Week 14 victory against the Cardinals on Monday night)
“Well, yeah. We got to stick to the game plan, but I think we did a good job as far as just balling up the quarterback last time and not letting him get out the pocket a lot of time, so if we can do, we get some success.”

(On what it is about Cardinals QB Kyler Murray that can make him a challenge)
“He can get out the pocket and make a lot of different things happen – with a lot of these quarterbacks now in his league. He's definitely a fast guy. I think he (has) the ability to get out the pocket and make a lot of good throws downfield or make a lot of extended plays with his feet. So, you give him an opportunity to get out the pocket, feel comfortable and give him time, he can be that type of quarterback for us. We just got to find a way to keep him bottled up. Don't let him get the edge. Don't let him get out there, be able to see downfield and make things happen and we got to get after him.”

(On what it has been like to play with OLB Von Miller)
“It's been great. (It’s) been really good. (He’s) getting a lot more comfortable with the game plan and understanding its different schemes and playing off guys. It’s been good. He’s been making a lot of big-splash plays for us these past couple weeks. We needed a team to have that from him. That's why he’s here. Just the ability he’s got. He’s plays he makes for us in big time moments. (Inaudible).”

(On being named to the All-Pro team again)
“It's a blessing just to see the work put in – the hard work I put into this game – and to see it be recognized and be rewarded is truly a blessing. (I’m) honored. A lot more work to do, but definitely blessed to have the opportunity to call myself (an) All-Pro.”

(On if there’s a number of accolades he wants to get to before he retires)
“No. When you work, you put the body of work in and you really putting the time and getting your craft right and putting the body of work to get yourself right for a season, you put yourself in the mindset it's not the goal that you (are) chasing. The ultimate goal is something that I didn't accomplish is winning a Super Bowl. So, that's what I'm working for. But (inaudible), you kind of expect things that just happen because the body work you put in too. When you put in that body of work in, it just pays off. That's why I live off, ‘Hard work pays off.’ So, I just play my game and let everything go (inaudible).”

(On what has to happen in the second level that has to have the counter punch to what they’re doing up front)
“It works hand in hand. We do what we got to do up front. They do what they do on the backend as far as coverage wise and give us opportunity to get them ops, to get quarterback hit, the quarterback sacks, the plays (we’re) looking for. It can be a big game, so it works hand in hand. We do what we got to do up front. We help (those) guys on the back end. They do what they got to do on the back end they help us up front.”

(On if he remembers when it was in his career that he went from being the young guy, looking up to stars, to being conscious of others, looking to you to set an example)
“Well, you kind of start seeing that after your first year goes by. You have some success and people recognize and respect you for that part. Probably like around my third year, I kind of felt like I was looked up to more as that leader role and people were looking up to it.”

(On if he was conscious of doing the right things to project that kind of example)
“Oh yeah. I'm a guy that leads by example. So I'm a guy that's just going work and I want guys to see the way I do things and follow my lead. That's one of the things that, me personally, that I go by. Just going (inaudible) do at a high level the right way and guys tend to gravitate to that, follow your lead that you (inaudible) going forward is the right one that guys can go with.”
(On if he thinks it’s surreal at how many guys they have been able to add to the roster)
“We definitely got a special group with a lot of big-time talent. A lot of big-time players. A lot of guys that played a lot of football in league, that had a lot of success. So, it is surreal when you look at it, but you just expect big things. Me, personally, knowing the players we got, with the coaches we got, it's like sky is the limit. Obviously, regular seasons over with and now it’s pretty much going week to week. You move (on if) you win. You lose, you (are) out. So to get to what we’re trying to get to what we’re trying to accomplish, we’re here where we need to be (and) the opportunity. So with the players we got, you got to take advantage of it this year. And I think the mindset everybody got just at practice, I think we’re in a great place that we need to be in and we just got to go out there and execute at a high level with the big time players we have.”

CB Jalen Ramsey
(On his reaction to seeing the NFL All-Pro team come out today)
“Thankful, just thankful and grateful. First and foremost, and then I started thinking about how previous years they did like two corners and then they get like a slot for DB. But I guess they switched that up this year, so they didn’t do that this year. Because initially going into it I was hopeful that maybe I could get All-Pro at two separate categories, but they switched it up. So it is what it is, but I'm super grateful and thankful.”

(On if making All-Pro at two positions is a bar he would like to set for himself and strive for)
“Yeah, I guess you could say that. Just because I'm always trying to challenge myself. I'm always trying to strive for bigger levels and bigger heights in my career. That is just the way that I challenge myself personally and push myself personally. So, people used to only play corner on the outside. Now playing all over the secondary a little bit. I like to be seen as a defensive back more than just the corner. But either is fine or both is fine. As long as I can help make a big impact on the games for the team, then I'm all good.”

(On his impression of what OLB Von Miller has brought for the defense and his anticipation of Miller’s postseason performance this year)
“A great mindset. He has a great mindset. I joke with (OLcool smiley Von (Miller) sometimes that he is like too happy a little bit. But, he really does have a great mindset. He brings good leadership to the defense – not only to the outside linebackers but the whole defense. He's been in a position that we all want to be in and that's winning the Super Bowl, holding up that trophy. He's done things at a high level for very long time. Like eight All-Pros, a ton of Pro Bowls. He has been one of my favorite players forever. When I was in college and stuff. And even when we weren't teammates. Me and Von used to always kind of talk about trying to team up at some point along the line. And it is happening, going to take advantage of it. His presence is definitely felt.”

(On what it has been like having DB Eric Weddle back with the team)
“It's fun. It has been fun. It was something that, I personally feel like I needed and really, really wanted. Another guy like that in our secondary, even if it's just for the playoffs or this stretch we want to go on. I was super excited when he called me and told me that it was a possibility, that he was thinking about it. Just super excited and fun to have him out there. I've been blessed to play with some good safeties in my career. I feel like he's probably the best that I've ever played with in my career. It was always fun playing with him, even just for the short time that we did. We always had a lot of communication. We were always able to be on the same page and play the game within the game with each other. Just because of our experience and how we think alike. We kind of have the same vision on certain things. So that was fun. It's been fun and I know it will continue to be fun.”

(On the key to maximizing all the star players on the Rams to win with them and if it hurts the team in any way to have so many stars)
“It doesn't always equate to (winning), but it can’t hurt, right? Why not? Why wouldn't you want to be surrounded by a bunch of superstars or a bunch of players who you believe are really good and talented at their positions? But it has to be put all together. The chemistry has to be right. When you do have a team like that, with a bunch superstars or good players, everybody still has to have a role and everybody has to excel within their role. So that's a big part of it and hopefully that's what we are able to do in these playoffs and this stretch that we want to on. Be able to have that team chemistry, play together, play unified and make it happen.”

(On if that has happened so far since the acquisitions of Miller and WR Odell Beckham Jr.)
“I would say so. It's a journey. We are going to grow. We'll continue to grow. But I would say so. This is the first time in my NFL career – in my six years – that I won 12 games. So, I would say that that's a positive. I try to look at all the positives in things. Obviously there are opportunities that we wish we could have capitalized on more, maybe done certain things a little bit better at certain times. But definitely taking out the positives in it. This is the best season that I've been a part of and the best team I've ever been a part of in my professional career.”

(On what impresses him most about Weddle’s comeback, his physical ability, his mental ability or something else)
“It's all of that. Honestly, it has to be a mixture of all of that. Because we know he has the brains for the game, the way he sees the game, the way he's able to command the secondary, have great communication and pick up on things in this defense differently than he had in his past or whatever. That's all special, right? But if he was not in shape, if he couldn't play football physically, then it wouldn't matter, right? So, it's a mix of all of that. The brains of it and also still being physically able to play football at a good level. It's special.”

(On how they make sure their secondary comes together quickly even potentially without S Taylor Rapp)
“We're professionals, so that's kind of part of our job. It's something that we just have to do. It's the playoffs. It's playoff football. So, it's something that we're going to pride ourselves on, making sure that we are good. Then we had practices, meetings and all that to where we can get on the same page.”

(On what the vibe is like in the locker room as playoff time approaches)
“I would say good. From my perspective, I would say the vibe is good. We're excited and we're trying prepare as best as we can, so we can be ready to go put our best foot forward and put on our best performance together in the playoffs.”

(On what his relationship is like with Weddle)
“‘E-Dub’ and I have a great relationship. Then to be able to play in the same secondary that one year was super special. I didn't want him to retire. He did anyway. Then now having him be able to come back is all special. Yeah, he’s right. In these two years that he's been gone away from the team, he has been on me all the time. He has been texting me all the time, pushing me, telling me what I'm doing, some things good or telling me maybe I should do a little something-something differently, lead in a different way or whatever. Just challenging me. That's all been good. We have a good friendship, so that's cool. He just texting me as a friend and that's how I take it. I know he's a Hall of Famer walking and I respect his insight, the things that he's told me, the advice he's given me and the criticism he's given me at times. So, that's all been good. Now I'm glad that for now, he doesn’t have to text me all these things. He can just tell me when he sees me. But yeah, that's all been fun. I know there was a couple times that I didn't text him back immediately. So, when he texted me on that Monday or Tuesday, he texted me and said, ‘Call me.’ I already kind of had in my mind, I was like, ‘Oh man, I ain't texting him back for maybe three messages.’ He had to double text me. I was like, ‘Let me call E-Dub.’ I called him and then it was not what I was expecting. I was like, ‘Oh, that's what you want talk about. Yeah, let's go.’ So, it's been good. It's fun. He’s my dog.”

(On if he now has a chance to give back some of that advice Weddle has given him)
“Yeah, of course. But E-Dub, you know how smart he is, how he sees the game and how he views the game. We can speak a whole other language to each other. In practice today, he called up a check from (former Rams Defensive Coordinator) Wade’s (Phillips) defense. We just don't talk like that anymore, right? We haven't talked like that in two years, but I immediately knew what he was saying to me and I knew what he wanted me to do. So, it was funny. I just remember laughing in the middle of the play, ‘That's not the word, but yeah. I know what you want me to do. I am going to just do it that way.’ He's super fun to be around and super fun to play with. Him and I, we just always work on one accord. We can work on a string. In the middle of a play, he can yell something and I'll make an adjustment in what I'm doing and vice versa. That's why the year that I got traded here, I was so happy. It was so fun to play like that and be able to play like that. It's still the same. I'm hoping that it will be super fun and we can make the most out of this opportunity.”


  Transcripts 1/14/22

Shaky194January 14, 2022 03:40PM