Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley is no stranger to working with some of the best talent the NFL has to offer, especially when it comes to pass-rushers and defensive backs.
Last year in Denver, he worked with eight-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time first team All-Pro Von Miller as the Broncos' outside linebackers coach. Before that, he spent two seasons in the same capacity in Chicago working with Khalil Mack as the Bears' outside linebackers coach.
This year, he enters his first season as an NFL defensive coordinator with the Rams, he'll have six-time Pro Bowl choice and five-time first team All-Pro Aaron Donald on the defensive line and three-time Pro Bowl selection Jalen Ramsey in the defensive backfield to work with and build his scheme around.
Like Miller and Mack, Staley knows the best way to put Donald in a position to succeed, and in turn the defense as a whole, is to take as much attention away from him as possible. Thus, as he shapes his approach to Los Angeles' defense, one of his main goals will be just that.
"We want to make sure we can get him as many isolations as possible," Staley said during a May video conference. "If we can get Aaron to play against one person as opposed to two, then our odds of being successful go through the roof."
Meanwhile, Staley has already made it clear how much he values Ramsey and the kind of plans he has in store for him. Though Staley – understandably – did not specifically outline how Ramsey will be utilized, he may have offered a hint by saying he didn't view him as only a cornerback given his command of every position in the secondary.
"I look at him as a DB," Staley said. "This guy can do anything."
The only obstacle: While Staley is making the most of the current circumstances with energetic virtual presentations of his vision for the unit, the lack of in-person instruction means neither Donald nor Ramsey have a full grasp yet of what that will look like on the field.
"As far as the defense, I can't tell you if I love it or not because I didn't actually go on the grass and do anything yet," Donald said during a May video conference. "But as far as the scheme of things and the way he's going about it, trying to do certain things and the different installs we've been getting thus far, I'm definitely starting to like it a lot. I'm anxious to actually get on the grass and get to play and see how this thing plays out."
Still, both Donald and Ramsey seemed to see enough during the Rams' seven-week virtual offseason program to feel good about what Staley has planned.
"I'm not familiar with everything he shares, so I don't want to overshare, but I'm very excited about the way I'm going to be utilized in this defense, I'll leave it at that," Ramsey said during a May video conference. "I think my talents will be shown thoroughly, not just in one aspect, if you're catching my drift."