Even from a distance and via digital means, new Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley is making his presence felt with a new, yet familiar attitude.
"I mean, the energy (Staley) brings, it's just new. It's kind of like a (Sean) McVay of the defense almost, with the way he talks, how smart he is and things like that," Hill said, referring to the Rams head coach. "Thinking outside the box, I feel like that's what I needed. He's younger in a sense that he can relate to the players a lot."
Staley has held his current position since early February. One month into his tenure, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down NFL teams' facilities, which means Hill and other defensive players have been getting to know him and his scheme through remote meetings during the Rams' virtual offseason program.
Despite the absence of interpersonal interaction, Staley's attitude and vision for the defense are generating excitement.
Hill, who emerged as a starter last season, said the Rams defensive backs had certain ideas they felt they might be able to incorporate into their defense but it wouldn't be taught throughout the whole unit. Consequently, Los Angeles' defensive players wouldn't be able to get in syc.
"But when (Staley's) coaching some of these things, it's like, ok, we was trying to do that last yeah and get that done, but you already coaching it," Hill said. "So now we are all going to be on the same page and it's going to be even easier. These ideas, it's going to make the scheme a lot easier in being able to play different routes and everybody's going to be on the same page."
The player who can best speak to Staley's impact is new outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, whom Staley coached in Chicago in 2017 and 2018.
"He's very energetic," Floyd said. "Like, I can't think of a day where he wasn't ready to get out and go play. He'll have you ready to play. Basically every day we've been having virtual meetings, he's been having guys ready to get on the field and go play. It's just the way words come out of his mouth, he uses it the right way and it motivates everybody."
Players feed off that approach, according to Hill, seeing how in tune the players are with him. And as the Rams' virtual offense program continues, their defense stands to benefit from it.
"The defense that he's bringing in, the scheme that he's bringing in, I think there's a lot of opportunity to make a lot of plays for everybody," Hill said. "I like him a lot, to be honest."
Staley said in times like this, it's important to create that energy.
"We've all been in classes or conferences or seminars where a lot of it's depending on how good the teacher or presenter is for how you really learn the material," Staley said on a video conference with reporters Thursday. "So what we've tried to do as coaches is be on fire every day, to prepare something that is really going to help them get better, making as like being in the office or on the field as possible."