THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rams head coach Sean McVay, quarterback Matthew Stafford, running back Cam Akers, wide receiver Cooper Kupp, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth, defensive lineman Aaron Donald, defensive back Jalen Ramsey, defensive back Eric Weddle and outside linebacker Von Miller were the first to meet with the media (virtually) to kickoff Super Bowl LVI week.
Here are some of the top highlights from those press conferences:
"When you talk about having a real purpose for others, Aaron and his teammates have a purpose wanting to try to win for him. And I think his coaches feel that same way." – McVay
- There's no question Aaron Donald's teammates are rallying around him to help him win virtually the one thing he has left to check off of his NFL career list: A Super Bowl.
- McVay indicated it's a reflection of the consistency Donald approaches each day with.
"Robert Woods is the L.A. Rams." – Stafford
- Though sidelined for the Super Bowl because of a season-ending torn ACL sustained during a November practice, Woods' impact in helping the Rams is still on the minds' of his teammates this week.
- "I know he set the tone for so many guys on our team, including myself, just watching him go to work with the attention to detail and the passion that he played for when he was out there with us, and when we lost them, that was a big hit to our team," Stafford said.
"No secrets. Put in work, and that's really what I stand by when people ask me what happened." – Akers
- Nothing mysterious about the way Cam Akers returned from his torn Achilles – he simply credits "a lot of prayer, a lot of work, seven days a week."
- Working in tandem with Sony Michel, Akers has rushed for 151 yards on 54 yards and added five catches for 62 yards through the Rams' three playoff games.
"At no point was there any doubt in my mind that I was going to come back and be better than I was before." - Kupp
- Although Kupp missed the Rams' first Super Bowl appearance under head coach Sean McVay due to a torn ACL sustained in November 2018, the experience provided valuable perspective.
- Kupp said it gave him the opportunity to "rebuild himself" and be as efficient as possible in terms of the way he wanted to run, cut and run routes.
"It's just something about this place that called." – Beckham
- Reflecting on his decision to join the Rams, Beckham said "it just felt right in my heart."
- "Now the ultimate focus is one game," Beckham said. "Just gotta finish the job."
"It gave me a chance to get an inside vision of what that guy was like." – Whitworth
- Whitworth and Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow formed a connection during the 2020 season while both were injured.
- With the encouragement of Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the Rams' team physician, ElAttrache, Whitworth and Burrow shared a meal and watched football at Whitworth's house.
"He's a guy that motivate me to work the way I do, to try and accomplish what I'm trying to accomplish, just because that's the ultimate goal that he accomplished seven times and I'm chasing one." – Donald
- Knowing what recently-retired quarterback Tom Brady accomplished only further motivates Donald.
- "A lot of respect to him," Donald said.
"The Lakers did it. The Dodgers did it. We want to do it as well." – Ramsey
- On the heels of the Lakers and the Dodgers' recent titles in their respective leagues, the Rams are looking to do the same.
- "I guess you could say it's been an extra motivating factor," Ramsey said.
"Definitely not coming back after this." – Weddle
- There will not be another un-retirement – Super Bowl will be Weddle's last game.
- "All the stars had to align for this to happen," Weddle said. "I don't see that happening ever again."
"It's really amazing, now that I think about it. Never in a million years did you expect winning a Super Bowl to be like this." – Miller
- Once you win one Super Bowl, Miller said "you want it all the time" – and that's what was on his mind reflecting on returning to the big game six years after his first appearance.
- Everything told to him by veterans like Peyton Manning and DeMarcus Ware on that Super Bowl 50-winning Broncos team, Miller is passing on to his current Rams teammates in order to achieve the same outcome.