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From the Podium: DC Brandon Staley on getting rookies prepared, duo of Jalen Ramsey and John Johnson

Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley held a video conference with local media Saturday afternoon, covering preparing rookies during an atypical offseason and training camp and cornerback Jalen Ramsey and safety John Johnson's impact on the secondary, among other important topics. Here are some highlights and key takeaways from that virtual conversation:

"Me personally, I think that we'll be able to get these guys ready to play if they're good enough, and that's just how the NFL is or any other level."

  • This year's atypical offseason and training camp is perceived to put rookies at a disadvantage as they get acclimated to their NFL teams and those teams' systems. While Staley understands that position, it is not one he is personally taking.
  • Staley said "if a young player is capable of playing, then he will" and that it's the coaching staff's responsibility to put him through as many experiences as possible before the season-opener.

"You can't ask for two better guys back there quarterbacking your secondary."

  • Since this year's offseason program was completely virtual, training camp marks the first time Staley has been able to work with his players on the field. Though that's only been a short amount of time, Staley likes the possibilities of a Jalen Ramsey- and John Johnson III-led defensive backfield.
  • With those two working together, Staley said the defense is "going to be able to solve a lot of problems together and make and create a lot of plays."
  • Besides Staley's comment, Johnson said this week that he and Ramsey feed off each other's energy – something that can only help their chemistry and taking charge of the secondary.

"Aaron Donald will make all the schemes work."

  • When you're coaching a two-time defensive player of the year and one of the top five players in the NFL, it won't take a couple of games – or any, for that matter – for them to get adjusted to your system. That's how Staley views Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and the way Donald will be used in his scheme.
  • Staley said his goal for all of his players, and Donald in particular, is to be able to "express himself" within the defense and continue his "creative" style of play that has allowed him to play at a high level. Collobration between the two of them is also key to allowing Donald to "play fast and free."

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