Preparation is important for any coach to succeed in the NFL. New Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley's thoroughness, however, sets him apart, and it's one of the reasons why new outside linebacker Leonard Floyd is excited to work with him again.
"He's a guy who's very intelligent," Floyd said on a video conference call with local media last week. "He works hard, he really studies the game and I know we're going to be prepared for every game, because he'll have us ready."
The former top 10 draft pick by the Bears reunites with Staley by way of a one-year deal signed with Los Angeles late last month. They previously worked together when Staley was Chicago's outside linebackers coach in 2017 and 2018.
Floyd made 81 combined tackles, 8.5 sacks, six pass breakups and one interception (pick-six against the Bills) during that span, but what Floyd valued most from his time learning under Staley was the way Staley taught him to prepare.
"When he first got there, he made sure that I knew my job well (so) on Sundays I wouldn't have to think as much," Floyd said.
L.A. hopes that partnership flourishes again this upcoming season, since Floyd is being tasked with helping replace former outside linebacker Dante Fowler.
Fowler parlayed a season of career highs in sacks (11.5), total tackles (54) and pass breakups (6) into a lucrative three-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons.
"I don't feel the pressure to match his level," Floyd said. "I just want to come in and play at my level, try to help the team win games and dominate on defense."
Playing in a front seven featuring two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and 2010s all-decade team selection Aaron Donald should help with that.
"Come in and just try to be there at the right time, if he gives me one. Because you know he's coming (laughs)," Floyd said, when asked what playing alongside Donald could do for his pass rush. "Hopefully a couple of them fall in my lap."
Whether Donald gives him one or not, this much is certain: When Floyd does make a play this season, it will most likely be because he was prepared and consequently in position to do so, thanks to both Donald and Staley's help.
Meet OLB Leonard Floyd!