The Rams have added three highly talented players to their defense over the last few weeks in Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, and Ndamukong Suh. And all three carry a reputation for having a strong personality.
That can manifest itself in different ways for each player. And it's also raised questions as to how head coach Sean McVay will manage what should be a particularly lively locker room.
But at league meetings in Orlando earlier this week, McVay seemed fairly unconcerned about any potential issues.
"The biggest thing that we felt like is when you do your vetting process, and you look into just adding people like that, you want to find guys who love football," McVay told reporters at the coaches breakfast. "And we feel like the three players — especially when you look at Marcus, Aqib, and Ndamukong — these guys love football. They're passionate about it. And you feel like if that exists, then everything else will kind of fit."
That goes from a scheme perspective as well.
"Especially when you talk about those three defensive players with the way we want to operate defensively, we feel like it was going to be a good fit," McVay said. "All of it is on paper right now, but you do feel really good about adding two corners that really I don't think it matters what system you're playing — they're going to fit. Their production speaks for itself. And then Ndamukong's the same way."
Plus Los Angeles has defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who — as McVay put it — has "more swag than all of them."
"He's coached a lot of great players, and I don't think it's by chance that those great players seem to have their best production under his guidance and under his leadership," McVay said, noting Phillips' even-keel demeanor. "And that's a credit to him, and that's a credit to his understanding and ability to be able to communicate with these guys, be receptive to feedback.
"This guy has a great feel for the game, but he's also receptive to those players who have a feel for it as well," McVay continued, adding Phillips lets players have some ownership in what's being called. "You want it, here you go — and then they go make the plays. And I think that just increases the rapport between Wade Phillips and the players that he's coached."
Phillips' presence is a large part of why McVay is confident the defensive pieces the Rams have put in place will form a cohesive, productive unit.
"In terms of the great players, he's been able to figure out how we can all mesh and mold together — absolutely," McVay said. "He's been instrumental in being able to feel confident to make a lot of those moves. And when you get the thumbs up from Wade Phillips, it makes you feel good about being proactive and going and pursuing these things."
As for how the Rams will mesh off the field, McVay sounds confident in his methodology for that area as well.
"It's about continuing to figure out how we can be connected as a team, how we can really commit to each other, and being the best version of ourselves, ultimately, to be a great football team," he said. "And we're excited to see how that thing meshes and molds together as the offseason program starts up here in a couple weeks."