THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rams head coach Sean McVay, quarterback Matthew Stafford, outside linebacker Von Miller, defensive back Eric Weddle and running back Cam Akers each held video conferences with local media Thursday, discussing Weddle coming back to the Rams, Akers' comeback, and more.
Here are some of the highlights and key takeaways from those virtual conversations, which you can watch in their entirety below:
"D-Hop is a great player, but A.J. Green has quite a resume and he's kind of filled that void." – McVay
- One key absence for the Cardinals that will linger into Monday night's game: Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who remains on injured reserve due to a knee injury he sustained in the last meeting between these two teams.
- However, as McVay alluded to, the Cardinals still have plenty of playmakers around quarterback Kyler Murray in Green, who finished as their second-leading receiver in the regular season with 848 yards, as well as tight end Zach Ertz and wide receivers Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore and running backs Chase Edmonds and James Conner.
"Every time I step on the field, I'm proving myself - whether it's a pre-season game, a regular season game, practice, a playoff game." – Stafford
- For Stafford, the pressure this week is no different than any other competitive NFL setting and he doesn't feel the need to prove himself seeking his first playoff victory.
- Stafford said football is a team game, but he also understands when a quarterback plays well, their team has a better chance of winning the game, "so I'm always trying to go out there and play as good of football as I possibly can to help our team win."
"I feel like they brought me here for the playoffs. I'm excited to be back in the playoffs." – Miller
- Stakes like the playoffs are a big reason why Miller believes the Rams acquired him, and Miller is excited to be returning to the postseason for the first time since the 2015 season, when he helped lead the Broncos to a Super Bowl.
- In seven career playoff games, Miller has registered 31 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, 12 QB hits, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception.
"It was just an opportunity of a lifetime, quite honestly." – Weddle
- Feeling good physically and mentally, Weddle couldn't turn down the opportunity to rejoin the Rams after more than a year and a half away from the game of football.
- Prior to coming out of retirement, Weddle was the coach of his son's 12U football team, and always spoke to him about owning your decisions, and playing with no regrets and living life with no regrets. "And I just kept coming back to I would regret it, if I didn't come and take this chance to try to help out the guys that I love a coach that I love and try to help this team out," Weddle said.
"I feel good. Obviously, it's a blessing to be able to come back from something so fast." – Akers
- Akers did the seemingly improbable in Week 18, making his season debut less than six months after tearing his Achilles.
- Akers said it's a credit to his work ethic as well as the Rams training staff, which "did such an amazing job of mapping out a plan and making sure I follow that plan to a T."