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Phillips Gears Up for Defense's Debut

With four decades of experience, Wade Phillips has seen it all. With so many top defenses over the years — including the Broncos unit that won Super Bowl 50 — there's not much that can phase the 70-year-old defensive coordinator.

That's why even though the Rams' first-team defense has not seen any live reps together, Phillips isn't necessarily concerned about the unit coming together and playing well on Sunday.

"I'm just waiting to kind of see how we do. I think there's going to be good things," Phillips said on Thursday. "We're practicing together well this week. I've been impressed with our practices this week. And we have all our guys healthy and all of them are practicing now, so you've got to carry that to the game. But I thought we've practiced really well."

Though the Colts won't have quarterback Andrew Luck in this game, Phillips called T.Y. Hilton one of the premier wide receivers in the league. Indianapolis offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski often puts him in good position to succeed, as Hilton led the league with 1,448 yards receiver last year.

"'Chud' is a really good coordinator and he's got a great player there and he utilizes him," Phillips said. "That's what you do — you put him in situations where you can get him one-on-one and you can get him running option routes where he can go any way he sees, which he's great at. So, you have to double him every play, so we will."

Trumaine Johnson will likely be heavily involved in that plan, and Phillips said he's been really impressed with the Rams' top corner so far.

"I think he's come in here and done everything we've asked and a little bit more, really. And that's what I've been impressed with," Phillips said. "He works at what he does. He's a smart player, he's athletic, he listens to what we're trying to teach. He knows how to fit in, in the defense. I've been really impressed with him. I've had some really good corners, but he can be right up there."

The defensive coordinator had similar praise for middle linebacker Alec Ogletree, who is entering his second season as Los Angeles' signal-caller.

"I've been really impressed with Alec Ogletree. He's a smart guy, but he's really athletic. He gives you everything you want in a linebacker," Phillips said. "He's strong, he's powerful, he's fast and he's smart. He can make all the calls and the adjustments. It's a new defense and he's the leader of that defense and done a great job with it."

But when it comes to the defense jelling on Sunday, Phillips said the team will keep track of snaps for certain players who didn't receiver much — if any — playing time in August.

"We've got to be aware of Robert Quinn or even Mark Barron — some of those guys that haven't been in live action during the preseason at all," Phillips said. "We'll have to be aware and monitor how many snaps they have."

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