Phillips: I Don't Manage Players, I Work With Players

First the Rams added cornerback Marcus Peters. Then the club traded for cornerback Aqib Talib. And finally Los Angeles signed defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh.

Three elite-level defensive players, to be sure. But each man is known for having a pretty strong personality.

There's been plenty of talk about how adding these personalties may affect the chemistry of Los Angeles' locker room — that and how the coaching staff will be able to manage these three men.

But defensive coordinator Wade Phillips seemed unconcerned when addressing the situation last week.

"We're going to have personality now. You bring in Aqib Talib, you're going to have personality," Phillips said. "It's not manage though. I don't manage players, I don't handle players. I just work with players.

"They asked me the same thing when I went into Denver," Phillips continued. "I want them to have personalities. A lot of them are really good because of their personalities, they're confident in themselves."

Peters, Talib, and Suh are all players who have been to multiple Pro Bowls and whose statistics jump off the page. That's part of what Phillips means when he says their confidence translates to results. And that trait is particularly useful on defense, where players usually have to be more aggressive in order to be at their best.

"That's what you want. We play an aggressive-style defense anyway, so I think it always helps to have those kind of guys," Phillips said. "That's the way they want to play is aggressive — not over-aggressive, just aggressive."

Either way, when discussion personalities and working with players, Phillips points out he thinks of the NFL as a relationship business.

"[I]t's working with each individual," Phillips said. "It's a person-to-person business — it's not a business where it's authoritarian, or where I say this and you all do it. You know, I explain how we do things, why we're doing things, and let them know that I'm trying to get them better. Even though they're great players or an average player or whatever, it's my job to get them better as football players."

And as head coach Sean McVay put it at the Annual League Meeting last month, there's no reason to worry about Phillips working with players with strong personalities.

"I think the defensive coordinator has more swag than all of them," McVay said, "so we'll be in good shape."

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