THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Up and down Rams nose tackle Kobie Turner's hands went, as if directing an orchestra or choir, in celebratory fashion for the second time against the Seahawks in Week 12.
Symphony No. 91 performed its best piece yet, with Turner notching two sacks, four total tackles (two for loss) and two QB hits in the Rams' 37-14 win over the Cardinals this past Sunday.
"Each and every week, I keep growing in my confidence," Turner said Thursday. "The first week at Seattle, I was a little starry-eyed, legs were really heavy, I really felt like a rookie. But being able to get so many good reps, and then every week in practice feels like a game rep, a lot of times even harder than game reps, going up against BA (offensive lineman Brian Allen). Being able to get so many good high quality reps, I started to feel like, 'Okay, I know what's coming, I know what to expect.' Now I'm able to just go and cut it loose."
Whether measured with traditional statistics or analytics, Turner's performance last week stood above the rest in his rookie season so far.
According to Next Gen Stats, he set career highs in pressures (5), sacks (2), and pressure rate (22.7%) on 22 pass rushes against the Cardinals in Week 12 – while being double-teamed on 68.2% of his pass rushes (15 of 22).
Between that performance and the one in Week 9 against the Packers, where Turner had 10 total tackles and his first career full sack, Turner's best performances of the season have come an important time. And really, it was only a matter of time before that production showed up in a game.
Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris said Turner arrived in Los Angeles "veteran-laden," in that he picked things up right away, and it was apparent how smart he was, how high his capacity was in terms of football IQ, and what he could bring to L.A.'s defense.
Turner showed that in one of the Rams' first rookie meetings. Morris said he likes to sit on those, knowing how defensive line coach/run game coordinator Eric Henderson "puts them through the ringer." Morris will tell Henderson they are doing Install 1 that day, only to enter the room and find them doing Install 7.
"These guys are in jet-rush positions and they're doing what they're supposed to do, and he's trying to trick them with questions," Morris said. "'Can I run a gold-this, or a spark-that, and this and that.' And he was one of the few guys that picked it up right away and knew what was happening and why it was going on."
Thus, the growth seen from Turner at this juncture of the season, according to Morris, is getting the results now.
"And then you see his ops, and he knows what's happening," Morris said. "It's different than telling a person, when you go out there a couple of weeks in a row and you say that somebody's going turn to (defensive tackle) Aaron Donald and believe in it. And now he an absolute belief in it, and he's playing faster because of it, and he understands the stuff that's moving around him and how it's going a bit better. Because when you talk about put in a position, and putting the pieces in place, he had that from the very beginning. I got to give his college coaches a lot of credit, and all the people he had before us, because he came in here ready-made to come out there and play pro football and to be able to do some of those things. I really have been impressed with his ability to move around, with his ability to get better and better every single week."
As for the celebration, Turner isn't conducting to a specific piece of music. He said it's more "conducting the silence," though he has gotten a kick out of seeing some Tik Toks that put music to it.
Donald said Turner is playing with confidence – and joked that maybe his celebration is too long. But Donald also knows that if Turner keeps up his recent play, Symphony No. 91 will be conducting often.
"It's him. It's a little long, I think," Donald said with a smile. "That's his signature, man. As long as he keeps making plays, it's going to grow and it's gonna become something big for him."