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Quotes & Notes 1/17: Phillips, Rams defense turns attention to Brees 

Following each practice, Quotes and Notes will bring you what was said, who said it, and what it means for your Los Angeles Rams.


"Well it changes — as you can see, since Aqib's been back, we haven't given up a lot of big plays in the passing game."

  • Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips seemed thankful for cornerback Aqib Talib's impact since returning from injured reserve Week 13 in Detroit — specifically when it comes to his defense giving up big plays through the air.
  • Phillips' defense surrendered 391 passing yards to quarterback Drew Brees back in Week 9, but that was without Talib on the field.
  • The coordinator said Talib helps lead the team much like coaches do, reminding the media in attendance of his Super Bowl 50 run with Talib in Denver, saying, "[Talib] made me 'drippin' in the Super Bowl so that was nice."

"We still try to disguise things and certainly we are going to move around on him, but it's hard to catch him not knowing, basically, where the weakness of the defense is, or where his one-on-one situation with Michael Thomas [is]."

  • Phillips was asked how his veteran corner's ability to communicate can help this time around against Brees, inviting the coordinator to go on about what makes the sure-thing Hall of Famer so good.
  • With stopping wide receiver Michael Thomas top-of-mind for many entering the weekend, Phillips seemed more wary of what the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards will bring to the table in pursuit of his second Super Bowl.
  • Brees — who turned 40 on Tuesday — led the league completing 74.4 percent of his passes in 2018. The veteran signal caller averaged 8.2 yards per attempt and proved he should not be counted out in his 18th season, leading the league with seven game-winning drives.

"I don't think nobody needs extra 'oomph' for the NFC 'chip."

  • The Rams and Saints sat No.1 and No. 2 atop the NFC for the majority of the regular season. Then there's the Week 9 shootout, the Thomas 72-yard touchdown reception, and banter between opposing players and coaches — all leading up to Sunday's championship game. But even with all of the surrounding context, Talib replied simply on Thursday when asked if playing in the Superdome's tough environment will give his guys any extra juice.
  • After painting the picture, Talib seemed to be keyed in on Brees, agreeing with his coordinator, saying No. 9 will know how to adjust to whatever the Rams throw at him.
  • Talib enters the NFC Championship game in search of his first-career postseason interception.

"Anytime you play against a great quarterback like that he's going to do things a normal quarterback isn't going to do."

  • Without venturing into specifics, defensive tackle Aaron Donald said he's preparing to get after a different type of quarterback on Sunday.
  • Donald has sacked 30 quarterbacks in his five professional seasons, including Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Ben Roethlisberger to name a few. Brees is on No. 99's list, with Donald bringing him down in 2016 and 2017.
  • While Donald didn't get a sack in Week 9, he did have four QB hits on Brees.
  • Donald said first and foremost, his defense must continue the playoff trend so far and stop the run before looking for a playoff sack on Brees.

"I'm the freshest running back in the league."

  • Speaking of being ready to go, Talib's once-and-current teammates and fellow Super 50 champion, running back C.J. Anderson claimed the highest level of freshness entering championship weekend.
  • Anderson and running back Todd Gurley split snaps 43 percent to 57 percent, respectively, in the Divisional round. Anderson said that he and Gurley's respect for each other's game has led to their positive pairing.
  • L.A.'s newest offensive weapon took 16 carries for 72 yards in his previous conference championship, in the 2015 AFC title game.

Check out photos from practice as the Los Angeles Rams prepare to face the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship.

"It doesn't matter to me, whoever is in there. Whoever is in there ballin' is in there ballin.'"

  • Gurley said he thinks McVay's dual running back look is a "great game plan" entering the Superdome.
  • He was also quick to note that stats do not count toward career totals in the postseason. With his Divisional round performance against the Cowboys, Gurley has now posted back-to-back playoff rushing performances of at least 100 yards.

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