Quotes & Notes 1/9: Donald on Dak Prescott: “A tough guy to face, but we’ll get after him.”

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

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“Alright, Dallas Cowboys — I have somewhat of a past with Dallas.”

-DC WADE PHILLIPS
  • Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips opened his Wednesday press conference with a bit of sarcasm. Phillips was the head coach in Dallas from 2007 through Week 9 of the 2010 season.
  • Phillips went 34-22 leading the Cowboys before head coach Jason Garrett took over in Week 10 of that year, and he’s been the head coach since.
  • Phillips spoke also spoke about his relationship with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Wednesday, saying, “If you work for Jerry Jones, you’re a part of the family.”

“The quarterback is a really good good quarterback and they’ve added a receiver — who is probably the top receiver since he’s been there, so their offense has a lot of weapons.”

-DC WADE PHILLIPS
  • Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has connected with wide receiver Amari Cooper on 53-of-76 targets since Dallas acquired the receiver in Week 9. Cooper’s 76 targets since joining the Cowboys trails only wide receiver Cole Beasley and running back Ezekiel Elliott, who have played 16 and 15 games this season, respectively.
  • Six of Cooper’s seven touchdowns in 2018 have come as a Cowboy.

“If it’s fourth down-and-one on the goal line, it really doesn’t matter how many yards they made if you stop them on that 4th-and-1 to win the game. That’s the most important, and I think that’s the way this defense plays.”

-DC WADE PHILLIPS
  • Phillips pointed to his unit’s ability to make critical stops and win games, despite allowing 122.3 yards per game as the league’s No. 23 run defense.
  • Phillips also said his defense prides itself on takeaways when facing questions about stopping the league’s leading rusher in Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott. Over the last two seasons, the Rams and Bears are tied at No. 1 with 58 takeaways. The Dallas offense has taken care of the ball in 2018, as its 17 giveaways rank No. 5 across the league. Prescott threw one interception in the Wild Card round against the Seahawks.

“You could say same and different. You know he does a lot of different things, he’s a good quarterback, makes a lot of big plays — a tough guy to face, but we’ll get after him.”

-DT AARON DONALD
  • Defensive tackle Aaron Donald has the opportunity to add Prescott to the list of 30 NFL quarterbacks he has sacked in his five professional seasons. On Wednesday, Donald said Dallas’ third-year signal caller sort of resembles the likes of dual-threat quarterbacks he’s faced this season like Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, and Mitchell Trubisky.
  • Donald logged a combined 5.5 sacks and forced two fumbles against Wilson and Mahomes — and may have a favorable matchup heading into Saturday. According to NFL Next Gen Stats and Pro Football Focus, Prescott has taken 21 sacks from an interior rusher this season.
  • Donald set the NFL record for sacks by a defensive tackle in 2018 with 20.5.

Check out photos as the Los Angeles Rams practice to face the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

“We were at practice running around like it was Week 1, so there’s definitely a buzz.”

-S JOHN JOHNSON
  • Safety John Johnson broke onto the the scene with a game-sealing tackle Week 4 in Dallas last season, flying to Elliott and pulling him down just short of the sticks on fourth down. The play stopped the Cowboys’ final drive and forced a turnover on downs, effectively ending the game.
  • Johnson has started in every game since his big-time play in the Lone Star State and said his 13-3 Rams look good headed into the postseason for a second-straight season.
  • Johnson finished his sophomore season with a team-high four interceptions and as the Rams second-leading tackler with 119. Johnson added 11 passes defensed, two quarterback hits, and a forced fumble.

“You can just tell everyone is doing their job — got urgency — and we know that it’s do or die.”

-RB TODD GURLEY
  • Running back Todd Gurley agreed with Johnson ahead of his second-career playoff appearance.
  • Gurley disagreed with the notion that playing well in the playoffs might define his career like it would a quarterback. Gurley posted 111 yards from scrimmage in his debut playoff game a season ago, but did not find the end zone.
  • Twelve weeks before the Rams loss to the Falcons in the Wild Card round last season, Gurley totalled 215 yards from scrimmage with a 53-yard receiving touchdown against the Cowboys.

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