Quotes & Notes 8/2: Wade Phillips can’t say enough superlatives about Aaron Donald 

After each media session, 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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“I think the neatest thing is his peers rating him the best player in the league. I think that shows you. I think the coaches all vote the same way. Certainly, I would.”

— DC Wade Phillips

  • Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald was recently revealed as the No. 1 player in the 2019 NFL Top 100 list.
  • Phillips said he “can’t say enough superlatives” about the sixth-year defensive tackle.
  • But as many good things as Donald has done, Phillips noted there are things the back-to-back AP Defensive Player of the Year can work on, too.
  • And that’s something Donald embraces.

“It’s a good feeling any time your peers think of you that highly. That’s the No. 1 football player in the whole national football league, it’s surreal.”

— DT Aaron Donald

  • Donald appeared to be very appreciative of his peers voting him No. 1 in this year’s Top 100 list.
  • Donald recorded 20.5 sacks in 2018, setting a new league record for sacks by an interior lineman in a single season, and a single-season record for the Rams franchise.
  • But as he always does, Donald said he has room for improvement and he’s only trying to get himself better.
  • Better than 20.5 sacks from the interior — it doesn’t seem possible.
  • But then again, Donald’s first sack didn’t come until Week 4 last year…

“He made some plays where he’s standing — they’re handing off the ball in the backfield and he’s standing right in front of the guy and there’s two guys supposed to block him.”

— DC Wade Phillips

  • Phillips was still talking about Donald — describing plays from Thursday’s practice with the Chargers.
  • Donald is known as a practice wrecker, and it’s much better if that comes against another team.
  • Phillips added that it’s been great to have Donald both in the offseason program and at training camp because he has a great attitude at all times.
  • “Besides being a great player,” Phillips added, “he’s a great person.”

“I thought it was really beneficial to see a really good team, and we’re looking forward to competing against them tomorrow, too.”

— HC Sean McVay

  • Upon reviewing the film from Thursday’s practice with the Chargers, head coach Sean McVay said he noticed a lot of good competition in all three phases.
  • McVay noted that there were both good things and elements to work on from the session, but overall the team got what it wanted — solid work from practicing with another strong team that won’t be seen during the regular season.

“You want to try to make sure that we’re being critical of ourselves and realistic because there were some things yesterday that maybe you feel like it’s a good play, and you go back and you say, ‘If that’s a real game, maybe that isn’t as good of a play as we thought.’”

— HC Sean McVay

  • The Rams and Chargers weren’t tackling on Thursday and they likely won’t on Saturday either. That’s part of why McVay said L.A. has to be critical of itself when evaluating film of the practice.
  • There are times when a quarterback may make a throw after he would’v been sacked in a live-game scenario.
  • Or a player may make a catch over the middle that a safety would break up in a real-life scenario.
  • But given the approach Los Angeles takes to joint practices, the club likely gained plenty from the experience.

Check out photos from first of two joint practices with the Chargers!

“Brandin’s feeling good. … We expect him to be good to go tomorrow.”

— HC Sean McVay

  • Wide receiver Brandin Cooks was held out of the later portions of Thursday’s practice with hamstring tightness. But McVay said the wideout should be fine to participate in Saturday’s joint practice.
  • McVay added that wide receiver Cooper Kupp — who also did not participate in the joint portions of Thursday’s session — should be on the field for Saturday, too.

“I think all our guys are working hard but I think he’s seeing the opportunity and has seized it.”

— DC Wade Phillips

  • Defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day has been working with the starting group at nose tackle, and Phillips has liked what the 2018 sixth-round pick has brought to the position.
  • When L.A. selected DL Greg Gaines in the 2019 NFL Draft, the prevailing thought was Gaines could step in and compete right away for the starting spot at nose.
  • But so far, Joseph-Day has held him off with some strong play.
  • The nose tackle position will be important in improving Los Angeles’ No. 32 ranking in the regular season against the run from last year.

“They ran a lot of plays teams had run against us last year that had been successful, and they weren’t.”

— DC Wade Phillips

  • Speaking of the run defense, Phillips noted that the Rams improved against run plays teams had success with in 2018 during Thursday’s practice with the Chargers.
  • That’s good news considering the Rams allowed a whopping 5.1 yards per carry against the run last season.
  • Run defense falls on the linebackers as well as the defensive line, and so far Phillips has been pleased with the results in camp.

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