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From the Podium: Raheem Morris, Kevin O'Connell, Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald preview NFC Championship vs. 49ers

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell, defensive back Jalen Ramsey and defensive lineman Aaron Donald each held video conferences with local and national media on Thursday, discussing takeaways from their first two games against the 49ers, quarterback Matthew Stafford's performance in the playoffs, and more.

Here are some of the highlights and key takeaways from those conversations, which you can watch in their entirety below:

"To expect a guy to come off a layoff that Ernest is coming off and to go out there and play a huge number of plays would be not in our best interest." – Morris

  • If linebacker Ernest Jones does return and play this week, Morris indicated they would not put a heavy workload on him like the kind that comes with wearing the green dot and use him more situationally.
  • Jones was designated for return from Injured Reserve last week. He has been on IR since Dec. 28 due to a high left ankle sprain sustained against the Vikings in Week 16.

"We played a lot of football this year, there's no doubt about it, but I think he's been at his best. He's played really, really good football the last two weeks." – O'Connell

  • O'Connell is pleased with where Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is at this stage of the season.
  • O'Connell said Stafford "continues to be one of the first guys in the building every single day, ready to roll, a tremendous enthusiasm, but at the same time, carries a presence that everybody kind of feels and understands what point in time we are in the season, and that we're going to get his best on a daily basis through his preparation, which will only bring along his teammates with him and allow everybody to go play with a quieted mind and with a lot of confidence on Sunday."

"I would say that we have to be extremely physical. We gotta try to set the tone, and not just set the tone, because I feel like we set the tone the last game and we started off really well, but we have to maintain it through all four quarters." – Ramsey

  • Ramsey's biggest takeaway from the Rams' first two games against the 49ers? Maintaining the same energy, effort and execution throughout the entire game.
  • And when it comes to stopping the 49ers from attacking the field of the field in the passing game, Ramsey said it comes down to execution and wanting it more.

"There ain't no better stage than is." – Donald

  • Facing a divisional rival for a third time with a trip to the Super Bowl at stake, it's hard for any environment to top Sunday's NFC Championship game.
  • "All that extra grind, all that extra film, is to play in big games like this," Donald said.

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