The secondary may have been the position group making headlines in the Rams' dominant 46-9 win over the Colts on Sunday, but outside linebacker Robert Quinn was a commanding presence on the defense as well.
The seven-year pro played only 25 defensive snaps in the season opener, but recorded two tackles for loss and sacked Indianapolis quarterback Scott Tolzien.
"You certainly feel his presence on the defense," head coach Sean McVay said on Monday. "I thought Robert Quinn was excellent...He's certainly a rusher that you have to account for. He's got a great get-off, love the effort and intensity he plays with."
"He's one of the guys that I've always had a lot of respect for just coaching against him in years past, where when No. 94 is right, you feel him," McVay continued. "He is an elite rusher and he certainly looked like that guy yesterday and very glad to have Rob back."
Sunday's contest against the Colts was Quinn's first game action of 2017, after he was held out of all four preseason games to keep him healthy for Week 1. And while it was his first time playing alongside the rest of the Rams' starting defense, Quinn did not miss a beat.
"I felt good," Quinn said. "After a few snaps, you get back into game mode [and] stop thinking as much. So that's just kind of what happened and went on being the regular me."
The outside linebacker really shined in one particular sequence during the second quarter of Sunday's game. On first down from the Indianapolis 25, Quinn came quick off the edge and sacked Tolzien for a seven-yard loss.
A play later on 3rd-and-17, Tolzien completed a shovel pass in the backfield to running back Robert Turbin. Turbin tried to evade outside linebacker Connor Barwin, but Quinn raced in from the play's backside to take him down for a four-yard loss.
Quinn's dominance forced the Colts to punt, and set up the Rams' offense for another touchdown.
"I think that was really just the official knock-the-rust-off," Quinn said of the two plays. "But it was just fun to make a couple plays, help the team win. Just doing my little bit that I can while everyone else did theirs. So trying not to make too big deal out of it, just doing my job."
Under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, the defense has transitioned from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme, moving Quinn from defensive end to outside linebacker. The new scheme is designed to put the secondary in a position to attack, and it also allows the outside linebackers, Connor Barwin and Quinn, to be aggressive in coming off the edge and rushing the passer.
"When McVay and coach Wade got here, they raised our accountability level, our standards," Quinn said. "And I think guys are having fun — and it's a game, so you better have some fun. They flew around, made plays, and that's all you can really ask for. Of course, we're looking for improvements every week, but it's a good way to start."