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From the Podium: Sean McVay, Carson Wentz, Aaron Donald, Mike LaFleur and Raheem Morris preview Week 18 at 49ers

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rams head coach Sean McVay and quarterback Carson Wentz each held press conferences with local media Wednesday, discussing Wentz getting the starting nod in Week 18, the decision to rest some starters, and more.

On Thursday, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris met with local media to discuss the growth of rookies this season, Kobie Turner's Defensive Rookie of the Year candidacy, and more. 

Here are some of the highlights and key takeaways from those conversations.

"I'm excited about Carson's opportunity." – McVay

  • Wentz will start at quarterback on Sunday against the 49ers as the Rams rest Matthew Stafford.
  • It will be Wentz's most extensive action to date, having previously only appeared in relief of Stafford in the Rams' blowout win over the Cardinals in Week 12.

"I've been preparing to be ready in whatever capacity I can help this team anyway, so I'm excited for it." – Wentz

  • When Wentz joined the Rams, he was eager to make the most of that opportunity, no matter what his role would look like, and likewise approach his preparation that way. 
  • It will be Wentz's first NFL start since Week 17 of last season, when he was playing for the Commanders.

"You want to play, you want to be out there, but after talking to Sean and looking at the big picture, it makes sense."  – Donald

  • Donald understands the decision to rest him and some other starters this Sunday against the 49ers. 
  • He is one of five starters who will be resting, joining Stafford, Kyren Williams, Cooper Kupp and Ernest Jones IV.

"I've told him this, and I've told it in front of the group, it's not just what he's been doing on Sundays, his consistent approach to get better in practice and his practice habits have gotten better since the beginning of the year." – LaFleur

  • For LaFleur, that is the most telling example of offensive lineman Steve Avila's impact over the course of his rookie season. 
  • "He's one of those guys that, if you watch from Week 1 to now, the improvement and the just the consistent improvement (stands out)," LaFleur said.

"I couldn't be happier with the two young guys." – Morris

  • Morris is pleased with what he's seen from Kobie Turner and Byron Young this season. 
  • Turner leads the Rams with nine sacks, while Young has seven.

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