THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – It was a busy Thursday for the Rams with head coach Sean McVay, multiple defensive assistant coaches, special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis and several players holding Super Bowl LVI video conferences with local, national and international media. Among those participating:
- Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris
- Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis
- Secondary coach Ejiro Evero
- Linebackers coach Chris Shula
- Defensive line coach/run game coordinator Eric Henderson
- Defensive lineman Aaron Donald
- Offensive lineman Austin Corbett
- Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd
- Offensive lineman Rob Havenstein
- Punter Johnny Hekker
- Wide receiver Van Jefferson
- Linebacker Ernest Jones
- Wide receiver Brandon Powell
- Safety Nick Scott
Here are some of the highlights and key takeaways from those virtual conversations:
"Each of the three games have represented a little bit different story in how we had to find ways to win the game." – McVay
- If there's a focal point to the Rams' offense's performances to this point in the playoffs, it's been the different ways they've been able to win each game.
- "Ultimately, it boils down to the players playing really well, their confidence, their communication, their mental toughness and their ability to play well situationally in those crunch-time moments," McVay said.
"Stats are for losers, man. They give up nine sacks and won the football game. And I think they would trade that for this moment right now." – Morris
- Asked if the Bengals giving up that many sacks against the Titans in the Divisional Round was seen by him as a weakness, Morris pointed out they still won that game and ultimately reached the Super Bowl.
- Morris said that game against the Titans was three weeks ago, so the Bengals have probably done their homework and cleaned that up since then.
"I think the guys just stuck with it. I also think getting Brandon Powell really helped us out." – DeCamillis
- The special teams' improvement was gradual, and also attributed in part to the acquisition of Powell.
- Powell averaged 22.2 yards per punt return and 26 yards per kickoff return during the regular season and has had returns of 33 and 24 yards respectively in each phase.
"For me, it's not a surprise, because going back to last year, you kind of saw him turning the page from being a special teams-only guy to being able to be a functional safety." – Evero
- Scott stepping up the way he has in the playoffs isn't a shock to Evero based on what he's seen up close working with him.
- Evero said Scott played a lot in their sub packages and dime packages last year, and the confidence from those experiences carried over into this season.
"Two of the elite guys in this league that play the edge that do it a little bit differently." – Shula
- Von Miller and Floyd each have different skillsets, but it makes them an effective tandem.
- "You really can't find much better duo, especially for what we asked him to do, where they're not always just rushing every time or they're in a rush and drop and do different things," Shula said.
"It's paid off for us. And it's just been genuine." – Henderson
- Miller helping get more out of Donald from a vocal leadership standpoint has paid huge dividends for the Rams. The best part, too, is that it's all been genuine for Donald.
- "It hasn't been anything that's been forced by A.D.," Henderson said. "It's just, you know, he found his way of really staying genuine in his approach. And guys have really taken to that."
"The ball go to him, you know he going to shut that thing down on one side." – Donald
- A'Shawn Robinson's postseason play has been a critical factor in the Rams' push toward Super Bowl LVI.
- Donald said Robinson has been making plays in the run game and also putting a lot of pressure on quarterbacks in the pass game.
"He steps into that huddle and he looks each of us in the eye and you know he has control." – Corbett
- Stafford's demeanor in the huddle inspires confidence in the rest of his teammates.
- Corbett said that command and confidence from Stafford isn't comparable to anyone else he's been around.
"Man, I wish I could. I would be begging the tight end coach." – Floyd
- Floyd played both defensive end and tight end in high school and wouldn't be shy about petitioning for opportunities with the Rams.
- "They didn't gave me the chance yet, hopefully they will one day," Floyd said.
"I think one of the best things about our room is that guys, generally like really actually like each other." – Havenstein
- Don't discount how valuable chemistry has been to the success of the Rams' offensive line this season.
- "We all know how everyone else likes to play, guys' certain tendencies and things like that," Havenstein said.
"We've all had the discussion this week of what it would take." – Hekker
- Could a specialist possibly winning Super Bowl MVP? Hekker isn't counting it out.
"Just stay ready so you don't have to go get ready, that's my dad's favorite saying." – Jefferson
- Jefferson's father's role in guiding him in this part of his career has been different this time around, in that he hasn't been as involved.
- Usually Shawn Jefferson is the one to come and talk to Van and give him advice, but this time he's been more relaxed and offering advice like the above.
"I never imagined this. It's unbelievable, it's a blessing honestly." – Jones
- Jones' rookie season has the rare distinction of reaching the Super Bowl.
- It's also been "crazy" for him getting to learn from the likes of Miller, Donald, Floyd and Jalen Ramsey.
"A thousand percent I'm going to be crying pregame." – Powell
- Once facing uncertainty about his NFL future, Powell is now playing in the Super Bowl.
- "It's going to be a real emotional day" on Sunday, according to Powell, "but I'll be happy."
"It's been a blessing playing with somebody of that caliber at his position." – Scott
- Scott is grateful to have the chance to play with Ramsey, someone who is a "a big energy guy."
- When Ramsey makes a big play, Scott said the rest of Ramsey's teammates feed off of it.