The madness of Super Bowl week got under way on Monday. The Rams got on the mic to address the media. We spoke with six of the NFC champions. Let’s hear what they had to say in the build up to the Super Bowl.
Creating pressure and dealing with pressure
Despite growing up a lazy kid, Aaron Donald started training with his dad aged 12 and got into shape. After dominating at Pitt, Donald has become arguably the best player in the league. He did have doubts about the Rams. That was when they were struggling under Jeff Fisher. Since Sean McVay arrived, he hasn’t wanted to leave.
Donald was up for contract renewal and thought about what options he had, looking for a team to win. But, after meeting Sean McVay during the hiring process for the Rams, he was hooked. As long as McVay is there, Donald will be dominating in LA.
Aaron Donald also told us about how he beats the significant attention that offensive lines give him, he is always looking for the edge, no matter which way the line shifts to limit his ability. The considerable star power around him in the front seven also helps him to find opportunities to get into the backfield.
Both Donald and his teammate Von Miller have Super Bowl experience, but Miller has a ring to show for it. Miller has told his teammates to embrace the emotions. He doesn’t want them peaking too early mentally or physically to avoid the big game affecting performance.
Four weeks ago, Matt Stafford hadn’t won a playoff game. Three wins later, he is preparing for a maiden Super Bowl. Despite the week off last week, he says it’s not like any other bye week. No one was taking off out of town, everyone has done everything that you can.
There are clear comparisons between Stafford’s trade to the Rams and Tom Brady moving to Tampa Bay, the Rams QB didn’t think about the GOAT ahead of the trade. Brady was in a very different situation after winning six Super Bowls, meanwhile the Lions haven’t won a playoff game in 30 years.
Despite saying that the Rams don’t feel like a team of superstars inside the building, Stafford was full of praise for his receivers. Cooper Kupp – who has enjoyed playing with so many superstars – has been “great”, nearing 2000 yards during the regular season as the engine of the offence. Meanwhile, Odell Beckham Jr has done well to learn the offence without OTAs or a preseason to find a rhythm with Stafford or the other receivers.
Cooper Kupp has added motivation to perform on Sunday. He missed out on the Super Bowl three years ago through injury. As the team got better and better and progressed through the playoffs, it got harder to watch, even though he was happy for his teammates.
Kupp went into detail on how he disguises his routes, despite not wanting to give away his secrets. Ultimately it all comes back to basics, making every route look like a go route. Beyond that is the nuance to manoeuvre the hips and leverage of the defender, depending on how the corner lines up. Training against best on best, like Jalen Ramsey, has helped each player on the team to improve individually.
The Rams become the second team to play the Super Bowl at home. That’s an advantage Cam Akers is looking forward to when preparing for the game. Akers knew from day one that the Rams would be competing for the Super Bowl this season, even with his injury.
Akers has enjoyed earning snaps back from Sony Michel, who brings added Super Bowl experience from New England. The running backs contribute together, eliminate each other’s mistakes and big each other up.
For others, it is a little odd working with coach Sean McVay. Andrew Whitworth loves coach but finds it weird with a coach that is younger than him. The worst bit is McVay can rib Whitworth, but the Tackle can’t fight back!
Keep an eye on our website for more coverage from the Super Bowl and Media events heading up to the big game.