(East Los Angeles, CA) January 28, 2022 [From The Editor’s Desk]: As we all know, in football there is but one team, but it is always universally perceived and depicted as two, one half of it represents the offense, the other, defense. And many times, outcomes of games result in one side of the team dominating the storylines that are told about that particular team’s successes and/or failures. In contrast to that in the Rams case, because of the team’s dominant defense led by DL/#99, Aaron Donald, there is a special combination of team accomplishments always worth highlighting in their successes on the field. Once again, here’s more pre-game information we bring you as part of our coverage for all of our followers, both new and longtime, who love their Rams.
Let’s read what thoughts are going through the mind of Aaron Donald as we bring you his transcripted interview by way of the Rams Communication Department.
*Los Angeles Rams Transcripts – DL/Aaron Donald – January 27, 2022*
(On how strong his desire to win Super Bowl is…“Well, this is what you work for. This is what I’ve been working for. This is what we’ve been working for. We’ve been trying to find a way to get to the Super Bowl and we’re one game away against a divisional opponent. They had our number the past couple of times we played them. I feel like there’s no better stage than this. This is the type of game you train for during the offseason. All that extra grind, all that extra film is to play in big games like this. I feel like there’s no better stage than what we have right now.”
(On feeling like he let his team down in the last Super Bowl and if that feeling has stuck with him over the years)…“It’s just trying to find a way to win. It’s trying to find a way to get back and accomplish something I never accomplished before. I don’t know what it feels like to win the Super Bowl. I know what it feels like to be there, but I don’t know what it feels like to win. I feel like I accomplished a lot in a short amount of time in this league. The only thing I’m lacking now is being a world champion. To get to that point, we’ve got to win this week. So, we’re focused on the 49ers and trying to find a way to beat them, to get to where we’re trying to get to.”
(On what type of wrinkles he feels he’s added to his game and what areas he feels he is stronger in than his last Super Bowl appearance)…“Just growing as a football player. This has been my eighth year, so I understand the game. I understand certain things a little bit better, football knowledge-wise. That’s a lot of growth from there. I feel like that translates to what you do on the football field. Obviously, understanding different looks and things you get there, you’re able to play certain techniques and play certain things that have success.”
(On being extra vocal this week and what his message has been to his teammates)…“It’s for my guys that we talked about. We know what’s on the line. We’re one game away. I told them, pretty much, this is what you work for. All that off-season training, all that camp, all the long grinding days we put in is for playing games like this and we’re here now. We’re one game away. We just have to go out there and do our job and play a full game for four quarters and finish.”
(On what he’s seen out of OLB Von Miller the last six games and how that has elevated the level of play…“It’s been great. (OLB)/Von (Miller) has been playing great. It’s been great obviously to have him as a football player and the talent he has, but me personally, I feel like having Von, you know, I have always considered myself a leader, but more of a lead by example guy. One thing Von has been challenging me a lot more with is just him talking to me, being more vocal, talking to the guys, letting them hear my voice. Having Von and having him speak to me and talk to me, I feel like some of the best things I’m learning from Von is being more of a vocal leader. So, it’s been great. He’s been playing great football. It’s playoff ball, so you expect that.”
(On how the playoff loss to the Packers is fueling him entering this weekend)…“I talked about what we’re trying to do as a team and that’s to be a world champion. Anytime you fall short, you feel like you couldn’t do enough to help your team. You’re going to feel like you put a lot into this game, a whole lot. The ultimate goal was winning and trying to find a way to win and trying to find a way to be the last team standing. So, until we accomplish that, anything that’s not that is a loss in my eyes.”
(On what it feels like to have his teammates wanting to win for him)…“It means a lot. It definitely means a lot hearing that, but, again, it’s not just for me. It’s for the organization. It’s for guys like (OL Andrew) Whit (Whitworth) and (QB Matthew) Stafford that have been playing this game a little longer than me and haven’t experienced that either. We have a lot of veteran guys— (S/Eric) Weddle’s back. We have a lot of veteran guys that we’re trying to get that ultimate goal for. It means a lot for those guys to feel like they are trying to do it for me too. I know I’m giving it my all and trying to do everything I can in my power to do my part to help accomplish that goal. Knowing that those guys are riding with me means a lot.”
(On how much he thinks the fan atmosphere will be elevated this Sunday)…“I hope it’s going to be great. I hope it’s going to be a lot of Rams fans there. More Rams fans than Niners fans. So, we’re going to see. I know it’s going to be a live environment. Hopefully, a lot of noise from our fans and we get the job done.”
(On what challenges 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo presents)…“He makes good decisions. I think they stick with a game plan. They stick to it and he’s able to do a lot of things off that. They find ways to win and that’s the most important thing. We’ve just got to do our job.”
(On him saying the 49ers have had the Rams number the last few times and why he thinks that is and how the Rams can change it so that doesn’t happen again)…“They just won, but the past is the past, honestly. This is a different type of football here that’s going on this week. This is one game away from the Super Bowl against an opponent that we’re both used to. We know what to expect. We just have to play four quarters. We’ve got to find a way to finish. Obviously, they’ve beat us in ways. I’m not going to sit here and talk about it, but they did. This week, my mindset is there’s no way we’re going to lose this game. We have to play four quarters. We have to find a way to finish, and I know we’re going to do that.”
(On if he has ever lost six times in a row at anything)…“I don’t think so.”
(On what are some of the things he feels like he needs to do mentally to get ready for the game)…“About the same things I always do. Do what I have to do to make sure that I’m ready. That’s from preparing on the practice field to studying film and making sure I’m healthy and ready to perform. That’s what I’m going to do.”
(On how challenging it is to track 49ers WR/Deebo Samuels and what the Rams need to do to slow him down)…“They move him all round. Everywhere from outside to in the backfield. When they have certain guys getting the ball, we just got to swarm and tackle. I think last game we missed a lot of tackles, and we can’t allow that this time. We got to swarm, and we got to wrap up.”
(On him and CB/Jalen Ramsey focused on playing all four quarters and what the Rams have learned from past games surrendering big leads)…“We’ve got to play solid football. Try to eliminate turnovers, try to eliminate big plays that we give up on the defensive side of the ball and we got to finish. That’s what it comes down to and that’s what you got to do to win.”
(On if there are one or two setups he really likes that Miller does)…“Well, I’m not going to tell y’all how he sets stuff up, but I think he does a good job as far as switching up from finesse to power and he’s able to understand the game, understand how to defeat a guy and he shows it consistently. For the past few weeks, he’s been showing up big time for us when we need him and we’re going to have continue to have that from him and everybody else.”
(On what it’s like to have Miller and his good energy around)…“He’s a great guy. He’s a great teammate. He’s a great person. I’m real big on being around people with good energy and he’s one of those guys that when you’re around him, it’s just good energy. It’s been great to have him. Obviously, the things he’s been doing for us as far as on the football field make you smile that much harder. So, he’s been great.” ##RAMS##
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