Around the NFL

Rams DC Raheem Morris on plans for Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey: 'You don't mess them up'

Expectations for the Los Angeles Rams defense in 2021 will be lofty and a great deal of that's because of the all-world exploits of defensive tackle Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

So what are new defensive coordinator Raheem Morris' plans on how to use the tandem of terrific? Well, essentially to get out their way.

"You don't mess them up," Morris told reporters Thursday, via team transcript. "Let's let these guys get going."

Morris, who was most recently the Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator and interim head coach before becoming L.A.'s third defensive coordinator in as many seasons, might well have had the perfect answer when questioned as to how he intends to use Donald and Ramsey.

Donald just won his third AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year and was Pro Football Focus' No. 1-ranked player of the season, while Ramsey, who was No. 64 for PFF and No. 4 among cornerbacks, earned his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl bid.

"Jalen is a great player," Morris said of the 26-year-old two-time All-Pro. "He's probably rare. He's unique. He can be a shutdown corner. You can move him inside. He can play at the nickel position. He's smart. You see his toughness oozing all over the tape. You see his competitive nature just all over the tape. You see the exciting plays. You see what he can be and his best version of himself at all times when he's out there in the field you. Him as a leader, you would love to see him just take that to another level. I can just see people wanting to follow him because of his style of play."

And then there's Donald. The seven-time Pro Bowler is on a Hall of Fame path and then some as the man-beast has likely already established himself as the game's greatest interior pass rusher of all-time. With 85.5 sacks across seven ultra-successful seasons, Donald is a game and game-plan wrecker. And after enjoying watching him from afar, Morris exclaimed over Donald on Thursday.

"Aaron Donald is just so much fun to watch," Morris said. "He's just a disruptor. He's a finisher. He's the guy that just gets things going, he leads by example, and you can just see it on the field. Nothing he does on the field is shocking. Right now, at this point, I'm just sitting here, and I'm just wowed, I'm amazed with some of the things he's able to do. You want to get him aligned up and find the ways to get him one-on-ones, but at the same time he's done such a great job of getting his teammates one-on-one and setting up the guys around him that you don't want to take away that part of his strength either."

In addition to taking on a defensive unit that boasts Donald and Ramsey -- along with standouts Darious Williams, John Johnson and Troy Hill, among others -- Morris is taking over for a DC who moved on to become a head coach in Brandon Staley. He's also taking the reins of the 2020 season's No. 1-ranked defense.

Morris doesn't find it to be overwhelming taking on such a task, as much as a chance to do something special.

"Our whole business kind of deals with pressure. I don't think it's pressure, I think it's more of an opportunity," Morris said. "Anytime you get a chance to join greatness, to be a part of a bunch of winning, like you guys have been able to do around here in the past - to be able to add onto that, to join a bunch of really good coaches and really good players, you're really just fired up more than pressured. It's an opportunity to be a part of greatness and it's certainly something that I'm going to relish."

Morris is joining greatness and it starts with Donald and Ramsey. For the new Rams defensive coordinator, it would seem it's all about the chance to go forth, do something special and not mess it up.

Related Content

Gamepass_vert_web_r

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.