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Rams Def. Coordinator Gregg Williams On Aaron Donald, Chris Long, Mark Barron and T.J. McDonald

The Rams' aggressive defensive coordinator spoke to media yesterday after practice.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

(On the weather)
"Yesterday was a little warm. It was good. But you need those days. You need those dog days of summer to get ready to go. We’ve had a few of those and that was good for yesterday."

(On how many gallons of water weight the players lose and gain everyday)
"I don’t know, you have to ask the trainers on that. But we measure that every day. They’ve got a weigh in before and after. I think we do a very good job with recovery here over all. All of the technology that we do have, and the man power that we do have; that’s heavily monitored. And our guys do a good job with that. You don’t see guys falling out in practices. Especially like you use to a long time ago when I played and stuff. Now we take care of them very well. And I think (Head Coach) Jeff Fisher is one of the better guys that does that, he really does."

(On what he’s seen in the past two weeks on defense)
"It’s a really good group to be around there’s nobody on our defense that I don’t like being around. And there’s guys that need more coaching or more supervision than others. But you know for the most part they are a good group of kids, a good group of young men. There’s an understanding of how we go about doing things. There’s more familiarity with them and there’s more familiarity for me too. So, it’s good to see that. Even from some of the newcomers that we’ve added from the rookies. And a couple of other guys that we’ve brought in, (LB) Akeem (Ayers). I knew Akeem from my Tennessee days. It’s been good to see (DT) Nick Fairley come in here and adjust to what we do, and how we do things and to see him acclimate into our culture. It’s been good."

(On what DT Aaron Donald for his encore season)
"I’ll tell you this, and I really do believe this. Last year you guys talked to me a lot about the fact that you wanted me to compare him to people that have already played the game way before him. And you know what? He is his own person. I really believe he just scratched the surface last year. His understanding of the pro game, his understanding of how we want things done, and some of the freedom’s that we allow him to do, to play around him. He’s a rare person instinctive-wise. He’s a rare person intelligence-wise about that position. And he’s a rare person leverage-wise. He plays with great leverage all of the time. Health, he’s going to have to stay healthy. That’s a tough thing to do in our business when you’re playing the trenches the way he plays. But, he’s got a good injury history in the past. And if he continues to stay healthy I think you’ll see even more production out of him."

(On the expectation of week one in the preseason)
"The big thing is to see some of the newer players and the younger players, see them in competition. We try to put as much stress on them as we can in practice. We try to put external pressure on them in practice. But practice is practice. Until you get into a live game, you don’t see live pressure, you don’t see live tackling, you don’t see live situations, you don’t see live pressure. I need to see them handle stress. And that’ll be a good part of the game."

(On his thoughts of DT Aaron Donald getting more attention being Defensive Rookie of the Year last year)
"Sure, he’ll get more attention. He got a lot of attention last year. He got a lot of attention. People weren’t just saying, ‘Uh oh, you know, he’s a rookie.’ He got that same attention last year. (DE) Robert Quinn got that attention also. The fact that they’re both playing together. A healthy (DE) Chris Long, a healthy (DE) Will Hayes, all those guys. They’re a good group of guys. You know, one of the things that I think that goes unseen or unannounced is how well (DT) Michael Brockers plays with all those guys, and how well Michael Brockers plays with Aaron Donald. The things that you see him cover up for Aaron, so Aaron has freedom to go do some things. Brock has hits back on a lot of things on some of the things situationally that we teach. So it’s a good group. They’re another year in their development. They’re another year in understanding their strengths and weaknesses of every call and of every player that we use. I think Aaron will improve. I really do."

(On how much he missed DE Chris Long last season)
"I don’t want to put too much pressure on him, but Chris was a large person production-wise lives that you would miss. You know, the one good thing is, ‘did anybody see how well Will Hayes played?’ Will Hayes was our defensive production leader on how we go about grading for the season. He led in production on the intricate way that we go about disrupting the timing of opponents offenses, so Will got a chance to play more and he stepped in and did a good job. A healthy Chris and a healthy Will, both at the same time. That just gives us more bullets in the gun, more ammunition to throw at people."

(On his comparison of this year’s defense compared to last years)
"I can’t tell you right now production-wise. I know there’s an understanding. Again, we play different opponents this year. Some of the offenses that we’re going to play against this year are better than some of the offenses that we played against last year. I like this group of guys. I like the fact that we’re going to get a chance to take them into battle this year. One of the big key parts is keeping them all healthy and making sure you understand how to do that in a training camp. And (Head Coach) Jeff Fisher understands that. The health of our team going into Week One is important."

(On him using this training camp identifying when and where it’s best to deploy some of the depth he has on defense)
"It is. Not only just that depth… is that we all have strengths and we all have weaknesses. In order to get a couple of these younger guys and or new guys to see as much as I can of them, how they’re maximizing strengths. Then when I see them have their strengths then we’ll package those guys into those strengths. We all have weaknesses. Every single one of us as coaches and players too and try to minimize that risk on some of the situations that we play them in, but it’s important for me to get a chance to see them in competition. These preseason games are important that way."

(On his understanding of what S Mark Barron does well for this team)
"His health right now, he’s getting a lot more reps and it’s good for us to see him and we’re putting him through some things that he hasn’t done before. We didn’t ask him to do some of the things last year that we’re asking him to do this year, right now. That is some of the things that we’re trying to learn more about him. And you know, he’s also from the bottom floor all the way to the top floor, learning the entire defense now. We tried to compartmentalize some of that for him last year. He did a great job in what we ask him to do last year. Now can we do more?"

(On his expectations on S TJ McDonald this season)
"He’ll take another step too, and you know, there is no age in leadership. TJ is a natural leader. He’s a natural leader because he’s such a very positive example in the meeting room, outside the office, inside the white line- all that stuff. I would imagine you’ll see more of a vocal TJ because he’s done and earned his stripes in that way, but he’s set good examples. Hopefully, we can find a couple more packages to utilize his strengths too."

(On if he feels that this could be one of the top defenses this year)
"We always think that. You know, I’ve had some really good defenses in the past. I’ve had some really good ones across the league in other teams. They have the makings of it, but again, we have to stay healthy and you know, some of the offenses, hopefully they’ll cooperate too and not play as well."