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Brockers, Donald back together on Rams’ D-line for playoffs

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) – Michael Brockers’ time away from the Los Angeles Rams was robust on each the defensive deal with and his teammates and coaches, who all rely on their veteran chief for far more than his prowess on the sector.

So when Sean McVay heard Brockers‘ trademark laughter booming through the team’s pregame breakfast room final Saturday in Seattle, the coach knew everyone’s job had simply change into simpler.

“It just felt like you were alive again,” McVay mentioned. “Brock’s back, and everything’s going to be OK. He just brings life to the group.”

Brockers had solely simply arrived from his coronavirus quarantine, which started on New Year’s Eve and lasted proper up till earlier than sport time. Brockers took a separate flight to Seattle and slept in a special resort earlier than becoming a member of his teammates that morning and taking part in with no apply within the earlier two weeks.

Brockers described the final two weeks as “nerve-wracking,” and he felt his play suffered within the full absence of apply time. He nonetheless performed 35 snaps in Los Angeles’ 30-20 victory, and he helped to fill the massive hole within the LA protection when All-Pro Aaron Donald went down with a rib harm that shook the Rams.

“At first I was like, ‘Dang, I didn’t know Superman could get hurt,’” Brockers mentioned Wednesday. ”‘Stop playing. Get up. You can breathe.’ … But we knew we had his back. We have the blokes to roll behind him that may are available and make performs. We wished to positively be certain he was good, however whenever you’ve bought a man like that who loves the sport, who’s passionate concerning the sport, I’ve no doubts that he’s going to indicate up Saturday able to go.”

Donald additionally thinks he’ll be able to go when the Rams (11-6) go to the top-seeded Green Bay Packers (13-3) for a spot within the NFC championship sport. Los Angeles’ top-ranked protection will want each little bit of its spectacular lineup to compete with Aaron Rodgers and the NFL’s highest-scoring offense.

Brockers and Donald are shut mates who’ve been taking part in proper subsequent to one another for seven seasons, however Brockers wasn’t the one one shocked to see Donald on the sideline. The six-time All-Pro has hardly ever incurred even minor accidents throughout his unbelievable seven-year profession, so he was peppered with questions on his well being Wednesday in his weekly information convention.

“Man, my damn side is just sore,” Donald mentioned with fun. “I’m good, though. I just had a whole workout. Feel strong, feel healthy, so I’m good.”

Donald is staying out of shape this week as a precaution, however the Rams don’t stop him from lifting weights and doing agility work as he prepares to chase Rodgers. The Rams realize their success could depend on making the superstar quarterback uncomfortable in the pocket, and the Los Angeles pass rush led by Donald and Leonard Floyd has been one of the NFL’s best all season long, with the Rams‘ 53 sacks second only to Pittsburgh.

That doesn’t make this experience any less weird for Donald, however.

“In my whole career, I’ve never had a real injury,” Donald said. “This is the first, but I’m good. Just being cautious, being smart and making sure that come game day, I’m ready to go.”

The Rams‘ defense is built around Donald’s effectiveness in every aspect of the game: Even though Donald typically faces more double-teams than nearly any player in recent NFL history, his teammates have taken advantage of that preoccupation on a unit that led the NFL in points allowed, first downs allowed and yards passing allowed, among other superlatives.

“You know that the offense is looking at him, they’re looking for him and they’re worried about him,” Brockers said. “For the most part, having him in the game is almost like having a decoy, because you know the offense is going to be looking for him, and now you can do off-schedule stuff away from him. Having him on the field is definitely going to be very important for us to get our job done.”

NOTES: Donald was among five Rams who didn’t practice Wednesday. WR Cooper Kupp (knee), QB John Wolford (neck), LG David Edwards (ankle) and LB Terrell Lewis (ankle) also sat out. McVay was tight-lipped on their prognoses, essentially saying all have a chance at playing Saturday. … QB Jared Goff went through a full practice with his surgically repaired right thumb. He wore white gloves while throwing passes early in practice, likely in anticipation of the cold weather at Lambeau Field. … LT Andrew Whitworth (knee) was limited in practice, but the 39-year-old pro doesn’t typically practice extensively during the week. … Kick returner Nsimba Webster (hamstring) went through a full practice.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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