NFC Notes: Rams, D. Johnson, Vikings

The Rams hope the chemistry of their new-look defensive will be explosive in the right way, Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today writes. There’s definitely big potential in L.A., but some outsiders aren’t convinced that new additions like cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will gel with the team.

That’s what keeps you young, coaching-wise, is new challenges, and new players, new players that you get to work with. And when you get to work with great players? That’s really fun,” defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said.

Last year, the Rams were roughly in the middle of the pack in terms of points and passing yards allowed per game while allowing the fifth-most rushing yards per contest. Talib believes that the Rams’ D will improve across the board – especially against the pass.

I’ve been in some great, great secondaries, but top to bottom, with depth, this is probably the best one I’ve played in,” Talib said. “The sky’s the limit, we just have to be on our stuff. Be in meetings on time, get sleep at night. The talent is there, you just have to do the extra stuff.”

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • David Johnson‘s decision to holdout from the Cardinals is a good call, Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap writes. Although new 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon proved to be an exception this offseason, RBs typically do not garner big money in free agency, so Johnson’s best bet for a big contract is to land one as soon as possible with the Cardinals. Fitzgerald expects Johnson’s camp to push for a deal similar to Devonta Freeman‘s $8.25MM/year pact with the Falcons, given that Johnson is also a former mid-round pick and had a better 2016 than Freeman. However, Freeman is the younger player and has had a more consistent career overall. Ultimately, Fitzgerald expects to see a deal that works out for both sides.
  • Running back Latavius Murray says he never gave any consideration to leaving the Vikings after they requested his salary be cut from $5.15MM to $3.65MM for 2018 (via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press). Even though he might go back to a reserve role, he wanted to stay with a winner. “The most important thing apart from my family and those things that I believe in is winning. So, that’s how I made my decision,” Murray said. “We had been talking throughout the offseason. It didn’t get to the point (that I considered leaving Minnesota), and thankfully I didn’t have to.
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