Bobby Wagner's 'Humility' Changing Reputation With Rams – Sports Illustrated

The Seattle Seahawks have never – and likely will never – generate the kind of Southern California vitriol previously produced by, say, the Boston Celtics or San Francisco Giants. But the Seahawks, particularly the remnants of the "Legion of Boom" defense, nonetheless served as sizable obstacles on the reincarnated Los Angeles Rams' path to the Super Bowl since their re-entry in 2016. 
It was thus, perhaps, a bit peculiar for die-hard fans of the Rams to see the team turn to the Pacific Northwest for defensive replenishments after Von Miller absconded to Buffalo. The arrival of the former Seahawk, Bobby Wagner, was perhaps offset by the fact he was born in Los Angeles, attending Colony High School in Ontario. 
Granted a training camp to immerse himself in his former enemy's aura and culture, Wagner has gone from twice-yearly enemy to an indispensable part of the Los Angeles title defense. 
Head coach Sean McVay, for example, lauded the leadership progress that the 32-year-old Wagner made over the course of the Rams' training camp activities. 
"Even though it is his first year, he’s earned respect throughout the course of his career," McVay said.  "The way he came in, he had a humility, but a great way about being able to connect in his own way with guys and then being able to make his presence felt once he feels like, ‘All right, I'm kind of fitting in.’ It was so seamless for him by just being Bobby.
"It was really not at all a surprise, but I'm really glad that he's here with us.”
Rams coach Raheem Morris, A.J. Terrell's former defensive coordinator and head coach, has high praise for the young corner from Atlanta.
The Los Angeles Rams host the Atlanta Falcons in a Week 2 matchup where both teams are hoping to bounce back from Week 1 losses.
The Rams are in no position to take the seemingly hapless Falcons lightly.
McVay began his public comments, among his last before the Rams kickoff the 2022-23 NFL season against Buffalo on Thursday night (5:20 p.m. PT, NBC), by including Wagner among his captains for the coming season. He's the only first-year Ram in a group that includes Aaron Donald, Rob Havenstein, Cooper Kupp, Jalen Ramsey, and Matthew Stafford. 
"All are great representations of what's right about this place and it's all about the people," McVay declared. "I'm really grateful for those guys, really grateful for the team."
It's not just McVay who's eager to see what Wagner can bring to the table: he arrives in time to help oversee the continued development of young heirs to the defensive veterans' thrones, like that of linebacker Ernest Jones. The third-round pick from 2021's draft is set to enter his first full year as a starter after taking over in the latter portions of last season. 
Jones referred to working with Wagner as "the highlight of (his) career" … and this comes from a defender who has earned a sack in the Super Bowl. 
"As a young linebacker, he’s everything," Jones said of Wagner, a Super Bowl champion in his own right as well as an eight-time All-Pro nominee. "He has all the accomplishments. He's done everything for our game at that position. So for me, it's just seeing him every day and just learning from him. That's been the biggest thing … It’s crazy that he’s playing with us now and that I'm learning from him because he was like the guy that I always watched.”
"You see all the plays he makes on the field, but I would say he's a better teammate," safety Jordan Fuller added. "He's definitely taken a lot of us under his wing and you can just see the leader he is. He has an aura about him and he's been around for a long time. You can ask him a whole bunch of questions, but he's a team-first guy too at the same time. He's going to make his plays but put his team first, that's what I love about him.” 
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

source

Leave a Comment