As the Los Angeles Rams get set to defend their Super Bowl title, one area of strength this season figures to be their linebackers corps.
The team bolstered the group with the signing of eight-time Pro Bowler Bobby Wagner after he was unexpectedly released by the Seattle Seahawks at the start of free agency.
Ernest Jones is also returning to the unit after a solid rookie season that saw him take over the starting inside linebacker spot and become a trustworthy presence in the middle of the field.
With Rams training camp underway, Jones has enjoyed being around Wagner and learning from the future Hall of Famer, via Stu Jackson of TheRams.com:
“It’s been the highlight of my career so far,” Jones said after the Rams’ July 30 training camp practice. “Just being around him, learning from him, seeing about how he goes about his business each and every day. Just trying to take something away from that day and just add it to my game just to be the better version of myself.”
Jones noted that Wagner is teaching him how to slow the game down and hopes to master it by the start of the 2022 regular season:
“When you’ve been moving so fast at the positions your whole life, slowing it down now is kind of the biggest thing,” Jones said. “That’s what I’m eating myself at now. Just stop hopping, stop being everywhere. He (Wagner) does everything so – I call it elegance. He does it so elegant. That’s what I’m trying to get to. I would say it’s just work in progress. Something I’ll definitely have by the time the season starts, but definitely something I’m working on.”
Jones previously expressed his excitement to work alongside Wagner, and the 32-year-old also had high praise for the second-year linebacker out of South Carolina.
In 15 games as a rookie, Wagner recorded 61 tackles, one sack, two interceptions and four passes defensed (seven starts). He added nine more tackles and one pass defensed in two playoff games.