With passing the ball becoming pretty much the only way NFL teams can matriculate the pigskin down the field, getting after the quarterback has become the most important aspect on defense. The St. Louis Rams realized this a few years back when they added Robert Quinn to their already formidable Chris Long on the edge to terrorize signal callers around the league. And now it seems this duo is worthy of a nickname.
When appearing on NFL Network’s Wednesday edition of “NFL AM” Quinn revealed a moniker that could stick for these two as they continue to wreak havoc on quarterbacks league-wide: ‘Thunder Storm’. I know it might not reach out and grab you like other nicknames, but just hear him out on the explanation for it. When asked if he and Long are the best duo of pass rushers in the league, Quinn said:
“I believe we can be in that argument. I like to call myself ‘Black Lightning’ and him the ‘White Thunder,’ aka ‘The Thunder Storm.’”
While it might not roll off the tongue just yet, the logic is certainly there. Long is more of a power rush guy with some finesse to his game whereas Quinn is a speed guy with a variety of rush moves to evade would-be blockers. He further discussed some of the techniques that have allowed him to experience so much success recently, including his three sacks and two forced fumbles in the opener, as Quinn said:
“I have been trying to incorporate more of an inside move, working on chops, stuff like that and just diversifying to be a better pass-rusher. That way offensive linemen don’t just have to focus on one thing. You have to be a master of all, which is tough to do, but that’s our job to do so we work at our craft, try to get better each week.”
It’s obvious that success hasn’t made this still just 23-year-old complacent at all. His drive to improve is clear and that’s what gives fans so much optimism regarding his future. With another Pro Bowl caliber defensive end on his opposite, the sky is the limit from here for the youngster.
Perhaps what gives him the upper hand over others in the league is that Quinn knows his role and he plays it well. At 6-foot-4 264-pounds he isn’t going to bull rush linemen that outweigh him by nearly 50 pounds at times and find success. He explained how he uses that as an advantage rather than a detriment as Quinn said:
“I’m one of the smaller [defensive] ends in the league, so I am not going to try to lift up a 300 pound tackle all the time. You have got to mix it up, incorporate different things, think outside the box and keep your opponent off balance. That way he can’t focus on one thing. Once you get him off balance, you are the aggressor now on what you decide to do and have him reacting to you. You have got to set the tone early, but definitely you can’t do one thing over and over again, because people will adjust to it.”
Clearly defensive line coach Mike Waufle has been teaching this young man the right things. One of the top qualities that it seems the coach has instilled in the pupil is to never be satisfied, as even following Quinn’s spectacular showing in the opener, Waufle said:
“It was a good day at the office, a good start. The most important thing is coach Fisher wants us to get turnovers. He wants us to get that ball out and we were able to accomplish that. We have got to be better at what we do, and the consistency factor has to be great to help our team.”
One performance does not a season make, and Waufle is clearly not going to throw around praise for no reason. This team had a stellar Week 1 in the pass rushing department, but there are still 15 more stellar outings needed if the Rams want to live up to their own expectations. Watch for this newly coined ‘Thunder Storm’ to roll into stadiums throughout the league this season and leave quite a path of destruction in their wake.