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Rams' Kobie Turner on Aaron Donald's retirement: 'I don't need to be anyone else other than who I am'

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Kobie Turner shined during his rookie season, generating 9.0 sacks and finished third in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting.

Playing alongside to Aaron Donald has advantages, as Turner often benefited from single-block situations. With Donald retiring, that significant edge no longer exists.

Turner said on Monday he knows talk of being the "next" Donald will ramp up but won't let the burden weigh him down.

"It's definitely a difficult inner battle for sure," Turner said, via Jordan Rodrigue of The Athletic. "It's going back again to the things that allowed me to be successful last year, and that is again having that growth mindset and attacking each day individually. Also, being able to have guys like coach (Sean) McVay -- he has pulled me aside, and we have had discussions about that, too. I don't need to be anyone else other than who I am. I don't need to be chasing any numbers, anything like that.

"Go about each day the same way that I did last year, with that same focus. Of course, with AD leaving -- it can be very easy to put a lot of that pressure on myself. There is definitely a lot of responsibility. I think pressure makes diamonds, so as long as I keep it in the right frame, then I am going to come out much better from this. I think I already am growing so much. Keeping it in that right mentality, allowing it to build me up and never letting it get overwhelming and keeping the focus on how I attack every single day -- not on some sort of output, but the process."

Turner benefited from Donald's presence, but his production wasn't solely because of the future Hall of Famer. Turner's 22 QB pressure when double teamed were second-most among defensive tackles last season, per Next Gen Stats, behind only Quinnen Williams (24).

Turner noted that after discovering he didn't win the DROY award, he reached out to Donald to get into contact with the three-time Defensive Player of the Year's trainers, per Stu Jackson of the team's official website. Since then, Turner has worked with Al Carson, a Krav Maga instructor who helped Donald work on his hands.

Those types of offseason decisions provide optimism that Turner can keep up his rookie pace even without Donald there to take attention.

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