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Unlike on defense, Rams Jalen Ramsey and Taylor Rapp let on-field incident pass

 Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (5) looks in the direction of safety Taylor Rapp (24) against the Baltimore Ravens.
Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (5) looks in the direction of safety Taylor Rapp (24) during the first half against the Baltimore Ravens. Apparently there was an assignment mix-up.
(Gail Burton / Associated Press)
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As a team captain and five-time Pro Bowl player, star cornerback Jalen Ramsey helps set the tone for the Rams defense.

Typically, Ramsey directs his spirited, aggressive approach at opponents, while also inspiring teammates.

But during the first quarter of last Sunday’s victory at Baltimore, Ramsey struck Rams safety Taylor Rapp in the face in the huddle.

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Ramsey said Thursday that it was “personal disagreement” specific to something that occurred during the game.

“We were able to move on, support each other through the game, communicate better throughout the rest of the game, give each other calls throughout the rest of the game,” Ramsey said during a videoconference with reporters. “We’re fine now.

Rams running back Cam Akers was supposed to sit out the season because of an Achilles tear, but he has healed extremely fast and is set to play Sunday against the 49ers.

“But during the heat of the game, both of us being super passionate, wanting to make the right call and put ourselves in the right position for the team, we just had a disagreement and then it got handled how it got handled, but we moved on from it.

“I hope everybody else can too. That’s my dog. ‘T. Rapp’ is my dog. We aren’t tripping about none of that.”

Rapp was not made available to reporters Thursday.

Ramsey and Rapp are part of a Rams defense that will be on the spot during Sunday’s finale against the San Francisco 49ers.

With a victory, the Rams (12-4) can clinch the NFC West title and the No. 2 seed for the NFC playoffs. The 49ers (9-7) are competing for a playoff spot.

The Rams have not defeated the 49ers since the 2018 season, a span of five games.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) signals teammates during a Monday night game against the Rams.
The performance of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo against the Rams in November was worthy of applause.
(Jed Jacobsohn / Associated Press)

In November, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 15 of 19 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns, and the 49ers rushed for 156 yards in a 31-10 victory.

It was the Rams’ second loss in what would become a three-game losing streak but they have won five in a row since, with stellar play from Ramsey and solid play from Rapp.

Coach Sean McVay has characterized the incident between the teammates as akin to a brotherly, family squabble. A heat-of-the-moment incident quickly forgotten.

On Thursday, Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris was asked the specific cause.

“Let’s just say it was wanting to win really bad,” he said. “It was wanting to execute an assignment really bad.

NFL roundtable: The Rams need to end a five-game skid against the 49ers to clinch the NFC West, and it’s do or die when the Chargers visit the Raiders.

“The miscommunication by two people that were basically saying the same thing — just didn’t say the exact same way at the time.”

Morris did not see the incident when it happened, but “the beauty of it” was players such as star lineman Aaron Donald and cornerback Darious Williams quickly interceded and “let them get some frustration off their chest,” Morris said.

“I’m able to then talk to Jalen, find out what happened,” Morris said. “Talked about what happened and what he needed to do better. I’m able then [to] talk to Taylor and tell him what I thought went wrong in the situation and how I can fix that. And I got those guys back on the next page for us to continue playing the game and go about our business.

“But I think the process of fixing it happens during the week. This week these guys [are] sorting, sitting down, hashing it out, talking it out and doing the things they need to do with our head coach and their coordinators and themselves and their teammates is the most important part of it all.”

In-season acquisitions Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller continue to show why the Rams wanted them in win over Baltimore Ravens.

Ramsey is still developing as a leader, Morris said. He described it as “a small setback” for one of the Rams’ cornerstone players, who has moved beyond being an “assassin” focused on only one task on the field to a player with varied responsibilities.

“When you’re the leader, you can’t make that decision at that time, you find a way to communicate that better,” he said, adding, “You do have those moments and you got to control those moments. You got to figure out a way to talk those things out.

“He’ll grow from that. We’ll grow from that. And it’s one of those things that if he can do over, he’d do it differently.”

Ramsey has flourished this season lining up at various spots — as an outside cornerback, slot cornerback, linebacker and edge rusher.

The Times’ Sam Farmer analyzes each matchup and predicts the winners of Week 18 of the 2021 NFL season.

As the Rams prepare for the 49ers and a playoff run, Morris expects Ramsey will continue to grow on the field and as a leader ... with last Sunday’s incident in the past.

“We’ve seen so much growth in his development and what he’s been able to do from a leader standpoint, from a communication standpoint, from his interactions with me on how to deal with situations when he does get stressed and he gets to that assassin mode, and how to bring it back,” Morris said, adding, “Unfortunately, it happened to a teammate, which you never want to happen.

“But fortunately, it happened to T. Rapp, a guy that’s got that kind of character that he has that can bounce back within the same series and not let it be detrimental to us winning the football game.”


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