Kobie Turner 'The Conductor' is helping Rams' defense stay in tune for Browns game

Kobie Turner struck the pose.

The Rams rookie defensive lineman, nicknamed “The Conductor” in college, had just sacked Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray.

Turner hustled a few yards behind the line of scrimmage. And then, much to the delight of teammates and fans, pantomimed conducting a choir or orchestra.

“It shows like we’re more than just athletes,” Turner said when asked about his sack celebration. “And like that music side of me is so important. It helps me on game day, helps me all the time.

“And so just to be able to kind of show off both — you know, the full totality of myself. And hopefully, other guys might see that and be like, ‘I can be whoever I am.’ ”

Turner, a third-round draft pick from Wake Forest, has been a key player for a defense that has helped keep the Rams in playoff contention.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Kyren Williams earned headlines for their performances in recent victories over the Seattle Seahawks and the Cardinals, but it was the defense that made those wins possible.

In both games, the Rams gave up an early touchdown before clamping down and giving the offense chances to win the game.

Veteran lineman Aaron Donald, linebacker Ernest Jones and safety Jordan Fuller lead the unit, but rookies such as Turner and edge rusher Byron Young have played prominent roles.

Last week, Turner had two sacks in the 37-14 victory over the Cardinals, increasing his season total to four.

“He’s just playing with confidence, being productive, flying around, playing fast,” Donald said of Turner. “Doing all the things you want to see in a young player, or a player, period.”

Said Jones: “He’s always been a dominant run defender, but you can tell he’s just starting to get it.”

After receiving little attention coming out of high school in Virginia, Turner sought a walk-on opportunity or a music scholarship for college.

He enrolled at Richmond, eventually earned a football scholarship and spent five seasons with the Spiders before playing a final season as a graduate transfer at Wake Forest.

It was at Richmond, while players listened to music in the locker room, that Turner was encouraged to incorporate conducting into his post-sack routine.

“One of the guys was like, ‘Yo, that’s sick. Do that for your next celebration,’ ” Turner said. “So I did it for the next one and they’re like, ‘The Conductor!’ … It stuck so I had to stay with it.”

The Rams, aiming to fill a need left by their decision not to re-sign tackle A’Shawn Robinson, selected the 6-foot-2, 288-pound Turner with the 89th overall pick.

On the day he was drafted, Turner wore a T-shirt emblazoned with “The Conductor,” that featured a football helmet and musical note sandwiched between the two words. During an introductory video news conference, Turner spoke about the connections between music and football.

From the time he arrived in Thousand Oaks for offseason workouts, Turner adopted a veteran approach, defensive coordinator Raheem Morris said.

“Right away, you realized how smart he was,” Morris said. “You realized his capacity was very high with things he could bring to the table.”

Self-assurance among them.

“There’s nothing you can do to make him sensitive about himself,” Morris said, “because he’ll let you know, ‘If that means being in touch with my feelings, coach, I am.’ ”

Coach Sean McVay described Turner as “cerebral” and “worldly.” Turner said McVay encourages players to be “the full version of ourselves.”

So, he takes McVay at his word.

“I just try my best to be authentically myself,” he said.

On Sunday, the Rams play the Cleveland Browns at SoFi Stadium, the first of the Rams’ final six games as they attempt to secure an NFC playoff berth.

If Turner continues to amass sacks, his celebration will continue to gain attention.
“I’ve seen some TikToks putting some music to it,” he said. “I think those are really, really funny.”

Donald anticipates seeing more of The Conductor’s celebration.

“That’s his signature,” Donald said. “As long as he keeps making plays, it’s going to grow and it’s going to become something big.”

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