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Rams-49ers: Jeff Fisher's Monday Press Conference Transcript

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Here's what the Rams' Head Coach had to say a day after getting a big win in San Francisco.

Thearon W. Henderson

(Opening remarks)
"I’ll kind of follow up with the things I talked about after the ball game. It was just a great effort. It was a bounce-back effort all week long. We could have played better in the game than we did, but we found a way to win it and that speaks volumes of these guys. Things didn’t look good early in the week. We got their legs back, we get them back. We got them on the field. We told them, ‘You’re not going to be thinking about Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at Sunday at 1 o’clock, at kickoff. So, go play hard.’ And that’s what they did.

"Pleased with the defensive line, the defense as a whole. The defense played well. We tackled. We got the turnovers. We improved on third down – we needed to improve in that area – I think, the third down stops were key in this game. Special teams-wise, we bounced back. I’m disappointed in the result on the punt return, but the overall effort was outstanding as far as the ‘teams’ was concerned. Offensively, we had a rough day and you’re going to have a rough day. In the last three weeks we’ve played the fifth ranked and second-ranked defense in the National Football League. The 49ers have an outstanding defensive scheme and they’re hard to attack, but we were patient. We had a couple turnovers. The first one was…he should have gone to the crossing route. The second one, he was trying to make a big play and under threw it. But, as I said, he bounced back. (QB) Austin (Davis) bounces back. He shakes it off and he keeps playing and that gives us a chance offensively. I thought (T) Greg (Robinson) did a nice job out there at left tackle. We struggled at times with some pass-rush games, but most of those things took place on the other side. But, Greg for the most part was what we expected out of him against that defense and he’s shown that he’s an outstanding open field tackler now unfortunately for two weeks in a row. I may put him on kickoff cover team.

"Injury-wise, we came out OK. We’re looking at (CB) Marcus Roberson’s ankle. We have some normal bumps and bruises. We’re going to have to rest some guys like we did last week, but we should be fine. Optimistic about (CB) Janoris Jenkins’ return."

(On what happened when Austin Davis came out of the game)
"We require a brace on the front leg, the left leg of right-handed passers for our quarterbacks. As he slid, the brace got caught in the grass and the brace twisted, so he had the brace re-adjusted."

(On if he had a feeling that the team energy level was up during pregame warm-up or early in the game)
"We had that sense on Thursday. Thursday here at practice, they were fine. They came back. I didn’t have any concern about them being focused and ready to play. We had a good week and great warm-ups and they were ready to come out and play. We had been talking about the importance of playing three hours and 10 minutes, as opposed to a first half of a football game. Fortunately, we won the toss. I talked about, if we win the toss we’ll defer. We’ll try to finish up with a possession at the end of the first half, but we’ll take possession – we know we’ll take possession the second half and try to make some plays. The mindset was just to keep playing and keep playing and keep playing."

(On why the ‘finish’ message seemed to click this week)
"It’s been something we try to do every game. It just happened. It was a combination of their play selection, their game plan. We forced some drops. We put some pressure on their center. He had some bad snaps. Then we got rolling as far as our front four."

(On why he gave game balls to the offensive line Sunday to reward their performance)
"Just because of what they endured last week. With the changes that took place in the Kansas City game, the fact that we weren’t quite sure as to who was going to be able to come back because there was a question mark with respect to (C) Scott (Wells) and (G) Rodger (Saffold) and (G) Davin (Joseph) going back in. (C) Barrett (Jones) came in and played and I just thought they all bounced back from last week. I just thought it was a great effort during the week. For Rodger to come back after subluxing the shoulder and playing the way he played and then going from whatever number sack total we had at Kansas City to just one yesterday, I thought it was a great effort."

(On the decision to throw the ball on the team’s final offensive third down)
"There was 3:30 left and they had two timeouts left and the two-minute warning and I needed a first down. That’s a good defense. I’d do it again. (TE) Lance (Kendricks) was wide open. Austin couldn’t see him. Complete the pass, we kneel on it. The game is over. So, I was trying to win the game."

You guys come out to Arizona and watch the first play to figure out who’s going to start...It’s not based on practice. It’s based on scheme and approach and those kinds of things. We’ve got good backs, just can’t play them all.-Jeff Fisher on the running backs

(On if Wells and Saffold were game-time decisions)
"Had a pretty good sense on Friday after practice that Rodger was going to be okay. Scott didn’t even snap in the walk-thru on Wednesday. The first day he snapped was Friday. I think by Friday we had a pretty good sense. Then when we traveled and we got treatments at the hotel done, we had a pretty good sense that they were going to be able to go."

(On the play of CB Trumaine Johnson in his first action of the season)
"We expect him to play. He wanted to play. I thought he did a nice job. He also had some special teams reps, which were good. He’s back. The injury’s behind him now. He’ll most likely start this week. We may have to move some people around. I also was pleased to see (S) Mark (Barron). I went to Mark before the game as we were trying to sort out the inactives. The way it went, I talked to Mark about playing some special teams and I think he told someone he hadn’t played special teams since peewee football. He did a really nice job on our kickoff return and kickoff coverage. We’re going to work, like we said, to see if we can get him into some packages on defense to get him on the field."

(On why the whistle was blown on Tavon Austin’s fourth-quarter punt return)
"They thought he stepped out of bounds. I didn’t see it. It doesn’t appear that he stepped out. He was close, but he didn’t. So at that point...there were a couple of other blocks in the game, I think (49ers S) Craig Dahl had one on (LB) Will Herring that was identical to (LB Darren Bates) Batesy’s block and was not called. This is a side block in my opinion. It was just unusual because it came from the sideline into the field and that’s unfortunate that it took points off the board. My option at that point, because of offsetting, was to take the ball, they enforce our penalty and I get the ball, and still it was good field position. But I figured with Tavon, his big-play potential, the re-kick was a good decision. It ended up being a good decision because he shanked it."

(On if DT Aaron Donald was key to the stop on the final play)
"Both (DT) Kendall (Langford) and Aaron were involved in that play, yeah. It’s designed when you anticipate a sneak."

(On if it’s a timing issue on that play)
"No, it’s not a timing thing. It’s just disruptive. If you can lift the center, his seat goes down and it affects the snap. That’s what we were trying to do."

(On if RB Tre Mason has been named the starting running back)
"­­No, we’re going to continue with the same thing. I can’t tell you who’s starting this week. (RB) Zac (Stacy) has handled things professionally. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to play. He will get to play. He will get his reps. We’ve not lost faith or confidence in him, but it’s hard to spread the ball around. We felt going into this game that Tre, some of the things he was doing and some of the ways that we were trying to attack the defense, gave us the best chance."

(On Mason’s performance yesterday)
"He missed a couple holes but he ran real hard. He overcame some things. His ball security’s good, pass protection is good. He needed get out in the routes. I thought he played pretty well."

(On if the starting running back will be decided on a week-to-week basis)
"Yeah. You guys come out to Arizona and watch the first play to figure out who’s going to start."

(On if the decision to start a certain back depends on how they practice)
"It’s not based on practice. It’s based on scheme and approach and those kinds of things. We’ve got good backs, just can’t play them all." 

(On how the receiving core performed without WR Brian Quick)
"We got production out of (WR) Kenny (Britt). I think seven or eight guys caught passes. They’re there. (WR Stedman Bailey) ‘Sted’ had a good week of practice. We just didn’t have a lot of opportunities. The guys will step up. (WR) Tavon’s (Austin) involved, had some opportunities. (WR) Chris Givens understands what he’s doing. He even covered kicks yesterday. It was good to get him involved on the teams’ side."

(On what DT Aaron Donald has brought to the team)
"I think his statistics reflect the season that he’s having. The tackles for losses, the consistency, the big plays. We’re just going to have to watch him because the season’s getting longer and longer. First year players have difficulty with the length of the season. We’ll watch his reps, but he’s playing good football right now. He made a pretty good offensive guard there miss a couple times, which is hard to do in the National Football League."

(On if he saw anything on the coach’s film to explain the play where RB Frank Gore’s forward progressed was deemed stopped and prevented a defensive touchdown)
"I feel the same way. I’ll just say this it’s nice to have won this game because that is a game-changing call. That’s a defensive touchdown and it’s the wrong call, the incorrect call. It was not progress. The ball was out. He should’ve thrown the bean bag, ruled it a fumble. Then you go back to replay and replay shows it’s fumble. It’s a defensive touchdown. In essence they took a defensive touchdown away from us because he blew the whistle. The forward progress…there were a number of other instances in that game where you could say, ‘OK.’ When they picked up Tre and dropped him on his head, that’s forward progress. Whistles didn’t blow there. I was disappointed in the call and I will be. It’s the incorrect call, the wrong call."

(On if they should’ve called an unnecessary roughness penalty when they dropped Mason on his head)
"Unnecessary roughness, yes."

(On if he agrees that referees normally have let the plays go on and if yesterday they were quick to blow the whistle)
"I think they’re fairly consistent as far as when they’re blowing the play dead. This was highly inconsistent, however. This play was not dead. The ball came out. They made a mistake. Again, glad we won this game because that would be the major topic of discussion right now because that was a defensive score."

(On how close Austin’s return of the field goal was to a safety)
"Well I saw it extensively yesterday before we went into the locker room at halftime and saw it again. It was ruled a touchback. It was a touchback."

(On what he would have Austin do in a punt return situation like yesterdays)
"I think when he catches the ball and he sees there’s opposing players that close to him, that he just needs to stay in. We talked about that. What we have going, in that instance, which most teams do is they’re going to put a return man under the goal post. You got a little wind, you got a real long kick-bring it out. You’ve seen it. (S) Ed Reed’s done it, everybody’s done it. This wasn’t as long a kick but I had a sense that it was going to be low, that we may get a hand on it and there was wind. I had a sense that it might be short, we might have a chance to return it, so we called that play. In Tavon’s defense, when we work it, we have not discussed staying in the end zone. It's always bring it out because you have a group of offensive linemen on the field that aren’t necessarily cover guys. So, bringing it out’s not a problem. That’s something that we just didn’t completely cover, but glad it came up and it didn’t hurt us."

(On his thoughts on Levi’s Stadium)
"It was great. It’s a great stadium. I was very, very impressed with the manner in which this organization was treated there by everybody. From the guards outside the gate, to the employees, the people that helped in the locker room and everything. It was just an outstanding environment."

(On if a part of him misses Candlestick Park)
"There’s great tradition there. I had some of my better memories being on the home side at Candlestick, as opposed to on the visiting side. It’s a hard place to work on Sundays at Candlestick with the visiting side."