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Post-Practice w/ Jeff Fisher, Gregg Williams: Rams Not ‘Down’ On Lamarcus Joyner

St. Louis Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams fielded questions after Friday’s practice. Here’s what they had to say on their Week 16 matchup vs. the Giants...

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Fisher – Post-Practice – December 19, 2014

(On what a physical secondary does for pass defense)
"What it does is it affects run after catch. That’s what teams untimely are trying to do is get the ball in timing situations where receivers can run. When you can close so fast, even if the balls caught and not dislodged, at least we’re minimizing the run after catch."

(On S Lamarcus Joyner)
"He’s struggled, didn’t struggle, but he was doing fine. He was progressing up until the first Arizona game when he injured his groin. He’s now been healthy for a couple weeks. It’s just hard with the 53, last week I think our seven inactives were all healthy. I think there’s a good chance for him to do some things this week on special teams."

(On if he’s seen Joyner develop)
"He’s going to be an outstanding player on our defense."

(On if it’s a misconception that the Giants aren’t good against the run)
"No, I think you have to look at average per carry. They’ve been run against quite a bit. Keep in mind they play some teams in their division that can run the football, namely Dallas. Those numbers are affected. I think you have to be careful when you just look at the stats. This is a well-coached defense that can…their safeties are big run supporters and so it’s not going to be easy to run against them."

(On RB Tre Mason)
"Yeah, been productive. As coaches we tend to remember the things, the problems, the fumble, things like that and there’s two. He’s very explosive. He’s shown he’s got that speed to go the distance. He’s a highly emotional, energetic back that’s fun to watch."

(On if there’s any sentimental thing a team wants to do to say goodbye to their home fans in the final season home game)
"Yeah, obviously, our focus is strictly on winning this football game. That would be the perfect scenario from that standpoint when you’re talking about the last game here."

(On former Rams QB Case Keenum starting for Houston)
"I’m happy for him, yeah, I’m happy for him. He left here in a hurry so I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. We spoke indirectly through his agent and I spoke with Houston. He does understand the system having been there. Different system obviously then he played in last year, but (Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien) coache’s systems, he gets it and great to see him. I hope he’s successful."

(On if the game against the Giants will be physical)
"This game is going to be physical, no doubt. Especially, we’ve had a few extras days off and that’s how they are, they’re physical, but we also are. Our division has a reputation for being physical as well."

Gregg Williams – Post-Practice – December 19, 2014

(On the season going by fast)
"It really has. It’s been fun. This is a good group. There’s been no days in the meetings and no days on the practice field that they haven’t brought their best. It’s been good."

(On Giants QB Eli Manning)
"Was in that division for quite a while, so I’ve seen him grow. I’ve seen him do a lot of things. I’ve seen him adapt to this new offense. He’s really picked it up very well. I think he’s had a good season. They pose a lot of problems. That system of offense is tried and true in this league for an awful long time in the West Coast offense. He’s adapted very well to it. He’s going to present some problems to us that we’re going to have to make sure we’re communicating correctly and doing a good job with. I think that whole thing…I have so much respect for (Giants Head Coach) Tom Coughlin. (Head Coach) Jeff (Fisher) and I have gone against for an awful long time and he’s a really good football coach and he gets his players to play."

(On what differences the new offensive scheme for the Giants has compared to the last scheme)
"(Former Giants Offensive Coordinator) Kevin (Gilbride) was my offensive coordinator at the Buffalo Bills, too and I was with Kevin in the Houston Oilers for all those years. I pretty much know that one inside and out. There’s similarities in all offenses. They’re still running a few of the same concepts that they were in the other offense. I’m sure the terminology changed a little bit. Just from some comfort levels of what Eli liked about some of those route concepts have transferred into this route trees and into this play concept. There’s similarities, but then there’s just some tried and true West Coast concepts. He gets the ball out of his hand pretty fast. He does a good job in trying to negate some of the rush things that you have by he blocks you by throwing it very quickly. We’re going to have to do a good job covering in those situations."

(On if this Giants offense incorporates more quick throws than in years passed)
"There’s a lot of quick throws. There’s more quick throws right now on this particular breakdown of film. But, they’ve done a good job running the football too. They’ve done a very good job of the power run game, the draws, all the things that they’ve done. It’s a complete offense. Again, like I said a while ago, this is a tried and true offensive system that’s pretty versatile."

(On the performance of the run defense on Thursday night)
"We played very hard and missed a couple tackles at the point of attack. Three or four runs add up statistically. But, for the most part did a really good job of keeping them out of scoring areas and did a good job of forcing them to run the ball when we wanted them to run the ball. Could’ve tackled a little bit better, a couple of times at the point of attack."

(On Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.)
"He’s done very well. One of the things they’ve done is they’ve featured him, too. Offensively they’ve put an emphasis on developing ways to get him the ball. Some really good complimentary ways to try to deceive you, but he’s still getting the ball. Has very good job on being able to catch the ball with a big radius. Does a good job run after the catch. We’ve got our work cut out for us. Again, we’ve seen a lot of good receivers this year. He’s just one more. Each and every week we’re up to some type of big time receiver. This week he poses some different problems."

(On if he has brought up the current streak of not allowing a touchdown to the team)
"We talk all the time about tackling and points allowed. We’ve said that since back in April when we all started. Our guys have done a very good job of moving throughout the course of the year. That’s how defenses are measured. That’s how this team has to play. We need to play that way all the time. We’re going to have a tough job this week on keeping them out of those scoring areas and making sure we try to continue that streak."

(On if CB E.J. Gaines has surprised him at all)
"He really hasn’t surprised me. I think the word would be pleased. I’m very proud of all the different things we’ve thrown at him. He’s had to learn on the run and I’ve said this early on: usually a young player shows the most form of improvement into that second, early in that third year. He’s had to do that on the run all year long and he’s done a great job of anything we’ve asked him to do. I don’t know if you guys see how physical he plays, too. We put him in the run front quite often. Early on, I was holding my breath to see if he was going to be able to hold up in those things. He’s done very good. He picks his places to play pretty physical. He’s done a very good job for a young guy in a lot of different packages and a lot different ways that we’ve had to play him. Done very well."

(On what he means when he says ‘run fronts’)
"In the box. When we talk about…he’s got to be down in there a lot of the times when he’s playing in that nickel position. We trick that nickel position around a lot to where sometimes it’s playing just like a will linebacker. He’s had to swell up a couple of times and play like a will linebacker. It’s been fun to see him do that. He hasn’t flinched. He’s grown very well and he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do."

(On if he’s ‘down’ on CB Lamarcus Joyner)
"No. It’s just right now the transition has been very good. He’s (Gaines) been able, he’s been very versatile to do those things. Lamarcus has had some health issues and he’ll get his opportunities again. Every day’s an interview."

(On S Rodney McLeod)
"I’ve kind of admired Rodney from a far. Really didn’t know how good a football player he was until you’re around him every day. Not only just from his skill set, he’s very sharp. He understands the game very well. I don’t know if you guys have seen how much ground he can cover from the free safety position and the instincts he has on breaking on balls. He covers a lot of distance back there, but then we put him in the box, too. The first couple of years he’s been here he’s had to play down there similar to what E.J.’s doing right now. His versatility allows us to trick some coverage, present a different disguise, present a different look and he’s done very well. He’s very well respected on this team. He’s a voice behind the scenes on this team. Your free safety, your safeties in general, but your free safety and your middle linebacker have to be an extension of the play caller because they’re out there on the field making all the calls that I want to do, but I’m on the sideline. He does a very good job with that. I don’t know if you see during the game, we communicate quite a bit together. I’m getting his opinion on a lot of different things because I’ve learned to trust his opinion and he’s learned to trust mine."

(On if McLeod grew into his role)
"Yeah he really has. Early on, I don’t know what to ask him until I get to go through the stresses of the job. Now, he does a very good job communicating some things on setups and stuff. Done very well."

(On how the physical play of the safeties has affected the pass defense)
"What happens is, is that all of the sudden people start thinking about coming across the middle of the field because our guys have done everything legally going for the ball, but also separating balls and making sure they’re playing physical. You want your safeties to play physical like linebackers a lot of the time. Those guys fit in very well. We’ve got a real physical group of safeties."