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St. Louis Rams Vs. Cleveland Browns: Thursday Post-Practice Interviews With HC Jeff Fisher, OC Frank Cignetti & QB Nick Foles

The Rams' head coach-offensive coordinator-QB triumvirate spoke to the media after practice yesterday.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher

(On today’s practice)
"Well, it was good. We had a session yesterday, kind of a three-quarter session, after the off weekend just to kind of get them back into the swing of things. Then, we had a really good practice today. They have a lot of respect for Cleveland and what they’re doing. So, we have to finish up strong this week."

(On what challenges Cleveland presents)
"Their offense in 10th in the league, and they’re fourth in third down efficiency.  He’s leading actually…(Browns QB) Josh (McCown) is leading the NFL in third down completions. So, that says a lot for what they’re doing. They run the football. They got tough match-ups. They’re really well coached. Offensive line is real good in my opinion. The last three games have been decided by three points, against three good teams. Defensively, they’re ranked 30th as I said, but it’s misleading. They’re a very well-coached defense. I think we’ve got a match-up of the top two or one of the top two or three punt returners in the league, in (WR Travis) Benjamin and (WR) Tavon (Austin). So, defense makes a stop, then, hold your breath because both of them can go the distance. So, (it’ll) be a big challenge for our cover teams."

(On his familiarity with McCown with this being the third year in a row he’ll face him)
"Well, I think he’s got a really good feel for this system. He’s got good players around him. They’re a balanced offense, run pass. He’s got really good targets outside. They’re all working well together. So, when we played him with Chicago, they had some people hurt. We got up. We had a couple fumbles. We got up and they couldn’t catch up. They played to our advantage because we just rushed the passer. Last year at Tampa, they were trying to find their own. It was early, but we made the plays we needed to make. Mind you, he made that big throw down the field, and if it wasn’t for (S) T.J. (McDonald), we may not have won that game. So, he’s an outstanding quarterback."

(On what he notices about WR Travis Benjamin on film)
"He’s really fast, quick, can catch. It’s a good combination. He knows how to get open and can make you miss. They’re doing a great job of getting the ball in his hands. So, he runs all the routes. He’s a good deep route runner, and the interior stuff, the intermediate stuff on third down, he’s really hard to stop."

(On TE Gary Barnidge being a touchdown threat)
"He’s off to a great start this year. You can tell that he and (Browns QB) Josh (McCown) have a relationship. When it comes down to it, Josh is going to make the throw, especially in the red zone. So, he’s got a number of touchdown catches, and he’s their favorite target on third down play."

(On if he thinks former Rams QB Austin Davis can help the Browns in terms of knowing line calls and checks)
"Oh yeah. Yeah, I mean, he’s gone against this defense for a number of years now, and he knows this offense very well. So, we’re mindful of that and you have to make adjustments. But, players have to play. They have to play."

(On RB Tre Mason’s status)
"Tre’s got a little ankle going. He didn’t practice today. (WR) Tavon (Austin) did not practice with a little hamstring. (DE) Rob (Quinn) didn’t practice with the knee. We had a couple other guys that we rested."

(On if Mason’s ankle injury is from the last game)

(On what he sees from Cleveland’s defense)
"Well, like I said, they’re well-coached. They’re stout. It was brought up today, ‘Well they’re not rushing the passer. They don’t have a lot of sacks.’ Well, we went through the first five games of the season last year without a sack and we were rushing the passer. They’re rushing the passer. They’re putting pressure on the passer. They’re getting him off the spot. They’re making him get rid of the ball. So, sacks are not a good indicator of their pass rush. They can get there. The corners challenge you. The linebackers can run. They’ve got a good combination of experience on the defense and some youth on the defense. They drafted well. Big man from Washington is a load. Inside, he’s a penetrator. He’s going to be a tough match-up for our interior three."

(On if he sees any areas that he’ll be able to take advantage of with Cleveland’s ability to give up rushing yards)
"They’ll be good 19 times out of 20. Then, the last, the twentieth attempt will go for 40 (yards). So, that’s how it’s gone against them. So, I mean, I think that’s deceiving."

Rams Offensive Coordinator Frank Cignetti – Post Practice – 10/21/15

(On how his bye week went)
"Awesome. It was great. We had a great week here as a staff and as a team. To get a few days off as a coach is always nice."

(On if he used the bye week for self-scouting or more just tweaking things being five games into the season)
"Well, it’s great to go back and see what you’ve put on tape. What is your opponent seeing? That’s what the self-scouts about. You evaluate yourself as a play caller. You evaluate your scheme. You evaluate are you putting players in a position to be successful. You look at every situation. Football is a situational game. So, for us as an offensive staff and offense with the players, it was a great week. It was very productive."

(On his degree of confidence in G/T Garrett Reynolds with G Rodger Saffold out)
"Garrett’s a pro. He’s smart. He’s tough. He’s a proven guy. It’s great to have Garrett in there."

(On how it felt to get back to practice today)
"Man, I tell you what, it’s just great to be out here. You get away from it for a few days and like coach said to the team, couldn’t wait to get back and get out here with the guys and go compete."

(On how much more comfortable he’s feeling now at the coordinator position)
"Well, I’ve been comfortable the whole time to be honest. I’ve done it in the past. First time in the National Football League, but we have a tremendous offensive staff. Our preparation’s been outstanding. You trust the preparation. We’ve had excellent practices. I feel pretty comfortable."

(On his assessment of Cleveland’s defense)
"All 32 teams in this league are really good on defense. Cleveland, one, they’re very well coached, excellent players. You look at them on the back end, they have proven players – three ex pro bowlers. Excellent front seven, athletic, can run, play hard, well-coached."

(On if he feels like he can take advantage with Cleveland having trouble stopping the run game)
"Well, you’d like to think as you game plan, there are things that could give you an advantage. But, once again, this is the National Football League. Every Sunday is a challenge. They’re an excellent defense. We’re going to prepare. We’re going to come out here and have great practices, give ourselves a chance to be successful."

(On how the offensive staff is adjusting to the new schedule)
"The schedule’s been great. We’ve adapted very well. It gives us plenty of time to prepare all the situations. We like it. We’ve adjusted well."

(On how he plans on getting RB Tre Mason the ball more with RB Todd Gurley being so productive)
"Well, you hand the ball off and you get guys at bats. We are very fortunate, we have a tremendous backfield."

(On some of the challenges against an unfamiliar team)
"Well, I think it’s the same challenges every week. Once again, not to be repetitive, but all the defenses in this league are a challenge. Those guys are really good football players. So, you look at their scheme. You look at the matchups every week, whether it’s Cleveland or whether it’s someone in your division. The preparation doesn’t change. You try to put your players in the best position possible to be successful."

(On facing 3-4 defenses the past few weeks)
"Yeah, we’ve had a nice run of them, that’s for sure."

(On if facing 3-4 defenses helps his game planning)
"Oh, obviously it helps. When you’re starting to see the same line looks, there’s carryover."

(On if he feels like the offense may be starting to find their identity)
"Yeah, absolutely. We have confidence in what we’re doing. We’ve said we are close. Last week, we talked about it as an offense, that football is the ultimate team game. It takes all of us, starting with myself. Each guy’s just got to do a little better. Hey, we had a great practice yesterday. Great one today."

(On how much Reynolds has brought from a veteran leadership standpoint)
"Tremendous. Like I said, he’s a pro. He’s tough. He’s a personality player. He communicates very well up front, which will help the other guys."

(On if he’s confident that he can iron out the past protection issues)
"Absolutely. Oh, absolutely. I’ve got full confidence in the coaches and the players."

Rams QB Nick Foles – Post Practice – 10/21/15

(On if it feels good to be back on home turf this weekend)
"Yeah, it’ll be great to play at home, be in front of our home crowd and really get things going."

(On what he did on his break)
"Just relaxed. Just sort of stepped back, let the body heal, relaxed with the wife, hung out and ready to go now."

(On if he watched any football)
"Not much. I don’t watch a lot of football. We’re around it so much studying film that I try to just get away."

(On if there is more preparation that goes into facing an unfamiliar opponent)
"I’d say the preparation stays about the same. We’re here most of the day anyways, so we get a lot of preparation in with film watching, putting in plays, repping them and everything. The game week stays the same."

(On if treating this as the ‘easy part’ of the schedule is the last way he approaches this)
"Yeah, we as players never think that way. You can look at stats and all of that, but if you’ve ever played the game, especially at this level, every team is talented. Cleveland Browns are extremely good football team that lost a couple of really, really close ones. So, this is a really good football team coming in here, so we have to play our best football."

(On if he feels good about being 2-3 based on who they’ve played)
"As long as we just keep improving. That’s the big thing. Just keep improving and going forward. We had a great week last week of self-scout. We want to keep moving forward and go out there and have a great game this Sunday."

(On if he would like to keep feeding RB Todd Gurley with the way he’s been going)
"Yeah, I mean, we got the run game going. The O-line is doing a great job. Todd’s really doing a great job of finding the holes and hitting them hard. We’ve got to keep the run game going and we’ve got to be able to throw it and complement each other."

(On Cleveland ranking 32nd in the run game and if he sees anything on tape they can take advantage of)
"They’re a talented defense. It’s a ranking. Any given Sunday you never know what you’re going to get. Those guys fly around and they do a really good job. We know that they’re going to come in here ready to go. They had a tough loss against Denver last week, so I know they feel good about the team they have and that they’ve had a couple close losses. That’s a ranking to me. They’re going to be ready to go."

(On if he feels like the team is still right in the discussion for the division)
"Absolutely. We’ve got to just keep playing. It’s one game at a time, it’s one day at a time. We just have to keep playing, keep growing together as teammates and as a team and we’ll be alright."

(On how facing another 3-4 front will help him)
"It helps with different protections you’ve seen we’ve run. Just calls up front. Recognizing what they’re doing with their backers and everything. Just going against that, we have some reps against it, so that will help us. At the same time, every week a team is going to show you something different that they haven’t shown before, so we’ve just got to be prepared for that."

(On if he has to mix some things up with QB Austin Davis being on the Browns)
"Yeah, I mean that’s something you definitely have to take into account because Austin knows this offense just as well as anyone. Just going into the game, we’ve got to be efficient and get our calls right and audibles, make sure he doesn’t see them."

(On if they’re in need of a big offensive game)
"I think if we put it together for four quarters, you definitely need to put an offense game together for four quarters to get things going. That’s the goal. Going out there, we’ve had some ups and downs, but to be consistent is the big thing. So yeah, that’s definitely what we want to do."

(On how the Browns secondary attacks the back end)
"Like you said, they’re guys that have played at high levels, they’ve been to Pro Bowls, so they’re confident with what they do. They communicate what they do. When you have a confidence that you can get in the right coverage and communicate well, you’re going to give yourself an opportunity to succeed, so they do a good job with that."

(On what characterizes the Browns defense)
"They’ll mix up their coverage. They have different coverages like every other team, but what I think they do well is they have veterans out there. They have veterans that have played together or been in the league for a while. The communication factor is good. They can get into alignments on formations and it’s just going to come down to executing that play. For me, recognizing the coverages I see. When they show me something I haven’t seen before, being able to execute it at that time."

(On if the offense is starting to find its identity)
"Yeah, absolutely. I think we’re just getting more and more comfortable. I’m getting more comfortable executing. Even though the last game didn’t show it, you’ve just got to keep building. You’ve got to keep looking at the film. You’ve got to keep working. Each game, like I said, it just builds character. I feel good about where we’re at. We’ve just got to keep going forward."

(On if there’s something different that happens when they’re not in division games)
"No, I don’t think there’s anything there. We just didn’t execute well in those games. Defense gave us opportunities to win the games we lost. We’ve just got to put more points on the board and stop hurting ourselves, really."

(On how losing OL Rodger Saffold impacts things)
"Rodger’s a guy that’s played in the league. He’s had a lot of success. But, we have (G) Garrett Reynolds who’s really stepping up. He’s another guy who’s been in the league for a while. He’s done a great job of stepping in there this week. We’ll definitely miss Rodger a lot because having a veteran and a guy like that with his personality in the huddle is huge. But, Garrett’s doing a tremendous job right now."

(On how he feels about his season up to this point)
"Just got to keep improving. Keep working one day at a time. I’m very critical of myself, but at the same time, you’ve got to stay positive, got to keep working. I’ve played football for a while and it’s not always been perfect. I haven’t always had great games. I’ve had games like Green Bay where it wasn’t good at all and I just keep working, keep looking at the film and staying positive. So, I’m excited to get back out on Sunday and just go play with my teammates and get this thing rolling."