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St. Louis Rams Vs. Cleveland Browns: Friday Post-Practice Interviews With HC Jeff Fisher, DC Gregg Williams

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The long-connected coaching duo spoke to media after practice on Friday.

Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher

(On the importance of the game this weekend against Cleveland from a record standpoint)
"Well, it’s one week at a time. We placed that emphasis on it. This is a good football team we’re playing. They’re really talented, and they’re going to go places here with the personnel that they have. Based on what they’ve done the last few weeks, it’s quite impressive. So, I mean, we’re going to have to play our best ball. Our best ball to date and they know that. I mean, they know it. We’re going to have to stop the run and they’re going to have to stop our run. They’ve got a great passing game and the special teams units are outstanding. So, it is important. I feel like we’ve gotten better. We’ve got some…like to think we’ve gotten a little more continuity to the offense after the bye week and things. But, it’s a very important game for us."

(On if he has to do any selling or convincing to his team on how good Cleveland is)
"To me, Cleveland has been in a transition phase for a number of years. You can see it falling into place. They’ve got a quarterback that they trust. He’s first in the league in third down passing. Their offense is fourth in the NFL in third down efficiency. You saw what he did to Baltimore and the numbers that he put up there. They can run the football. They can stop the run. Their defense…(Chargers QB) Philip Rivers was one of his first six in that game with one sack. Their defense is capable of playing very, very well. So, yeah, this is just not that Cleveland team that was in transition. This is a legit team that’s playing a very difficult division and has played three consecutive three-point games.  They’ve lost two and they won one by three points, so it doesn’t take a lot to convince your team about the opponent that you’re facing. This quarterback has found his spot, finally, and it’s impressive to watch."

(On if he’s seeing great progress from his team in terms of pass blocking)
"Well, we have to protect the quarterback better. (QB) Nick’s (Foles) gotten hit way too many times for the first five games, not that we’ve given up an extreme number of sacks, but he was just getting hit too much. So, we have to get the ball out. That’s part of scheme stuff. We have to snap the play better. Guys have to get open. Guys have to catch. But, I think we have a good feel for the direction we’re headed, especially when you consider you’re going to build this thing around (RB) Todd (Gurley)."

(On making the adjustment on the offensive line with G Rodger Saffold out)
"Good. (G/T) Garrett’s (Reynolds) done a great job. He’s a real good communicator. So, he’s really going to help (T) Greg (Robinson) over there.  So, (G Jamon) ‘JB’ (Brown) comes over to the other side, which is obvious. They’ll be fine. ‘JB’ and (T) Rob (Havenstein) worked very well together in the preseason, so we’re going to line up and play."

(On if CB Janoris Jenkins is through with all of the protocol tests)
"He’s cleared. He’s cleared, yes."

(On if he’s confident that he will have properly functioning fireworks for the introductions)
"Yes, I’m hoping that goes smooth. But, I still am seriously considering coming in the other tunnel." (laughs)

Rams Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams

(On Browns QB Josh McCown)
"I’ve had a chance to go against him on several different teams. He’s played very well this year. He’s had streaks of being one of the top quarterbacks in the league. We’ve been playing against a top quarterback, top quarterback, top quarterback every single week. So, our guys have a lot of respect for him. I thought he played real well against us last year down at Tampa Bay. He’s played very well. I think it’s his comforting level to everybody else around him. Some of the younger players that he’s playing with, they respect his leadership. They respect his understanding in the league. When you play that long and play for several different coordinators, several different systems, he’s got a pretty good handle on everything that’s happening in the National Football League."

(On playing a lot of press coverage against Green Bay and how it worked out)
"If you’ve ever kind of followed me around wherever I’ve been, I’ve been kind of recognized for I’m not afraid to do that and we do that a lot with every stop and every team. They played very well. We had a couple of plays that we’d like to have back that you always do that. It’s something that maybe kind of goes sight unseen a little bit about that. People will be copying a little bit of those kind of things when they get ready to play Green Bay, as you saw that this past week on what the next opponent did. We pick and choose our times to do that, but we’re going to press parts of all ball games, but some games more than others."

(On the pros and cons of playing press coverage)
"There is, but one of the things too is, I’m giving too many tips away right now, but you see how deep we play our safeties? Deeper than anybody in the National Football League. That’s (S) Rodney’s (McLeod) job and that’s (S) TJ’s (McDonald), whoever it is depending upon on our press alignments. For an awful long time, even when I was a secondary coach back in the early 90’s, I asked those guys to do some stupid things. But I don’t anymore in the respect of, when you press and when you’re very physical with press, you’ve got to have an angel back there in the secondary. You’ve got to have an angel back there. We call it the angel. The angel player has got to be out there to help you out. And Rodney does a phenomenal job of that. He took one poor angle in the last ball game, but you know what, he’s so fun to coach. He just took a poor angle on that one play. It wasn’t that he was not there. The game is about angles. Especially when you play against arguably some of the top guys in the league, there’s no really bad guys in the league anymore. But, he does a great job of that. He and our guys that press for him are confident that he’s there to save them, the angel is going to save them."

(On if when it’s all said and done he’ll be saying this is one of the best defenses he’s coached)
"I hope. I’ve had a chance to be a part of some really, really, really good ones. But, I hope. I’ve said that to these guys here. When you guys talk to them in the locker room too, I think you see more ownership. I think you hear them talking about things that they believe in. Whenever those beliefs are the same as my beliefs, we get along a lot better."

(On what he had to do differently with LB Alec Ogletree out last game)
"We managed a lot of different personnel packages and managed a lot of different people through there and it worked out pretty good. Again, I take great pride, we take great pride around here about making sure whoever (Head) Coach (Jeff) Fisher says is up for the ballgame, we have packages for all of those guys. A lot of it depends upon who the other team deploys. This league has kind of gotten away from a lot of the big packages. In the old days, you saw a lot of the multiple tight end packages, two back in the backfield. You don’t see very much of that anymore. We’ll see a little bit of it this week. Cleveland does a little bit of it. They’ve got a defensive head coach that’s kind of getting his nose into things, probably, offensively. So, we’ll see some two back formations, but not a lot in the league anymore."

(On DB Lamarcus Joyner taking ownership and being hard on himself and how he’s seen him grow)
"I’m very proud of him. And you talk about hard on himself, did you see how hard I was on him last year? He’ll tell you stories about maybe I was a little bit too hard on him. But, he had to grow up in a hurry and he did. I’m so proud of his attention to detail. I’m so proud of his adapting to the National Football League and all of the sudden becoming a student of the game. For so many years of high school, college - they’ve been able to get by just being the best guy out there and doing what they want to do just because they are the best athlete out there. This whole league is great athletes, very good athletes. So, you have to be able to adapt to that format. There’s a lot of preparation and study. He is excellent in that area. My trust in him and our trust in his understanding now of how we have to go play as a team as opposed to - I tease him all of the time about the old wildcat days when he could do whatever he wanted. And he could. He stood over by me. Do whatever you want, standing over here by me. But, when you get out there, you’re going to do it our way. And he’s done a fantastic job. I’m real proud of him."

(On when he knows he has a guy he can push that hard)
"I do. Every one of them. I tease all the time, they say I have a Ph.D in body language. After all of these years of learning the difference, the do’s and the don’ts, those certain guys can take it, certain guys can’t. Whenever I find the right formula for each and every guy, some guys need to be petted a little bit more or a little bit more consoling behind the scenes. Other guys react with that chip on their shoulder. He has reacted very well to that type of coaching and mentoring. I’m proud of him. I really am proud of him. He’s played well and he’s vital to our success. He was very vital in this last ball game. And as you guys watch how he played on (Packers WR Randall) Cobb, wow. That’s a testament to getting it."

(On how big of a force DT Aaron Donald has been)
"He’s been outstanding. All of the sudden now, he’s learning too about other team’s attention towards him. When he first snuck into the league, first snuck on the presence, a lot of people didn’t know a lot about him. Everybody knows about him now, so you’ll see scheme to him. You’ll see game plans to him because people have to be accounted for him all of the time because he’s so disruptive. But, he’s a joy to coach."

(On the versatility of S Mark Barron)
"Every single player in this league and here, I talk about, you have to be able to learn more than just one position. You’ve got a primary position. You’ve got a backup position. We have 42 ways to add up to 11. We have 42 packages of defense that we’ll trot 11 guys out there. We play the same kind of a defensive structure, but we have different people playing different spots. He fits in that very well. I’ve been real proud of him, too."