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St. Louis Rams: Jeff Fisher and Les Snead's Pre-Draft Presser [Full Transcript]

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead fielded questions from the media on Tuesday, just two days prior to the 2015 NFL Draft.  The presser was riddled with jokes - some which got laughs, some crickets - potential choices for the Rams with the 10th overall draft spot [maybe a pass rusher], feeling "good" about the state of the offensive line, Brian Quick’s health...and a whole lot more.

If you didn’t catch the presser, we’ve got you covered with the full transcript.


(Opening comments)

Les Snead: "The 2015 Draft, we’ll talk about it. I think it’s the next step in the process of getting where we want to be. We’re not there yet but we’re going to get there. It’s coming. The draft is a major part and I’m sure Coach "Fish’ will talk about phase one and phase two (of the offseason program). That’s also a part in the next step of getting where we want to be."

(On where the Rams are in terms of setting the draft board)

Snead: "We just left a meeting in the draft room. We were staring at the board with a few guys. You may nudge a guy a half an inch or two, but a lot of it is fine tuning scenarios, best fits and all kinds of things."

(On if the board is set at this point)

Snead: "Pretty much. The foundation is there."

Jeff Fisher: "Les’s staff has done a great job to this point. We started a little bit early, earlier than we have in the past just to take the time. We’ve taken some quality time putting it together. It’s together. There’s still some things that we need to look at, some minor adjustments we need to make, but it’s there. I think at this point we’re pretty much looking at the different scenarios. There’s a number of things that can take place beforehand. As we do every year, we look at our options. We have some players in mind that we think will help us. It’s a great draft. It’s loaded at some positions, specifically some positions of need. Now it’s just kind of fine tuning if you will. It’s the Friday of the game-planning week where you finish up your walk-thru and the game plan is in, you’re prepared to play."

Snead: "Before we move, like Coach ‘Fish’ said, the staff has done a great job - scouts, everybody involved. We’ve been through a lot of meetings - and Coach will like this - I asked our computer people last basically take every bit of information you’ve got. You put it on a page on a PDF and you put it on a big screen and we talk about that information. I said, ‘How many pages did we go through?’ They said it’s over 8,000 pages over the last three weeks of information. It’s in big font so we can all see it."

(On if they ever experience ‘paralysis by analysis’ with all of that information)

Snead: "Every now and then it can be."

(On if they’ve received any calls yet from teams looking to potentially trade up or down)

Snead: "You always get calls this time of year. I don’t know if it’s because teams really want to do something or they want to figure out what you’re going to do. I think I mentioned it last year, we’re at the flirting stage of just chatting with other GM’s. I’m sure Coach (has) with other coaches around the league. You kind of try to figure out what each is going to do. Again, I think this is going to be the fourth draft; we’ve moved up, we’ve moved back, we’ve stayed pat. So, there will be some type of pattern set this year. I don’t know what it will be, but we’ll figure it out."

(On how much they monitor the chatter that goes on leading up to the draft)

Snead: "There’s over 8,000 pages of chatter out there. So, you can’t really pay attention to that because you’re locked in a room meeting with all the football people, all the coaches, the medical staff, and you’re trying to get your board right."

(On how they weigh needs versus best player available when drafting)

Fisher: "We identified needs immediately after the season was over. We addressed some of those needs in free agency, be it players that weren’t on our roster or re-signing players on our roster. We’ve strongly identified needs. But those needs, they vary. They can vary from round to round. It comes down to the actual pick. Then we’ll say, ‘Our guy was there all the time,’ and, ‘It wasn’t a need, it was the perfect fit.’ But, we have a good feel for, I think, how things are going to unfold and how we can fill the needs."

(On if this draft has a different feel considering the Rams have fewer picks than in recent years)

Snead: "Good question. I think it’s definitely a different feel because it’s less picks. It may be a little less exciting, more boring. But, you still prepare the same. Right now, you’re focusing on the board and kind of setting that. Where we pick, we’ll let the board be the guide. Having the different picks, yes it’s going to be different, but I don’t think we’ll feel that until that night because the preparation is the same."

(On what positions he feels are strong in this draft class)
Snead: "Wow, that would be a kind of tough one there. Punters and kickers are loaded. I’ll leave it at that."

(On if he still feels that he’s not panicked about the offensive line)

Fisher: "Yeah, I feel good about it. I feel good about the direction we’re headed, and I’ll feel much better when the weekend is over. I feel good about it. We have options, and there are still options out there. We’re in constant communication with (T) Joe Barksdale, for example. We have options out there. I think one of the perceived needs out there, outside our building from our perspective is O-line, and we feel good about where we are right now. We’ve got some good young players on our roster that you’ve not seen play or haven’t played very much but we’re developing players currently on our roster. We feel good about it."

(On if they’re still interested in Barksdale and why they think he’s still unsigned)

Fisher: "Yes and I don’t know. Yeah, we have interest in Joe. Things may not have worked out for them from the perspective of what they thought was going to happen. But, we have interest in Joe because he played some good football for us."

(On why he thinks offensive linemen appear to be better prepared to play in the NFL right away in recent years)

Snead: "If you’re a guy on the offensive line and you’re good and you’ve started three years in college football, nowadays that’s 80-90 plays a game over the course of three years, depending on who you are. That’s just a lot of reps and you’re just gaining experience. Probably depending on the system you’re in and how that system translates to our game is whether that guy can step right in and play. Usually an offensive lineman, if he’s good, he will be more than just a one-year starter. He will have started two, three years, then come out. That’s just a lot of reps, so I think that experience helps translate right to this game."

(On this year’s group of offensive linemen prospects)

Snead: "Other than kicker and punter, we felt early on in the process that there were some quality offensive linemen in this draft. You can rate the quality, but we felt depending on whether it’s an ‘A guy, B guy,’ whatever it is, we thought there was a lot of linemen that could help any football team. I think that was a little bit of a guidepost as we went into the offseason."

(On if this group of offensive linemen has a lot of versatile players)

Snead: "I don’t know if it’s more than normal because I think every year we go into the meeting and you’ve got a board and you’ve got this tape where you put it. Let’s call it left tackle, right tackle, (offensive guard), center. We always straddle the line if we think they’re versatile. I’m not sure there’s any more this year, but there are a lot of guys out there that we think can play multiple positions. I think Coach Fisher will say, when he’s sitting there probably during the week with his coaches trying to figure out that 46-man roster and that Sunday morning and you’re down to seven or eight OL, you’ve got to be able to do more than one thing."

(On if the offensive linemen are more difficult to evaluate because of the spread offense)

Fisher: "From one standpoint I would say, yes. You’re seeing a lot of wide splits and two-point stances and things like that. But, we benefit from the ability to look at bowl games. Senior Bowl, for example, they come in, put their hand in the dirt, line up at three-point stance and then you watch them develop and improve over the course of the week. Then, obviously, the combine and the pro days and what have you. You’re looking for athletic ability and there are a lot of really talented athletes out there in this draft, from an offensive line standpoint with the flexibility that was asked about. By and large, as far as this year’s concerned, it’s a very good group."

(On if it is possible that they would take an edge-rusher at No. 10)

Fisher: "It’s very possible, yes. We like defensive players here. Good defensive players. Can’t get enough."

(On if they would find a way to get said pass rusher on the field)

Fisher: "Yes. We would. Week 1."

Snead: "Pressure, pressure, pressure."

(On how they deal with new character information on players that may come up this close to the draft in reference to draft prospect Shane Ray)

Snead: "You don’t move him on the board. You may put a cautionary sticker on him. He is where he is. You do have to go back and follow up and do a little work on the character to see kind of the who, what, when where - all of that out – and kind of figure that out. With him, whether he was a first round pick or this causes him to fall, he was going to face adversity in life. This is the first adversity that he’s facing maybe as a draftee or NFL player. Like any of us, and I think he said it in his quote, he’s going to have to make better decisions and time will tell. But, you’re going to face adversity whether you did this or not and this is it for him and it’s up to him now. It’s in his hands, how he handles it."

(On Coach Fisher’s thoughts on the previous question)

Fisher: "I completely agree with Les. We have a short amount of time to get as much information as we can and then we’ll discuss the information that we have and then we’ll adjust it accordingly."

(On if Coach Fisher can see a scenario in this draft where the team does not take a quarterback in the first couple rounds)

Fisher: "Well, there’s a possibility to take a quarterback or not take a quarterback. It really depends on how things unfold. Aside from the top two, which I think everyone assumes will be gone, there are some players in this draft that can come in and help you. We’re very excited about what we’ve seen here the last week and a half with Nick (Foles) and what he’s done in the offseason program. I think we’re better at the position. We’re healthy right now and there’s some good things ahead as far as that’s concerned. It doesn’t mean to say there’s not a guy at a certain point that we like that we can pass up."

(On the benefits of the private workouts)

Fisher: "The perception is, you fly into town, you work the player out and you leave and that’s not necessarily the case. We spend quality time with the player in the classroom. We get him on the board. It’s an extensive interview. We actually spend at least the same amount of time in the classroom as we do on the field. It’s extremely valuable."
Snead: "What’s also neat about that is you can see them in their offense and whatever that is, whatever style that is. They do their pro day – it’s scripted. But, I’ve enjoyed being able to see our coaches come in and let them throw the routes we’re going to be running. But the nice thing is to see those guys because they haven’t been practicing those routes, to see them adjust. Because they may flutter the first ball and then if they can go, ‘Wait a minute, I got this now’ and get the timing down – it’s pretty neat to see."

(On what they have seen from Foles since he has been here)

Fisher: "You got to see it when we introduced him to you, it’s the personality. It’s the competitiveness. It’s the leadership qualities that he has. We started our offseason program a week ago Monday and we had 100 percent attendance. Nick was right in the middle of it, really excited about meeting all the younger players. The offseason program at this point does give offensive players permission to throw the ball without the coaches on the field. Nick’s reports are that those sessions have been great. He’s had three or four sessions with the guys. He’s really impressed with the guys that we’ve surrounded him with and guys are very excited about having him here."

(On if they feel like they have flexibility with the No. 10 overall pick to get a variety of skilled players at various positions)

Snead: "I think, yeah. When you’re picking 10, there’s going to be more than one good football player that you’re staring at, just that’s the nature of picking 10 versus somewhere a little bit later. There’s flexibility and you fine tune it and like we said, best player available – that’s probably subjective based on what draftnik you ask and not counting the teams out there. Normally, at (No.) 10 there’s going to be more than one good football player and I think at that point we’ll try to make the best pick that helps this team."

Fisher: "So what he’s saying is, we could move up, stay where we are or move down. We have options."

Snead: "I thought that was straight forward. I gave you exactly what we’re going to do."

(On why they workout out QBs Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota when most people believe those two prospects will be off the board)

Snead: "Number one, it’s due diligence. There’s over 8,000 pages of noise out there. But, when you run some mock draft scenarios and the quarterbacks are falling to you, you don’t want that to occur and you didn’t prepare for it. Obviously, if you did the percentages, it’s probably not occurring. But, if you want to count it as doing your due diligence that’s what it is."

(On projecting how quarterbacks will fit into a pro-style offense that may have run a spread in college)

Fisher: "You start from a snap for example. Typically, the majority of their snaps were in shotgun, so now they transition to this level and they’re under center. In the shotgun offenses now, they’re complicated but they’re simplified in their own way. So the quarterback is either using some type of play-action and he’s got one read. In our game, we have progressions that we refer to. For a quarterback to have to go from the shotgun offense to under center with progressions, it’s a significant change. Of course, from a defensive standpoint obviously the defense is going to be a little bit more complicated. There’s footwork involved. There’s releases involved. There’s touch involved. Different types of throws involved that by in large are different than what they’re used to."

(On how this year’s draft class compares to previous draft classes)

Snead: "Every year’s different because positions are letters in the alphabet basically and it’s the humans under those positions that make up the draft, so I don’t know. Some positions are deeper than others and all of that and that’s just probably depending on the year. It’s interesting. I always say this about this QB draft is I think we know there’s two. It seems like every time you look up there’s two. Human nature says one guy is going to prove everybody wrong. They have to. If you’re one of those other guys, you’re watching this every day and going, ‘You know what? I’m showing them.’ I think that’s the important part is humans make up the draft. It’s not necessarily the letters in the alphabet that do."

(On exercising the option on DT Michael Brockers contract, how he played last season and only being 24-years old)

Fisher: "Well, those are the reasons that we exercised the option. One because of his age and his production. We feel like he’s got a lot of years left and we want to keep him in this program, so we’re very excited about that. On the contrary, we also elected not to exercise (S) Mark Barron’s option. That wasn’t our option – just for the record – that was Tampa’s (Buccaneers) option we traded for. We felt like Mark’s important to us. We felt from a big picture standpoint we would be better suited to try to re-do and extend his contract prior to that deadline."

(On if Barron’s option is large because of where he was drafted)

Fisher: "Yes, that’s correct. Again, that was Tampa Bay’s deal with him. We acquired it, but now we have the option so we have every intention of getting him done."

(On how WR Brian Quick is progressing)

Fisher: "Progress has been really good. Talking with ‘Reg’ (Reggie Scott, Director of Sports Medicine and Performance) just recently this week – we’re very excited. I saw Brian this morning and he’s very encouraged. From a timing standpoint, it’s camp, it’s OTAs potentially with protection, but I don’t think there’s going to be an issue with him missing – at this point – with him missing much time in camp."

Snead: "We have a basketball hoop back there and about a month or two ago I saw him dunk a basketball. You might not like that Coach…"

Fisher: "It was with his other arm."
Snead: "Yes, my bad."

(On if this year’s wide receiver class is on par with last year’s)

Snead: "Last year I did say they were going to do a ‘30-for-30’ on that group. I haven’t gone there with this group yet. I think because of college football, because of the high school football, because you’re throwing the ball around more from youth football on up, there’s a lot more good receivers than in the past. I think that’s just the nature of that. This is a good crop. There’s going to be some guys drafted in this first round and probably the second round and even later that are going to make plays. I think the guy who has the best rookie year, it probably depends on where he lands and how stable his QB is and the offense and all that. I think you’ll see that. That’s why you see some guys who are picked maybe not necessarily early but a little later have better years than the guys picked earlier."

(On if he’s ever had a team where he’s had so many returning players from the previous year)

Fisher: "I think it shows the progress we’ve made since the time we got here and the numbers we had on the active roster before the draft and look at the numbers of college free agents that we’ve brought in. Those numbers at the end of the draft will be down, particularly because we have a lot of guys under contract. It’s nice to look at the depth chart right now and have a good feel about the depth chart as compared to a couple of years ago when we had blank spaces at many, many positions. We feel like we’ve improved and we also feel like not only with what we did in free agency, but what we’re getting ready to do here this weekend is really going to help us."