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2015 St. Louis Rams: Head Coach Jeff Fisher, Off. Coordinator Frank Cignetti, QB Nick Foles Interview Transcripts From OTA

The Rams' head coach, offensive coordinator and starting quarterback all spoke to the media after practice yesterday. Here's what they had to say.

Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher

(On if he accomplished everything he set out to accomplish thus far into OTAs)
"Yeah. We’ve got tomorrow. We’re going to get some work done and then we’ve got Thursday. I feel like from an installation standpoint, we’ve introduced a lot of situations to them. We’re happy to say we’ve got the rookies caught up. They’ve yet to lift with the vets, but they’re caught up on the field. I think the rookie class is doing an outstanding job mentally. We’re very fortunate right now that we haven’t had any setbacks on the practice field. Haven’t had a single soft tissue issue or anything. Had a couple guys that we’re resting, that we’re still kind of rehabbing and bringing along – day-on day-off type of thing, but I think we’re in pretty good shape."

I know [Todd Gurley]’s doing well. He had a day off today because he’s doing so well. He’ll be around. He’ll rehab with us during the break. We’re also going to give him his time off because he’s entitled to his time off to go home for a few days. We’re just going to see how he progresses. - Rams HC Jeff Fisher

(On his early impressions on how Frank Cignetti is handling the offensive coordinator job)
"Oh, it’s coming. It’s all coming, I think the players will tell you that. We shortened the play calls from a terminology standpoint. We have some flexibility to do some things, I think, that match-up better with our personnel, we’re just going to continue to work with it. Nick has done a good job. A good mark of where you are offensively is when someone like (QB) Sean Mannion comes in and he’s been here for a month and he has a good feel for it. So, it kind of gives you a sense that what they’re teaching is easily absorbed and translated to the field."

(On if he’s comfortable saying that he wants QB Nick Foles around long-term or if he is still letting it play out)
"We’ve had some discussions. It was noted here, I guess, yesterday. But yeah, I think what Nick has done early in his career, he’s proven he can get the job done on the field. With the numbers that he put up at the end with Andy (Reid) and then his first year there it was very impressive. He’s carried things on here and so we’re going to continue to talk and see if we can get something that’s good for both sides."

(On if he’s confident that he can re-sign the players whose contracts expire at the end of the season)
"There’s some discussions. We’ve already started discussions. I feel good about it, yeah. I know they want to come back, so I feel good about it."

(On if feels good about going into the season with his current group of offensive linemen assuming that Greg Robinson and Rodger Saffold are ready to go)
"They’re going to be ready to go so that’s not going to be an issue. We don’t have a lot of experience at the center position, but you gain experience by playing. We’ll make that decision at some point. Like I said, I’m pleased with the flexibility. I’m pleased with where ‘JB’ (Jamon Brown) is right now at the guard spot. Rob (Havenstein) has been solid at right tackle. They’re not making mistakes. Again, it’s so early because you don’t have the pads on. I think they will probably improve significantly when the pads go on because it stalemates a little bit with the defense. Defense wins right now. That’s just how OTAs are. Defense is going to win."

(On if he still looks outside for veteran offensive linemen)
"Well, we’re keeping a lookout. We’ll see what happens."

(On training in Oxnard, Calif. during training camp and what he hopes to get out of it)
"Yeah, we visited with the Cowboys months ago. I visited with (Cowboys Head Coach) Jason (Garrett) and it’s going to work. Once the preseason schedule came out, it made sense for us to just kind of shoot down after the Friday night game at Oakland down to LA and then we move out to the Thousand Oaks area. We’ll practice with them at training camp for a couple of days and then we’re also going to use their facility on Wednesday and then come back. It kind of shortens camp up a little bit, but it’s the first time that this group has been through that experience and to have an opportunity to practice against another team, a good football team, I think we would benefit from it."

(On why the team opted to practice against the Cowboys during training camp when considering fans’ concerns of the team moving to Los Angeles)
"The two are not related. The Cowboys have practiced against somebody just about every year. Their facility is as such that it welcomes another team. We talked to a number of teams besides the Cowboys about working together with them, and the Cowboys were really the only one that worked out."

(On getting off to a fast start and if practicing against the Cowboys will help the team do that when the regular season begins)
"Hopefully, big picture I think it will help us. We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t think it would be beneficial. What it does for you, depending on the play time for the starters in the first preseason game, this creates another opportunity for them to compete and get better aside from preseason games when you’re in a full-padded practice against another opponent."

(On LB Akeem Ayers, what he likes about him and what he can add to the defense)
"Akeem, in Tennessee played behind the ball and he rushed and he did everything. Then at New England he primarily was a rusher. Did some dropping, but was primarily a rusher. He’s got the ability and as you know in our defense, our linebackers are blitzers and they rush. He’s got the ability to do both. He’s a big man and he runs well. He’s a smart kid and he’s strong and so I think he fits."

(On if Ayers’ experience winning a Super Bowl adds value to a young locker room)
"I think in time, but I don’t think he’s going to stand up and say anything now about it. But we’re all happy for anyone that comes in the building that’s had that experience. I think in time it would be beneficial, but we’ll let him choose that time."

(On the competition for the backup quarterback job)
"It’s going to be good. We’ve got to get Nick the reps, but we’re going to try to balance the reps out and just see what happens. Sean’s (Mannion) new. Austin (Davis) and Case (Keenum) have both won games in the league, so I think it will be a good battle."

(On his message to players when they get ready to break before training camp)
"Well, it starts with wave runners then it moves over to four wheelers then it goes to family picnics and all that stuff, water skiing and all that. Then it goes into the off-the-field stuff and be smart. Those messages are being sent as we speak."

(On if he worries about the players during the break between OTAs and training camp)
"We basically throw the stats up. We have statistics by position groups. I have statistics based on months and years of experience in the league. I’ll just say (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Gregg) Williams has his hands full."

(On the social media training the team will undertake)
"Throughout camp, we have a number of presentations for the players. We’ll have a media presentation, we’ll have a security presentation. We don’t broadcast them, but it’s part of what we do. We decided, we feel like social media is becoming a little separate than the media presentation and that it requires its own focus. We’ve got a good group in here to talk to them about what would be the appropriate and inappropriate things that take place while you’re using social media. We’re monitoring it. We just don’t want to have to make that midnight phone call where you have to say, ‘Take it down.’"

(On if someone on staff monitors the players’ social media)

(On if that person has ever reported something to him that he didn’t like)
"We’ve had some discussions. We’ve had some stuff. Yeah, one or two."

(On if he thinks RB Todd Gurley will be ready for the start of camp)
"It’s hard to say right now. I can’t predict that. I know he’s doing well. He had a day off today because he’s doing so well. He’ll be around. He’ll rehab with us during the break. We’re also going to give him his time off because he’s entitled to his time off to go home for a few days. We’re just going to see how he progresses. We have options, which are the PUP things and we just have to see where he is. If he’s not PUP-ed then I think you could probably assume that he’s going to play sooner than you think."

(On TE/FB Corey Harkey re-signing with the team this offseason)
"It’s great to have ‘Hark’ back. He really took on a leadership role in the special teams room and really all over, for that matter. It’s just great to have him back. He’s one of those guys you trust. He’s out every day. He’s tough. He makes plays. It’s good that we got at least another year."

Rams Offensive Coordinator Frank Cignetti

(On what he’s seen out of the offense through OTAs)
"We’ve had a great offseason. When you look at phase 1, phase 2 and now the OTAs, the coaches and players have done a great job learning in the classroom, bringing it from the classroom out to the field. Every day we step out here, we see continual growth. It’s a process. We’ll take the OTAs right into training camp. Right now we’re very pleased with the effort and what the players have been giving us. It’s been outstanding."

(On how anxious he was to get the players on the field prior to OTAs)
"As you all know, time goes fast. We needed the time as an offensive staff to prepare for the players. So for us the time was great. As the time goes on, you can’t wait for the players to get here and teach the game and take it from the classroom to the field. It’s been outstanding."

(On QB Nick Foles)
"I tell you, Nick Foles first off is an unbelievable person – high character, great leadership. He does a great job in the classroom, great job in the locker room. He’s able to take the teaching from the classroom to the field. Every day you’ve seen that Nick has gotten better. (QB Coach) Chris Weinke has done a great job with him, has the whole group of quarterbacks working together. I love Nick Foles."

I love just leading the group. I love trying to put people in a position to be successful. I love the schematics of the game, the organization of being a coordinator. The ability to come out here and try to motivate the group. It’s just something I’ve always enjoyed doing. - Rams OC Frank Cignetti

(On the expectations for the offensive line)
"The expectation is you’re competing for jobs out here. Sure it’s a transition from college football to the National Football League, but once again, that’s why you have the different phases, the OTAs. They’ll be a step ahead for training camp. (Offensive Line) Coach (Paul) Boudreau and (Assistant Offensive Line) Coach (Andy) Dickerson have done a great job training them. They’re doing a great job in the classroom. That’s where it starts. Then once again, you see them bringing it out here to the practice field, making improvements every day."

(On not having T Greg Robinson and G Rodger Saffold for the team periods in OTAs)
"I don’t think it’s a setback. You know what? First off, you’ve got to be healthy to play the game. So, they’re on schedule. It’s a great plan for them to be successful when they step on the field for training camp and it give the other guys an opportunity to get better."

(On G Jamon Brown and T Rob Havenstein)
"Once again, you’re talking about great kids, really good players. Once again, it’s a process. Every day you want to see these young men come out here and continue to get better, which is what we’ve seen."

(On if his transition to offensive coordinator has been made easier by the fact that he’s been on the Rams’ staff for three previous years)
"It’s helps tremendously because it starts with the staff. We have a tremendous offensive staff. We’ve added Chris Weinke and Jeff Garcia to the staff. Barrett Trotter is joining us, so the existing staff and myself, we knew each other. We’re very comfortable with each other. We knew the players. The players knew us. So, the transition was very smooth for all of us. It’s been exciting. The bottom line is, it’s a group effort. We all want to put each other in a position to make each other successful. We come out here every day and we prepare our players to be successful."

(On if all of the playbook is all in at this point)
"I don’t know if the playbook’s ever fully in. But sure, most of the concepts in the running game, in the protection phase and the passing game have been installed."

(On how much different the offense will look this year)
"It’s like this: (Former Offensive Coordinator) Coach (Brian) Schottenheimer put a tremendous foundation in place here. It’s like buying a house. The foundation is there. You guys buy a house, what do you do? Let’s remodel a couple rooms. Really, that’s what we’ve done. The foundation of the system hasn’t changed. All we’ve done is put our personal touches in different areas and frankly, if Coach Schottenheimer was here, that’s what you do as a staff every year. You look at it and you continually look for ways to improve."

(On getting WR Tavon Austin more involved)
"Tavon Austin’s had a great offseason. Tremendous. It starts in the classroom. He’s learning, he’s paying attention. He’s bringing it to the practice field. You can just see it from his route running. What a difference. His effort, his attention to details. Every day out here, the guy’s made plays. Tavon’s had a great offseason and he’ll continue that into training camp."

(On how Austin fits into the offense considering the expectation that the Rams want to be a power running team)
"Tavon Austin’s a wide receiver. I wouldn’t say he’s a change of pace guy. He’s a guy you can put out there every down and the defense has to recognize, ‘Hey, Tavon’s on the field.’ So, whether it’s running down-the-field routes, intermediate routes, short routes or manipulating him touches, the defense always has to be aware of where’s Tavon Austin."

(On the makeup of the quarterback group)
"You know what? It’s a great room. You’re talking about four tremendous, not only quarterbacks, but people. Austin Davis, fourth year with us, knows the system. Runs the offense, very competitive. Case (Keenum) is the same way. Case spent a lot of time with us last year. Then he went back to the Texans and won some games. Case knows what we expect. He’s able to come out here, perform every day and run the offense, and Sean (Mannion) is learning it. Sean was very well coached in college. (Former Oregon State Head Coach) Mike Riley and the crew did a great job with Sean, so he had a pro background, which makes his transition a little easier with what we’re doing. Once again, every day Sean’s learning in the classroom and bringing it out here to the field. So, when you look at all four, it’s a really strong group."

(On what it’s been like being an NFL offensive coordinator)
"Well I love it. I always have. I love just leading the group. I love trying to put people in a position to be successful. I love the schematics of the game, the organization of being a coordinator. The ability to come out here and try to motivate the group. It’s just something I’ve always enjoyed doing. Make no mistake, it’s a team effort. Like I said, we’ve got a tremendous offensive staff here. We’ve worked together for a fourth year. This is our offense and my hat goes off to the work that the staff has done."

(On not having RB Todd Gurley available for OTAs)
"I don’t think it’s a setback because I think it’s the same thing when you look at Greg (Robinson) and Rodger (Saffold). The most important thing for a player is to be healthy. First things first, let’s get Todd healthy. Let’s get him acclimated. Then he’ll be ready to be successful."

(On if he’s changed his coaching style since his promotion)
"No, I think if you ask the players, I haven’t changed. Every day is a blessing. I come to work trying to have fun, trying to do the best job I can teaching. I come out on the field and enjoy the game of football. I’ve been around it my whole life. I’m a coach’s kid. I’ve been on this field since I was five, six years old. I’m comfortable on the field, in the locker room. I can’t get enough of it."

Rams QB Nick Foles

(On where he is at as far as learning the playbook)
"I feel really comfortable with this offense. There’s always going to be new things you’re going to learn. Whether it’s studying the defense with our certain players, like what we want to run against. Each play based on front and coverage, it can change. So, it’s just continuing to learn and continuing to grow to where it’s just second nature. To where I feel extremely comfortable just seeing everything, but it’s getting there."

(On Offensive Coordinator Frank Cignetti saying that he has been getting better every day)
"Yes, definitely. I think I’ve gotten a little bit better every day. I just need to continue to do that. We have a phase two day tomorrow and then another OTA to just continue to progress. Then every day on, continue to get better, continue to gain knowledge and continue to work on fundamentals and get the timing down with everything."

(On what he will do during the break)
"During the break, I continue to study the playbook. Study the installs, watch the film of the practices… We’re going to be going against our defense a little bit during camp, so studying them, studying a little bit of Seattle and getting ready for preseason, so there’s always going to be stuff to work on. Then, of course, workout and do the fundamentals, drops, throwing and all of that."

(On if he plans to get together formally with any receivers during the break)
"We’re going to see what happens during that break, see if any guys are near. But at the same time, I use that break to spend time with family because once training camp gets here it’s football every day until the end of the season. We’ll see what happens. If there’s a couple guys in the same city, I’m sure we’ll get together to throw. If not, we’ll stay in touch and continue to talk and continue the relationship building."

(On where his permanent residence is)
"I don’t have a permanent residence. I have not purchased a home or anything. I have family in Texas, California, Oregon. Just wherever family is, I train. I would say my main home right now is here. This is the only place we have."

(On if he has a home in St. Louis)
"I have a place. I’ve never purchased anything, I’ve always rented. My wife and I always have. We have a great place here that we found thanks to her."

(On Coach Fisher saying that he already feels comfortable with him that would like to keep him around long term and if this team is a place he would like to stay)
"Yes, I felt like this was home from when I got here and got to meet the guys and talk to the coaches. That’s nothing against Philly. I had a great time in Philly and I built strong relationships. But, just how the team was when they brought me in here and how they treated me, and how my teammates have helped me grow and just the relationships that I’ve built – I want to be here. This is where I want to play. As a player, you want to be somewhere and you want to play there the rest of your career. This is where I want to be, but that’s why we have agents. My most important thing right now is just to continue to work with my teammates and continue to be the best player and person I can be, so we’ll see what happens. I want to be here. I love Coach Fisher and the staff and everybody in this building, so I’m very fortunate to be here."

I had a great time in Philly and I built strong relationships. But, just how the team was when they brought me in here and how they treated me, and how my teammates have helped me grow and just the relationships that I’ve built – I want to be here. This is where I want to play. - Rams QB Nick Foles

(On if because he’s coming off a year where he dealt with an injury, if he looks at this year as an opportunity to bet on himself in order to get the best contract next season)
"No. Whatever happens with that, happens. I’m going to be the same person no matter what it is. The number sign is not going to change the way I play the game. I’m going to play with all my heart. It’s about my teammates and building those relationships and just being a player that helps people grow. The money sign won’t change that. I want to be here and that’s the most important thing."

(On if his agent keeps him up-to-date with what’s going on or if he tells him to let him know when he needs to know something)
"Yes, that’s what we hire agents to do. They really do that for us because right now my focus is learning this offense and coming out here and progressing and executing these plays. It’s not that part, that’s why we have the agents that we do and they do a great job of it. I count on them to do that and they count on me to come out here and just be me."

(On working with the young offensive linemen)
"I think every day they continue to grow. All of the young guys, it doesn’t matter whether it’s O-line, receivers, Sean (Mannion) at the quarterback position, you can just see that every day they get more and more comfortable. The thing that I tell them is, when I was there a few years ago, I know what it feels like. I know that if a bad play happens, how you feel . And it’s just learning each day and just trying to get a little bit better each and every day. And they have done that. The pocket’s looking good. They’re going against a great defense right now and they’re doing a really good job. They’ve gotten better each day and they’ll just have to continue to do every day, here on out."

(On if the D-line is starting to have less success against the O-line in comparison to the start of OTAs)
"Yes, the O-line is really getting the hang of it. They’re getting more comfortable. We don’t have pads on right now, so it gets difficult on those guys to pick up those D-linemen because those guys are coming, they’re pushing hard and they’re making them work hard. But the O-line is really excelling, so I’m proud of them."

(On if he was wondering what was going on with the O-line the first week of OTAs)
"No, I know it’s a process. That’s why it’s just on to the next play. I try to work through the pocket, move around a little bit because it’s going to happen like that in games at times where the pocket is not going to be as clean as you like, so it’s good for me to work on moving around being able to keep my eyes down the field and making the throw."

(On if he has had a chance to get out around St. Louis)
"I’ve been here (Rams Park) a lot. I probably go home and here and that’s about it. I’m really trying to get this playbook down and get the work in."

(On what he says to people that say he’s a product of the system in Philadelphia)
"I don’t really worry about that. People are going to say what they’re going to say. They always have throughout my entire career. Each and every player deals with it. The way I do is I’m just going to play. I know who I am. I know what kind of player I am and my job is to help my team win games. There’s always going to be that…excel to get better, but it’s not from people saying stuff. I could care less. I want to be the best player for my team and that’s all I need. I can see it in my teammates’ eyes and I want to be that player that helps them, so that’s all I need."

(On if he got the feeling that defenses figured something out about him last year, which dropped his numbers)
"I think people look at numbers so much that you forget that we were at the top of the NFC East at the time. I definitely turned over the ball a few times, but it was facing the adversity that you continue to fight through it. We were able to come back, and I think four of those games we were down by double digits and the team was able to rally back and win those games. I look at that as, although those stats weren’t as good it’s about the team. It’s about rallying through. If we turn it over, the defense has our back and we have to go down there and put points on the board when we get the ball back. It’s just facing adversity and what are you going to do when something bad happens. I’ve never been a stat guy. I could care less about stats. I care about the wins and it doesn’t matter how you do it. Of course, you don’t want to throw interceptions or do that, but if you throw a couple and you get the ‘W’, I’d take that over throwing five touchdowns and losing."

(On what it has been like working with Cignetti)
"He’s always enthusiastic. He’s always full of energy. He’s a guy who gives us a lot of options out there. I’ve really enjoyed the relationship with him and (Quarterbacks Coach) Chris (Weinke). He’s a really intelligent coach. He’s been around a long time and has coached a lot of football. He loves football, so it’s fun for all of us quarterbacks to be around him and gain that knowledge, but the fact that he gives us a lot of leeway in the offense."

(On what the process has been like building relationships with the receivers and how have those improved the last couple weeks)
"I think it’s been great. There’s a great group of receivers that really want to excel each and every day. It’s just getting on the same page. It’s talking about routes. It’s talking about what I want them to do verse different coverages, where to expect the ball and they’ve been awesome. And I want them to talk to me and tell me what they see and, you know, I’m going to listen because I want that relationship to be two ways. They’ve been awesome."

(On his thoughts on social media)
"I have a Twitter account, but that’s the only account I have. It’s verified. I don’t use it much at all. But, I’m not a big fan of social media, to be honest. That’s sort of what it’s come to, especially with marketing and marketing is a big part. That’s one of those things that you really have to be careful because once it’s out there, it’s out there. You can’t erase it. It’s going to be screen captured. So, if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all."