Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher
"We got off to a really good start this week. I’ll go back a little bit. Our philosophy since the rookie orientation is to assess the rookies while the vets are conditioning and then get the rookies back into a position and get them caught up with the veteran group so that they compete. So, we did that. We had a couple really good weeks. Last week was the off week for our vets. We kept the ‘rooks’ here and pushed them through the conditioning phase and the weight training phase. Obviously, Tuesday was our first day together, our first OTA, and that went very well. Yesterday we had a 90-minute phase two exercise on the field with everybody, and you just finished watching our second OTA and things are good. I’m pleased with where things are. (RB) Todd’s (Gurley) doing a great job with his rehab. He’s very anxious. He’s probably a little frustrated, probably deep down inside not really happy right now but he’s anxious to get out there right now, so that’s going well. We have a number of players that had some early offseason surgeries that are getting really close. Everybody’s just about back. (RB) Isaiah Pead is working through some individual stuff on the field, so he’s coming along as are the rest of them. (WR) Brian Quick is probably the one we have to watch. As I mentioned to you before, we’ll have to watch him, keep him out of contact, but he’s running routes against air. He’s catching and progressing nicely. So, I think we’re in a good spot right now. We just have to finish up strong through the next couple weeks of OTAs."
(On WR Bud Sasser)
"We agreed to terms with Bud yesterday and then we put him on NFI (Non-Football Injury). We did some extensive studies after the draft. They’re very extensive, as you can imagine, and it was determined and concluded by numerous physicians that he had a pre-existing condition that we don’t feel will allow him to play."
(On if anything can change Sasser’s status)
"Not in our opinion, no. Not in our medical opinion based on the experts and everything else. He was a non-combine guy and that happens sometimes. Our team physicians, outside physicians, other specialists recommended that he not play. It was a pre-existing condition. We agreed to terms. He got a signing bonus. We’re just going to see what his future holds."
(On Sasser’s specific condition)
"I’m not going to comment on what the condition was but he failed our physical."
(On if the fact that Sasser didn’t attend the combine kept the Rams from obtaining the information prior to the draft)
"That’s correct. You didn’t have the information. Typically what you do is you contact the university, which we did, and this was just one of those things that kind of slipped through the cracks."
(On QB Nick Foles)
"Nick’s been great, not only in the team stuff but in the individual days with the receivers and everybody. He’s taken charge. He’s got a good feel for our offense right now. He’s got his hands full because we have great defensive team speed and they’re doing a lot of things over there right now."
(On WR Daniel Rodriguez)
"Dan’s story is unique. It’s really unique. I think it’s well-documented. As we were filling out the roster, we had a receiver spot available and what a great opportunity for him to come in. He’s got special teams ability. He’s got return skills. He was a great story there at Clemson, so we thought it would be a great opportunity for him. I’m looking forward to getting him in the preseason games to see what he can do."
(On the importance of Foles building camaraderie with his teammates)
"That’s what he’s done since he got here. He walked in the door and he went out of his way to meet everybody. They did some individual things together. He took charge. In the phase one where the coaches can’t be present, he took the players out, the skill players and offensive players and threw and did those things. Since then, he’s been doing great. Everything that we heard is true, and I’m sure we’re going to be surprised as we move ahead with him because we’ve been really pleased."
(On what has changed with Foles coming in)
"We’ve made some changes to our offense because of the coaching change. Terminology things and moving different directions. From a mental standpoint, (former Rams QB) Sam (Bradford) is brilliant and so is Nick. They don’t have any trouble learning football."
(On adding Jeff Garcia to the coaching staff)
"We interviewed two people for the quarterbacks position, that’s Chris Weinke and Jeff Garcia. When I was done with Jeff, I just felt like he’s got some special qualities and characteristics. One of those guys you want on your staff. It took us a little bit longer, but what we’re going to do is move Jeff into the receiver room with Coach (Ray) Sherman and really, he gives a different perspective. He gives that quarterback perspective to the receivers, which I think is helpful."
(On how he handles relocation rumors with the team)
"It’s not a distraction. We can’t let it be a distraction. I’ve been through it once. I learned that from that. It’s been my opinion really from the start when all this stuff started happening that I’m better off probably not knowing the specifics. That way when someone asks me I can say, ‘I don’t know.’ And when I say it, I’m telling the truth. Our focus is on this next week of OTAs. This fall, we’ll be playing football here. I think that’s the best way to approach it."
(On the rookie offensive linemen)
"They’re fast learners. They’re especially strong, talented. We’ve got five of them here that I think have a chance to make this team. When you come from programs like Iowa, like Wisconsin - you’re technique sound. You’re ahead. ‘JB’ (Jamon Brown) did a great job there at Louisville and I think he’s right behind them. He’s especially strong. They’ve had a good couple of weeks."
(On if he considered holding a veteran minicamp this year in light of the offensive changes)
"No, I didn’t think it was necessary. I think when you look actually at the veteran minicamp, it’s really no different than an OTA. You’re allowed to go on the field once. You get to have a walk-thru. You get to keep them in the building for 12 hours rather than six. I personally think that’s too much and too long during the offseason. There’s a distinct difference between what we can do with the rookies and what we can do with the veterans. There’s a six-hour time limit window on OTA day and two hours on the field. There’s no restrictions with the rookies. We’re getting a lot of extra time with the rookies in the afternoon. We’re getting caught up. I’ve just always been one of those that has been opposed to the mandatory minicamp, especially back in the days when you’ve got to go on the field twice a day. It just made no sense to me that you’re taking professional athletes and making them practice twice a day in the middle of the offseason. It didn’t make sense, probably because I hated it."
(On if he’s stacking his team Sunday to ensure another victory in his celebrity softball game)
"Oh yes. This one’s going to work out. I conceded a little bit last year and settled with the tie. That’s not happening this year. I had my draft the day before yesterday, so things are looking good."
(On special teams coordinator John Fassel coaching the opposing softball team)
"He understands. He’s preparing to accept defeat. He may have already talked to (former) Coach (Brian) Schottenheimer and (former) Coach (Alan) Lowry down in Tennessee. He understands what’s ahead."
(On if Sasser is not around the team)
Rams QB Nick Foles
(On getting adjusted to his new teammates and the playbook)
"Things have been going great. Really enjoyed getting to know my teammates this last month and it’s a great group of guys here, great coaches. We’ve been really getting after it. It’s a huge learning process and a huge relationship building process, but I’m really enjoying each day doing that."
(On if relationship building is important to him as a quarterback and a team leader)
"Absolutely. The way we’re going to be successful on Sunday, or whatever day we end up playing on, is the relationships. Come the fourth quarter, we have to know each other. We have to care about each other. That’s where you stick together through adversity. Just getting to know the guys in the workouts, in the film room, in the training room, whatever we do is a key part of it. I’ve really enjoyed it. Like I said, we have a great group of guys here that love to work hard and love to have a good time."
(On if it was difficult transitioning from a pass-centered offense in Philadelphia to a ground-oriented attack with the Rams)
"We really want to have a great running game, but with that we need to have a great balance in the passing game. We have a lot of talent to really stretch the ball downfield that we’re going to use, but we also have great running backs and an O-Line that’s going to do an outstanding job. It’s a different offense, but I’m loving the offense. I’m learning the offense and it’s going to be a lot of fun to play in."
(On the rookie offensive linemen)
"They’re going to do a great job. I remember my rookie year and what it’s like during these OTA’s. This is really the foundation. You’re going to have those growing pains. It’s a fast regime. You’ve been going through the Senior Bowl, combine and all that stuff and you go straight into OTA’s. So, they’re doing a great job right now learning, getting reps and they’re going against a pretty darn good defensive front. So, they’re getting better and better each day just like all of us."
(On if there are things in the Rams’ offensive that are conceptually similar to what he did with the Eagles)
"Yeah there’s different concepts, passing concepts, that are similar, that have similar reads, but it’s a different offense. We’re going to have different terminology, different things going on, but that’s the fun of it. I get to learn more football. It’s a great offense to play in."
(On if it feels good going back under center)
"Yeah, it’s been a little while but I enjoy it. You can do a lot of things. Being under center and in the gun, you have to be able to do both in the NFL. There’s different situations that you need both. I enjoy doing it."
(On if he has learned most of the playbook)
"To me, I get asked the question a lot about percentage of offense and the offense is never fully installed. You’re always adding. There’s stuff you’re going to learn each and every week. Even throughout the season you’re going to have new plays that you haven’t repped before. Each day we’re learning more and more. That’s all I can tell you. That’s the truth."
(On WR Daniel Rodriguez)
"He’s awesome. He’s coming out here and you can tell he’s. He’s a guy that’s going to give everything he can like he did for our country and that’s how he plays football. He’s aggressive. If he’s on special teams, I know he’s going to go down and go get the guy. On offense as a receiver, he’s really quick. He’s quick out of his breaks and when he gets the ball it’s going to be fun watching him."
(On if he spent any time watching his film from last year or if he just moved on all together)
"I just move on and watch this tape. This is what I need to learn. My footwork here, my fundamentals here, throwing to my guys here. So I really just focus on what I’m doing here."
(On how good it feels to be on the field)
"It’s exciting. I was injured halfway through last season and just to be under center, it’s really a blessing. You never know what to expect. I didn’t expect to be injured. It’s just fun to be out here with these guys. We have a great quarterback room that’s really helping me along and helping me in the learning process. It’s just fun out here competing, making ourselves better."
(On the challenges of building chemistry within the offense)
"I really don’t think it’s a challenge. It’s just fun. It’s a day-to-day thing. It’s getting to know them. It’s getting to know who they are as people. It started in the weight room, lifting together, working out together, pushing each other on the run. Then when you’re going out here it’s just communicating. It’s all about communication. What they see on the routes, how they’re going to run their routes, what they see in the defenders. When I see my receivers run routes I can tell who’s good at what, so then you get an idea where to throw the ball to different guys. They’ve been awesome. The receivers have been awesome. They’re buying in. They’re working hard and they’re going to make some plays."
(On quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke)
"Chris is doing a great job. He has a lot of knowledge. He played a lot of football and he played at a high level. I think for us quarterbacks, getting to tutor underneath him, just his knowledge – what it was like under center when he played, he knows what we’re seeing when we drop back, so he can relate to it. So, that helps him with teaching us and relating to us. He’s been outstanding."
(On if the instability of the franchise affects his ability to play football)
"No. Absolutely not. Right now, I’m here and that’s all I’m worrying about. I’m worrying about what I can do today to help my teammates be better. To help me be better, so I can help them and that’s all I worry about. That’s all out of our control. Our control right now is to go recover today and get ready for tomorrow."
(On if he was shocked when the trade initially came down and how long it took to get beyond that)
"Yeah, I did not expect a trade and that’s the truth. But that was the realization. Once I started to talk to Coach Fisher, I was excited to get to know him because that’s where my life was taking me. I enjoyed my time in Philadelphia. I was there for three years, I built a lot of relationships. But, I’m very fortunate to be in an organization that has a great football team, great coaches and I’m just thankful to have the opportunity to play football again."