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St. Louis Rams: Head Coach Jeff Fisher Monday Press Conference Transcript

A disappointing 24-10 loss to Washington in Week 2 is a hard thing to stomach. Harder still to discuss.

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

(Opening statement)
"We came through the game somewhat healthy, which is good. I don’t think we’ll have anybody even missing practice time from the game. (CB) Janoris (Jenkins) is good. (QB) Nick (Foles) got kicked in the shin right there at the last part of the game and he was a little sore, little tender in the locker room last night, but he appears to be okay today. We’re healing up a little bit. As far as (RB) Todd (Gurley) is concerned, I thought the workout was outstanding yesterday, so we’re going to continue to build his reps this week. He’ll be week-to-week and might be a game time decision. That’s how that’ll go.

"As far as the game goes, we have a lot of room for improvement and we must improve. There was some really good things on the tape. I think special teams gave us a winning effort, although we didn’t have any really big plays. It was just field position and tackling and things like that, but they were very efficient. Third down is a problem. We need to improve that on both sides of the ball. The run game offensively needs to get better. We had three three-and-outs and four four-and-outs in the game and that doesn’t give your defense a chance to even rest, let alone give your offense a chance to make plays. Defensively, just too many explosive plays. We’ve got to fix our defense against the run. It’s a combination of things. It was a combination of gap integrity by the players. It was a combination of the staff putting them in some bad positions. Overall, we’re all going to take responsibility for that -the defensive staff, the defensive players - and we’ve got to get that fixed; 153 yards-per-game rushing right now is not what we’re about. Defensively, the completion percentage is way too high. Not to look ahead, but we’ve got (Pittsburgh QB Ben) Roethlisberger and (Arizona QB) Carson Palmer and (Green Bay QB) Aaron Rodgers ahead of us and we’re allowing way too many completions against our defense. We know where we’ve got to work and we’ll get that done.

"I don’t want to discount some of the good things that took place in the game. There were some really good efforts. I think (LB) Alec (Ogletree) had 18 tackles. He was just all over the field. He’s playing really good ball right now. Penalties – nine - probably seven that I’m okay with, two that weren’t issues that were probably non-calls. That’s too many, but the penalties weren’t, with exception of the defensive offsides, (DL) Ethan’s (Westbrooks) defensive offsides and third-and-14 that created the third-and-9. For the most part, we were able to overcome some things."

(On if the run defense was just a matter of shedding blocks)
"It’s getting off blocks. They did a really nice job. They took advantage of some angles and combination of a man scheme and a zone scheme cutting the back side off and we had people on the back side of blocks. It didn’t have to do with much as far as tackling was concerned, it was more just… we had a couple of times where they blocked for the running backs in the secondary. We can’t let that happen."

(On if the run defense bothers him since that’s what his teams are known for)
"That’s what we’re about. On defense, you stop the run and you get off the field on third down. We’re not doing either one of them right now. And on offense you need to run it. We had some runs. We had some good runs. When you have tackles for losses or you have those runs for a yard, two yards, that something goes wrong and we had a number of instances where had the back pressed the hole, then we might have picked up some additional yards or had we read it right and cut back… everybody was taking their turn on the runs that were not effective for us. In addition to that, we didn’t get the opportunities either. We didn’t have 37 rush attempts yesterday for 60 yards. That’s by-in-large the result of us not being able to convert third downs."

(On if the team’s third down success is related to production on first and second downs)
"The third and longs are always difficult to convert, the percentages say. We’re just not making our plays. We had two first downs in the first two drives and then we had three-and-outs. You’ve got to get chunks on the early downs and stay out of third down or when you get in it, you need to convert."

(On if the struggles in the run game make it more tempting to bring back RB Todd Gurley faster)
"No. Todd’s going to play when he’s ready to play. It’s a non-factor. I’ve been saying this since he got here, when he’s ready, he’s going to play regardless of what’s happening around him. But, he’s getting closer."

(On if there is something he has to see from Gurley of if it’s more what the doctors say)
"The doctors are fine. Everybody’s fine. It’s just he needs the experience, he needs the reps so he can carry the confidence into the game."

(On if he was prepared for Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones going into the game)
"Well saw Matt in the week before, and he’s a big strong back with great vision and acceleration. So there was some concern. We were concerned about their…not just (RB) Alfred (Morris) but Matt and just their run scheme. They’re going to be really good up front running the ball."

(On if RB Tre Mason came out of the game okay)
"He was fine, yeah."

(On if Mason was at full acceleration or a little reserved because of his hamstring injury)
"It takes…he was 90 percent or something like that, so he was good enough to play and played. He doesn’t have the acceleration that he did before he got hurt. But that doesn’t mean to say it’s not going to be there this week."

(On if he’s upset about the facemask penalty on TE Jared Cook)
"No, I was okay with it. It wasn’t intentional. It’s just part of the game, facemasks happen sometimes. An attempt to block…it was an attempt to push him by. We had a defensive offside where the offensive lineman moved. We were stuck, we reacted. Then we had that strange series of penalties on the punts where we had to punt a couple of times. We were called for unsportsmanlike conduct, running out of bounds. Our gunner, (RB) Isaiah (Pead)…they said Isaiah ran out of bounds without being touched. That’s a foul. It’s a 15-yard penalty, but they had a block in the back so they offset. So we re-kicked again. But it appears on tape that he had made contact with the defender before he went out of bounds. That’s one of those things…unfortunately the guy covering that, covering your gunner and your two hold-up guys, is 40 yards down the field. He’s way down the field, so it’s a hard call to make. But he explained to me that’s what he thought he saw. It didn’t have an impact on us because we re-kicked."

(On why he started CB Marcus Roberson instead of CB Trumaine Johnson)
"Trumaine violated team rules, so I started Marcus."

(On if he will elaborate on what team rules Johnson violated)
"Not going to go into it. No, it’s between me and Trumaine."

(On WR Tavon Austin’s punt return coverage)
"We were surprised that they attempted to punt to him. They didn’t punt the high end-over-end kick, which they should have done last year with the success that he had. But we were getting some pressure and the ball was just…the punter was just not hitting the ball well. It worked out effective for them, but no I was not…I was okay with that because we got good bounces. We got really good bounces on the balls that he did field. They bounced sideways as opposed to down the field, but from a fair catch standpoint, he had the idea if you could go up and fair catch that ball. But we were anticipating much deeper kicks and I get him lined up, so I was kind of bringing him up a little bit closer and closer."

(On if kickers are that skilled to where they can place the ball in certain spots on the field on purpose)
"If he’s doing that on purpose, he’s really, really good. Okay? I don’t know. We got pressure. We almost got our hand on a couple of them. It was an unusual ball that was coming off his foot."

(On how he feels about a punt returner fielding the ball on a bounce or does he leave it up to the returner)
"That’s all his decision, yeah. I’m not going to second guess a returner’s decision making. We put enough time and effort into helping him make those decisions, then you have to support his decisions. Now on the one that hit that was illegally touched and then (WR) Tavon (Austin) went for it and actually tried to get it before it went in the end zone, you can’t lose from that. Once the ball’s touched by the covering team, it’s called ‘illegal touch.’ If the ball’s alive, the return team can scoop the ball and the worst thing that can happen is that if you turn the football over, fumble it, it comes back to the spot of illegal touch. And Tavon’s aware of that, so it wasn’t, ‘oh, get away!’ Well it had already been touched, so he was going to go down and try to make a play."

(On if he’s aggravated with the lack of consistency his team is showing week-to-week)
"Well it’s just two weeks. We made an effort to come back and we closed it; we closed it to 17-10. We just, we couldn’t finish it. To me, it goes back to what I said at the beginning is there’s a lot of room for improvement and we must improve. We improve, then you’ll see more consistency out of us."

(On G Rodger Saffold’s performance)
"I thought, we gave up one sack and (QB) Nick (Foles) dropped the ball. I thought from a pass protection standpoint we were okay. We can still do better. I think the group as a whole needs to improve in the run-game. But I thought Rodger was fine. He’s healthy and fine."