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Transcript: Rams Begin Installing Gameplan For Bills

Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher, Offensive Coordinator Rob Boras and QB Case Keenum spoke to the media after practice today.

Los Angeles Rams HC Jeff Fisher
Los Angeles Rams HC Jeff Fisher
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher

(Opening Remarks)

“Had a good day. Got an especially talented opponent this weekend. All three phases, veteran guys on their special teams unit, good returner in WR Brandon Tate, so we got a challenge there. Really impressed with what they’re doing offensively. Like I said yesterday, we got a lot of work to do this week to become familiar with them. Good running game, running quarterback, well-coached offensive line, receivers make plays, and then the defense is always a handful. It’s going to be a good week for us.”

(On the challenges faced when there isn’t much game tape on players like DT Marcell Dareus)

“We’re just going to put an ‘x’ there and if he’s there we’re going to block him. That’s what you have to do and if you have to adjust, then you adjust. He’s a talented player – he’s a load. He didn’t practice, so we’ll see how it goes. He’s got the experience. They can create match-ups inside. Again, we’ll just have to adjust.”

(On WR Kenny Britt’s performance so far this season)

“He’s been productive. Made some big plays for us. He has overcome some drops, like the whole group has, but he’s been productive. He pushed through – he’s fighting through some nagging little injury things. But he shows up. He shows up and he’s emotional and he plays hard.”

(On what WR Pharoh Cooper and WR Nelson Spruce could bring to the offense)

“They’re going to give us some special teams help, immediately, I think. Then, situationaly we’ll be able to use them offensively. Just keep in mind, we go from 53 to 46 – the roster changes every week. We went with seven offensive linemen last week because we needed to get some help on special teams and in the secondary, and it tied in for that matter. It changes every week. But they both looked really good today.”

(On the challenges that the Bills defense brings after shutting out New England last week)

“It’s ever changing. It’s Rex (Ryan), and now it’s Rex and Rob (Ryan), but you’re going to see something different just about week. You don’t know what they’re going to do, or who’s where – you have to be sound, and make sure you’re running the football. It actually almost forces you to simplify things a little bit. You got to run the football and you got to make sure you’re protecting the passer. But they do a really good job, week-to-week. I thought they did an extraordinary job against New England, even though New England was depleted. They played good defense against Carolina as well, the week before. “

(On evaluating the running game with RB Todd Gurley and potentially changing things up schematically)

“We’re ever-changing. You dress things up, but you you’ve got to stay with your bread and butter. The big thing for us, it’s all tied together – it’s defense getting off the field on third down and getting another possession or offense converting a third down or moving the ball. Then of course, as of late, actually since the season’s started, we got everybody jammed in there and they don’t want to let him get going. So, we have to make our plays down the field. But it has nothing to do with Todd, whatsoever. It’s just a matter of getting him some opportunities.”

(On any concerns about the Coliseum grounds since USC is playing the day before)

“No. The field was in great shape – they switched it out after our second preseason game. It was completely re-done and in great shape for Seattle. I think it’s suitable for wear and tear.”

(On the connection between QB Case Keenum and WR Brian Quick this season)

“They’ve been doing it together here on the practice field for a long time and it came together in the game. It was a great throw. The long touchdown pass and run was great, and then the back shoulder fade. That’s something that everybody works on. What that does, is that creates opportunities inside of the offense, once we get down inside the red zone. We just got to get down there.”

Rams Offensive Coordinator Rob Boras

(On if there is anything schematically that the team can do to get RB Todd Gurley going)

“It’s an ongoing process, we’re taking a look at everything. Schematically, play calls, our technique at the point of attack, our decisions – we’re taking a look at everything right now. Obviously, we’re determined to get it right and get better.”

(On if there are advantages to team’s loading up the box on Gurley)

“I think we’re seeing happen right now in our run-actions and obviously guys are loaded up and stacking the box to stop the run and we’ve been able to try to take advantage of that in other areas. Part of being balanced is being able to take advantage of what the defense is giving you. And that’s part of being a balanced offense. Right now, in the run-action game, we’re able to make those plays and then, hopefully, that will loosen up and the runs will start coming as well.”

(On how Gurley has developed as a receiver)

“Since he’s been here, we’ve always said that Todd has unbelievable ball skills. A couple of catches he made – that one that he ran down the sideline, the one-handed catch and then that was a heck of a catch he made on third-and-eight in the red zone, and obviously the run after catch. He’s like any young player, he’s getting better because it’s not something he was asked to do a whole lot at Georgia, but he has natural athletic ability and natural skills. Any time we can get him in space, he can make things happen, so it’s obviously something we want to continue to build on.”

(On if that’s a natural progression of him as a player)

“I think it’s a natural progression, his response as a player. It works hand-in-hand with what’s happening in the run game, to try to take advantage of his skills in other ways. But I just think it’s a natural progression of being a second-year player. And the thing I’ve commented on a couple times, Todd’s determined, like all of our players, to get better in every area. We always say, ‘Find out what your weaknesses are, don’t ignore them, improve on them.’ And his commitment to protections and in the pass game – he, along with everybody else – it’s been impressive to see.”

(On how he thinks QB Case Keenum has played through the first quarter of the season and what he’s looking for him to do in the next phase)

“I think Case has played really well. We all remember that first game – it seems like forever ago, thankfully. He’s gotten better, he’s taking advantage of what the defense has given us. I talk about it all the time – he’s very cerebral, he’s getting us in the right place and he’s making plays. He’s making plays with his arm, he made some plays with his feet the other day, as well. He’s extending plays for us. I’ve talked about it many times – he’s a natural leader and that’s one of the things that, that position is so critical to the whole offense’s success. I just think it’s going to be continued growing as a player and making some of the routine plays routine, and keep challenging himself and taking the shots down the field when they’re available.”

(On where he thinks the chemistry is between Keenum and WR Tavon Austin and what it will take to maximize Austin)

“I think the chemistry is good right now. Obviously, there’s opportunities like it was the week before where Tavon got more touches and then this week, (WR) Brian Quick stepped up and made some plays. That wideout position in general, they’re working their tails off out here. I’m really pleased with where they were as a unit last week. Again, we want to build off of that – not assume we’re going to get that same sort of result. Those guys are hungry. Tavon, as we’ve always said, will make plays in different areas – and that return that he made at the end of the game put us in position to go score that touchdown. Anytime Tavon can touch the ball, whether it’s a returner, whether we hand him the ball, whether he catches it, anytime he has it, there’s explosive-play ability for us.”

(On if TE Lance Kendricks is taking what the defense is giving him)

“He does. And I think that’s just the tight end position in general. A lot of times, it might be in the run-action game, where he might be able to slip out and make a play. I just think Lance is one of those guys that is going to continue to get better for us, and hopefully he’ll continue to make some plays down the field. We ran that one naked and Case was able to find – Lance was about third in the progression for that 23-yard gain. It’s a nice, natural check-down for a quarterback when you start building your trust with that tight end position.”

(On how he feels WR Kenny Britt has done)

“I think Kenny’s done really well. I commented last week – I think both mentally and physically, it’s as good as I’ve seen Kenny. His preparation out here, his focus, and it’s carried over. He’s playing extremely hard, he’s made plays for us in every game – and critical plays on third down, which has been our challenge as an offense, to try to stay on the field. I think we’re all very pleased with where Kenny is and the arrow is pointing in the right direction.”

(On if Austin and Britt playing well is the key to getting Gurley more yardage and opening the offense)

“Exactly. As an offense, it’s got to work hand-in-hand. We’re going to continue to run the ball and we’re going to get better running the ball. When they’re loading the box, we’re going to try to take advantage of it and get the ball out in the perimeter in the pass game and let those guys make some plays.”

(On what WRs Pharoh Cooper and Nelson Spruce can bring when they’re available)

“Both those guys have shown that they’re capable of moving the sticks. They can make plays, they both have great hand-eye coordination, they’re natural catchers. And they’ve shown, in the Dallas game for Nelson and really throughout the preseason, including that Kansas City game for ‘Coop,’ is they’re going to make plays. And they can make plays catching it and the run after the catch. Both of them are getting more confident right now with where they are and I think we’re all excited to see what’s going to happen when they get on the field.”

(On the challenges that Buffalo’s defense presents)

“They’re very multiple, they have talented players and then their scheme – they’re really good up front. I talked last week about the third downs, getting ready for our opponent last week – these guys are even more multiple on third down. It just creates the confusion and they’re going to show you a look as if they’re coming and then drop off into coverage and show you a coverage look and end up coming and rushing. It makes, not only the quarterback’s job hard, but the line’s job hard as well, trying to recognize who the rushers are going to be and protect the quarterback.”

(On if it jumped out to him that Buffalo shut out New England on the road last week)

“Yes, obviously, anytime you see a shutout in the league, wherever it happens. That’s a real talented defense. Again, we want to win this week, it’s the challenge in front of us right now and that’s all we can deal with. But yeah, they’re a very talented group.”

Rams QB Case Keenum

(On if the Bills’ deceptive defense puts pressure on him)

“Any defense that lines up and plays as many guys as they do, lines up in different spots, I think it’s really important, the quarterback-center communication, identifying fronts, identifying coverages. We’ve got our work cut out for us. It’s a good defense.”

(On if the Bills surprise him on defense, even while studying them on film)

“Yeah, I don’t know if ‘whoa’ is the word I use when I’m watching film. But yeah, there’s some moments where you’re looking at it and you’re like, ‘What’s going on here?’ It takes a few times to process it, to digest it. There’s going to be some looks on Sunday that we’ve never seen before, that point, I might say ‘whoa’. But you trust your instincts, you react to the play. We trust our linemen up front to do their job; protect, block, and backs the same thing. We’ve got to trust our guys outside.”

(On the chemistry with the wide receivers, specifically Tavon Austin, and if there have been missed opportunities with him)

“Definitely, and really there’s a couple from last week that were all on me. Watching the film, and even on the field, I knew that there’s some plays that he might still be running if I hit him in stride. He’s a really good player, and an explosive player, as you saw on the punt return, and you’ve seen week in and week out. Anytime we’ve got him open in open field, I need to get him the ball.”

(On how his chemistry with Austin has progressed since training camp)

“I think it’s getting better. Obviously game reps, game experience, that builds confidence with guys. They know when I’m looking, where I’m looking, and when to expect the ball. They’re all expecting the ball on every play, which is really cool.”

(On how he evaluates the performance of the offense four games into the season)

“We’ve done some good things. It’s like coach said the other day, there’s some good things, there’s some bad things, there’s some things we need to correct. At this point in the season, being able to find ways to win is obviously really, really important, and that’s the ultimate stat, the ultimate goal. What’s exciting is we’ve found ways to win, and we’ve still got room to grow offensively in a lot of areas, myself included. Constantly trying to work, get better, really focusing, maintaining fundamentals, and working on small things. I think the big things will take care of themselves.”

(On if he senses that he has surprised people with his performance this season)

“I don’t know, what do you think? Have I surprised you? So, you had no preconceived notions? So, you didn’t watch any film on us before? No, it really doesn’t matter. It’s like I’ve said to you guys many, many times, after the first week, or when things are not going well, to when things are going well, the opinions that matter are in the building in here, in the locker room in there, and the coaching staff. As far as a sense, or anything like that, that’s not something that I try to focus on too much.”

(On his chemistry with WR Brian Quick)

“I remember Brian when I first came to the Rams. Seeing Brian Quick and not really knowing about him until I saw him in person, and just to see the explosiveness that guy can make, and the big plays that guy can make. Then when he had got injured, obviously coming back, so I’ve seen kind of Brian in all ends of the spectrum. To see him getting back to a dominant level of football play has been really, really cool. I’m really excited to be the quarterback that’s throwing him the football.”

(On how important his chemistry with Quick means to the team)

“I think it’s important that I connect like that with everybody, all receivers. You ask about Tavon, you ask about Brian, (WR) Kenny (Britt), obviously (WR Pharoh Cooper) ‘Coop’ if he’s going to be back, whoever is going to be out there. We obviously did a great job last week of rolling a bunch of receivers in there, with (WR) Bradley (Marquez) and (WR Michael Thomas) ‘Mike’ getting in there too. I think it’s important that all those guys are weapons.”

(On if the communication with WR Kenny Britt in the offseason has carried over to the regular season)

“Yeah, I think so. It’s a deal where you, obviously feel good about whoever lines up out there. That’s the way I want to be able to feel that I have two guys and it’s the same route on both sides, and I look both sides, I’m torn inside. I have the same feelings towards both of them. I think it’s like that. I feel great about anybody that’s lined up out there right now.”

(On how much he’s adjusting his Saturday schedule to keep up with the University of Houston’s football team this season)

“I definitely try to catch the games. Coach (Tom) Herman, I talked to him the other day. Those boys got it going. It’s exciting to see. It’s exciting to see that announcers are talking about them getting into the playoff. I think if they do what they intend to do and go undefeated, I think it would be silly to leave them out. I think it would be wrong. I think that they’re a really good football team and they’ve played well.

(On if he’s been watching the games)

“When I can, I have. I‘ve watched a few games. Not as many as I’d like. My brother-in-law goes to O.U., so he still has a U of H sticker on the back of his car in a little bet that we had about that game.”