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Transcript: Rams HC Jeff Fisher, OC Rob Boras, QB Jared Goff Turn Eyes To Week 12 Saints Matchup

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Here’s what the Rams’ offensive braintrust had to say after practice on Wednesday.

Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff
Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher

(Opening remarks)

“We had a really good day today. The players, I thought, bounced back especially well yesterday afternoon, had a really good practice today. (QB) Jared (Goff) was lights out today, which is good to see. We’ve got a tremendous challenge ahead of us in our opponent, number one offense in the league, they’re doing a lot of good things on defense, despite the numbers – so we’ve got a big challenge. The challenge is going to be placed on the defense and hopefully the offense will be able to score some points.

As our schedule unfolds, it gives the players an opportunity to spend time with the families tomorrow – which is important – and enjoy Thanksgiving and the holiday, and then we’ll head out to New Orleans on Friday.

We healed up. (DE) Will Hayes is not here today, just for personal reasons – it’s nothing related to Will himself, but he’s got some family stuff going on – and we’ll keep you up-to-date on that stuff. Most everybody practiced, it was a really good day. We’re excited about the health of this football team and the opportunity that’s ahead of us.”

(On if Hayes’ status for Sunday is in question)

“No, it’s a family illness that he was excused for. He’s fine. That’s more important than what we’re doing.”

(On any offensive personnel moves he is considering at this point)

“As I mentioned yesterday, it’s competitive, so I’m not going to go there. There may be a change or two.”

(On how much Goff was holding back on Sunday and if there were shots down the field that didn’t materialize)

“There were a couple opportunities that he missed, but that’s the case with every quarterback. Today, he was cutting it loose. He’s got a really good feel for it. Last week was his first week as our starter and against that good defense. But, man, this week, so far after two days of practice, he’s putting it down the field and doing some good things. He’s in complete control of what we’re doing, so it’s good to see, it’s very encouraging.”

(On what is missing for T Greg Robinson to click as a left tackle)

“The left tackle position is especially hard to play because week-in and week-out you face the best pass rusher. And then you’ve got to, not only face the best pass rusher, but you’ve also got to be effective in the run game. It’s a very complicated position to play. He’s got the talent level to do it, it’s just we’ve had some miscues over the last four-to-six weeks with some mistakes and some penalties and things like that. He’s determined. There’s no one else on this football team that will stand on their knees and throw a football 50 yards or do a backflip – he’s highly athletic and highly talented and can be a really good player for us, he just needs reps and needs time.”

(On what he says to TE Lance Kendricks when he has a penalty on the first play of the game)

“Well the first play of the game wasn’t Lance, it was ‘Higs’ (TE Tyler Higbee). The play-by-play said it was Lance, it wasn’t Lance, ‘Higs’ jumped. That’s why you have to keep penalties in perspective. Late in the game, yeah, we had a flinch. The defensive back jumped at him and he moved. You just have got to rep those things where you have to get used to someone jumping at you and starting and simulating the snap and not moving. Again, Lance had the opportunity to make the catch, the sun was in his eyes and he didn’t. But he’s made a lot of plays for us. He’s part of the whole offensive issues that we’re having there. Guys are making one mistake a game that are contributing to our inability to get the ball in the end zone. I’ve got confidence in Lance. When we grade the tape, his pluses certainly outweighed his minuses. And he’s doing the best he can, he’s not making mistakes on purpose. He’s a guy that comes in, studies, works, and prepares, and practices hard. We just have to eliminate some of those mistakes.”

(On if this is the best he’s seen WR Kenny Britt over the years)

“Yeah, it’s probably the best. Physically, he’s feeling better than he’s ever felt. He’s out every day at practice, he’s working, it’s important to him, he understands. I think you have to give a lot of credit to (passing game coordinator/wide receivers) coach (Mike) Groh, because Mike has done a really good job with Kenny. I’m hoping that Kenny finishes really strong in the second half of the season.”

OC Rob Boras

(On what can the team do to start scoring some points)

“That’s obviously something we’re constantly evaluating. We’ve started games relatively fast, scoring on our first or second possession. We just need to continue that same sort of momentum as the game continues. We know we have explosive playmakers with (RB) Todd (Gurley), and (WR) Kenny (Britt), and (WR) Tavon (Austin), and just continue finding ways to get those guys the ball, and then consistency, eliminating mistakes. It seems like about every step we take forward, we sometimes find a way to go two back. So, we’ve got to eliminate penalties, and overall just coach better, and play better.”

(On how confident he is in QB Jared Goff’s ability to make plays down the field)

“I think very confident. The thing with Jared – Jared had about, not every situation, but quite a few situations that came up in that game that don’t happen very often, the weather, he was backed up on our own one-yard line, a two-minute drive finishing with a Hail Mary, a four-minute drive. So, about every situation that’s going to come up over the course of a season, happened to come up in one game for him. I thought his demeanor, and the way he handled everything mentally was fantastic. To answer your question, obviously, we know what his arm talent is, and we understand that we have to be able to push the ball down the field to make some plays. He’s going to manage games for us, because that’s what quarterbacks have to do, regardless of their talent level. But, then he’s going to be able to make some plays down the field, and we’re very confident in this ability to do that, as well as our receivers and tight ends to make plays down the field, as well.”

(On if playing in a controlled environment can open up the passing game for Goff)

“It’s controlled other than the fact that it’s probably the second, if not the loudest stadium in the world. It’s going to be a lot different for him as compared to being at home with our own fans. When we were backed up on our own one yard line, we could hear the snap-count. At the Superdome, we’re not going to be able to hear it. It’s controlled weather-wise, but we’re dealing with a whole other factor with their fans down there, and the noise level. So, it’s going to be a little different.”

(On finding a balance to get the ball to WR Tavon Austin without forcing it to him)

“Yes, I think that would be true with any playmaker. Again, it goes hand-in-hand. He’s got to create separation, we’ve got to find a way to get it to him in space and let him use his ability for it, and at the same time not get it to him when everybody is expecting us to get it to him. We’re always trying to search for different ways to get him the ball, both on the perimeter as a receiver and the backfield in different ways. That’s something we’re constantly looking to do.”

(On if it’s a concern that he only had two targets last Sunday)

“Yes, and again, you look at Miami, and it’s what we expected. Miami came after us, so, there was a lot of other times when he was first in the progression, but they forced us to throw hot during third down. Jared had to get rid of the ball earlier than anticipated, and that’s just naturally how the flow of the game goes. That’s why, again, getting ‘Tav’ touches as a runner is another way to guarantee that we can try to get him the ball, as well.”

(On if the amount of short passes thrown were in effect to the deep ball not being there for Goff)

“It was a little bit of both. We took a shot early in the game. We wanted to make sure we protected him, and which we did, he got the one sack. But, with (DT Ndamukong) Suh, and with their defensive line and stuff, we wanted to make sure we took care of him and protected him, which we did. We had other shots called, but again, with pressures or such, he had to get the ball out of his hand so he wouldn’t take sacks or hits. So, I thought he managed that part of it well. But again, in our run-action game, or even in our drop-back game, that’s something obviously we’re going to be having to take advantage of, is his arm talent, and find a way.”

(On if he feels like the game plan has to open up more for the ball to move down the field)

“We’ve got to focus on what we can control, and right now we can’t control the Saints’ offense. We can try to control the Rams’ offense. We recognize the production Coach (Sean) Payton and (QB) Drew Brees have put up for years. We understand the challenge that’s there in front of us. But, we’ve got to focus on ourselves and righting our wrongs right now. Hopefully that comes hand-in-hand with putting points on the board, and finding a way to win.”

(On how much pressure he feels as the play-caller to get the offense flowing)

“It’s your job. It’s like that anytime it’s your job, no matter what you do in life. If things aren’t going well, whether you’re in sales, and you’re not making sales, or you’re coaching and you’re not scoring touchdowns, it’s frustrating. But again, the theme that we talk about all of the time is we’re in this thing together. It’s the offensive staff, it’s the offensive players, and we’re in this together, and we’re going got find a way. Obviously, it’s disappointing. I’m the man responsible for it, and we’re going to find a way to get it righted and get going in the right direction.”

(On if this is an opportunity for the offense to score some point against this particular defense)

“They’re a very talented defense. Their defensive coordinator Dennis Allen is a Gregg Williams disciples, so there’s a lot of similarities there. We know they’re aggressive. We’ve got to focus on what the Rams can do. We’re going to try to put ourselves in the best positions against the Saints defense, and try to find a way to get point on the board, and try to take advantage of our guys. It’s that same challenge every week, it’s just a different defense right now.”

QB Jared Goff

(On why practice went so well today)

“Just letting it fly a little bit – throwing the ball around. It felt good. I thought everyone did a good job today. I thought we were really crisp. One of the sharpest practices I think we’ve had in a long time and it felt good.”

(On the rarity of it raining in Southern California and what he was thinking when it was raining on Sunday during his NFL debut)

“I played against USC in college and it was raining down here – kind of ironic. I wasn’t really fazed by it. I knew it was going to slow down, according to the weather report and it did. It was fine. It went hard for about 15 or 20 minutes.”

(On whether he feels that playing in a dome this Sunday will open him up to throwing the ball down field)

“Maybe a little bit. There will be no weather conditions obviously, in a dome. But most of the time down here, it’s pretty nice, don’t really have to worry about it anyways.”

(On wanting to make more throws down field and whether he feels he will have more of an opportunity to do so on Sunday given his performance at practice this week)

“Yeah, I sure hope so. We’ve got some good stuff in this week, got some really good playing going. Guys look really good, look fast. I think we have got a good chance to push the ball a little bit.”

(On how he thought his first NFL start went)

“I thought it was okay. There is obviously stuff I want back, stuff you would like to do better, and then there’s stuff you that you notice on film that you did pretty good – there’s a little bit both ways. But it was okay.”

(On why his ability to throw the deep ball wasn’t utilized in last Sunday’s game)

“It was raining early and we didn’t want to throw it deep, because it was raining. We took the lead, it stopped raining. We’re winning, we’re running the ball well, and our defense is playing great – we’re going to run the ball. That’s kind of how it went.”

(On why the offense chose not to go deep and open up the run game towards the end when they were up 10-7)

With three or four minutes left? I think we were trying to run a four minute offense. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the second first down and that would have probably sealed it. But I thought the coaches did a really good job.”

(On being put through everything in his first NFL game – rain etc.)

“Yeah, definitely a lot of stuff in there – with the weather as well as the defense they were running. It was good to see a lot of different stuff. They’re a tough defense. It was good to get some good stuff out of that.”

(On his pocket presence and how he felt he was able to navigate the type of pressure brought on by Miami’s defense)

“I felt good. I don’t know how many sacks there were. But it felt good – I felt like I tried to extend some plays and make some plays down field, I felt like I did an okay job of that.”

(On getting hit by an NFL player versus a college player and whether that experience in the NFL was any different than college after delivering a ball and getting hit)

“It hurts a little more. They’re a little bit bigger and a little bit stronger. But it was good – it was good.”

(On Saints QB Drew Brees and whether he was a player that he admired growing up)

“Definitely. Drew’s definitely a guy I grew up a fan of – a guy I like to take a lot of stuff from. Definitely looking forward to seeing him play.”

(On if he feels pressure to put up points going up against the number one offense in the league in the Saints)

“No. I think we’re just going to go out and do what we do. We need to put up more points than they do whatever that may be. I don’t know how many it’s going to be, but in order to win the game, that’s what you need to do. Hopefully we can go out and play well.”

(On what he notices from the Saints’ defense)

“They’re good. They mix it up. They run a lot of similar stuff to what our defense runs I think. There’s a lot of carryover – we’ve seen a lot of it, as well as they’ve seen a lot of our stuff through going against themselves. But it’s been good. They’re athletic, they’re long and they’re good at all three levels. It’s going to be a good challenge.”

(On whether he will utilize his scrambling ability as an asset and how that was not something he was known for in college)

“I hope not, I hope I don’t have to do that too often. I’ll use my athleticism if I need to.”