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Transcript: Rams HC Jeff Fisher, OC Rob Boras, QB Case Keenum Talk Post-Bye Week Plans

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The Rams’ trio atop the offense talked to the media after the second practice of the week.

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher
Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher
Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher

(On what the offense has worked on this week and if he’s seen progress)

“I think everybody, once you take advantage of the time off, you can step back and look and see where you need to improve. Without getting into too much specifics, there are some things that we think can help us, things that may have gotten away from us a little bit. Now, we’ve played some really good defenses, we put some points up against Detroit and thought we had things going, then we didn’t get the points that we needed against the Giants. I feel good about where we are and where the offense is – namely, as I mentioned to you guys yesterday, just the health. We’ve got a pretty good team and we’re healthy and there’s teams out there that are not. We have to take advantage of our health right now, if we’re going get on a run.”

(On CB Trumaine Johnson’s status)

“He was limited today at practice, but only because we held him back. He wanted more – that’ll give you some idea – so that’s encouraging.”

(On how much of a difference there is when Johnson is available and can play)

“His experience and size factor and the match-up factor. They’ve got big receivers and they can run, and he’s tall and he can play the ball. I was not, by any means, disappointed in the corner play in London against the Giants. I thought both (CBs) E.J. (Gaines) and Troy (Hill) played winning football in that game.”

(On if Johnson has healed quicker than he initially expected)

“I think he’s following the timeline that was given to us, which is encouraging. Sometimes that type of injury can set you back a little bit longer, but he’s worked really hard.”

(On if he explains why QB Jared Goff gets extra snaps sometimes to the other quarterbacks)

“No, they understand. They understand that your (No.) 2 needs reps, so our (No.) 2’s getting reps. (QB) Sean (Mannion), unfortunately is not getting offensive reps, but he’s getting great scout team reps. Sean can get the mental reps, he’s been in the system, he understands. And that’s where Jared’s closing the gap, too, as well, is just getting the mental reps when he doesn’t have that physical snap.”

(On the problems the Panthers present)

“From their offensive perspective, their offense is built, largely, around their run game, and they’re very good at it. And it’s a diverse run game, it’s guard-pulls and one-direction zone, another direction reverses, quarterback draws, quarterback powers, especially in the plus-territory. They’re diverse in their run game, which creates problems for your defense. Then they’ve got their play-action game, if your eyes aren’t right, then you can have some problems down the field. Offensively, they’ve got weapons, (TE) Greg Olsen is playing as good as any tight end in the league is right now. When it comes down to it, it’s no surprise, when you have to make a play (QB) Cam’s (Newton) going to Greg and he’s hard to stop. Offensively, they’re very well-coached and very diverse, starting with the run game. Their defense, as (offensive coordinator) Rob (Boras) told you and as (QB) Case (Keenum) probably alluded to, that front-seven is special. And their young secondary has gained experience on a weekly basis. They’re a well-coached team and you could see how they ran through their schedule last year. That’s a very talented team. We got a good gameplan, as I’m sure they’re saying they do and we’ll see what happens.”

(On how important the offensive line is to giving Keenum time and not feeling the pressure)

“It’s important. Protection involves more than just offensive linemen, it also involves running backs and tight ends. But it’s important. You see what happens when you don’t get the time, like what happened Sundayagainst the Cardinals – eight sacks and a lot of hits – it’s hard to win football games that way. Case knows he’s going to be pressured at some point because they’re so talented. He can extend plays like some of the other players that we watched in the past in the games that were successful against them. The quarterback just got off schedule and made plays, and that’s what you have to do.”

(On his thoughts on Panthers QB Cam Newton being able to talk to Commissioner Roger Goodell about his concerns)

“I think it speaks volumes with respect to the commissioner, because the commissioner actually cares, he cares for the players, he loves the players, because that’s the essence of the game. So it doesn’t surprise me that Roger would have gotten in touch with him. But there’s no rule changes, nothing’s going to change – I’m sure they felt good when they hung up – and we go on.”

(On if he feels like the team will get any extra scrutiny after all the attention that has been placed on Newton)

“It would only create more problems for the league if we got, as you say, extra scrutiny. There’s a rule book, the game’s officiated one way. Like I said yesterday, some are missed and some aren’t, that’s just the way it is. We all are in favor of protecting quarterbacks. We know what legal hits are, we know what illegal hits are and we just go from there and hope that the officiating department gets them right, that’s where you are.”

(On if he thinks people listen to Newton because he’s an MVP quarterback)

“That’s a hard question to answer. I know he was very, very frustrated after a win – and this was a win and he was frustrated. As I said yesterday, you can understand the frustration with the low hit, that’s a dangerous play – ask (Patriots QB) Tom Brady and (Cardinals QB) Carson Palmer – it’s a dangerous, dangerous play. We understand the importance of protecting the quarterback.”

(On if it’s disturbing that Newton says he isn’t having fun playing football anymore)

“It’s hard to comment on someone’s emotional status after a game, everybody’s emotional after a game. I find it highly unlikely that Cam is not having fun – just watch him warm up, watch him when he scores a touchdown – it looks like he’s having a blast. He’s a passionate player, that’s why he’s successful, he was successful in college at Auburn. You’re talking about a returning MVP. Off the field, there’s something to what he said, I understand that it’s not fun when you think you’re hit and you shouldn’t be hit or it should be penalized and it’s not, I understand that. That transcends our game, we’ve got DBs that disagree with defensive pass interference calls and the same thing with receivers and holding calls, it’s a human nature of our game, from an officiating standpoint. I can assure you this – the league’s doing everything they possibly can to improve officiating.”

Rams OC Rob Boras

(On what he saw at practice from some of the players today)

“I thought it was a good. Having the shoulder pads on after having a couple of weeks off, it was lively. You felt the energy today. I thought it was a good practice. Just to go through the team run with the pads on and everything was good. Again, to repeat myself, to get back on the field with pads felt like football.”

(On if he felt as if the team needed to re-energize by taking some time off)

“I think this time of year, everybody kind of does. It was good for everybody, whether it was a couple of days, or whatever it was away. But, you come back refocused, and new energy, and ready to take on the next nine weeks, and hopefully more.”

(On if throwing 53 pass attempts is a result of coaching on the sideline, or calls being made at the line of scrimmage)

“I was as surprised as anybody when I saw the stat sheet at the end. We had 19 third downs, which the week before when we played Detroit, we only had nine third downs. I think on 19 of those third downs, 18 of them we passed the ball, and then we had some two-minute situations at the end of the first half, as well at the end of the game. So, I think the numbers, obviously they got up to 53. That’s not the way it was designed to play. Obviously, we want to run the ball, and we want to control it with our play-action, and stuff. It was just one of those games with what happened. There’s always checks, to answer your question, that the quarterback has based on the defensive look. I don’t have the exact number off the top of my head, but I’m sure there were some. It was just kind of the way that the flow of the game went.”

(On if he feels the team needs to be more consistent with RB Todd Gurley in terms of the amount of carries he gets per game)

“I used the word, probably three week ago, consistent. I think consistency for everybody on offense, whether it’s the run game, or attacking through the air, it’s just finding that consistency to let the offense play in rhythm. It seems like forever ago, but that Detroit game, we found some rhythm offensively, whether it was through the air, or handing the ball in the run game early. So, they play hand-in-hand. It’s just finding consistency from drive-to-drive, and then from game-to-game, and that’s really what we’re looking for moving forward.”

(On how he evaluates QB Case Keenum’s performance through the first seven games of the season)

“Again, I go back to the consistency part. He’s played really well. You saw that Detroit game, we all did, and he played lights out. Probably as good a game as I’ve seen him play. Very similar to how he played against Tampa the year before. Obviously, to have the four interceptions – and I know it always gets back on the quarterback, but that’s part of the position and part of the ownership you take when you play that position. He’s played well, and played really well at times. Then there’s plays, just like every position, that you want to have back. Really pleased with his leadership and what he’s providing for us. But, again, I can say it for Case as I can say it for a lot of positions across the board – it’s just finding that consistency, and eliminating the bad plays. That’s magnified at the quarterback position, but if we can eliminate the bad plays, it’s going to give ourselves a chance to continue to be successful.”

(On how he evaluates the progress of LT Greg Robinson, as compared to last season)

“There were some sets in the pass protection world in that New York game where that would be a clinic tape. You would go out and feel really good speaking at the clinic about how to do it. Then, maybe a series later, all of a sudden, you’d put a clinic tape together on how not to do some things. You see flashes of it all the time. Again, I keep going back to saying that about all the positions, but you could ask me about anybody on the offense, and that’s probably what we’re going to say, is there’s flashes of really good things, and then there’s plays that you’re going to want to have back. Just like everybody on the offense, we need to continue to get better; coaches, players, everything. Greg being right along there with Case, and Todd, name a position, or a guy, or a coach, and hopefully they would say the same thing.”

(On if the bye week is an opportunity to do new things as an offensive coordinator)

“I think, hand-in-hand, it’s kind of two-fold. You access what you’ve done. It gives you an opportunity to really evaluate and self-scout yourself, what you think you’re good at, and then sometimes you find out that you’re not good at what you think you’re good at. So, It helps you kind of focus it. It also allows you to tinker with some things that maybe you wanted to have done, but maybe didn’t have a chance during the normal game week; whether its personnel groups, or just some different concepts that you try to establish to get going, because you get more reps during those couple of practices. To answer your question, it kind of goes hand-in-hand – both, if you can.”

(On if he sees opportunity to integrate WR Pharoh Cooper into the lineup)

“Yeah, obviously, having him back out, which has been a while now, four or five weeks. We know he’s dynamic. He’d be a great addition to get out there on Sunday, with what he’s able to do with the ball in his hands, in the slot for us. Obviously, his returning ability for (Special Teams Coordinator) Coach (John) Fassel in the special teams game. Early in practice today, he made a couple of really nice plays down the field against our defense, as well. We see all of that stuff, and we’re excited about getting Pharoh out there and seeing what ‘Coop’ can do.”

(On what happened during the bye week that allowed QB Jared Goff to progress and develop)

“I thought it came to fruition on the practice field. That practice Wednesday, I thought it was great. To me, and you guys that are watching practice, how fast he’s getting in and out of the huddle. You could just see the confidence with what was going on. The wheel weren’t turning when he got up to the line of scrimmage, and he was real accurate, and decisive with what he was doing. I’ve kept talking about how well he’s been doing in the classroom; it was time to see it out here with all those reps that he got. I think we were all really pleased to see what was able to do in those couple of practices.”

(On if he senses if he could handle a game situation if his number was called)

“I think Jared would’ve said that a year ago. That’s the great thing about Jared, how confident he is. I think, yeah, he is ready, and I know he believes that he’s ready, and I believe the coaches and his teammates know he’s able, if he’s called upon, to go out there and do it. That’s the thing since we’ve all met Jared, is the confidence that he has. He’s a great teammate, he’s helping Case. But if his number gets called, we know he’s capable and ready to go out there and play.”

QB Case Keenum

(On how he feels coming off the bye week and coming back re-energized)

“I feel good. We had a good recharge week. I think the guys getting away a little bit, kind of recharge the batteries. Getting everybody’s bodies back, feet underneath them. I think it’s good. We’re excited, ready to go.”

(On what he saw after watching the London game against the Giants – what he saw that was good and what he would like to have back)

“Like I said, I’ve reviewed that and put it behind me. But just to talk about it real quick, there are some plays down the field that I can check it down, and live to play another day. Just being smart about when to choose to take shots and being smart with those shots. We can’t put ourselves in that situation and when the defense is playing that well, I can’t turn the ball over – that’s too many turnovers to win a ball game.”

(On how he’s handling the outside noise regarding his job as starting quarterback being in jeopardy)

“It hasn’t changed, nothing’s changed. I’m playing. I’m playing this week, taking it a week at a time and that’s what I’ve been doing. For me, I don’t pay attention to anything outside this building. No offense to you guys and what you guys do, but I don’t pay attention to a lot of that. What matters to me is the opinions to the 53 guys in that locker room and the coaches in their rooms. I’m going to go out and try to do the best I can – prepare to put this team in the best situation to win ball games. That’s what my goal is this week. I’m not worried about anything else, forward or backwards.”

(On how he keeps the negative noise out and whether it has ever bothered him throughout his career)

“I don’t’ have a choice but to keep it out. You don’t get many chances in this league to do what I get to do, and I am giving everything I have and having no regrets.”

(On Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton’s conversation with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell regarding illegal hits and whether he thinks he would be able to have that same conversation with Goodell, if he wanted to)

“I wouldn’t say either way. I know there’s been a lot of talk about that, but that’s something that’s outside of my realm. I just try to get the ball out before they get there. Everything else that happens, that’s not my job. I know everybody out on that field, including the officials, are trying to do the best that they can. I have to trust them, just like I trust my line to do their job and in the end I’ll let Coach Fisher and those guys to protect us.”

(On whether the chatter about QB Jared Goff potentially replacing him is bothersome)

“When I don’t listen to you guys, I don’t hear you (laughs). It doesn’t. I’m sorry to disappoint you. But I’m out here doing my job. If I do listen to that stuff, then I’m not able to do my job the way I need to do my job. We have a heck of an opponent coming in this weekend, that’s the Carolina Panthers. If you guys want to ask about that, that would be good.”

(On the problems that the Carolina Panthers will bring defensively)

“They’re a great front. Probably the best linebackering crew that I’ve ever come across, that I’ve ever played against. We have our work cut out for us. (LB) Luke’s (Kuechly) a great player. He gets those guys lined up, and they’re very rarely not lined up right. We have to I.D. the fronts, get ready and attack them on the back end.”

(On the ways the team has improved offensively during the bye week)

“Like I said, getting our bodies right, getting our bodies back to normal – resetting there. Just getting back to fundamentals, getting back to doing little things – throwing and catching. Getting our feet really set in the pocket. (QB Coach Chris) Weinke’s done a great job of working us really well, mechanically-wise. Making sure that moving forward throughout the rest of the season that we’re getting back to center and staying grounded in that.” ”

(On how well the timing between himself and the receivers)

“It’s all timing. Quarterbacks a lot about rhythm and timing. ”

(On what it meant to have the University of Houston retire his number during the bye week)

“It meant a lot. It’s hard while I’m in the middle of a season, while I’m working extremely hard. I always try to stay humble, but something like that I’ll be able to look back, for the rest of my life and see that No. 7 is retired at Houston. It was really good to be back to see the ‘Cougs’. They’re playing well. They battled through and won a tough one on Saturday. Look forward to seeing them finish this season strong.”