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Transcript: Rams HC Jeff Fisher, DC Gregg Williams, RB Todd Gurley Ready For Week 9

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Here’s what the trio had to say after the final practice of the week as the Rams get ready to take on the Panthers on Sunday.

Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley
Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher

(On how the bye week has helped the team prepare for Carolina)

“Off hand, I know Kansas City’s schedule. (Head Coach) Andy (Reid) has got a great record. I haven’t paid much attention to it, but the things that we stress are, obviously, the things that are timing related, and then penalties. We worked that this week, we talked about it, we’ve addressed it. We’ll start fast, we’ll be emotional, because we’re back home playing an outstanding opponent.”

(On if the team will do anything different defensively, against QB Cam Newton)

“I think everybody structures their plan a little differently against Carolina. First and foremost, you’ve got to defend the run. Then in passing situations, you have to be intelligent with your rush plan, because he can pull it down and run for first downs. Once they get close, they like to use him as a runner. So, we adjust the game plan accordingly.”

(On what RB Todd Gurley has to do in order to improve)

“It’s not a Gurley thing, I think it’s more of a team thing, and then it’s an opponent issue too, because they’re stopping it, they’re loading up. Like I said, we need to get it going. It’s November, and we need to get it going. What bigger challenge we’re going to have getting the run game going against this defense. This defense is really sound, and solid, especially with (LB) Luke (Kuechly) in there. Luke is telling everybody what’s going to happen before the ball is snapped. You got to give him some different looks. We got to finish, hit some creases, get receivers more involved in the blocking, and the concepts, and the schemes, and try to get Todd and (RB) Benny (Cunningham) creases. Run it in passing situations, and throw it in run situations.”

(On if Gurley needs to make any adjustments to his game)

“No, we grade everybody. You’d like to see him make somebody miss, or break a tackle. He should win against defensive backs, especially corners. But, I’m not, by any means, down on Todd.”

(On if he feels QB Case Keenum is eager to improve on his last performance)

“Case is the same every week. He loves to play, he loves to compete, he loves to prepare, practice. I know he’s a little disappointed in two of the interceptions, and the other two we don’t put on him. The week before, he put together a winning effort at Detroit. He’s excited, I know he’s excited, he’s prepared. He gets here before I get here in the morning, and I get in pretty early.”

(On if he feels as if Carolina’s secondary is an area in which the offense can exploit)

“I think we have a good plan going in to be able to mix and match our offense. Their secondary, even though they’re young, they’re improving weekly, and that’s what happens when you get snaps. They’ve gotten a lot of snaps. It’s not one of those games where you say, ‘Oh, we’re going to go after him, or go after him.’ We have to be sound, and the quarterback has to go through the progressions. Their secondary is not the issue. Like I said, just look at the quarterbacks. You have got a young secondary, look at the quarterbacks they’ve faced over the three or four weeks, that’s quite a challenge.”

(On CB Trumaine Johnson’s status)

“Trumaine was limited today in practice, and he’s listed as questionable, as is (DE) William (Hayes) and (DT Michael Brockers) ‘Brock’ and (RG) Jamon (Brown). I think the only we’ve listed as out is (WR) Nelson (Spruce). Everybody else is limited and questionable.”

Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams

(On the challenge of stopping Panthers QB Cam Newton)

“I’ve had some experience being in that division when he came in as a rookie, playing him twice a year. I have tremendous respect for him. When you guys get a chance, if you haven’t seen him before, up front, in person, he looks better than our defensive ends. He’s got a defensive end’s body, he’s 6-6, 260 (lbs.), can run like a defensive back, running back - a great athlete. A lot of those guys like him play in the NBA and this guy’s playing in the National Football League because he’s tough enough to do it. He brings some different things to the game, and I think (Panthers offensive coordinator) Mike Shula does a great job on what they do, offensively, to fit the skillset of his players, including the quarterback. Mike and I were together at Jacksonville, so I’ve known some things and he was there at Carolina when I was at the Saints. There’s still some familiarity of what they’re doing, conceptually, but each year he’s gotten better. As quarterbacks in our league, the guys that can stay healthy and move on through the league, it’s amazing how smart they get, as far as the feel for the game and they turn into coordinators. They’re giving him a lot of freedom to do a lot of checks and a lot of different things at the line of scrimmage. So we’ve got our work cut out for us. We’ve got to play well, we’ve got to play good.”

(On if the attention that has been paid to Newton this week, with regards to late hits, is worth a conversation with the defense going into this game)

“It really isn’t, with our guys, we play a certain way inside the white lines anyway. They really haven’t even focused anything on it. We’re just going to play football the way we are – and our guys play well, we’ve got some good team speed, we’re going to have to play the run really well there. They’re a really good run team and they take their calculated shots. They’ve got one of the tight ends that’s in this league, that’s one of the best pass-receiving tight ends in our league in Greg Olsen. Dynamically, all put together offensively, they pose some big time problems and we’re going to have to be up for it.”

(On Newton speaking with Commissioner Roger Goodell)

“No, we don’t worry about that, we just play ball. We really don’t, we just play football.”

(On how a healthy RB Jonathan Stewart changes what the Panthers do)

“He’s an extremely hard-nosed runner, but people don’t realize how fast he is. We liken him to, in this division, when (Colts RB) Frank Gore was at his best (with the 49ers). We’ve tried to picture that to some of our players that have played against Frank in Frank’s prime, too, that they’re very similar to how they play – great pad level, can run over you in the A and the B-gaps inside the run, but don’t give on him, don’t think that he can’t outrun you outside. He’s a better pass-receiver year after year after year. Again, he’s one of those all-purpose, versatile running backs that we’ve had some experiences with. Now, can we do the same thing with him?”

(On Carolina’s wide receivers having a size advantage on Los Angeles’ cornerbacks)

“We’ve had some experience with that already this year, we had some experience with the Giants. But, really, when you take a look at Tampa Bay’s receivers, Tampa Bay’s receivers were some of the tallest that we could go against in the league, too. Those are just things; we have some tall receivers here in practice, so we get that picture all the time. So that’s no excuse for us, we just have to play.”

(On who sees the most pressure on the defense when playing against a running quarterback)

“It really has to do with what kind of a call we’re in. You would love to always say it’s defensive line, but it’s not, it could be our safeties, our linebackers and our defensive line. Conceptually, our defensive line will be the first ones there on how we go about making sure we balance the rush and have good rush discipline. But it’s all of us and it really, kind of, depends on whether it’s a man call, zone call, pressure call, all that kind of stuff. You can’t predict what you’re going to be in.”

(On if he senses that the players are antsy coming off the bye week)

“It’s fun to see how much energy they have. I’ve been teasing all week long that it brings me back to my day care, managing young kids and all that kind of stuff when I had young kids growing up. And that’s that there’s a lot of energy, they can’t wait to get on the practice field, they’ve been chippy in the locker room – I’m sure you guys have seen some of the battles and the competitions that have been going on all this week. It’s time to play. Now, I would be worried if it wasn’t this way, it would bother me. But I’m not worried about it because they’re ready to play. They’re real chippy, they just need a way to get this release and, hopefully, they’ve saved enough for Sunday to have the release that we want.”

(On the health of the defense)

“What we do is, in all honestly, we don’t worry a whole lot about that. Because if you’re on an active roster, and we’ve done a good job building our roster and we have a very defined ‘next man up’ philosophy. Our D-line is getting healthier, but all those guys can play – our secondary, our young guys have stepped up and done really well, and our linebackers have done very well. We’ve got a lot of youth in that linebacker crew and you’re going to see a few more of those guys get some more playing time now. The bye week was good for all of them. And health-wise, we’re getting close; but again, whoever Coach Fisher says is active, those are the guys we have on gameday and we’re ready to go, no matter who it is.”

RB Todd Gurley

(On how excited the team is to play at home on Sunday after coming off the bye week)

“Pretty excited. It feels like it’s been forever since we played at home. We just have to get rid that losing streak and get a winning game.”

(On how hopeful he is that things will start opening up for him during the second half of the season)

“You just have to stay patient, stick to the plan, keep going out there, and work hard – just hope that things open up and I’m pretty sure they will.”

(On if he thinks he’ll see more action in the pass game on Sunday in hopes of exposing an inexperienced Carolina secondary)

“I think that whatever coach calls out there, he’s going to do a good job of putting us in a good situation. Just going out there and doing my job and trying to make a play after catching the ball. Whatever he calls, I’ll be ready for it.”

(On how he spent his time off during the bye week)

“I went back home to see my family and friends. I had a good time.”

(On whether the bye week came at the right time for him personally)

“It felt like it was the perfect time. I don’t know how many away games we’ve had, probably about five and we went on two away games in a row, went all the way to London, and then came back for the bye week. I felt like it definitely couldn’t have happened at a more perfect time.”

(On what stands out to him when looking at the Panthers defense)

“Obviously looking at the last game, probably one of their best games overall. Great, great, physical front seven. Linebackers are great – they know what you’re going to do before the ball...You just have to play your game and make sure that you’re studying them as good as they’re studying you, and just beat your man, one-on-one.”