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Transcript: LA Rams Interim Head Coach John Fassel Reacts To Seahawks Loss

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Here’s what the Rams’ caretaker had to say after the 3-24 loss in Seattle in Week 15.

Los Angeles Rams Interim Head Coach John Fassel
Los Angeles Rams Interim Head Coach John Fassel
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams Interim Head Coach John Fassel

(Opening Remarks)

“Gosh last night, this morning, and right now has come pretty fast again. Leading up to the game yesterday, it was a tough couple of days – we’ve got some really tough guys and we came out of the game with a couple bumps and bruises. The tough guys are going to have to continue to be tough for a couple of weeks. Obviously, there was probably – same old story – some missed opportunities, whether it’s throwing the ball, catching the ball, faking the punt, getting the goal-line stop, the interception where we just missed it – the review – I think that had a big factor on the game, that was unfortunate.

Here’s a couple of injury updates: (DB) Marqui Christian, we’ll put on IR (injured reserve) with an ankle injury from last night. Ninety-four, (DE) Robert Quinn – I think we discussed this – we put on IR with a concussion. Just basically a conservative decision with a couple weeks left and not really feeling like he’d be prepared to play within the next couple of weeks – he’ll be on IR. (RB) Benny Cunningham will be on IR – suffered a neck sprain and it’s a couple week injury, but with two weeks left in the season, we figured we’d put him on the IR. All three guys are expected to make full recoveries. Our decisions were based on the health of the players and what’s best for them at this point.

Jared Goff, quarterback, is in the concussion protocol. A medical timeout was initiated last night, from upstairs, by the NFL. They got him out of the game. He was assessed and he is currently in the concussion protocol. We saw him today and he seems sharp, but he’ll go through the protocol over the next nine days.

(S) T.J. McDonald has a wrist sprain – he’s day-to-day. (CB) Mike Jordan is also in the concussion protocol from last night. (WR) Bradley Marquez suffered a knee sprain on the first punt of the game last night – he’ll be day-to-day. (WR) Kenny Britt, another stinger or two and he’s day-to-day – he continues to tough it out. Much respect for a lot of those guys.”

(On if he spoke to Jared Goff today)

“I did. I went in this morning and I saw him in the training room when he was getting treatment. He was getting a back massage and a neck massage. Obviously, he’s a little bit banged up. But, like I said last night, just a really tough kid. I think he was going for the touchdown. Without the experience of being a real runner, the defender got on him a lot faster than he anticipated. From a special teams perspective, we prefer brawns, maybe, over brains. I told Jared, from a quarterback perspective, brains got to trump the brawns. As a rookie quarterback, he’ll learn to know when to maximize his yardage, but then protect his body. A lot of respect for a really, really tough, competitive kid. It’ll be a good learning experience for him.”

(On how will the concussion protocol affect his ability to practice this week)

“I think it depends on how he’s assessed during the concussion protocol, of when he’s allowed to return to practice.”

(On if he’s confident Goff will be able to play against the 49ers)

“I guess I’d say this – I probably should’ve said this earlier. But, our schedule for the week is the players will he off Saturday and Sunday. There will be treatments Saturday and Sunday morning. Then when we come back Monday, we’re going to treat it like our normal week Tuesday. So, he’ll get three more days to get treated and become assessed, and we’ll probably make a decision from there where he’s at, how much he’ll be able to do in practice. By then, we’ll probably have a better idea of how close he’ll be to playing in the game.”

(On how was the experience of being the head coach)

“It was great. I got on the airplane last night flying home, and I kind of just said, ‘Did all of this really just happen over the course of four days?’ Being thrown into the situation, and got to figure it out. Then, all of a sudden, game day came just like that. Being on the sideline was really special, kind of taking on a little bit different role and responsibility. Having my dad (Jim Fassel) there was really cool. From being on the sideline with him for so many years, and learning so much without even maybe even knowing it. It was an experience that I’ll definitely never, never forget. Unfortunately, we lost, winning is the ultimate goal. But, I still think I’ll look back on it and have a pretty special memory.”

(On if his father shared any words with him prior to, during, or after the game)

“Not really. I don’t think any conversations were different than I’ve always had with him. Be yourself. If you’re not really sure what to do, go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose man. Just kind of the, rah, rah…go get them boy. I’m proud of you no matter what. He’s always been very supportive.”

(On if he spoke with Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll on the field before the game)

“I did, yeah. I talked to him for just a minute. He came up when I was helping the punt returners. I still wanted to perform my duties in pregame with the punter and kicker and punt returner. He came over and just said, ‘Congrats. But, under circumstances that are not ideal. We feel for Coach (Jeff) Fisher.’ He said just congrats and we got a good young team. He said he knows that the Rams will play hard tonight, and I think that our Rams’ players did. I’m certainly proud of how they prepared, and really how they performed. It just kind of got away from us. We missed some opportunities, but Coach Carroll has always been pretty good.”

(On advice he gives WR Michael Thomas after his struggles in the last two games)

“I’m glad you asked that. Michael Thomas – a kid from Chicago, junior college, a little bit of success at Southern Mississippi. And he’s just kind of a guy that I’ve really enjoyed coaching and developing and watching him go through some really good plays. Whether it’s been a couple of good kick returns early in the season and some great gunner play on punt, to some misses, with the fumbled kick return and the missed opportunity on the long catch. And I really think Michael Thomas is a guy that we have to be patient with and he’s going to blossom into a really, really good football player – not only on special teams, but also on offense. He works so hard, he does everything he’s asked, he’s tough, he’s mentally strong. He’s crushed that he dropped the pass, and that he dropped the kickoff the return. But I really believe in the kid and I think he’s got great potential and hopefully he keeps his morale up and knows that I love him.”

(On if he had much interaction with QB Jared Goff during the game after saying he would stay out of the quarterback’s room)

“Yeah, I did. Before the game we shared a good little conversation. And then during the game, I didn’t feel like I should offer any input, as far as performance, but I just said, ‘Hang, tough man. Great throw. Come on, move the chains,’ just kind of encouragement more than coaching, I guess you could say. Before, I didn’t want to say that I wanted to steer clear of the quarterback room, it was just something, based on my role before, that I didn’t have the opportunity to do. I’m excited to be involved just a little bit more and learn about the quarterback room just a little bit more, because I think we have a really good quarterback. He’s tough, he’s talented, he moves in the pocket. So it’ll be fun for me to witness him over the next two weeks, get better.”

(On if he feels he can grow in to this role more now with the two days where the players are off)

“Yeah, I think so. I think what’s really helped me out is being a special teams coach, where every day I have the opportunity to coach different groups of guys every day, including offensive linemen, defensive linemen, and then, of course, all of the more skilled positions. All it really is, is just a few more people in the room, but I don’t my message is different. I think it all comes down to instead of 35 bodies in there, there’s 53 bodies in there. I think special teams has really helped me out, I think across the league, I think special teams coaches are pretty special in their ability to talk to the whole team and be around all that.”

(On preparing for the 49ers now as opposed to the season opener)

“I definitely remember the first game, it’s one we haven’t forgotten. But when we look at both rosters right now, the rosters are totally different. San Fran has had a huge share of injuries, as well as we have the last couple of weeks, so I think that’s the biggest thing. I think going in to the game, it’s a division game, they’ll be excited. We’ll have some new guys likely promoted from our practice squad that will hopefully give us a little bit of juice, because they know that they’re going to be evaluated for future employment – as well as myself and everybody else. There’s a lot to play for. I’m excited about some of the young guys getting an opportunity to perform. There won’t be any problems with emotion and energy I know that.”