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Transcript: Fassel, Boras and Goff on 2016 Season Finale

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rams Interim Head Coach John Fassel

(On if he mentioned the motivational tactic to the team today that he spoke about in his media availability yesterday)

“I was reminded of it, so I actually brought it out just in case, (so) I didn’t forget. So the big reveal – we talked about this morning, a couple things, first of all, a few clips from our first Arizona game, the sequence of events on offense, defense, special teams that kind of contributed to our win. Then, we got in to a little bit more of a mindset of where we’re at right now and how do we push forward and how do we continue to carry on and, really, why do we continue to carry on. And it goes like this, I told the story of ‘The Parable of the Stonecutter.’ This is how it goes, it says, ‘When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps 100 times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the 101stblow, it will split in two and there the stonecutter knows it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.’ That’s the parable of the stonecutter.”

(On how that was received by the team)

“I think pretty good. I don’t think many people had heard the parable before. Real quickly, afterword I just shared maybe what that maybe means for us and every guy can take it however they want. I know when I was given this and heard about it a long time ago, it stuck with me. So I said, ‘Maybe it doesn’t stick with you in the next four days, but I’m sure you’ll whip it out when you’re leading a group someday when you need it.’ That was it, that’s the big reveal. I hope it’s not disappointing.”

(On if the parable was distributed to the team or if he read it)

“I read it and distributed it.”

(On who gave the parable to him)

“I got it, it had to be over a decade ago – more than that – when I was coaching in a small college, I got it. I can’t remember where I got it from. But I got it and I kept it. I’ll always look at it and remember it, maybe every year or every other year. And I thought it was appropriate since I mentioned it after the game in the postgame locker room after we lost, just kind of rambling and probably saying nothing meaningful, and I just finished by saying, ‘I’ll tell you guys the story about the stonecutter next week,’ just kind of off the top of my head, so I thought I had to come through and pull it out.”

(On how he applies that to the team right now)

“What it means is this game is important because our futures depend on it. Like I talked to the team about on Monday, imagine us playing football for six more weeks or imagine us playing for the NFC North title like the Lions and Packers are doing. Maybe if we can approach this week like that, next year when we’re at the end of the season with all of the blows that we’re delivering right now, maybe next year it pays off and next year the 101st blow, we finally break through. However they want to look at it, there’s a lot of different ways you can look at it, that’s kind of the way I see it – this matters for next year individually and as a team, hopefully.

(On how much he enjoys the motivational aspect of being a head coach)

“It’s the best part of the job. The schematics and the game planning, gameday is fun, but to have the responsibility of standing up in front of a room – whether it’s 14 guys and it’s just the punt team or whether it’s now 63 guys plus the whole staff – it’s the best part of it, trying to come up with unique or creative ways to present gameplan information or philosophical information and see how it’s received. And if it’s not received well, figure out ways to make it better. And if it’s received well, figure out ways to make it better, too. So that’s definitely the best part of the job. Also, being in the situation we’re in now and being the one that has to be the example of how to lead and motivate and let them know why the games are important when it could be seen as maybe not. It’s the coolest part about being a coach.”

(On the keys to winning this game and ending the season on a positive note)

“This morning, what we showed is, our first game against them, we were down by three points with six minutes left in the game – almost like the opposite of what happened last week. We were down three, six minutes left in the game, Arizona had the ball on the 40-yard line and it was third-and-6, we sacked (Cardinals QB) Carson Palmer, they punted it to us, we ran it back 45 yards and three plays later, we scored a touchdown and the final score was 17-13. It comes down to getting stops on defense, making them punt the football from backed up and then our special teams has to come through and create field position advantages, and then our offense has to convert. And you look back at this past game, we lost by one point, but our defense got an early takeaway – offense scored a touchdown. Kickoff return got us to the 50 – offense scored a touchdown. We recovered a fumble in their territory – offense got a touchdown, so it’s those things. And what I was proud of today at practice is how do you tell if the guys were focused and motivated at practice today – on offense, the ball rarely hit the ground today, we didn’t have any defensive offsides. The start of practice was our punt, punt return emphasis and our punt protection was good and solid. Practice today was sharp. There’s little things that I looked at today like that to see, kind of, where we’re at with our mindset going into the game. It was well done.”

(On what it would mean, psychologically, to win the final game of the season)

“I think it would be big because we’d be 1-0 in 2017, it would be a great start to a very much needed new year. So that would be a morale boost and a good way to get 2017 started. We could look at it as maybe not this season, but the start of the next because it is the start of next year, however you want to look at it. I think all the games are important. You can make a case some are more important than the others when you’re playing for a division championship like some other teams are doing. A lot of the players want to play good. I’d love to get a win to say that one day when I was actually the head coach, I won a game as the head coach because if you ever get the opportunity again, who knows. But, that would be cool. So I think there’s a lot of things that give us reasons why we need to play hard and win.”

(On if he plans to play the young players against his week)

“Yeah, all the young guys that played last week will play again. I put up on the board Monday, I think six guys played significant minutes in the game that had been on our practice squad over the past month – (DB) Isaiah Johnson, (DB) Blake Countess, (RB) Aaron Green, (WR) Paul McRoberts, (T) Pace Murphy has not been practice squad, but he’s been inactive. So, yeah, they’re going to play significant minutes again.”

(On how he thinks some of the younger players did last week)

“I thought they stepped up and, with injuries to (WR) Kenny (Britt), then ‘Quickie’ (WR Brian Quick) went down for a minute in the game. Paul McRoberts, all of the sudden, we pulled him off the practice squad Friday and he played a lot of minutes on Saturday. So I think they did well. Another one of the best parts to being a coach, especially on special teams, is usually a guy that it’s his first game ever, his first rep as an NFL football player is on special teams – kickoff or kickoff return. So I get him in the huddle and the guys that have played before got him in the huddle (say), ‘It’s third down, punt alert, you’re going in at gunner, this is your first rep of your career, can you believe it? Here it comes, fourth down.’ And he runs out on the field and it’s really fun to see players’ dreams come true, literally, right before your eyes. That stuff happens on the sideline that the fans don’t really see and know it happens. And maybe it’s not important to the fans, but it’s really important to the player and it’s really cool to see guys take the field for their first career NFL rep. And that’s pretty special, too, from a coach’s perspective, to see guys get the chance to do that, you know they want it bad.”

Rams Offensive Coordinator Rob Boras

(On what he takes away from the growth he’s experienced as a first-year offensive coordinator)

“You know, I haven’t really had time to think about it. That’s the great thing about this league is whether you win or lose, you move on to the next game. You don’t have the time to enjoy it, and you certainly don’t have the time to feel sorry for yourself – that’s kind of what the offseason is for. Here in a couple of days when the offseason starts, it’ll be plenty of time to kind of sit back and think about everything. But right now, obviously, the focus is on Arizona, and the attempt to put together a game plan, and go out there and execute it.”

(On if he takes anything away from the last meeting with Arizona in Week 4)

“Seems like forever ago. September 27 was the Tuesday, I think, of the install, and this time it was December 27 when we did the install on our first Tuesday – so, exactly three months later. They’ve had injuries on their team. There’s some new players, same like most teams in the league – again, same as us. We made some plays in the pass game – that pass to (WR) Brain (Quick). He went up, competed for the ball, won a contested catch, ran down the sideline. (WR Tavon Austin) ‘Tav’ had the big punt return, and then we were able to finish with the fade to Brain again. We struggled to run the ball, which has kind of been status quo for us this year. We were able to stick with the run though, which helped us because our defense was playing so well. So, there’s a lot of things. They do a really good job defensively with all their different personnel packages. They haven’t changed a whole lot schematically. There’s different jersey numbers, but they believe in what they do, and that’s why they’re good at what they do. You’re always evaluating, because obviously, that’s the tape that they’re going to spend the most time on. You try things that worked. Maybe give them a little different window-dressing to it, try the same scheme, and then try to build off some of the other things.”

(On how important is it to QB Jared Goff to have a good performance on Sunday)

“I think it’d be great. As I talked on last week, for this whole organization, let alone for Jared. I’m a big fan of Jared, and all I’ve said to him – and again, I don’t want to speak for Jared – but, this stuff cannot define him. He’s going to define himself over his career. I know that he started, or his team started slowly – I shouldn’t say Jared did – his freshman year at Cal. Obviously, we’ve kind of had that same sort of year. His freshman year at Cal didn’t define him, and his rookie year in the NFL is not going to define him. I think he’s a real mentally tough guy. I told him wherever I am, I’m going to be the biggest fan of his, and I’ll be cheering for him. Again, for this organization, for Jared, for everybody to move forward with some excitement in to the offseason, I think would be huge. I think they deserve it. I’ve talked about that all along. He deserves it. This team deserves it. The coaches deserve it. I think it would be a huge step in the right direction for him going into the offseason.”

(On if Goff won him over with his mental toughness)

“He won me over when I first met him. I think he’s got a great personality. I think he’s going to only continue to mature, which is just part of getting older, and playing games, and gaining the experience. I’m a big fan of Jared, as I am with a lot of the guys offensively, defensively, and special teams in the locker room. I’ve talked about the character of this team a lot, and that hasn’t changed. Win or lose, these are good people.”

Rams Quarterback Jared Goff

(On his pledge to the fans to get things fixed and its importance)

“I don’t know. I think it was just kind of what I was thinking at the time. I want the people that truly support us and the people that are truly supportive to understand that its growing pains – it’s not easy for us and it’s certainly not easy for them. We’re going to come out of it though. I’m positive it’s going to happen. It may not be over night, but it will happen and it’s going to happen with the people in this building.”

(On whether he’s been looking ahead to what changes may come after Sunday’s season finale)

“No. I’m just focused on beating the Cardinals right now.”

(On the advice Cardinals QB Carson Palmer had in his conference call today when he said “the most important thing is to learn from all your mistakes” and whether that’s something he’s been able to do so far this season)

“Definitely. I’ve learned from my mistakes since OTAs, I think all the way through summer, through training camp, up until this point, in-game experience and in practice – continuing to learn, continuing to get better. Understand that you’re going to make mistakes and try not to make them twice. That’s kind of what I’ve done. So, that does resonate a lot. ”

(On if he watched Palmer growing up as a child)

“Yeah. I got a Carson Palmer jersey for Christmas when I was about ten years old.”

(On what his impressions were of Palmer back then)

“I was big fan of his. He was good player, and still is. Does a great job with Arizona now and he’s been around the league. I think one of the few quarterbacks that’s gone from multiple teams and has been pretty good with all of them. It’s hard to do and he’s done a pretty good job of it.”

(On Palmer’s career and how early on in his career he played on teams that struggled – if there’s anything to be learned when looking at Palmer’s career)

“Yeah. I think him and a lot of guys. You look around, a lot of guys ended up being really good, that as rookies weren’t very good. There’s prime examples in the league right now – teams that have turned it around. In reference to us, I kind of expect a similar thing to happen in the future. ”

(On what the a win would mean to the team psychologically heading into the offseason)

It would be big. Any time you win a game it’s nice. But I think to end the season on a win would give us a good taste in our mouth and something we can kind of build on in the offseason. Obviously, if we win the game, we’re going to do stuff well. That might be even more important than ultimately winning, is getting stuff done, executing and doing the right thing on the field.”

(On whether he asked for a Carson Palmer jersey or if his dad just got him one)

“I think I did probably. He was probably on my fantasy team or something when I was little (laughter).”

(On what other jerseys he owned growing up)

“I had a bunch: (Joe) Montana, (Peyton) Manning, (Aaron) Rogers, Kevin Riley – a bunch.”

(On whether he still has the Montana jersey)

“I have a couple, yeah.