(Is it still strange being referred to as Los Angeles Rams)
Yes it does. You know, it's exciting times for the franchise. We know that the fanbase is extremely excited based on some things that took place the last few weeks with respect to the commitment to season tickets at the coliseum. So it's exciting times for us.
There's a lot of work ahead, believe me, as you can imagine so many things to do. And I just want to take this opportunity to just thank the loyal St. Louis fans that came out week after week after week, because they are truly loyal and they hung in there through thick and thin with us. I'm going to miss them, and the organization is going to miss them.
Re: Todd Gurley
We drafted Todd to be our future, because he wasn't healthy during the draft at this time next year. We committed to Todd not knowing when he was going to play or be ready to play. He exceeded our expectations as far as being able to compete on Sundays. What he did in the short period of time to play was extraordinary. With another offseason between last year and this year we expect him to be even better. He's a special talent. And we're clearly going to build our offense around that position.
Re: Mark Barron
We really liked Mark coming out, draft wise. And we were surprised to some extent that he was available and so we took advantage of it. So we just kind of plugged him in and Gregg (Williams) is good at moving people around and creating opportunities and then early on in the season unfortunately we lost Alec and Mark's reps increased and I thought he had a really good year. If you see there's a trend in the league for that kind of guy. And we feel he really fits in our defense so he's a priority from the standpoint of getting him re-signed.
Re: Stepping down from Competition Committee
Two weeks ago I had a conversation with the commissioner and I stepped down for the committee, for obvious reasons. I spoke to some of the other committee members, and just the time required of me as far as this move is concerned makes this really difficult to commit 100 percent. I look at it as hopefully being a leave of absence. But I'm not participating right now.
Re: Use of tablets on sidelines
I think we're going to move in that direction from the standpoint the tablets are working and I think at some point we'll see video on the sideline. Traditionally the committee has been opposed to video on the sideline but from a competitive standpoint if we can make sure that nobody's getting an advantage over another club then that's where future of the sideline is going.
Will tablets filter down to college?
I would assume so but there is is a cost associated with improving the technology.
Re: Letting go of popular vets last week
We let James, Chris and Jared go and it was difficult. It's not easy but Chris understood – I think Chris will land on his feet as well as James and Jared. But it's part of the process. It's part of the process of playing for the future. But Chris and James were basically the faces of our franchise for years in St. Louis and I have total respect for their commitment. Not only on the field but off it the field and what they did in the community. And as I sat there and talked to James I mentioned to him I've made many difficult decisions over the years be in in the past with Eddie Gorge or Keith Bulluck or Steve McNair. I was friends with all of them and I want to maintain that. I hope with respect to Chris and James when it comes time to walk away from the game they'll walk away as Rams.
What are the Packers getting in Ben Sirmans?
Ben is an outstanding teacher. He relates well to players. He’s got a good football mind and I was really happy that Ben landed on his feet. Ben is a disciplinarian, and I believe Ben will bring a lot of discipline and focus to that room. Is the assistant coaching staff complete?
The coaching staff is complete. I was really pleased with what Rob Boras was able to do down the stretch. I’m excited about Mike Groh, who has come in as our passing-game coordinator, and he’s going to coach receivers. We’re really excited about him. We’re very appreciative of Coach Fox and the Bears organization allowing him to move on and join us. The rest of the guys, Skip Peete, his stuff speaks for itself. He’s an outstanding running backs coach, an experienced coach with a lot of good runners. Then Coach Lilly is going to move over and coach tight ends. So everything was done on the offensive side of the ball, and I can assure you they’re working very hard right now.’’
Rob Boras is the offensive coordinator?
Did Tavon Austin finally become the player you guys thought he could be?
I think, from Tavon’s standpoint, he has done everything we have asked of him. I think we have to do more as a staff to get him the football. I think you saw that late in the season, when Tavon got the touches, in addition to the punt returns. I think he’s one of the most dangerous returners in the league, and he has proven that. We’ve had some called back, but I would hate to punt the ball in the field of play with him being there, if I was playing against him. I think from that standpoint, we have to do whatever we can do to get him the football. Keep in mind, there’s only one brown ball and we’ve got good players on offense. But I think the combination of Tavon and Todd and the rest of the guys, I think it provides us an opportunity to be very explosive opportunity.
How important are the next few months for Tre Mason?
They’re no different than anybody else on the team. Tre has got to have a great offseason program. That, in itself, is going to be a challenge for us because it’s going to take place out in Southern California. We’re expecting, hoping, that everybody comes in. We drafted Tre for a reason. When you look at that position, when you’re talking about Todd and Tre and then Benny, I think that’s as good a group as you’ll find in the league, from a depth standpoint. Then the difference in their abilities and what they do. I think Tre realizes he has to put the commitment in, wherever he is, and have a great preseason.
What were the challenges of playing in London in 2012?
When we went to London in 2012? We thought we had it all figured out. We went over early. We did all the sleep studies. We did all the stuff you do on the airplane. Got over there, won the toss, took the ball, three plays later we were in the endzone, up 7-0. When the game was over, we lost 51-7 against New England. It’s a challenge. It’s a challenge. That was us playing the Patriots, not what we did. It’s going to be a challenge for us, but the fact that a number of our players have gone through that experience, it will prepare them. We’re coming from a different place. It looks like we may have to go -- obviously the schedule is not out yet -- but there’s a chance we’ll go from California to the East Coast and then on to London. So we’re going to put some miles in.
Comparing this move to the Houston/Tennessee move
The question is about comparing this move to the previous move. You’re moving a franchise. You’re leaving one city and going to another, which is difficult from a fan standpoint, from a fan-base standpoint, but you have to take care of the detail things. As you go through that step-by-step process, from my standpoint, my job is to keep in mind the player needs. Thirty-one other teams in the league right now are staying put, and they’re going through an offseason program and there is stability there. It’s how quickly can we bring stability, from a player perspective, into this offseason program? Because we’re going to kick the season off like everyone else, and we potentially will have made a couple moves during the offseason.
Was a move to L.A. discussed when you were hired?
No. No. You’re talking about with Stan (Kroenke) and Kevin (Demoff). No, they were more interested in my goals and things like that.
What has the feedback been from players about the move?)
As we moved through the season and the talk started to increase, my focus was to keep them focused on playing the next opponent, which you have to do. I thought they did a great job with that, based on the way we finished, with the game at Seattle and then the near-win against San Francisco. So they stayed focused with that. At this point, there is still a lot of uncertainty. I can tell you that we’re going to have training camp, as has been widely reported, at the Cowboys’ facility. I’m sorry, the offseason program, at the Cowboys’ facility. We’re currently trying to figure out and work out where we’re going to have training camp, because the Cowboys are going back there, and then, two, where we’re going to set up our facility. We have a meeting scheduled in Los Angeles a week from Friday with all the players, and we’re going to try to give them as much information as we can, from the standpoint of where this is going to take place and where that is going to take place. If we’re going to put a temporary facility someplace up north, you don’t want to put yourself in Newport Beach where you have a two-and-a-half-hour commute every day. So you can appreciate the things that we’re going through. The organization, Kevin, is doing a great job with each one of those steps. Hopefully we will have enough information for the players, to let them know.