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Transcript: Jeff Fisher Says Competition at Wide Receiver is “Wide Open”

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher – Training Camp Post-Practice – August 18, 2016

(Opening Remarks)

"I know you got the news on ‘Clutch’ (National Scout Lawrence McCutcheon). I just want to congratulate him on such a great career. You’re talking about 44 years – or something like that – as a player and a scout. He was actually in the scouting department when I made the quick stop here in ’91 and I got to see him. I’m real happy he gets to retire on top and I’m real happy that they’re going to be recognizing him - that’s cool stuff. I’m proud of he and his family. Good stuff."

(On McCutcheon getting emotional talking to the media today)

"He should be - it was a great career. I enjoyed the last five years with him, especially working as he was helping as a scout – as a west coast scout – and then he’d do special projects. It was just always neat to have him around. Like you guys now, I was an old-time Rams fan, so I was a ‘Clutch’ fan growing up. That was really neat."

(Opening Remarks continued)

"Here’s what we’re going to do about playing time – obviously (QB) Case (Keenum) is going to start, give him a couple series and see how that works. Then our plan is to get (QB) Jared (Goff) in with the 1s for a series or two and see how that goes. We’ll let Jared play into the third quarter and we’ll see how it goes. (QB) Sean (Mannion) will finish it off. It’s important to get (Goff) in there with the starters and the 1s, so I think it’ll be a good experience for him. He’s been working with them out here off and on all week. I would expect (RB) Todd (Gurley) to play a little bit – I don’t know how much, but he’s going to play. Maybe a series, maybe two. (There are) a few guys that we’re going to sit that can’t play, obviously – (WR) Nelson (Spruce) and (T) Isaiah Battle. I think it just makes sense to hold (DE) Robert (Quinn) for another week (with) the travel and everything. He had a good practice today, he’s going to get caught up, his sleep is a little off and you don’t want to take a chance. He’s in great shape, so I think we’ll hold Rob until we go to Denver. Beyond that, playtime-wise, everybody into the second quarter, then we’ll start subbing and go from there."

(On the competition at the tight end position)

"The tight ends, yeah. Obviously (TE) Lance (Kendricks), Lance is our guy, (TE) Cory (Harkey) is an established veteran, then we’ve obviously got the two draft choices that are really doing a good job. ‘Higgs’ (TE Tyler Higbee) wasn’t here; he’s dealing with some flu-like symptoms, so I don’t know whether he’ll be able to go. (TE) Temarrick (Hemingway) is coming along fast. He’s been slowed by injury, but had a really good couple of days on the practice field, offensively. We haven’t done anything with him in special teams, we’ll increase that load with him next week. (TE) Justice (Cunningham) knows our system and both ‘Stone’ (TE Jake Stoneburner) and (TE) Benson (Browne) are there competing for playing time in the preseason."

(On what he would like to see from Gurley on Saturday in his first exhibition game)

"Yeah, it is. A couple carries, maybe some protection stuff and then get him out. It’s the emotions of going through and getting ready. It was different for him last week because he knew he wasn’t going to play. This week it’s getting ready, getting focused and then make some plays, gain some yards for us."

(On how he would describe the wide receiver competition)

"It’s wide open. Obviously our top guys are (WR) Kenny (Britt) and (WR) Tavon (Austin) and ‘Coop’ (WR Pharoh Cooper). Once we get past that, it’s wide open. It’s going to be a really exciting two or three weeks to see how they develop. (WR) Michael (Thomas) is coming on, (WR) Paul (McRoberts) is coming on, we know what (WR) Bradley (Marquez) can do – especially in special teams. Unfortunately, Nelson (Spruce) is going to be down for a little bit. Some of the younger guys are going to get a chance to play late in the game. And then as we come down to those decisions, sometimes we’ve kept four, sometimes we’ve kept six, maybe seven. You really don’t know, it really just depends on the talent level."

(On if he puts more emphasis on preseason game production or practice production when he’s making final roster decisions)

"It’s a combination – the preseason games and the practice field. But also, when you get to that point, they’re going to play. If they’re active, they have to contribute on special teams and they have to prepare themselves to play in the game, so we have to rely on them to be productive."

(On if LB/S Mark Barron will play in Saturday’s game)

"I think so. We’re going to warm-up and see how he is. He knows what he’s doing. He’s got some things he’s working through, so we’ll see."

(On what kind of things he talked about with the New York Yankees at practice today)

"Yeah, I got to see (Yankees Manager) Joe (Girardi). A lot of the stuff was between he and I – I asked him how many guys he’s got, he said 23, so I said ‘I’ve got 90.’ So there’s a little difference between the practice sessions and things. It was good to see them and (Yankees pitcher) C.C. (Sabathia) was cool. I watched them a lot, but I had not met them. It was nice to have them to come by and visit."

(On if it’s different being in Los Angeles having people like the Yankees and other celebrities coming through practice)

"Wherever we’ve been, we’ve had people come through town and we invite them out to practice and things. People came to St. Louis while we were there and came by, out of curiosity, while they were swinging through town. But yeah, I’d say there’s been more celebrity presence here than anywhere else."

(On how much better the team is this week as opposed to last week from a preparation standpoint)

"I think the whole team is better than we were last week. I’m hoping that reflects in our performance Saturdayagainst the Chiefs. Keep in mind the Chiefs are adding things, we’re adding things. We’re probably not going to do much more from a scheme standpoint; we just want to see them play. But I think the guys will be a little bit more relaxed, having gone through the experience. Understand that 90 minutes before kickoff, there’s a lot of stuff going on in their world. Some guys were on the field with pregame warm-ups and asking for help because they needed tickets and that shouldn’t be the case – that’s a distraction. Once you get through the first one, I think things will settle down a little bit for us."

(On his impression of the running back depth behind Gurley)

"I’m happy, we’re really happy with it. Really happy with (RB) Malcolm (Brown) – you obviously can’t say enough about (RB) Benny (Cunningham) – but Malcolm, (RB) Chase (Reynolds) is doing a good job. I don’t know about (RB Aaron) Green this week, we’ll see. (RB) Terrence (Magee) can carry the football, too. It’s a good group."

(On if it’s a different dynamic in terms of competition without RB Tre Mason)

"Tre’s not here, so it gives the other guys more reps. It’s given Malcolm a realistic chance to shine."

(On CB E.J. Gaines)

"He’s fine. A little nervous, but he looked good."