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Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher Talks Roster Cuts, Injuries

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Here’s what Fisher had to say last night after the first of three practices this week.

Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff and WR Pharoh Cooper
Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff and WR Pharoh Cooper
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher

(Opening remarks)

“It was a short night, and an early morning. We’re not the only organization that has gone through it. That’s typically the case in the third preseason week. Now we have another challenge ahead of us, in that we’re traveling here in just a couple days. I had an opportunity to look at the tape, all three phases as I said, last night. I thought there would be some things to learn from; and they were. Also, some things to build on; and they were. I was pleased with a number of things. I thought the quarterbacks took a step forward. I thought (QB) Jared (Goff), even though the number weren’t great, I thought he did a really good job on the line of scrimmage. His poise, his confidence, took a big hit, came back, I thought he’s progressed since week 1 and week 2. So, that’s a good thing to see. I thought (QB) Case (Keenum), you know, Case is Case. He got lucky on the sideline. I was nervous there for a second, but he bounced up and finished the drive. And then (QB) Sean (Mannion), Sean had some difficulty at the end. We were a little outmatched with the pass rush and we couldn’t get the ball down the field when we needed to. But he knew what he was doing. So, I thought the quarterback play has improved over the past couple of weeks.

“Defensively, better, better effort early in the game. Getting (DE) Rob (Quinn) back was good. I thought (LB Alec Ogletree) ‘Tree’ looked a little more comfortable in the run-front. We’re still giving up too many yards. We gave up some big runs with guys that are going to be on our roster in the second quarter, and we’ve got to get those things fixed before Week 1, or else we’ll have some problems in the regular season. And then special teams, some younger guys really took a step. We tried to get both our rookie tight ends involved in special teams. It was their first exposure, and they look like they can be productive at it. So, they got another week to get fine-tuned before we start the regular season.

“Injury wise, I felt good last night leaving, but there’s always going to be those things that come up. And we had a couple things come up here this morning. We’re going to be without (WR) Pharoh Cooper for a few weeks with a shoulder injury. I don’t know how long, but it looks like he’ll probably miss the opener, and we’ll just see how quickly he can come back from that. We also have an issue with (DB) E.J.’s (Gaines) quad strain. He may miss some time. But, that just gives some other players an opportunity. But beyond that, it looked like, as far as the rest of the roster, we’ll be ok. We got some guys back. As we said, Rob, and (LB Nicholas) Grigsby, and (T Isaiah) Battle got to play. Overall, I thought it was a productive night. We got a short week – very, very short. We had our film study with the players today. I got them on the field. I had to remind them to slow down a little bit, because they were playing in a game less than 24 hours ago. We got today beyond us. We’re going to have two open practices to (media) tomorrow (August 29) and Tuesday(August 30), and then we’ll be traveling Wednesday (August 31).

“We also got started on the roster reduction, which is not easy. It’s a difficult part of the National Football League and part of training camp. We’re not finished. We still have some more work to do tonight and tomorrow to have the entire list available for you tomorrow. I’m not going to disclose the moves that we make today, for obvious reasons. When it’s all said and done, these young players come in and give everything that they have. They should be able to walk away holding their chin up, feeling like they became better players. As I expressed to a number of them today, an appreciation for their work and their effort, they helped this football team get better, because they’re practicing against our starters, and doing all those things throughout the offseason and through camp. We’ll finish up tomorrow and, of course, we start the process all over again Friday (September 2) and Saturday (September 3).”

(On which play Cooper was injured on)

“Yeah, it was on the acrobatic catch. He came down on his shoulder.”

(On how Cooper’s injury situation impacts other receivers trying to make the team)

“You have to take all those things into consideration. He’s had a great camp, we drafted him for a reason. We’ll have to make some decisions next weekend that kind of revolve around his status, if you will.”

(On if any of Gaines’ injuries are related)

“He had the little hamstring strain – I mentioned to you that he was so focused, for a year, on getting the foot back. Oftentimes, when players are gone and not available for that length of time and they do return, that there are other little issues that come up. I’m hoping this is the last thing that comes up because he was extremely durable his rookie year as a starter for us, he was there week after week after week.”

(On the dropped passes in the game yesterday, if it was on the receivers or if the defense played well)

“If the ball hits the receivers in the hands and then it hits the ground, it’s a drop. If the defensive back knocks the ball down, it’s a good play by the defense. As I said, (Broncos defensive coordinator) Wade’s (Phillips) got those guys challenging, they were challenging our receivers and challenging our routes and challenging the man-to-man coverages, which was good to see. We have things in our back pocket that will get them open; we’re just not using those things right now in the preseason. Still, when the ball is catchable, make the catch – that’s kind of our philosophy, offensively.”

(On how much RB Todd Gurley pushed to play in the game)

“He didn’t say anything to me. We discussed it as a staff and I told (running backs coach) Skip (Peete) that we’re going to hold Todd out and he said ‘yes sir, no problem,’ and I think Todd was fine with it. He had a great, great workout, prior to the game he went through the warm-ups, got the energy and felt the emotion, he was right there at the end of the game rooting on his teammates. I know you have a follow-up question and that would be ‘Is he going to play this week?’ I can’t tell you right now.”

(On if being off for more than three weeks from seeing game speed will impact Gurley going into the regular season opener and if that is much of a concern)

“Last year, he had close to eight or nine months before he saw game speed, so three weeks is nothing. If you take into consideration that he’s on the practice field every day practicing and going full speed, so I’m concerned about it. He’s not the only really good and talented player in the league that’s not going to play much in the preseason, that’s just kind of where our league’s going right now.”

(On his reaction to 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick not standing for the national anthem)

“I’m going to let his words speak for himself, it was his choice. And I’m going to let the 49ers’ comments and their release speak for themselves. That’s a 49ers issue – I know it’s a societal issue, but I don’t feel like it’s my place to comment. I think our respect for the national anthem has been very, very well-documented and we’re going to continue to have respect for the national anthem.”

(On how he would react if he had a player who did not want to stand for the national anthem)

“Again, they have every right to stand up and be heard. I would be very, very surprised if I had one of our players do that, particularly because of the respect that we have shown, not only this year, but since our time in St. Louis and my time going way back for the national anthem. I also would think that if a player had an issue – a player on our team – that he probably would come to me to discuss it before he reacted in such a fashion. I’m not being critical of ‘Kap,’ he has every right to do that, but we have an organizational philosophy that has been in place for a long time, with respect to the anthem. I think it’s a special event and it’s something that should be respected and that’s my opinion.”

(On how he thinks the team handled the player demonstration in regards to Ferguson, Mo., a few years ago)

“I thought we did an outstanding job. When it was all said and done, over a couple days, once I got a chance to talk to the players, I think the players were misunderstood. What the players wanted was they wanted to direct attention to the community of Ferguson because they felt the community needed help and they were helping them. They didn’t want it to be misunderstood, as far as that’s concerned. But I had individual discussions with all the players that next morning and for a day or two before we came back to work. Obviously, you have compassion for the things that are happening in society and players have the opportunity because they have a platform. There’s a place for it and there’s not a place for it. We’ve got a really good understanding of what happened, but what was done - I thought it was a huge misunderstanding from the standpoint. To a man, if you asked each one of them if they’d do it all over again, they probably would. I thought, from an organization standpoint, we dealt with it appropriately and with compassion and concern for what was taking place in Ferguson.”

(On what WR Tavon Austin brings to the organization that made the team want to give him a contract extension)

“It’s our anticipation of what he’s going to do. We’ve seen what he’s capable of and we’re hoping we’re going to get a lot more than what we’ve seen in the past. I know people are putting out numbers and things like that, but they forget three or four punt returns that were returned for touchdowns that were called back. He’s very, very talented with the ball in his hands. He is a problem to defends against and we hear that week after week after week. I was speaking with Wade (Phillips) before the game and (he was saying) ‘this guy is really good.’ It was obvious, the way they defended us, they knew we weren’t going to give him the ball, so they just kind of disregarded where he was, but things change here in a couple weeks. I’m just really happy for Tavon. He’s a great team guy, full of energy and he’s got a God-given talent that’s going to carry us a long way.”

(On injury updates on T Rob Havenstein and WR Nelson Spruce)

“Good news with Havenstein – a solid pregame warm-up, we’re going to get him on the practice field, he needs to do some football things this week. That’s why we took him off PUP, so he could participate with his teammates. So we’ll see how he is by the end of the week. Probably unlikely that he plays this week, but we’re going to get him some practice reps under his belt. (Spruce) is running a little bit now, so he’s coming. I wouldn’t think he’s going to play this week, but he may be close, which is encouraging.”

(On if he feels like he’s seen enough from Spruce to know whether or not he can make the team and how difficult of a decision it is for a guy like Spruce, who is talented, but hasn’t played in a while)

“There’s a lot of things to consider. We coveted Nelson after the draft and we saw some things that we really liked and you saw them in the game. Unfortunately, he’s missed time, so we’re just going to have to address that this weekend.”

(On how he felt like WR Brian Quick responded this week after dropping passes in the second preseason game)

“I thought he was better. He got open. He was a little bit more explosive in his routes when he got the opportunities. I thought he improved. We never had any issues with his blocking, but I thought he played better yesterday.”

(On how CB Troy Hill is doing)

“Troy is doing fine. We had two players that went into the concussion protocol last night. Troy is one and (T) Greg Robinson was the other. Both of them are way ahead of schedule and didn’t have any residual effects. The question is, with the short week and a Thursday game versus a Sunday game, it probably makes sense to err on the side of caution in the event they’re both cleared and ready to play.”

(On if having a short week is a good thing or bad thing in the preseason for the team)

“Everyone’s going on a short week, but in a perfect world it would be to have a short week at home, but that’s not the case. We have to travel, we have to come back and as we mentioned, we’ll start the final cut down process. But the entire organization is getting ready to move to Thousand Oaks – we’ve already started that. So we have to set up permanently – temporarily permanently – up in Thousand Oaks for a couple of years. So we have a lot of work to do this week.”

(On the reports that QB Jared Goff had X-rays for a tailbone injury)

“I’m not going to confirm or deny either way. Jared participated out here today.”

(On if he has an update on WR Bradley Marquez)

“He participated outside today.”