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Transcript: Rams HC Jeff Fisher On Kaepernick, Goff and Tavon; QB Goff On

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Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher gave his last press conference ahead of the Rams’ final preseason game in Minnesota on Thursday.

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher
Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher
Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Jeff Fisher – Press Conference – August 21, 2016

(Opening remarks)

“Alright, it seems like it was yesterday when we got off the airplane and here we are with a short week just about behind us and getting ready to take off out of here tomorrow. We have some meetings yet to do this afternoon, but I’m really proud of the way they responded, they’re looking forward to finishing up. They understand what’s ahead – we have a huge challenge ahead of us, not only with respect to the game, but also what’s going to take place when we get back. We have to cut down the final roster, and then of course, we have to pack up and head off to our next home in Thousand Oaks. As far as camp is concerned, you can’t say enough, as I said earlier, about our partner here, UC-Irvine and everybody involved. It was just a great camp, great facility, very convenient. We really appreciate them allowing us to use the facility in an effort to get ready for the season.

Play time, I think you’re going to see everybody play just a little bit more, there may be a couple guys that don’t play. That’ll make sure you have to watch the game to see who doesn’t play. We’re going to go out and try to win this football game, and evaluate some players. There are still a few players that have an opportunity to show us some things as far as an opportunity to either make the 53(-man roster) or the practice squad roster.”

(On why he thinks the team has been able to adapt to all of the distractions with regards to moving)

“We communicate to them, so they know in advance. Surprises, they make you uncomfortable, especially in professional sports. You try to eliminate the surprises and just communicate with them so they know what to expect. That’s, by and large, what our meeting is comprised of this afternoon – what’s going to happen when we get back off the airplane (on Thursday) and when you step off the airplane, what do you do, what time do you need to be here; then once we’re done with the roster reduction, then when and where do you report and what’s going to be available. As long as we’re communicating with them, I think they can handle any situation.”

(On how difficult cut days are for him, personally)

“They’re not easy. I’ve been doing them for a long time and I do each and every one personally – I’ve always done that. You tell them the truth and you stand behind that. Sometimes, over the years, people disagreed with our opinion, but that’s okay. It’s not easy and I think that, the most important thing here is, the guys that we released here over the last couple of days, in addition to those that aren’t going to make the final roster, those are guys that have done nothing but one, compete for an opportunity at a roster spot, but two, also helped us to get better, they helped us to improve. So, you have to show appreciation for that.”

(On if QB Jared Goff is going to start the final preseason game on Thursday)

“I don’t now yet. You’ll have to wait and see. There’s a chance, a 50-50 chance.”

(On what he wants to see in particular from Goff in the final preseason game)

“I think it’s especially important that the ball comes out, that he’s doing the right things in the run game. There’s no telling what we’re going to get out of that defense, it’s a very talented defense. Just improve the decision-making process, which he’s done each and every week.”

(On how he would asses where the team is right now as opposed to the first day of camp)

“I think, from a health standpoint, we’re in good shape right now. We’ve got some guys we’re counting on coming back – obviously, we lost a couple guys. But overall, coming out of camp, I think health-wise, we’re good. Conditioning-wise, we’re in good shape. I think mentally and emotionally we’re ready to compete and we are. Everybody improves from day one through the end of camp and I think we’ve done that. The guys, they understand the preseason games and they understand that there’s a lot of things that go on out here from a football-scheme standpoint that we don’t do in preseason games. They have that realistic picture about them. Obviously it was great, regardless of what happens tomorrow night, it was great to get the two wins here at home to start off.”

(On if it’s settling to know that Sunday and Monday the team is in a home after moving around so often since the end of last season)

“Yeah, we have some work to do; we’re leaving people behind (from the trip to Minnesota). It will be once the guys get in there. Their player day off is Saturday and Sunday, that’s going to give us a chance to hang pictures - we just have to unload boxes and get ready. All the I.T. and the video and everything has to be set up and running so the coaches can get going. We have a lot of work to do over the next couple of days, but I’d say by the middle part of the week, we should be ready to go, we shouldn’t have any glitches at all.”

(On if he has any reaction to the publicity his speech to the team about the national anthem in Hard Knocks is getting)

“I think it’s great, that’s us. I’ve made that speech for 20 years right before the first preseason game. You go back and look at any of our teams, they all paid respect to the national anthem. This wasn’t a one-time deal or a first-time thing and that’s just how we are. It’s great that our partners with Hard Knocks got to capture it. I was told just earlier that there’s over 10 million hits (online). I think that kind of thing shows what we stand for – across the league, I’m not just singling us out, but across the league people have a great deal of respect for this country.”

(On where his speech and respect for the national anthem came from, if he had military family)

“I took it from Buddy Ryan. When Buddy was the head coach in Philadelphia the national anthem was important to him. In coaching, you take things along the way and that was one of the things I took from Buddy, was how important that moment was. Since I became a head coach, that’s what we’ve done.”

(On he thinks he would have handled a player like 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick wanting to do non-violent protest)

“I’m never going to get into hypotheticals. I addressed this on (Sunday), I think it’s highly unlikely that I’d have to deal with it – or I think it would be a surprise. If a player wanted to make a point, then I think it would be discussed. I think if that was the issue – I think what you need to do in those instances is you discuss the ramifications and what effect it’s going to have from a media standpoint and all that stuff. Again, that’s their deal, it’s not ours. I think you all know and respect what we stand for.”

(On what it will be like to travel to a new stadium in Minnesota when the Rams are preparing to build a new stadium soon)

“We did that a couple years ago when we went to San Francisco for the first time in their new stadium in Santa Clara. It’s cool, it’s neat going into a new place. I’m looking forward to seeing the job that they did. I also had the experience of playing the first game at the new Cowboys stadium in the preseason when they opened that stadium (in 2009). It’s not a first for me, but I’m looking forward to it.”

(On what they keys are for the offense to get the most out of WR Tavon Austin)

“It’s just getting him the ball. It’s funny, I’m asked that from coaches and people – we only have one ball. We have (RB) Todd (Gurley) and we have (WR) Kenny (Britt) and we have Tavon and we have to spread the ball around. It’s a matter of how we go ahead and deploy our system offensively and the pressure that we can put on and then the quarterback’s ability to make the decision, to make the audible to understand where the ball needs to go to. We faked a couple of reverses the other night against Denver and they didn’t even pay attention to the reverses. I think they thought, ‘Well there’s no way they’re going to give Tavon the ball in a preseason game.’ Had he gotten the ball, things would have been different.”

(On if WR Pharoh Cooper being out with an injury gives the team the opportunity to get more of a chance to evaluate the other receivers)

“Yeah, the younger guys are going to get a chance. But again, (WR) Bradley (Marquez) is coming back, so Bradley will be able to take some of those snaps inside.”

Rams QB Jared Goff – Post Training Camp Practice – August 30, 2016

(On if he has any indication of the amount of playing time he will have against Minnesota, and if he will start the opener)

“I don’t. I’m just going every day and just trying to get better. They’ll tell me what they want to do and when they want to do it. Every day, I’m just out here trying to improve myself. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better over the course of the whole training camp, and I feel like I’ve made really good strides.

(On what areas he’s improved on since the start of camp)

“Just having a grasp of everything, and just understanding how the NFL works as opposed to college. Having an understanding for defenses in the NFL as opposed to college, and just everything overall, just mentally, I think. There’s a lot of stuff that has changed physically as well, but most of it is mental.”

(On the one thing that caught you by surprise regarding the training camp process)

“It’s a lot of things. I don’t think I realized how long, really, the whole training camp process is. I think it may be different for us because we’re here, and we don’t get to break camp. But, it’s just been a really long process, and it seems like forever ago. Like I said last week, that we were showing up for training camp. It’s been long. But again, I’ve just tried to enjoy it all. It hasn’t been too painstaking.”

(On moving into your new home in California)

“I get to go home. I get to sleep in my own bed, and watch tv, and hangout, and decompress for a day or so.”

(On if moving into his new home is a part of his mental approach)

“Yeah, yeah definitely. People do it different ways, everyone is different. Part of my thing is, definitely, you need to kind of get away from it for at least a little bit. You don’t want to spend too much time at home, but you need to relax and get away from it.”

(On what he does to relax)

“Just hanging out in my house, chilling, watching tv. I play video games, yeah. (Play Station 4) PS4. (I play) mainly FIFA; it’s soccer. Again, if I keep playing Madden, I’ll just start getting back into this zone. I love Madden, it’s great. I do love FIFA too.”

(On if the training camp process was as he expected it to be)

“It’s pretty much what I expected. It doesn’t bother me much at all.”

(On if he’s watched Hard Knocks Training Camp)

“Yeah, I saw the first episode and I’ve seen bits and pieces of the second and third.”

(On his thoughts regarding Hard Knocks Training Camp)

“I think it’s been cool. I think it’s something that will be cool for me to watch for a long time, and to show my friends and family forever. It’s on video, it’s documented, I think it’s cool. It’s been a really cool experience. At times, you’re tired of...like right now I’m mic’d up, I’m tired of it. Everything you say, you look up and there’s a microphone. It kind of gets annoying at times, but they’ve been great. They’ve been really awesome, the crew has been awesome, it’s been a good experience.”

(On if starting against Minnesota will be different for him since he’s never started a preseason game)

“If that’s the case, it would be great. It’s something I’m more used to, and kind of getting out there and going in right away as opposed to kind of trying to warm-up the game from the sideline. Whenever it is, I’ll be ready.”

(On if your pregame routine from college differs with his pregame routine during the preseason)

“Pregame pretty much stays the same, as far as how I try to approach it. There’s just that gap, obviously, when (QB) Case (Keenum) is in, to when I have to come in, where I kind of have to fill in and improvise, and kind of stay warm and ready.”

(On if he listens to music before a game)

“Yeah, yeah I do. I try to stay as calm as possible.”

(On what is on his music playlist)

“A lot of stuff, I don’t know, a variety of stuff. There’s country, there’s pop, there’s hip-hop, there’s everything. But really, just try to stay relaxed and comfortable, just mentally lock-in.”

(On how beneficial his preparation will be this week, having faced the Denver defense the previous week)

“Great, very beneficial. Obviously, they’re the defending Super Bowl champions, and their defense is a big reason why. They were really good the other night. We didn’t score a touchdown. Really solid defense, so yeah, this week will definitely help.”

(On if he saw anything from the Denver defense that left him in amazement)

“They ran a lot of zero. I’d seen that before in my life, but not yet in the first two games. But they did run a lot of zero, where they blitz everyone. They do a good job mixing things up; they’re a really good team.”

(On if he was nervous during the Denver game)

“I get nervous before every game. But I don’t think I was any more nervous for that game than I was for the first game or the second game. And really, probably felt even more settled in and more comfortable because of having experienced play time already. So, I really didn’t think about defending Super Bowl champion or anything. Maybe a little bit when I was out there in pregame. Kind of saw the banners and looked around. But after that, it was really just a football game.”

(On if there’s anything he’s looking to add to his résumé)

“Just be consistent with everything. Be consistent, try not to have any mental errors, and try not to have any physical errors, obviously. But try to be as consistent as possible, and again get the ball to the guys so who can make some plays.”

(On how he takes care of his body postgame)

“Ice, sleep, eat, recover.”

(On his go-to postgame meal)

“I’ll eat anything after a game; I’m pretty hungry. We used to get Chick-fil-A, so I used to eat that a lot. I love In-N-Out.”

(On if there’s a quarterback you look forward to playing and meeting in person)

“I think someone asked me this a long time ago, it’s (Tom) Brady. That would be cool to play them in New England. Obviously, grew up watching him and Peyton (Manning) battle for years. Getting a chance to play him and meet him will be great.”