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Transcript: Rams HC Jeff Fisher Recaps Big Win Over Bucs

Here’s what Fish had to say after the Rams’ big Week 3 win.

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher
Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher
Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher

(Opening remarks)

“I think after three weeks, you can tell that every game is different, every game’s a challenge when you’re competing against a different opponent – situations, circumstances are all different and again, this was a great win for us. Looking back at all three phases, they all contributed. I’ll talk first about the offense. It’s great to get points the first drive – that had been a problem the first couple weeks. We scored a lot of points, and we needed to score a lot of points. I was pleased with a lot of things that happened. (QB) Case’s (Keenum) play, you know, for the most part the quarterback position is hard, you’re going to make a mistake – he did, he’d like to have that throw back. It didn’t faze him whatsoever – he made his plays.

“Our run game was effective. One of the better runs I’ve seen in the last 20 years, was (RB) Todd’s (Gurley) run from the 16-yard line down to the one(yard-line) – just an amazing athletic performance there. We did some good things there. Disappointed offensively, with the two turnovers. Some of the hidden things you don’t ordinarily see, (T) Rob Havenstein, his effort on the fumble and making the tackle – they probably score if he doesn’t make that tackle. You look at little things that are contributing factors towards winning, that’s definitely one of them. Then, just the overall offensive play.

“Defensively, we made the plays at the end, we got some stops, we got a defensive score, we got the turnover that we needed. We’re not there yet, you know, we handled the run game. Even though they were depleted injury-wise, I thought we handled their run game pretty well. I think we gave up too many plays down the field, not giant plays, but just filed position changes. We got to keep working at it there. On special teams, they were solid, they were solid. (K) Greg’s (Zuerlein) hitting the ball really well right now – kickoffs and field goals, there was a huge kick for him. Then, with (P) Johnny (Hekker), when we needed the long punt – we needed to change field positions, Johnny hit a great ball there, inside two minutes.

“We came through somewhat healthy. I feel good about it. I mentioned last night, it was a test of wills – it was hot, it was humid, and both teams, you could see the fatigue factor kicking in. Both teams battled, I mean it was not easy. The delay – I don’t know if the delay helped. Obviously, we got through it and we won the game. We were fresh when we came out of that air conditioned locker room – they were fresh, they knew what they needed to do. Despite the rumors out there, from the standpoint of well, we’re an indoor team the last five years and we’re not used to the weather – well, last time we were down there, we went through the same weather delay, so we’ve been through that. We handled it the same way we handled it a couple years ago down there. Keep the players informed, give them some time to recharge, we have plenty of time to go offense and defense, and to regroup and plan all those scenarios that were potentially going to happen – we would’ve found a way to win it. It was a great effort by (DE) Rob (Quinn) – that’s what it takes. We we’re back-to-back wins where we needed a defensive play to win it, and we got it. Obviously last week, got it out of (Linebacker) Alec (Ogletree) and we got a great play out of Rob. We’re onto the next opponent.

(On Case Keenum’s success with the play action pass the last couple of weeks)

“When you say play-action, it’s run-action. People are respecting our run game and they’re starting there. We’re spinning off of that, and that’s what you have to do. In order to have success, especially against this defense, it’s got to be a big part of our game plan.”

(On how difficult it is to manage the defensive line with limited personnel)

“It was difficult. (Defensive Coordinator) Gregg (Williams) and I talked, and we had some other packages. We had a three-man line package. We brought some extra DB’s in. Fortunately, the game was such where they weren’t just pounding the ball, or running the ball. So, we tried to give an ever-changing look, but it was not easy for the defensive line. You guys know I have have total respect for (DE) Will Hayes, there’s no way he should’ve returned. Will was in the locker room with the ankle injury, and when (DE) Eugene (Sims) walked in the locker room after being ejected, Will just said, ‘I have to go out. I got to go.’ So, he came out and helped us.”

(On if that was the most he had to shuffle the defensive line in various positions)

“In a long time, yeah. When you take into consideration that (DT) Aaron (Donald) got so many snaps at both ends, and then (DE) Ethan (Westbrooks) is playing both side, and moving down inside to rush, and (DT) Dominique (Easley) played really well, it was really good to see him. We needed him. He needed to step up, because we needed to bounce Aaron outside, and he played really well inside. It was a tremendous effort there. Again, if you look at the tape, and you go to the fourth quarter, and you’re watching the effort and the intensity, the intensity is there. The effort is not quite there, just because of the fatigue factor on both sides. They were there, they did what they needed to do.”

(On being in first place in the NFC West and starting the season off fast)

“Do the playoffs start next week? Everybody wants to start fast, and we didn’t. We didn’t start well three weeks ago, but we found a way the last couple of weeks. Again, our focus is on, rightfully so, it’s Arizona, and their focus is on us right now. We have a lot of things to correct. We gave the players some time off because of the travel, and just the length of the weekend. We’ll find our time to get things corrected as we start to implement the game plan. You really, in this business, you have to go on to the next one. Just keep improving, stress improvement. Fortunately for us, we’re better off than a lot of other teams from an injury factor right now. We’re not 100 percent, but we’ll get as many guys as we can back.”

(On the decision-making process of going for the two-point conversion in the fourth quarter)

“We were up by 11, which in my brain is three scores: it’s touchdown, two-point conversion, and a field goal. What I want to do is, I want to try to get to 13. I was thinking if I can just get to 13, because if I got to 13, then that’ll put pressure on their place kicker for two scores, because he’d been struggling.”

(On how close Todd Gurley is to breaking off a big run)

“I said last week that he was really close – if you watch it, he’s really close, he was even closer than really close. We’re fine there, we’ll be alright. Now, granted, we have a big challenge this week in their run defense. He made some runs that were spectacular – just short plays, things that weren’t there and eh found them. Again, that run, that 15-and-a-half-yard run was pretty special. He feels good, we’re getting a sense that there’s more and more each week – commitment on behalf of the defense to stopping him, but we’re still finding ways. The 100-yard games and those kind of things, they’ll come. But right now, he’s a major part of our offense – as is, as we talked about at the start of the season – as is (WR) Tavon (Austin). Tavon was very productive for us.”

(On where the offensive line is on run blocking and pass blocking as his level of happiness with it)

“We’re getting better, we’re improving. I think Rob is playing really well, having not had much of an offseason at all, he’s been really solid. (T) Greg (Robinson) played well. You’re going to have moments, there’s going to be some moments when the defense slants, or slants a linebacker in a run-scheme, sometimes it’s hard to adjust. You’re going to have some moments, but I think our offensive line has handled things pretty well – especially last week against that defense and this week in difficult weather conditions. In addition to that, against a defense that has got some players – great speed at linebacker, both 58 (Kwon Alexander) and 54 (Lavonte David) can really run. And then the big tackle (Gerald McCoy) was a handful and I thought we handled it.”

(On his thoughts when Tavon Austin decided to return the kickoff late in the fourth quarter)

“It’s a real difficult decision that he has to make from his standpoint. We were crowding the kick line because we’re expecting an onside kick. So, you have the potential for the bloop kicks that go over your line, so we brought him up to the 20 or 25-yard-line. Anticipating that kick, you have to make a decision, but that ball went over his head and he was tracking the ball and didn’t know where he was. I think, in retrospect, if he had to do it all over again, you just let the ball hit and go in the end zone and recover it. He’s a good decision-maker and he’s very sensitive and he takes it serious. He lost perspective of where he was, he was concerned that the ball would hit and not come out of the end zone, so he caught it and turned around. It’s just kind of one of those plays that happens in a game. In retrospect, it probably would have been better to let the ball hit and field it on the bounce. We had a hands team up there that’s not our kickoff return, these are skill guys ready to field any type of onside kick scenario. So you’re not going to get the blocking, so they’re going to be down there quicker than you think. It’s just kind of one of those things. Fortunately, it worked out.”

(On what happened with DE Eugene Sims when he got ejected)

“There was some stuff that was going on up front, we were aware. Their offensive line is well-coached, they finish. There’s a little extra stuff that goes on, there was some stuff going on. It wasn’t a defensive play, it was a post-extra point and something was said and he retaliated. No place for it, no place for it at all. He knows, he was remorseful after the game, apologized to his teammates, apologized to me. It’s going to be addressed tomorrow. It falls under that category of the pre-snap and post-snap penalties that you just can’t have. We’re on pace, right now, from a penalty standpoint – it doesn’t look good. We’ve addressed and we’ll continue to address it. Pre-snap, post-snap, you eliminate those were fine, those were under our control. As I told the staff, I can’t remember, in my career, having a defensive player ejected – let alone, we’ve had two in three weeks. That stuff has to stop.”

(On the status of CB E.J. Gaines and when he expects him to return)

“Really good chance this week. We’re going to see how he does tomorrow and see how he does Wednesday. He’s feeling good, which is good for the defense.”

(On if anything came out of their first cross-country trip that was different)

“It’s the win, it’s being able to take that trip and come away with a win. I don’t know if you were aware or not aware, but we were delayed because of mechanical reasons leaving for an hour-and-a-half, almost two hours – we got there really late, then we had the walk-thru. Then you have the weather delay, it’s just all those things. To win on the road, you have to take that mentality – it doesn’t matter what happens, we’re going to play, we have to go out and beat our opponent. Big win, big road win for us.”

(On if he will watch the presidential debate tonight)

“Probably not, I’ll probably be game planning against Arizona.”

(On how close WRs Pharoh Cooper and Nelson Spruce were to playing on Sunday)

“They’ll be back on the field this week, we’ll just see how they do.”

(On if TE Tyler Higbee is a guy he would like to involve more in the offense and if there’s anything Higbee needs to do to get more involved)

“He’s learning every week. He’s getting better each week. He’s participating on special teams. We have his as a ‘starter’ when we go our 12-personnel with two tight ends, he starts the game, so he’s in there with (TE) Lance (Kendricks) then ‘Hark’ (TE Cory Harkey) comes in when we change personnel groupings. He’s coming on, he’ll make some plays for us.”

(On how close DE Robert Quinn is to being the guy he was before his injury)

“He’s there, he’s back. Our opponents understand that, too. So when Robert lines up and there’s a tight end next to him and he’s chipping or the back chips him before he goes out, they understand that. They’re trying to neutralize his rush skills. We have to continue to evolve defensively, to create positions where we can create one-on-ones.”