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Transcript: Rams HC Jeff Fisher On Vin Scully, QB Case Keenum On Week 4

“He’s a legend in my mind.”

Los Angeles Rams HC Jeff Fisher
Los Angeles Rams HC Jeff Fisher
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher

(Opening remarks)

“Well you can see how fast the days go by, and the weeks go by in our business. Really good day today. We backed down a little bit, just because of what we went through Sunday late afternoon. Players are offtomorrow. We’ll see most of them, and we’ll finish up strong on Friday. We’ve got a great opponent, very well-coached team, all three phases. We know each other very well. It’s going to come down to making some plays. The plan is going in well. Come Sunday, it’s going to be in the players’ hands. I like our chances.”

(On if he reminded the players that they’re facing the defending NFC West Champions)

“The players know that, they know that. Year after year it’s either Seattle or Arizona or San Francisco. They know that, they know we also have a great opportunity to play one of the best teams in ball, based on the way they played last year, and they’re playing well. The division is not at stake right now, it’s just the outcome that we’re dedicated to.”

(On how to get RB Todd Gurley going, and the role he plays in freeing up the passing game)

“They witnessed it as well. They’re going to do everything they can so it doesn’t happen again, and we have to find a way. Obviously, Todd’s production in this game is going to be important towards having a chance to win. We’re going to have to get him involved, and keep him involved throughout the game. That game there, I think it was Week 4, he was involved until the end. The game-breaker was the big run where he took a knee, and all that. But, we can’t let this game become one-dimensional. That’s going to be up to our offense, and our defense, and our special teams.”

(On his thoughts regarding the new kickoff rule of bringing the ball out to the 25-yard line)

“I got off the committee this offseason, so this rule change was made after I got off the committee.”

(On if he game plans around making sure kickoffs stay out the end zone, to ensure a return)

“Any time you change a rule like that there, what the competition committee refers to is there’s going to be unintended consequences. So, you don’t know until you go through it. My understanding is it’s just for a year, and we’ll see. But, that’s a discussion that I would’ve had, had I been there, is that we may just increase the number of kickoffs. You just bang the ball out of the back of the end zone, the ball is on the 25-yard line. Especially if you got kickers now with hang time, they can drop the ball a couple yards deep and entice the returner to come out, or on the goal line, and you got a good cover scheme, you can knock people down inside the 20-yard line. So, you gain the field position advantage. But I haven’t seen the numbers, so I don’t know where the numbers are after three weeks.”

(On if game planning around the kickoff rule change is something he’s discussed with the team)

“That’s a competitive issue. I’ll say maybe (laughter).”

(On if he’s seen a shift in the team’s confidence from Week 1 to now)

“No, I don’t. There was disappointment after Week 1, but we pulled them out of it. That’s what we’re most proud of right now. There’s no lack of confidence at all. They have confidence in each other and they’re playing together. I think that’s carried us through the last couple weeks.”

(On his relationship with Cardinals QB Carson Palmer)

“I just have great respect for him, wherever he’s been. He had some great years there at Cincinnati. There was that, ‘What if’ that was kind of that defining moment there on whether he was going to play or not, and then he got a chance to go to Oakland, and now he’s found a great home with (Head Coach) Bruce (Arians) there, and great people around him. He’s highly competitive, and every time we play them it’s quite a challenge.”

(On how important it is to limit a high-powered offense, like Arizona, to field goals when defending the red zone)

“Any time you play an offense like this, it’s like the old Peyton Manning days. You have to take the approach that field goals are a win for your defense. The ball is going to get pushed down the field, you got to keep them out of the end zone – a field goal is a win. So when you take that approach, you have to counter it with touchdowns to have a chance to beat them.”

(On his thoughts regarding Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully)

“Yeah, I got a chance to send him a voice-over. My memories of Vin were the hot summer nights here in the Valley and that little AM radio…it was actually wood…and it just had a volume, and you had to move the dial. But listening to him on the summer nights, going to sleep listening to the broadcast with (Ron) Cey, (Steve) Garvey, and (Bill) Russell, and (Davey) Lopes, that was my era growing up. He’s had a fabulous career. I understand that his last comments on the final home game was a walk-off. How appropriate is that for him? He’s a legend in my mind.”

(On if he knew that walk-off home run occurred during the lightening delay in Tampa)

“I did not know that, no. Wow, there’s a lot of things going on (laughter).”

Offensive Coordinator Rob Boras

(On if he saw some improvement on Sunday from previous weeks)

“Yeah, like I said a week ago, it was another step. I think it was a step in the right direction. There’s a lot of positives that we’re going to try to build on. And just like any time you play a game, there’s a lot of things there that were mistakes or things that we left out there that we know we can do better. It was, again, a step, probably a bigger step than it was the week before and we’re going to continue to get better.”

(On if there are times when he’s watching film of RB Todd Gurley and he’s just missing a big run seemingly by an inch)

“The cliché that it’s a game of inches has been around for a long time for a reason. There’s a lot of those where you can see whether it’s a couple inches or a foot, whatever it is, where it’s a potential to being an explosive run. We’re just going to be patient with it and they’re going to come. Again, that one run he had down in the low redzone that he took from the 16 (yard-line) down to the one was about as good of a 15-yard run as I think you’re ever going to see. I think, again, as effective as he was, it’s going to continue to get better for us.”

(On if seeing Gurley being that close to a big run gives him hope that it’s just around the corner)

“Sure, and we’ve seen it in the past and we’re going to see it again sooner than later. He is as talented of a runner as I’ve ever been around and we’re going to continue to get better in the run game blocking and he’s going to make his decisions. There’s going to be some good things that are going to happen for us.”

(On possibly being two games ahead of Arizona in the standings with a win this week)

“There’s a lot of football left, though. That’s all you can do is play the game that’s in front of you and you can’t look ahead. We’ve played three games, we’ve got a lot more to go, so we’re going to take this one and then we’ll move on to whoever we have next and see what happens.”

(On the importance of potentially being two games above .500 after Sunday)

“Yeah, again, anytime you can get above .500 is a great thing. Again, there’s a lot of football left, the guys know it and we’re focusing on Arizona right now. Once we focus on Arizona, then we’ll move onto the next one. Anytime you win, it’s really good, I’m not trying to belittle it, we just have to focus on this game in front of us right now.”

(On what is holding TE Tyler Higbee back after having a strong preseason)

“Tyler is playing probably between 22 and 30 snaps a game, so he’s getting on the field. He hasn’t had the targets, really, since the San Fran game and that’s not necessarily always by design, either, it’s just the progression of where the ball is going. He’s getting better. Again, as a former tight end coach, the success of a tight end is not always based on receptions, there’s a lot of other things that we ask him to do. On the touchdown pass to (WR) Tavon (Austin) in the fourth quarter, Tyler was in protecting. For a guy that used to be a converted wide receiver, he had a big block in protection because (TE) Lance (Kendricks) wasn’t on the field. I know we all want to see catches, but there’s a lot more things that tight ends do and we’re pleased with the direction that Tyler’s going.”

(On if it was a relief to get the team’s first touchdown last week)

“We knew it was coming.”

(On Todd Gurley’s breakout game last year against the Cardinals and things Arizona might look at on film to prevent)

“Any time you play a team in your conference like we have with Seattle a couple weeks ago and now with Arizona, we know each other. They do what they do, we do what we do. They know what we do and we know what they do. Again, it’s just trusting the process and you’re going to try to window dress some things, but we’re going to run our plays and try to take advantage of what we think we can do to spring not only Todd, but (RB) Benny (Cunningham) or in the pass game, to have our success as well.”

(On how big it was, confidence-wise for QB Case Keenum that the first touchdown was scored on a long pass)

“Obviously, it’s going to help confidence. I don’t care if it was a one-yard pass or a 44-yard pass. Anytime you score a touchdown is a good thing. All of us and, again, being the first drive of the game, we’ve scored twice in a row now, with a field goal against Seattle and a touchdown (against Tampa Bay). When you can start fast, and this time with a touchdown, it gives everybody confidence and it lets everybody play a little more confident and hopefully a little faster and go out there. The fact that it was a long one is great, but the fact that we scored, however it was, was more important.”

(On if he has any direct communication with Keenum on the sidelines)

“I can talk a couple different ways. We have a headset down there or I can talk to him – I can pick up the telephone or just talk through (quarterbacks) coach (Chris) Weinke to get to him.”

(On if he had any message for him after Keenum’s interception)

“You just have to play, there’s a lot of football left. We all saw what happened, obviously a mistake, but we also knew there was a lot of football left and you have got to play the next play. And that’s what, I think, he did and the rest of the team did – you had a play the next play and we moved on.”

(On if it is a big accomplishment to possibly be 3-1 with three of the first four games on the road)

“Yeah, I think our guys are getting more confident right now. To start like that would be great. The thing is, as we all know, there was still a lot of things that we want to get better at and that’s the challenge. The new challenges are now we are playing the Arizona Cardinals, who are a really good football team. To get to 3-1, again, would be great, but we have to focus on playing the game and see what happens. Arizona is a very talented football team.”

(On how Arizona’s aggressiveness on defense impacts what the offense is going to try to do)

“Like I said, they are a very good defense, they are aggressive with their pressures. Again, we’re just going to have to do what we do. We’re anticipating the pressure and we’re going to have some answers for it and see if we can take advantage of some of those.”

(On if there is anything he notices that Arizona is doing differently this year)

“Everybody has the wrinkles. Just like, I think when they look at us, offensively, they’re going to see some things we do different. And that’s why you have an offseason and OTAs and training camp, so there’s always a couple things that you see. It’s still the Arizona Cardinals’ defense when you see it.”

Rams Quarterback Case Keenum

(On executing on offense – scoring four touchdowns)

“We executed – we executed in crucial situations. I think two of them were on third downs. Getting down to the red zone even with negative plays, you know, we overcame those things. Got in goal line situations, let 30 (RB Todd Gurley) do what 30 does.”

(On whether it is a big step offensively)

“It’s a step. I think each week is. We’re trying to get better. I think for us, it’s not something that we dwell on, not scoring touchdowns. Maybe you guys probably did a little more than we did – just a little bit. That’s something we came here to do, and we’re all used to doing, everybody in that meeting room, we’re used to scoring touchdowns. It felt normal, felt right, felt good.”

(On how it felt, from a confidence standpoint, getting the first touchdown on a long pass)

“Awesome. It was fun. Anytime you score touchdowns – I tend to get pretty juiced up. Especially, when you throw them. On a third down conversion to have, my guy (WR Brian) Quick, make a big play down the field, it felt really good.”

(On the biggest difference between the first game against the 49ers and last Sundays games against the Buccaneers)

“There’s a lot of differences. You can look on film – we just executed on third down. I think we met our goal on third down, we still had some plays that could be made. Like I said, we got better. There’s still room to grow, which in my mind is a really good spot to be in, that we can get better – we played well. ”

(On what it would mean to potentially be 3-1 after Sunday’s game against Arizona)

“Anytime you win in this league it’s big. Each time you do win, it makes the next win that much bigger. So, you might be asking me the same question next week – I hope you are, you know, for 4-1. Thats why we have the mindset of just going 1-0 that week, and focusing on that week. You can’t really think about what’s happened, you can’t really think too much about what’s ahead – you got to think about this week. There’s enough on our plate this week to think about the magnitude of things.”

(On what stands out regarding the Cardinals defensively after not getting the chance to face them last season)

“No, I was not playing. But, obviously studied them and was a part of the game plan process. I mean, it’s the Cardinals defense. They’re really good – they got a lot of players. Front end, it’s one of the best in the league, with (DT Calais) Campbell spearheading it up there in front – (LB Deone) Bucannon, those backers are really good too. Then obviously, a guy you’ve probably heard of, Patrick Peterson back there and the honey badger (S Tyrann Mathieu) too, they’re all over the place. We got our work cut out for us, identifying fronts and coverages – knowing where they’re lined up. Then, obviously, not just knowing – knowing how to execute and how to win. How to win certain plays, get first downs. We got our work cut out for us. It’s a big challenge.”

(On Patrick Peterson being a player to always be aware of – identifying where he is at all times)

“Yeah, for sure. With these guys though, you kind of have to know where they all are. I mean, they can all make plays, they can all do really, really good things. Obviously, 21 makes a lot of plays and he’s around the ball a lot, he’s definitely a guy we’re going to have our eye on. ”

(On getting into a rhythm rather than thinking about things too much – doing what he’s seeing)

“I think so. I think I’m getting better. That’s what I’ve got to do, that’s what I concentrate on, is getting better. I think getting out of my own way at times has really helped. I think just trusting – trusting what I’m seeing, trusting my guys. I think we’re on a good path right now and I want to continue that.”

(On getting out of his own way)

“It’s like I said before, thinking too much, not trusting my instincts, not letting myself play football, handcuffing myself from seeing too much or seeing too little.”