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Transcript: Rams Talk Arizona Prep

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Fish, Gregg Williams and Todd Gurley discussed Week 4.

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher
Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher

(On the health of the team)

“It’s in good shape. The only one that we didn’t have on the field this week was (DE) Will Hayes. He’ll be a game-time decision. Everybody else was good.”

(On the biggest difference between facing a mobile quarterback, than a pocket passer)

“He’s been in the pocket his whole career. He’s been very, very effective, and he’s won a lot of games over his career in the pocket. Believe it or not, he can move in the pocket. He’s not stationary there, he’s got a good sense, and he always keeps his eyes down field. We have to collapse the pocket as quickly as we can. Fortunately for (QB) Carson (Palmer), unfortunately for us, he’s tall, he can see. So, he knows what’s going on down the field, and he makes the right decisions. He’s got some great targets too.”

(On if the team senses how big of a game this is)

“Yeah, they get a feel for it. Last week was big, and the week before, every one is big. But yeah, this is a division game. We know them really well. They’re coming off a rough loss and a road trip, and they’re going to be ready. Every one is a challenge. The philosophy against these guys, and anybody for that matter, don’t watch the scoreboard, just play, just play. We’ll tell them what the score is halftime or the third quarter, just keep playing. You can’t get consumed with negative plays. They’re going to make some big plays, and we’re going to make some big plays. You expect this thing to come down to the end, as most of them do.”

(On his thoughts of the game at Arizona last season)

“It started off rough, as it always does against them in the run game. Fortunately for us, we scored points, and we were able to stay with the run game in the second half. That’s when we broke out and he made most of his plays, and then the four-minute run which was extraordinary. They didn’t let him do it the next time around. We came back again in September, and we didn’t play well. We had some injuries, and they got that thing fixed. They gave up some runs at Buffalo last weekend. They’re going to be determined not to give up any big plays, so we’re going to have to block better than we have.”

(On his philosophy behind the new kickoff rule change)

“I think it changes week-to-week. It really depends on the return concepts, what we think of their return scheme and their blockers, their returner. But given the choice, I much rather knock someone, or block here down on the 15-yard line, than just bring the ball out of the end zone and put them on the 25 (-yard line). It’s going to be an important game for us field-position wise.”

(On what will WR Pharoh Cooper bring to the offense, once he’s healthy enough to play)

“Hopefully, some first downs; that’s the big thing. Going out and catching first downs. He’s shown, since he’s been here, that he’s pretty effective in the plus territory. First downs and touchdowns would be great if he’s up.”

Def. Coord. Gregg Williams

(On how the secondary has performed so far)

“Those guys play every week, they scramble hard. I’m really pleased with how (defensive backs coach) Brandon (Fisher) and (secondary coach) Dennard (Wilson) are coaching them. I’ve been around both those guys for so long and it’s fun for me to hear those coaches take some raw and sometimes young projects and teach them to play the way we want them to play – because we play very aggressive secondary concepts and stuff. Those guys have grown a lot, (CB) Troy (Hill) has come in here and battled for a spot, (DB) Coty’s (Sensabaugh) still battling and E.J. (Gaines), it’s going to be fun to see if he answers the bell this week – the head coach will make the determination – it’s been a while since he’s played. He had a really good camp, I like him a lot, I know an awful lot about him from the high school he grew up in, in the same conference that I grew up in back over in Kansas City. It’ll be fun to see those guys play. But the safeties have really come a long way, also. And all those guys, they have their work cut out for them when we are able to play the run aggressively and force you to throw the ball 58 times in a game. You can get hung up on all the analytics you want, but when you force somebody to throw it 58 times in a game, it’s because they can’t run it. And those guys have a lot of heat on them at all times, and this league is a throwing league. There are some teams that’ll still try to pound you – one of them is coming up – the Arizona Cardinals, I have so much respect for (Cardinals head coach) Bruce Arians, I’ve gone against him for so many different years at so many different spots and I’ve been at so many different spots. We’re going to have to play the run really hard and they’ve got a quarterback that can take shots on you down the field.”

(On defensive back being a thankless job with the cards stacked against you)

“In a lot of ways in the league and also in the interpretation of the rules. The more physical you are, the better you are – they’ll come up with a new rule next year because everybody wants to see the ball thrown more.”

(On what becomes the measuring stick)

“The measuring stick is this, it’s that points allowed. And we have to do a good job, we have to make a few more field goals happen down in the red zone. The first game, third game, we didn’t do as well there as we would like to do, but they played very aggressively. When you make an earned play – those guys get paid, too – and when they make tight throws, some of the quarterbacks in our league, and we’ve played against some good ones already, can make the tight throws and uncover the receivers against very good leverage that our defensive backs are playing with – (Cardinals QB) Carson Palmer is one of those guys.”

(On the Cardinals’ receiver group)

“Outstanding. They’ve good deep speed and a future Hall of Famer in (WR) Larry Fitzgerald – he can uncover against any kind of coverage, and he plays basketball on grass. He does a very good job and Carson trusts him so much, to be able to uncover on whatever coverage you are running. Even in double situations, when you double that guy, he’s still able to get open in those situations. They’ve got a good mix, they’ve got a good plan, they’ve got a good conceptual plan on how Bruce wants them to play in the offensive philosophy and we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

(On what is says about DT Aaron Donald that he can play defensive end and still play very well)

“He played all four positions for us last week, really. And let’s talk about seven positions – because we have four positions when we have four D-linemen out there and we have three other positions when we have our three-down packages. He played in all seven of those spots last week, that’s the kind of guy you want. And I’ve said this before, every single player on defense has to play a primary position and backup position, he played a backup in seven different positions, and that speaks volumes for him. He didn’t even bat an eye, he got out there and played for us and played very strong in those areas. People want to get hung up on the sacks part of it, that will come. He is such a good football player, he can do so many things I can’t even coach. He’s so intelligent, he gives us a lot of pitches to be able to throw out there and he helped us in some tough situations at the D-line – injury position and then we lost one on an ejection. It was pretty good that he did that.”

(On what getting pressure on a team that throws a deep ball does)

“You would like to say this – and our guys get tired of hearing me say – that rush and coverage work hand-in-hand. The first thing I look at on a deep ball is not the defensive back, I look at the rush, that’s the very first person I blame. A defensive back that has to cover somebody 45, 50 yards down the field and a D-lineman has a one-on-one rush – in some cases, maybe he’s doubled – but there’s somebody that’s up there that had a one-on-rush for five steps. No, no, no, no, I look at the rush first over the deep coverage concepts, that’s how we play defense, hand-in-hand. We have to do a better job at that, and we’ve done pretty good, we’ve eliminated a lot of shots last week. (Buccaneers QB) Jameis Winston had been taking a ton of shots. How many shots did he take against us? I’ll tell you, none. But Carson and Bruce will do a good job, and we’re going to have to handle that situation.”

RB Todd Gurley

(On last year’s game against Arizona – first career start):

“First start, yeah. First win. Gave up a touchdown. It was a good game. It was my first start and we were on the road, division opponent – we went in there and we won. It was a good feeling for sure.”

(On whether he was nervous prior to his first career start against Arizona last year)

“Not really. I had played the week before, got like six carries. I was just so anxious to get back on the field, because I went for like six carries for nine yards. So, I was just ready to play again, try to redeem myself.”

(On how much closer he felt to busting a long run in last week’s game against Tampa Bay, versus how he felt in the first two games)

“Definitely, I felt like stuff got going – definitely in the second half. There’s always that, you’re just so close, you just got to stay patient and hopefully, it’ll come soon. It’s definitely been opening up.”

(On whether that 15 – yard run he had last year against Arizona, ranks up with the better ones he’s had in his career thus far)

“Probably like top 10.”

(On whether it would’ve been higher if he had got a touchdown)

“Yeah, it probably would’ve been top five, if I got the touchdown.”

(On what he sees when he watches that run on film)

“Just good balance. Just able to keep myself up with my arm, doing pop-up drills. Just hard running and of course, (WR) Tavon (Austin) blocking his tail off for me, definitely saw that. Hopefully, I can get some more runs like that this week.”

(On why the Cardinals’ defense is so hard to run against)

“They’re just physical. They have great linebackers, great defensive lineman, and their DB’s can tackle –they want to tackle, and they have great ball skills. They’re just a great overall defense. They come with a lot of blitzes.”

(On whether Arizona is a defense that if you get past the first level you can go all the way)

“Yeah, if the Honey Badger (S Tyrann Mathieu) doesn’t come to get you or ‘Pat P’ (CB Patrick Peterson), he’s fast as well. They have some players, for sure – (DT) Calais (Campbell), ‘Pat P’, (LB Kevin) Minter – a lot of guys that can play different positions. That’s what makes them unique.”

(On what he remembers about Arizona’s four minute drill during last year’s game)

“Like I said, going down on that touchdown, I could’ve got it, but you know, just wanting to get out of there, and get in victory formation. But it’s definitely a good feeling, be in it for a minute – running the ball, able to get first downs at the end of the game. That’s what it’s all about. We didn’t get a chance to do that last week –hopefully, we can do it again this week.”