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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay, OC Matt LaFleur talk injuries ahead of Week 12 clash with New Orleans Saints

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Here’s what the coaches said today after the Rams’ final Week 12 tune-up.

Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff and New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees
Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff and New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(Opening Remarks)

“For practice today, (RB) Malcolm Brown did not participate. He will be out for the game. (RB) Lance Dunbar was limited, he’s questionable. (CB) Nickell (Robey-Coleman) did not participate, he’ll be doubtful for the game. (WR) Robert Woods didn’t participate, he’ll be out. (LB) Bryce Hager was full, he’s questionable and then (DT) Aaron (Donald) was limited, but he’ll be good to go. Other than that, we’re in good shape.”

(On CB Kayvon Webster’s status)

“He was a full participant and he’ll be good to go.”

(On what changes if Dunbar is unable to go on Sunday)

“Dunbar – well he’s not out, he’s questionable. Malcolm Brown is out. If he’s out it doesn’t really change much, (WR) Tavon (Austin) is a guy that we’re going to get more involved. That’s something that you look at yourself, didn’t do that enough. He’s definitely going to be utilized in this game, he’s a part of the game plan and it will be a variety of ways, so it’ll be good. If Lance isn’t good then (RB) Justin Davis will be asked to step up and he’s done some good things this week, so that’s kind of what the option would be if Lance isn’t able to go.”

(On what he wants to see out of QB Jared Goff this week)

“I think it’s just continuing to make good decisions. It sounds monotonous, but it really is true. Playing efficient at the quarterback spot is first about great decision-making and that involves the run game, the pass game, timing and rhythm when we are dropping back and throwing the football and then the accuracy and the anticipation. But, I think he’s done a good job of managing the game so far, commanding the huddle, getting in and out, the communication both verbally and visually. So, just want to see him continue to take steps and have that ownership of the offense like I think he’s demonstrated.”

(On what is different between the Goff he saw on tape against New Orleans last year and the Goff that he has seen this year)

“It’s tough to say because all you’re able to really evaluate are just the physical traits and characteristics. But, going back to that game last year, I think some of the more impressive plays that he did make was against the Saints. You see him get to a max protection, he ends up hitting Tavon for a touchdown versus a max blitz that they brought – made a couple throws where he’s moving off a different platform, he’s hitting backs, keeping his eyes downfield and taking shots. Those are the things that you’re encouraged about, is his ability to change his arm angle, make all the throws, but then also the toughness to stand in there, not watch the rush, keep your eyes down the field and deliver the ball in the face of pressure. As far as just some of the things that he was being asked to do, I can’t really speak on that, but just continuing to get to know him, the thing that comes up over and over again is that just even-keeled demeanor, that mental toughness and I think that’s going to serve him well and I think that’s why you feel really good about Jared as your quarterback.”

(On his team not scoring an offensive touchdown in the first quarter of a game in the Coliseum this season)

“I did not know that. We’ve got to have a better start then. Yeah, you’re right because really if you think about it, even when we went against Seattle we turned the ball over on that first drive. Anytime that you play against a great team like this, it’s about playing four quarters and we’ve got to come out from start to finish. You always talk about finishing games, but especially against a team like this where they have no weaknesses, coming in on an eight-game win streak we don’t have the ability to start slow in any phase of our team as a whole. It’s going to be very important for us to try and get on the board and make sure that we maximize every drive that we get.”

(On how he feels about WRs Josh Reynolds and Mike Thomas heading into Sunday)

“I feel good. I think they’ve had a good week of preparation. I think (Rams Wide Receivers) Coach (Eric) Yarber and (Rams Assistant Wide Receivers) Coach (Zac) Taylor have done a nice job really getting that group ready as a whole, so we’ll kind of have all of those guys that are going to be up and active will get an opportunity to play and compete and contribute and if the week of preparation is any indicator, we feel confident in those guy’s ability to step up and make some plays when their number is called.”

(On where Goff ranks in terms of throwing ability of the quarterbacks that he has worked with)

“Yeah, I think it’s tough to say. I think I’ve been very fortunate where I’ve been around some really good ones. Just working some of those guys in Washington. I think (Redskins QB) Kirk (Cousins) does a great job being able to speed up his release, make all his throws and same thing with (Redskins QB) Colt McCoy, extremely accurate, good anticipation and I really think Jared is very similar. When you say the word arm talent, there is different types of levels. But, what you’re looking for and this goes back to something that I heard (Hall of Fame Head) Coach (Bill) Walsh say is you want to see a guy that throws a catchable ball. If he needs to speed it up, that’s what he needs to do to fit it in a tight window, but you also want to see guys give people a chance to run after the catch. The idea isn’t to try to throw it as hard you can every single play and I think guys that have a feel for the game understand the different trajectories, velocities that – different types of throws. I think that’s where his feel for the game does show up and it’s why you feel pretty good about him. So, I think it’s more along the lines of, there’s no limitations and he’s got a good understanding of how to utilize that arm talent appropriately, based on the situation.”

OC Matt LaFleur

(On how New Orleans’s offensive scheme is different from the Rams’ scheme)

“To be honest with you, I haven’t had a lot of interaction with their offense this season, but I know from seeing them the past couple of years they do a great job of giving the defense a lot of different things in terms of the passing game. Quick game screens and then they’re going to take their shots down the field, so you have to be well aware. (Saints QB) Drew (Brees) is as good as anybody in football at manipulating coverage and opening up holes I the defense. But in regards to what we do, I think we try to do a lot of the same things in terms of just trying to keep that defense off balance.”

(On if the anticipation of this game being a shootout changes his approach to be more aggressive)

“I think we’re always trying to score as many points as we can. So, I mean obviously we know that each possession is going to be absolutely critical in this game. But I think that is the case almost every week. You never quite know what you need to score, but every time we get the ball, the goal is to end with points.”

(On if he has ever seen an offense that starts faster on the road)

“To be honest with you, that’s a great question. I haven’t really thought about it. But our mentality, our mindset is pretty much the same every week. So, we’re going to go out there – we want to attack and put pressure on the defense whether we’re home or away. Typically, I would say that it’s a little more difficult on the road to get the production, but that’s because you’ve got to deal with all the crowd noise.”

(On what he wants to see out of QB Jared Goff this week)

“I think just another clean game. I think just kind of hitting on last week a little bit, we were stuck in a lot of third-down and long situations. So our first down efficiency, our second down efficiency. I think it’s going to be critical in this game, because when we have gotten into those third and manageable situations, I think we’ve been lights out – done a great job. That’s one of the reasons I think we’re near the top of the league in third down percentage. But it really comes back to first and second down. Specifically, for Jared, just another clean game. We’ve got to take care of the ball. We know that when we do take care of the ball, I think we’re 7-0 and when we don’t – when we lose that number on the turnover battle, we’re 0-3. There’s definitely no secrets there.”

(On what he notices this year about the New Orleans Saints that’s different from years past)

“In regards to their defense? Specifically, they’ve done a great job. I know last couple years they’ve struggled a little bit, but this year they’re doing a fantastic job. Really holding the offenses down. Their offense has done a great job too. They’ve gotten up on a lot of people and kind of chocked them out so, we know it’s going to be another great challenge. They’ve got a lot of good and a lot of new defenders on that defense. Some of the things they’ve done schematically, (Saints Defensive Coordinator) Dennis Allen – got a lot of respect for him. He’s done a great job. It’s going to be a great challenge – got to make sure we deal with that front and (DE) Cameron Jordan, great player. So, it’ll be a great challenge for us on Sunday.”

(On what the priorities are in the red zone that they have prioritized)

“That’s always the magic question. I think it really comes down, again, similar to wherever you are on the field – being efficient on first and second down. We need positive plays. We cannot afford to go backwards. You go backwards down there, it’s tough sledding. So, first and second down are critical. We’re getting in, again, whether it’s third-down and goal, inside the five – you need those opportunities for more short yardage situations, so that you don’t always have to throw the ball into the end zone too. I think that’s big. Getting the run game going is going to be critical to our success.”