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TRANSCRIPT: LA Rams HC Sean McVay, QB Jared Goff prepare for Week 13 NFC West clash

Here’s what the duo had to say to the media today.

Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff
Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff
Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(Opening Remarks)

“From an injury standpoint, guys that did not participate with their typical rest – (T Andrew) Whitworth and (C John) Sullivan, (LB) Mark Barron as well. (CB) Kayvon Webster did not participate with his ankle, (WR) Josh Reynolds with an ankle, (WR) Robert Woods with his shoulder, (TE) Tyler Higbee with an illness. (RB) Malcolm Brown, (CB) Nickell (Robey-Coleman) and (RB) Lance Dunbar were all limited with obviously Malcolm’s knee, Lance’s knee and then Nickell’s thigh, so good shape there.”

(On what has been the biggest difference for him this season as a head coach as opposed to previous seasons as an offensive coordinator)

“That’s a good question. I think the biggest thing is just the amount of time that you spend with some non-football related things. They do a great job here with just the amount of people, different help whether it be (Rams General Manager) Les (Snead), (Rams Senior Director of Communications) Artis (Twyman), (Director/Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott), (Rams Head of Strength and Conditioning) Ted (Rath) – just being kind of involved in every phase of what’s going on in the building. But, we’ve got great people in place and then when you look at it from our coaching staff, a lot of guys that can kind of alleviate some of the stress as far as when you’ve got great leaders in place like we’ve mentioned with (Rams Defensive Coordinator) Wade Phillips, (Rams Special Teams Coordinator) John Fassel. On the offensive side of the ball a lot of good, veteran coaches and then (Rams Offensive Coordinator) Matt LaFleur has done a great job as our offensive coordinator. I think it’s just continuing to get to know guys, but in a lot of ways there are some similarities and get up there, have a good message for the team every single week and go over a couple things and you have access to all the meeting rooms, so that’s pretty nice too. It’s been a great experience so far and I’ve really enjoyed it.”

(On his process of communication with QB Jared Goff before the snap)

“No, it’s not any different and really, we’ve got different phases of our offense. We operate in the huddle, at the line of scrimmage – we’ve got a lot of smart players and we change up our tempos throughout the course of the game and really, just like anything else, whether Jared is calling a couple plays in the huddle or one call, we do the same thing, we just do it at the line of scrimmage. But, we talk about it all the time, the quarterbacks being an extension of the coaching staff and that is certainly what Jared has become, that’s what (QB) Sean (Mannion) is and there’s a lot of times we’ll snap it outside of the 15 seconds, under the 15, we’re doing various tempos throughout the course of the game. To say that you’re in his ear – because I’ve seen some of the things out there, I think it’s a discredit to what Jared has done and really, when you just look at it with the experiences that I’ve had in Washington and here, it’s totally at the quarterbacks’ discretion whether they want to have you be able to talk to them, give them any sort of reminders or if they say, ‘Just give me the play and then let me go ahead and just play the position.’ It just so happens that in Washington with (Redskins QB) Kirk (Cousins) and with (Redskins QB) Colt (McCoy), who I worked most closely with, those guys said, ‘Yeah, we can tune you out if we don’t need it and then if there’s any little last tip and then like anything else, we’re on our own after 15 and that’s no problem and that’s what they preferred. That’s exactly how Jared and Sean and (QB) Brandon (Allen) like it here as well. But, he’s doing a lot of different things at the line and that’s really a credit to him because a lot of that communication goes on after that 15 second window and then like I said, there’s different various tempos that we operate with. But, to say that I’m in his ear the whole time, that wouldn’t be the case.”

(On if Goff has the option to change a play at the line of scrimmage without him telling Goff to make a change)

“Absolutely. We’ve got certain where we’ve got packages of plays and we might say, ‘Hey, we’re looking to run it.’ And he knows the menu that we’re operating off of or we’re looking to throw it and based on some of the looks that we’ve gone through throughout the course of the week with our weekly preparation and that’s where it’s beneficial sometimes to snap it quick, snap it outside of that, but those guys are programed. That’s part of what the week of preparation is, is becoming that extension of what we’re looking for, but you do, just like you have to give him a huddle call when we get up to the line of scrimmage you still have to give him a direction of, in terms of what are we looking to do right here? Run or pass and then what are the menu of plays that we’re operating on with those potential options that we have at our disposal.”

(On if Goff called an audible on the WR Josh Reynolds touchdown)

“That was all him. That was a bad call by me. We got a max drop 8, we had a man beater on in that certain situation – they dropped out of there and went to a drop 8, three-man rush and he did an excellent job being able to sit in there, remain a passer, great protection and then he’s directing traffic and that’s what special players do. When you get some of the loaded zone looks like a three-man rush, often times you’ll see things happen off-schedule. He just happened to be able to go off-schedule, but stay in the pocket because the protection was so good and you look at the way he’s directing traffic, Josh and him are on the same page, he delivers a great ball where he kind of speeds it up at the top and Josh is able to get his first-career touchdown. That’s good players making a bad play call look very good right there.”

(On if is running more no huddle than he did at the beginning of the season)

“I would say we’ve mixed up the tempos more. I think that’s a credit to our players because the more that you can do in terms of changing up the tempo throughout the course of the game, we feel like is an advantage to our offense and we’ve got a lot of smart players that have kind of absorbed the material where we can really run almost our entire offensive playbook at the line of scrimmage or coming out of the huddle. I think based on the feel and the flow of the game we’ve kind of change it up throughout the course. You look at it, we did it a little bit against New Orleans and then the second half we’re pretty much exclusively huddling up. So, it’s just predicated on whatever we feel like is the best way to change the tempo up throughout the course of the game and if we’re able to stay manageable. It’s been something that we have kind of evolved into where it’s gotten a little bit more, but we’re changing up tempos throughout the course of the game and I think that’s a credit to our players being smart and being able to absorb that material.”

(On people saying that the way he communicates with Goff pre-snap is cheating)

“To my knowledge, a lot of guys operate that way where you’ve got really 40 seconds to operate and then coming out of a clock stoppage you really have 25. But, that communication that you have the ability to utilize between the coach and the quarterback is 25 seconds on a 40 second play clock and then it’s 10 seconds when you’re coming out of a clock stoppage because it cuts off at 15. The experiences that I’ve had, that’s kind of been standard operating procedure. Like we’ve said, we’re all a product of our experiences and environments that we’re placed in and most important is it’s about the players and if you’ve got players that like to be able to have some extra information, great and they can always decipher if they want to utilize it or not. The players that I’ve been around have liked that, but it is a part of the game and it’s something that we’re utilizing in different ways and we feel like it’s the best way for us. I think Jared has done a great job of it this year.”

(On what area Goff has most improved in from last season)

“I think it’s hard to say just because I wasn’t with him last year. But, with our coaching staff this year I think he’s done a great job just taking those incremental steps and just moving in the right direction where he’s got full command of our offense. You look at the play we were just talking about, I think that’s a great representation of a mature quarterback to be able to make those types of plays. You look at some of the plays where he’s got a pure progression read and he gets to (RB) Todd (Gurley II) as an outlet, stays in the pocket kind of just hitching in place and feeling the soft spots and able to find Todd and Todd goes for 31 (yards) on a check down – on a second down he’s able to create a first down. Even the first third down of the game on the first drive, really good job by him where they show kind of a pressure look, they bail out of there again, play a max-drop eight coverage, pulls the ball back, resets to his back on a check down and then Todd makes somebody miss and gets a first down. So, there was a lot of examples throughout that game of him just demonstrating a quarterback that’s in control, making good decisions and that’s why we’ve felt confident being able to kind of operate the way that we did because of the way that he’s playing.”

(On the differences between this Cardinals team and the one they saw in Week 7 and what problems they face against this team)

“Absolutely. This is a great football team and they’re strong in all three phases. (Cardinals Head) Coach (Bruce) Arians is a great football coach. To say they lost their spirit, I don’t know about that. I think we had some fortunate luck where the defense got some turnovers and right before the half you’re able to kind of get some points that changes a little bit of the momentum. But, they’re excellent in all three phases. When you look at them offensively, really impressed with some of the things that (Cardinals QB Blaine) Gabbert has done the last couple weeks – you just watch his athleticism when he’s able to move in the pocket, buy some time and deliver the ball down the field. They’re going to have some great shot plays in Coach Arians’ offense. (Cardinals WR) Larry Fitzgerald is a first ballot Hall of Famer and then (Cardinals RB) Adrian Peterson is as well, so they’ve got great players. You see some of their young tight ends making some plays, their line is competing hard. Then flip it over to the defense, they’ve got some guys – (Cardinals DE) Chandler Jones leading the league in sacks, you look at (Cardinals CB) Patrick Peterson, still one of the best corners in this league and I’ve been really impressed just watching some of their rookies come along – (Cardinals S) Budda Baker starting at safety now with (Cardinals S Tyvon) Branch going down and you feel his impact. They do a nice job utilizing him. (Cardinals LB Haason) Reddick is getting better, so they’ve got guys on all three levels that can make plays. You look at ‘Honey Badger’ (Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu) is a guy you certainly feel – big time pick that he makes in Jacksonville game that he makes on a rollout concept to the short field great players find a way of just being in the right spot at the right time and that’s what he’s done, a handful of examples, really since he’s been playing in Arizona. It’s going to be a great challenge. They play really well at home. It’s a great atmosphere. When I was in Washington we went there last year, so we’ve got to have a great week and we better be ready to go if we’re going to expect to get our ninth win.”

(On if he’s expecting to win 33-0)

“No. Absolutely not. I think one of the things that you learn real quickly is that each week provides new challenges and this is a very good football team that I know Coach Arians will have his team ready to go and we’ve got to have the same mindset and mentality that we have really every single week and be ready to do a good job with this week of preparation.”

(On how big the jump is from the first year to the second year as a quarterback)

“I wouldn’t say that I’ve had probably enough experience to really draw on that. I’ve worked with some special people, special players. Probably the most recent when you just look at dealing with Kirk and Colt in Washington. I think just watching those guys get a better ownership and really, what we’ve become offensively is what the players end up being good at because it’s not about us as coaches, it’s about adapting and adjusting to your personnel and trying to put these guys in the best spots. Some of the things that we might have done in Washington or that (Rams Offensive Line) Coach (Aaron) Kromer was doing in Buffalo or Matt in Atlanta are going to be different because we’ve got different players, but we’ve got very good players and we want to continue to try to accentuate their skillset. But, just looking at the maturation – I think you’ve seen Jared grow and I don’t want to say confidence because he’s always had a lot of confidence, but I just think now being able to week-in and week-out get that experience, draw on it both from a positive and then learn from some of the things that we’d like to do a little bit differently – he’s handled everything really well, done a great job just kind of handling things in stride and I think his players and his teammates really respect him. He’s got a nice way about leading that’s authentic and genuine and I think that really was what resonates with your teammates.”

(On if there is a specific moment that he has seen out of Goff this year where he took a leadership role)

“I think he’s always been a good leader. I think there’s a whole lot of communication that occurs outside of what we’re exposed to as coaches that makes guys special and that’s whether it be in the huddle, at the line of scrimmage, just with your teammates when coaches aren’t around there are a lot of things that go on that there’s a respect that’s earned, that kind of takes place that’s only really amongst players. I think he’s done that, but the thing that you continue to come away impressed with, with Jared is just the mental toughness, the resolve, the play that continues to stand out even though it didn’t work out in the end for us is the Seattle game when he’s had a couple turnovers, a lot of guys come into that two-minute drive when we’ve got to have a touchdown to win the game where you’re almost afraid to lose instead of going to attack a win and with a fearless mindset and mentality. The way he rips that seam 35 yards down the right hash in between (Seahawks S Kam) Chancellor and (Seahawks CB Richard) Sherman to Higbee is a credit to kind of the way that’s he’s wired and I think that’s what’s going to give him a chance to be really special.”

(On how he prevents his team from overlooking a team that they already beat 33-0 when the game against the 10-1 Eagles is looming)

“I think that our players respect the fact that each week presents new challenges in this league and if you’re not ready to go you get humbled very quickly. It’s too competitive, there’s too many good players, good coaches that certainly you have an idea of what your remaining schedule looks like, but to say that you’re ever going to look an opponent, especially a division opponent, that’s had a lot of success coming off a great win against a Jacksonville Jaguars team that’s been rolling would be silly. We’ve got a lot respect for Arizona. Going to their place where they’ve done a great job playing at home and winning a lot of football games, we’ve got to be ready to go and that’s our only focus right now.”

QB Jared Goff

(On the touchdown pass to WR Josh Reynolds this past game, what occurred before the play, and if Head Coach Sean McVay was talking to him before that play happened)

“Yeah. We were at the line of scrimmage and looking at the defense. He called the play and dropped back, like I said, they dropped eight and moved Josh around. Tried to scramble a little bit and he made a good play.”

(On if that’s the kind of play he thinks he could’ve made last season in terms of directing players where to go in the middle of the play)

“I don’t know. It’s all growth. It’s for sure a play I’ve made in the past, but at this level for sure it’s all growth and all continuing to get better and I can’t speak on whether I could’ve done it last year. I don’t know. I didn’t get the opportunity to, I guess.”

(On what McVay’s like on his headset)

“They give us 25 seconds and at the 15 second mark, it’ll cut off. Sometimes he talks all the way up until 15 seconds, sometimes he talks for five seconds, sometimes he talks for 10 seconds – it all varies. Just like every other quarterback in the league, it stops at 15 seconds and we’re on the play. He’s great on the headset though. He does a really good job and gives me as much or as little information as I need and does a great job.”

(On what the most difficult thing for him now that he’s gotten to this point and where he thinks he progressed most mentally this year compared to last year)

“I think just as time goes on you just continue to see and feel better, see things happen more and everything’s not moving so fast. You’re able to react better because you’re seeing it and it’s not just happening. You’re expecting it and I think a lot of it goes on as well as a lot of anticipation. I’m anticipating things better, because I’ve seen them before. I’ve had more experience. With that being said, I’ve only played however many games, so I hope that continues to grow, and continue to get better. But definitely, the more you play and this happened in high school, it’s happened in college, the more games you get, the more experience and the better you can anticipate things.”

(On up-tempo offense and if he’s running the huddle more than back when things started)

“It varies every game. Sometimes we do a lot of it, sometimes we slow it down. It depends on situations in the game. It depends on what we’re trying to do. I guess certain defense, what we’ve seen on film so it varies. In the last whatever, I guess eight weeks or so, we’ve done quite a bit of it, but I think it all varies. When we have the ability to speed it up and slow it down, I think that’s the best part about it is how smart our guys are and how able they are to, if we want to sure we can speed it up, and then we can slow it down in the huddle and just change tempos on guys. I think that’s what’s hardest for defenses is when you do change tempos, so we try to do our best to do that.”

(On how much leeway he has to change the play and if he does that very often)

“Not too often, no. Most of the time he calls the play and he knows what he’s talking about, so I let him do it. But there’s plenty of times where it gets below 15 and we have to adlib it a little bit. It doesn’t happen often, but there are times where that’ll happen and it’s been really good so far though the way we’ve been communicating. Obviously, we’ve had success with it, so it’s been a good experience so far.”

(On what kind of game he expects on Sunday since the Cardinals have adjusted to QB Carson Palmer being out)

“No, absolutely. We know that that game was…I think the score of that game’s not indicative of the way the game was really going up until the end of the first half. We were able to pull away there at the end of the first half, but up until four or five minutes left in the first half it was a 7-0 game, I believe, or 10-0 game – I can’t quite remember. But, it was a close game and we know them, they know us so, it’ll be a tough division game no matter what. I know they’ll be ready to play.”

(On if he was pleased with the way he was able to move the ball around after this past game being the first game without WR Robert Woods)

“Yeah. No doubt, no doubt. I think I was most pleased with the guys stepping up. I didn’t really have any doubts about it, but you never know until they truly get out there like (WR) Josh Reynolds, and go out there and you can tell it wasn’t too big for him. The stage wasn’t too big. He really performed well and then (WR) Cooper (Kupp) and (WR) Sammy (Watkins) were their usual selves and maybe even elevated their play a little bit with Robert being out, but yeah that was the best thing to see.”

(On if it has come easier this season to have command of the team as opposed to coming into start during the middle of the season last year)

“Yeah, sure. I think any time you’re in the whole time, that can definitely help and having the first team reps the whole year definitely helps.”

(On this being the first time that he’s going to see a divisional opponent for the second time during the season and if that changes his preparation)

“It doesn’t really. You go about your same weekly routine. The only thing that does change is you know they’ve seen whatever you put on film up to this point for a second time and you know that they’ve probably got some tendencies from when they did plays us and understand maybe a little bit more of what we do offensively. But I don’t think it changes my routine much at all.”

(On his perspective of how rookies TE Gerald Everett and WR Cooper Kupp and have performed to this point)

“They’ve been great. I think the best thing about them is that getting late into the season, you see a little bit of fall off from rookies sometimes. I think both of them have continued to try to get better and I think you can see it daily on the practice field and on Sundays as well. Both of them have really put the work in and really tried to get better. And even (WR) Josh (Reynolds) hasn’t played as much as the two of them, but his ability to keep getting better and really just not letting the ‘rookie wall’ as they say, come into play. All those guys have done a great job.”

(On how the game is slowing down for him this year compared to last year)

“I think it goes back to what I was saying earlier. I think you’re able to anticipate a little better. I think at every level I’ve played at – when I was young in high school it was the same thing, there’s a progression. When I was young in college it was the same thing, there’s a progression as time goes on. You start to see things a little better, you start to anticipate, you start to understand things a little bit more and that’s the same thing that’s going on in the NFL. With that being said, I’m just continuing to try to get better and try to continue to improve. By no means am I anywhere to where I want to be, just everyday come out and work hard.”

(On if there’s anything he did before the season to take more command of this team)

“I just try to be myself. I think that’s the best policy – is be yourself and be genuine. I think guys respond well to that, but there are things that obviously the quarterback is responsible for as far as offseason stuff. I try to do my best to do what I thought was best and whatever I think the starting quarterback should do. So, that was in the offseason and from there I’ve grown tremendously in that regard. But yeah, just continue to try to be myself and be genuine, I think guys respond well.”

(On what he means by being responsible)

“Just getting guys together in the offseason, throwing routes I don’t know, stuff like that. Just regular basic quarterback stuff.”

(On if he feels like doing those offseason activities had a legitimate impact on the team’s performance this year)

“Oh, no. I think that’s my job and that’s what I’m supposed to do.”