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Transcript: McVay, Gurley, Phillips weigh in on their upcoming match-up vs. Seahawks

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Head Coach Sean McVay – December 14, 2017

(Opening Remarks)

“On the injuries, (LB) Mark Barron was limited today. (C) John Sullivan was limited. Both of these guys are just kind of their veteran rest days. (T) Andrew Whitworth did not participate with his knee, (T) Rob Havenstein was limited with his knee and then (QB) Brandon Allen was out today with a back injury.”

(On how WR Robert Woods looked today)

“He’s good. He was out there moving around today and he seems like he’s going to be good to go for the game, so it’s good to have Robert back out there for us.”

(On if Whitworth should be good for the game on Sunday)

“He should be. Typically, what we’ve done with him – we want to be extra smart with him just with the knee, but he was able to come back in the game and typically what we’ve done over the last couple weeks is kind of have him do some stuff with our strength and conditioning, he gets the mental work in the walk-thrus and then on Friday is when he kind of gets going a little bit, so that he’s ready to go on Sunday. We trust that he kind of knows his body pretty well, so been able to defer to him and he feels like he’s going to be good to go.”

(On if the team will do any work with a wet ball this week to prepare for the conditions in Seattle)

“Yeah, I think so. We did that today a little bit, just being able to handle it and be ready for the elements. We had played in the New York game earlier in the year with a wet ball and that’s something that if it is one of those situations. We know we’ve got to do a great job of dealing with the elements and that’s something that we can’t afford to do, is beat ourselves and make sure that we handle it the right way and there’s nothing more important than the ball when you go into really any game, but especially a game like this going against a great team that I know that’s a huge point of emphasis for (Seahawks Head) Coach (Pete) Carroll and his team and you see why it shows up on their tape.”

(On how he will attack the Seattle defense after only scoring 10 points against them in Week 5)

“They’re a great defense, they do a great job playing sound. I think the biggest thing for us is it’s always going to be about execution and credit to them, they did force a handful of those turnovers and we weren’t very efficient – I didn’t do a very good job with a lot of the play selection, especially in that high red area. That’s an area that they’ve been extremely efficient throughout the course of the year. It’s tough to get down there on a defense like that, but when we did we weren’t able to capitalize on some of our opportunities and then they did a great job kind of forcing some turnovers. There’s a reason why they’re a great football team, we know that going there, especially from an offensive standpoint, having to deal with the elements, it’s always going to be about execution and trying to finish drives when you do get down in the red zone with six – trying to score touchdowns and then have (K) Greg (Zuerlein) come in and get that seventh point for us instead of having to rely on threes (field goals).

(On who is going to have to step up to fill the void left by CB Kayvon Webster)

“That’s a tough person to replace. Kayvon’s meant a lot to our football team and what he demonstrates day-in and day-out. It’s going to be a great opportunity for (CB) Troy Hill to step up, (CB) Nickell Robey-(Coleman) will continue to play an expanded role for us, (CB) Trumaine (Johnson) is going to continue to have to play at a high level and then (CB) Kevin Peterson. Those are the guys that will be ready to go at the corner spot and then we obviously know that if need be, you’ve got (S) Lamarcus (Joyner), (CB) Blake Countess, so fortunately we do have some guys where our DB coaches with (Cornerbacks Coach) Aubrey (Pleasant) and (Safeties Coach) Ejiro (Evero) have done a great job kind of cross training these guys when some of these injuries occur and we know against a great team like this, especially offensively where they do a good job mixing up some personnels – everybody has got to be ready to go that is going to be up on the active roster.”

(On if Hill will most likely start in Webster’s spot)

“Really, it’s a bunch of different guys. When you just mix some of the personnels I think Nickell’s been such an important part of it, but dependent upon whatever personnel grouping we’re going to match with what they present, there will be some situations where Troy will be in there, we have a lot of confidence in Troy and I thought he did a great job last week, especially against such a good offense like Philadelphia.”

(On if he remembers the first time he saw film on WR Cooper Kupp)

“Yeah, we were talking about it – I was actually in Les’ office because there was a lot of buzz surrounding him at the Senior Bowl with what he was able to do and some of the things that he just did day-in and day-out at practice, some of the one-on-ones and things like that and Les kind of brought him to my attention. We were still in the process of figuring out, getting our coaching staff finalized and watched a little tape and as soon as you flip him on, in terms of some of the traits and characteristics that you’re looking for, he was a guy that jumped off the screen at you and fortunately we were able to end up getting him and I remember kind of jokingly saying, ‘Oh, yeah we’re going to get this guy.’ And it ended up working out for us in the end.”

(On if General Manager Les Snead likes to take credit for finding Kupp)

“Oh, he can take credit, he did. He was the one that brought him to my attention. That goes a long time back to his history at the Manning Camp and Les, let’s just say he’s our guy now. “

(On if this week feels any different just because of the magnitude of this game)

“I think anytime that you get further along in the season, we know what’s at stake and what’s at stake for us is a chance to continue holding on to our division lead against a great opponent. We know that if we come away with a win we’ll be two games up with two to go and that’s really all that’s guaranteed. But, I think the guys are excited. You don’t shy away from the opportunity that we do have. We know it’s going to be a great challenge, but I think what’s important for us is to keep a consistent approach, make sure that we just play to the best of our ability knowing that it is a great opportunity to play in a big-time game like this. We don’t need to do anything more than what our specific job on each play requires. Its coaches doing a good job with their preparation making good decisions as far as some of the things that we’re going to run and put our players in position to have success and then it’s the players playing collectively and collaborating as a unit – whether that be offense, defense or special teams and what a great opportunity to do it against a great team like this.”

(On if the moments throughout the year in tough environments has given his team a chance to prepare for the road conditions in Seattle)

“I think so. As long as we learn from some of the mistakes and try to take some of the things that worked out for us in the right way moving forward and this is going to be a great opportunity. Kind of similar to what we said with the Minnesota game – you can’t truly mimic and emulate the circumstances and really the environment that a great place like that has, but you try to as closely as you can, create some of those stressful situations and then trust that the guys will handle it with great poise and concentration and I think they’re excited about it. We know what a challenge it will be, but we certainly hope to use some of those previous experiences and learn from the mistakes and then do some things that did work in our favor and that’s been a big point of emphasis for us this week.”

(On if he talks to his players about watching out for dirty plays)

“Yeah, we talk to our players about whether it be situations around the league, I think it’s just making sure that we understand that our job is to play snap to whistle and do a great job playing competitive football and making sure that we’re doing that within the framework of the rules and we can’t afford to beat ourselves and we’ve got to make sure that we keep our composure and that doesn’t have anything to do with whoever we’re playing, that’s just in general. You look at some of the things that occurred in the Philadelphia game – we used those as learning opportunities to move forward and get some things corrected and that’s both coaches and players alike. This week we know what a great, competitive atmosphere it will be, going against a tough division opponent where it’s tough, physical football, NFC West at its best and we’ve got to do a great job playing within the framework of the rules and being great competitors, but also being smart if something like that does occur.”

Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips – December 14, 2017

(Opening Remarks)

“(Seahawks QB) Russell Wilson, Russel Wilson, Russell Wilson (laughs). You want to hate the other team, but he’s such a great guy. He really is. He does so many wonderful things, but we’ve got to try to beat him. He’s a tremendous player, tremendous individual, leader. He’s already done so many great things – puts you at a big challenge. The guy makes plays on-schedule, off-schedule, he can throw it from the pocket. He can certainly run around and throw it and make big plays. He’s a handful. But they’re going to try to run the football, especially against us because they’re saying our run defense – that they can run the ball on us, but he’s a big part of that running game. He makes a lot of yards rushing or scrambling. Their offense certainly circles around him. In the fourth quarter, you better hang onto everything because he’s still coming. He’s already set the record for most touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, so even if you’re ahead in the fourth quarter, nothing’s safe. You’ve got to play the full 60 minutes against this guy and this team.”

(On the biggest challenge trying to stop someone like Wilson)

“It’s like playing against any great player, you’ve got to try to limit what they can do. But the guy that gets the ball every play – has his hands on the ball every play, it’s tougher when it’s the quarterback. Especially, when he can move around and is their leading rusher, so a combination of that. The real good pass rushers, they can rush the passer and see the quarterback, too. We have to be able to do that some. People have put spies on him, they’ve done all those things. But I thought we played well against him last game. It’s a division game, people know each other pretty well, so hopefully that will give us a little edge.”

(On if he recalls one player accounting for a team’s offense as much as Wilson)

“He’s having an amazing year. That’s a credit to him, obviously what kind of player he is. No, I hadn’t seen a quarterback…although (Panthers QB) Cam (Newton), Cam was – is, still is. When he was running for all those touchdowns, probably still has the most rushing touchdowns – Cam I’m talking about, and throwing for touchdowns. But this guy (Seahawks QB Russell Wilson) has been consistent with it and won so many games doing it. He makes miracle plays. You have him contained, he turns around and runs the other way and then looks and sees somebody somehow and throws it and makes plays. (Packers QB) Aaron Rodgers does a little of that, because he can move around. But this guy is really the prototype.”

(On the similarities between Wilson and Eagles QB Carson Wentz)

“Wentz has had a great year. Certainly he’s young, still coming, but makes some big plays. But Russell has won a Super Bowl, so still to be determined as far as – and Wentz I think is certainly a really good quarterback or possibly a really good quarterback. But we already know this guy is.”

(On how he plans to shut down Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham this week)

“Every game is its own entity. Jimmy Graham, especially in the redzone is a real problem because he’s so big. He already has nine touchdown catches, so you’ve got to be certainly aware of him. We’re aware of tight ends, it’s who’s playing them and how we play them. A lot of these plays last week were challenges, we just didn’t make the play. We hadn’t had trouble overall with tight ends I wouldn’t say. We played pretty good pass defense this year – maybe one of the better in the league. It’s just part of playing good pass defense.”

(On if playing two games early in the season without CB Kayvon Webster provided a template on how to move forward without him)

“That happens in this league. You have guys go out for a few games and other guys play. When you have to adjust during the game itself is the problem. If you got a week to practice and do those things, it’s a lot better. We’ve got guys that have played certainly, but if they get a week of preparation it’s a lot better. It’s harder when they hadn’t practiced a whole lot, because we’re expecting the starter to play and then he gets hurt.”

(On what he’s seen from the players who may have to step up in Webster’s absence)

“(WR) Troy Hill came in and played and (CB) Kevin Peterson came in and played for us. Both of them did a pretty good job, so we feel like we’ve got some depth there. And certainly (CB Nickell) ‘Robey’(-Coleman) played corner too. We’ve got guys that have played there. Like I said, when Kayvon was out we had some guys that subbed in.”

(On how he’s seen Robey-Coleman grow as an outside cornerback and if he has seen any improvement there)

“I think so. He’s a great competitor. He’s especially good against the slot. I’d say one of the better, if not the best in the league playing against a slot receiver. He gives you that all the time. We’ve played basically based defense against three wide receiver offenses and put him on the slot guy this year quite a bit and it’s been success for us. But, outside – size you always worry about size, but with him you worry about size anytime. But they worry about size with their quarterback too and he makes plays. So, it’s the same way with Robey. He makes plays you think a smaller guy can’t make, but he does.”

(On the critical penalties the defense had in the Eagles game and if he had a chance to review the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called on CB Trumaine Johnson)

“We can’t have penalties after the play. I think that’s the first one we’ve had this season. It cost us at least four points and maybe seven, which might’ve been the difference in the ball game. I don’t think Trumaine was doing anything but talking to the guy, but you never know officials what they’re going to. He said they’re good friends which they probably are. But you just can’t do that during the game. You just got to celebrate on your own and don’t worry about talking to the other guy. We learned a tough lesson there, because like I said it could’ve cost us the ball game and our players know that now.”

RB Todd Gurley II – December 14, 2017

(On if he feels like this game is as close to a must win game as it gets)

“Yeah, it’s one of those games that you usually see other teams play in at the end of the year and we’re in a situation this year, so it will be exciting. Obviously, Seattle has been on top of the division the past couple years, actually won the division the last three out of four, so it will be a big game for us – go in there in a hostile environment and try to get a win.”

(On what it means to him that his team is playing for the division this late in the season)

“Like (Jaguars CB) Jalen Ramsey said it best, ‘There’s new big dogs in the league.’ Teams that haven’t been doing good in the past, they’ve been able to step up. So, just to see that, see what teams come through and be able to be where they’re at today means a lot for us and just to see other teams having the success that they’re having.”

(On if he feels like he’s getting enough opportunities to carry the ball)

“Yeah, go out there and do my job and get the ball, get the ball, if I don’t, I don’t. I want to be making plays to win the game. Obviously, it’s easy to say when you lose the game that you need the ball more, but when you’re winning and you don’t the ball it’s no problems, so you’ve got to be consistent. Like I said, as long as we’re winning and the outcome is good, but it is what it is. I don’t even know our record anymore, but as long as we just keep winning, we’ll be in a good situation.”

(On this game feels different heading into it)

“Yeah, I mean it’s not the same, but we really haven’t thought about it too much. Obviously still disappointed from last week with the loss and every time we’ve lost, we’ve been able to respond and at least win two games in a row. If we can just keep doing what we’ve been doing all year and look at it as the biggest game of the year, each game is the biggest game of the year and we just have to go in there and take care of business.”

(On if Head Coach Sean McVay discusses getting him involved with the offense)

“That’s just the main thing with Coach, he just wants the run-pass balance, but you know, stuff never goes as planned in the game. You go through situations and he sees looks that he likes, he calls the shots, he’s the head dog and if he wants to pass the ball, we’re going to pass the ball, if he wants to run the ball we’re going to run the ball. Like I said, there’s only one ball and there’s 11 people on the field, you can’t get it every time and you’ve got to just look at it like that. If I’m not getting the ball then (WR Cooper) Kupp had a great, fantastic game last week and we got (WR) Rob (Woods) back this week, so it’s another person that wants the ball, so everybody has to be able to feed it. That’s what it’s all about on this team is being able to spread the ball out and not just going to one guy and everybody can make plays out there.”

(On if reaching 1,000 yards rushing means anything to him)

“Yeah. Yeah, it does. It’s a great accomplishment. Not an easy thing to do at all in this league, so big credit to everybody on the team for helping me get that. Hopefully we can keep moving forward and get Rob and Kupp, get those boys 1,000 yards. That’s the goal.”

(On what it means for the team to go through a stretch of games against playoff caliber teams)

“Just go back off the losses, you learn a lot of stuff whether it’s a win or a loss. Obviously, we want to be able to finish in those clutch situations and win games like we did. Win the game like Philly last week - that will show us a lot about where we’re going moving forward. But at the end of the day, we know what we’ve done to lose the game and to not win it. So there’s always things that we can fix and things that we have to do to not hurt ourselves. Just to be able to play against the teams that we’ve played against the last couple of weeks is incredible, because we’re going to end up seeing these guys again when we try to make this playoff run and next time we have to finish them.”

(On if he likes playing in rainy conditions)

“I don’t know. I wasn’t even really trying to think about it. But no one likes playing in the cold, no one likes playing in the rain, but what they say, ‘It’s football weather.’ So I’m not the only one out there playing, everybody else is, so you can’t really – and the fans are probably more miserable than us, so you can’t really do too much complaining.”

(On if there is something that he can draw from the game in 2015 when they beat Seattle in Seattle)

“Yeah. My rookie year we were able to go in and get a win. It’s hard, man. It’s hard. I remember I scored my first touchdown and I kind of spiked the ball. My teammate was like, ‘Boy, what you doing? You better keep that ball. You know how many people score in Seattle? Nobody.’ (laughs). So I was like, ‘all right.’ It’s tough – it’s going to be real loud. (Head) Coach (Sean McVay) was asking me, he’s like, ‘How loud is it going to be?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, we’re not going to hear nothing.’ Not expecting to hear anything, but hopefully we go in there and do what we’re supposed to do and shut the crowd up. It’s a great environment. One of the – probably is the loudest, one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL. It reminds you of playing back in college – that type of atmosphere. The 12th man up there is real, so hopefully we can go in there and put up some points and not let (Seahawks QB) Russell Wilson make some crazy plays and get a win.”

(On if he thinks they should have won the game against Seattle in Week 5)

“No. We lost it. It is…what it is. Obviously, we get a chance to play them again. Not making any excuses, those guys they won the game. At the end of the day, we didn’t do a good enough job of taking care of the ball. We’re excited for the opportunity that we’re about to have again to play these guys again and try to get this win.”

(On what it’s going to be like facing the Seahawks without CB Richard Sherman and S Kam Chancellor)

“Aw man. God is good, that’s good. God is good. You hate to see guys like that go down. Two of the best DBs in the NFL. Just to see these guys still win, beat Philly – that just shows you the type of team they are and they have become these last couple of years. No matter the situation, who’s down, they have people to come in, step up. They just know how to win. That’s just how they’ve been.”