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TRANSCRIPT: LA Rams HC Sean McVay, QB Jared Goff, QB Sean Mannion, WR Robert Woods, RB Todd Gurley, CB Kevin Peterson

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Here’s what the Rams had to say after the Week 17 loss with the playoffs looming.

Los Angeles Rams S John Johnson chases San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle
Los Angeles Rams S John Johnson chases San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(Opening Remarks)

“Hats off to the 49ers. (49ers Head Coach) Kyle (Shanahan) did a great job getting this team ready to go today. They’re playing really well on all three phases, wrapped up the season on a high note, but I think when you look at some of our players, their ability to continue to compete – I thought it was a good way to finish offensively to be able to get that 16-play drive. Then as far as the injuries today, we’re evaluating (CB) Troy Hill and (DB) Blake Countess as far as if they have concussions or not and how that will affect us moving forward. Our team is excited about the opportunity to have the Falcons come here next week and we know it’s a great challenge against the reigning NFC Champs from last year. (Falcons Head) Coach (Dan) Quinn is an excellent head coach, great leader and you look at really a complete football team and it’s going to be a great challenge for us, but one that our guys will be extremely excited for and can’t wait to get to work on the preparation for that one.”

(On if he considered it an ideal outcome that he got to rest his starters and keep the No. 3 seed in the NFC)

“I think it’s hard to say. I think anytime you go into a football game, you’re certainly going to try to win the game. But, I do think when you look at the way we approached it, we feel good about being able to allow some of our players to get some rest, a little bit of recovery time that I think is much needed for some of those guys and then you keep a couple guys out of harm’s way. That was a great job by the 49ers today, you guys know how highly I think of Kyle and his ability to do different things offensively, specifically. I thought (49ers Defensive Coordinator) Robert Saleh did a nice job as far as the defense is concerned as well.”

(On what jumps out to him about the challenge of facing the Atlanta Falcons in the playoffs)

“I think when you just look at their personnel – (Falcons QB) Matt Ryan becoming an MVP last year, you look at two of their backs with (Falcons RBs Devonta) Freeman and (Tevin) Coleman are two of the best kind of all-purpose backs that can contribute as runners, but also excellent receivers. (Falcons WR) Julio Jones is one of the best players in this league and he can kind of do a little bit of everything, I think they do a nice job mixing up some of their personnel groupings on defense – very similar schematically to what we’ve seen from San Francisco, Seattle and the Jacksonvilles where it’s kind of all predicated on some of those three-deep, four underneath principles and playing some man coverage and things like that. Obviously (Falcons OLB) Vic Beasley is a dangerous rusher, but haven’t really had a chance to dive into the deep preparation. But, we know it’s going to be an exciting week for us, our players will be juiced up to be able to get this preparation going and I certainly know that our coaches feel that way as well.”

(On how confident he felt in K Sam Ficken today)

“Yeah, I think so. I think he did a nice job today, made the most of his opportunities, had some good kickoffs as well. I would have liked to have given him a few more shots, but I think for him to be able to come in here, definitely improving from the previous week and kind of finished on the same note that he finished off the Tennessee game, so pleased with Sam today.”

(On if he ever regret not playing his starters)

“Certainly it’s humbling and every time you get a chance to compete you want to do that. But, we were very intentional and kind of went into it where you don’t second guess any of the decisions when you kind of take into account everything that we felt like was going to be best for our football team. But, make no mistake about it, you want to compete to try to win games, didn’t work out for us today, but I think just when you’re taking the entirety of what we felt like we could get accomplished from this week, getting some guys an opportunity that otherwise they wouldn’t have and then getting some of our other guys that needed that rest another week and hopefully they’ll be fresh and ready to roll whenever our game is, whether that be Saturday or Sunday.”

(On what it means to him that his team will finish the season No. 1 in points and especially given that he inherited a unit that was ranked No. 32 in that category last year)

“I think when you look at it, we had some good contributions from special teams and defense as well and that’s a reflection on the team. I thought our players did a nice job of being able to consistently play pretty well throughout the course of the year, coaches put guys in good positions. Certainly other than, we talk about points as being one of the most important factors, but for us it’s about winning football games and doing those things the right way. Next week is a great challenge and I know we’re excited about that, but I think it’s a good reflection on the players’ ability to do a lot of nice things, be able to score a lot of points. But, that’s a team goal right there, that’s a team stat where defense and special teams certainly had their part as well and you look at how consistent (K) Greg (Zuerlein) was throughout the course of the year as well, which was instrumental in being able to score that many points.”

(On how different the 49ers are with QB Jimmy Garoppolo)

“I think they’re definitely improved. It’s impressive just to watch the way that those guys play. They continue to compete, they faced some adversity, but I think when you see a mentally tough team like they are, they continued to get better and I thought they finished off the season on a high note. They’re a very well coached team in all three phases and really impressed with them over the last – especially when you look at finishing with five wins, winning six-out-of-seven, so I’m impressed with those guys and they did a nice job finishing up the right way this year.”

(On what the game today means for some of the younger guys like CB Kevin Peterson and WR Michael Thomas)

“Yeah, I thought it was a great opportunity for those guys to get out there and feel a real live game action, different than some of the preseason. Kevin did a great job of being able to force two turnovers that kind of kept us in the game early, Mike makes a big catch down the sideline. That opportunity and those experiences are going to be invaluable for these guys as they move forward because when they’re able to make some plays in a game like this, I think you’re able to draw some confidence from that and those are two specific players that I think this was a great chance for them and I thought they delivered in a handful of instances.”

(On if there is an update on CB Troy Hill)

“We’re checking him out for a concussion, he and Blake both. We’ll see some updates and (Director of Sports Medicine/Performance) Reggie (Scott) is kind of in the process of evaluating that right now.”

(On what it’s like getting Peterson some playing time with some of the injuries they have taken at the cornerback position)

“It’s invaluable and if it does happen to be something where those guys might not be available then Kevin has certainly demonstrated that he’s more than capable to fill in and play at a high level.”

(On if WR Mike Thomas came out okay from the hit he took)

“It seemed like it. Yeah, I think he was good.”

QB Jared Goff

(On playing the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Wild Card game next Saturday)

“I feel good. I think we match up well. I think any of those teams that we would’ve ended up playing – all of them present challenges. No different with Atlanta. It’ll be a fun game. We’re excited to get to it next week and it’ll be fun.”

(On getting the opportunity to rest in today’s game and how he thinks that might benefit him next week)

“Huge, huge. I think us and teams that get a bye week will be very fresh. I believe that what we did this week will help us next week for sure. Especially with the teams that we had a chance to play and now with Atlanta being the one – they just went through a dog fight. We actually got some rest. But with that being said, they’re a great team and we expect a good challenge and it’ll be a fun game.”

(On what he knows about the playoffs and what it’ll be like preparing for his first playoff game)

“Prepare no different than any other game. I’ve played in playoff games before. It was a lot pressure. It was a lot of implications, but you can’t treat them any different.”

(On getting rest today and if feels that physically being a younger team might be more beneficial than an experienced team like the Atlanta Falcons)

“Sure, I think so. I think today what we did – getting some guys a little healthier, getting some guys a little bit more fresh and some of those veteran guys that need it and some of those guys like (RB) Todd (Gurley) that have been banged up a little bit all year. It feels good and ready to go.”

(On playing his first playoff game)

“Treat it the same as all the other ones...”

(On if this is an ideal outcome for today’s game with the starters resting and still finishing with the No. 3 seed)

“We would’ve love to have won the game. I think we wanted to go out there and win the game and improve to 12-4, but ultimately we held the three seed and it’s a good spot to be.”

QB Sean Mannion

(On how it went out there today)

“Obviously, would’ve liked to have won the game - that’s the only objective that really matters. I think we’ll have to look at the film and see specifically. I was happy with a lot of stuff we did, but obviously some things to clean up. I thought – just off the top of my head – early in the first half, we had a couple three-and-outs, so just need to be a little bit sharper on third down early. With that being said, it was nice towards the end of the game to go on a long drive – a 16-play drive and get in the end zone. I would like to be more efficient, but like I said, we’ll have to really look at the film, but disappointed that we didn’t come away with a win.”

(On if he feels as if he was playing with one hand tied behind his back out there because of the amount of offensive players who sat out the game)

“No, I don’t feel that way at all. I have the utmost confidence in every guy on this roster. I thought all the guys that were out there fought their tails off, so I don’t feel that way at all. Certainly, things I can do better and like I said, we’ll have to look at the film and see specifically what we can address to improve going forward. I think just off the top of my head – if we could’ve been maybe a little bit sharper on third down early in the game, maybe we would’ve given ourselves a couple more extended drives in the first half. With that being said, at least got it kind of going and had a long, efficient drive late in the second half, but by no means did I feel I was playing with an arm tied behind my back at all.”

(On if he feels like his experience today prepares him in case he’s needed to come in and play if QB Jared Goff goes down)

“Yeah, absolutely. I think any game experience you get is huge. I’ve gotten a little bit through my career. Obviously, this was my biggest chance to go in and play really the whole game. I think any experience anybody can get in a game – whether it be a preseason game or regular season game is going to help you. I certainly feel more prepared now than I was a week ago, but that’s not to say that I feel that much different. I think you try to do everything you can mentally to prepare during the week. I take a lot of pride in that when I’m not getting a chance to start, but there’s no substitute for game experience and I’ll certainly take away some things to learn from this game.”

WR Robert Woods

(On starters resting and allowing other players getting more reps and playing time)

“It’s big. You never know what could happen. It’s a competitive game, need to get the rhythm just to go out there and compete and catch the ball. Go out there and get a block just to get a feel of it, is big. Just because, like you said, playoffs are coming, competitive times are coming. Guys need to rotate because we need to be full strength and it starts at practice. We need any and everybody to get ready for this grind. It starts at practice and it starts with getting our 2s some reps like this.”

(On if this was the best case scenario to be able to rest several players and remain the No. 3 seed and host the Falcons)

“It kind of worked in our favor. We ended up getting a lot of guys healthy, a lot of guys able to rest. Our biggest thing is just speed and how we play on Sundays, how we feel. I think today will help a lot of the guys to be able to prepare this week and just really get ready for this Sunday just to be full speed, full go and it’s the start of our run.”

(On what makes him confident in his team even though they don’t have a lot of playoff experience)

“A lot of guys with no playoff experience. You say it’s a disadvantage, but it’s an advantage. Yeah, we’ve never been there, we’re all eyes and all ears on (Head Coach Sean) McVay, all in to work and all in to compete. We don’t know what to expect, so our biggest thing is to expect for it to be the biggest game of our lives and just compete and just play. Attention to detail, focus, all that kind of stuff factors into these playoff games.”

RB Todd Gurley

(On how the playoff experience that the Falcons have matters)

“I really haven’t thought about any of this, honestly. It’ll be a good game, it’ll be a good game.”

(On if he’ll be in attendance at the Rose Bowl tomorrow)

“Yeah.”

(On if it’s the best case scenario that they got to rest today and were rewarded the higher seed)

“Yeah, I guess so. Yeah, Like I said man, I haven’t been paying attention to three, four (seed). I don’t know how all this works, I ain’t got no experience with the playoffs, so I don’t know how all this works. But it’s cool. Like I said, we’re in the playoffs and all teams got a chance now. It doesn’t really matter what your record is – everybody starts at 0-0.

(On if he cares to make one last case for MVP)

“If you vote for me, vote for me please. If not, then it’s all good.”

CB Kevin Peterson

(On his two interceptions in the game)

“Yeah so I knew this game I was going to get a lot of opportunity. My coach praised me and told me that I was going to be able to play a lot, so I just did a lot of film study. They came in a formation that I recognized and we had a call that matched well to that formation and I just went and got it. I actually didn’t see it until the last second when I caught it, threw my hands up, prayed that I caught it and then I caught it and did what I had to do. And the second one, we knew it was a chance when they needed to make a play down the field, so just listened to my coach during the game. (Cornerbacks) Coach Aubrey (Pleasant) and (Safeties) Coach E (Ejiro Evero) always preaches to stay in your back pedal, use technique over everything. I just did that and he threw it right to me.”

(On how big of a day this is for backups)

“Yeah it’s huge. Our coaches always tell us to be ready, stay ready, and prepare like you’re going to be a starter because you never know what’s going to happen. Like I said, again, they said we were going to get a lot of opportunity this game and moving into the playoffs forward to see what we can do. I just tried to put a bunch of stuff on tape.”

(On what his mindset was going into the game today)

“Just to make plays. Coaches always tell us, ‘Don’t worry about anything just go out there and be you and play like you’ve always played.’ Just to make plays is all I thought.”

(On if two interceptions in his first career start)

“Yeah that’s awesome. I’m really more mad because I feel like I made some worse plays than the interceptions so I didn’t really get a chance to celebrate those. I know some other things I didn’t do as well so I still got to clean those things up and get better for the whole game.”