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Transcript: LA Rams Head Coach Sean McVay Talks Explosive Offense, Elite Defense And Accountability

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It’s hard not to get excited about the change McVay is bringing to Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Rams Introduce Sean McVay - News Conference Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay

(Opening remarks)

“I think starting out this has been a long time coming for us. I know our whole coaching staff was really anxious to get to this day. Get around our players – start to get to know these guys. Really what Phase 1 represents for us is a chance to meet with our players and then they’ll get familiar with our strength and conditioning staff. It’s exclusively meetings for us as coaches and then a lot of strength and conditioning –getting themselves ready for Phase 2. But really the emphasis for us right now is on learning our systems and establishing our identity. We feel like today was a good start for us.”

(On the first impression he had of his team in terms of their general football IQ and the first impression he wanted to convey to the team)

“I think when you really look at it, you walk into that first team meeting – I was definitely very excited for it –but there was full attention, guys were locked in, they were engaged, they were ready to go, we had everybody there. I think it was definitely, exactly the way that we wanted to come off as a coaching staff. Really right now, it’s about building relationships with these guys. We got a chance – within the framework of offense, defense and special teams – to just kind of get the general things. Offensively, we’re talking about our style of play, our approach. Then we’re introducing formations, motions, and personnel groupings to the skilled players. It’s very early in the process. We’ve got some time right now, so we want to make sure we do a great job establishing a foundation so that it can be conducive for that long term success. But I think today went as well as we could’ve hoped and looking forward to tomorrow already.”

(On what the core message was when he first addressed the team today and how much time he spent thinking about what he wanted to say in that first team meeting)

“I think it’s really important, like we talked about, establishing our identity. We’ve sat down as a coaching staff, as an organization and really going back to the interview process. Talking about what we felt like was going to be conducive for having a long-term vision for our players – what was going to help us have that sustained success over time and it’s about establishing our identity. You see the t-shirts that people are walking around with, with the ‘We not Me’. It’s always going to be about the team. All the decisions that we want to make are going to be from a standpoint of what’s in the best interest of the team, before any personal agendas and that’s what we want to embody as a coaching staff and with our players as well.”

(On whether the t-shirts were his idea)

“It was a collective idea – the ‘We not Me’ approach. It was our idea.”

(On whether the whole team was present today)

“We did. Everybody was accounted for, as far as I know. It was the turnout that we expected. I think the players felt as excited as we were as a coaching staff. Getting that feeling from those guys was exactly what we were hoping for and that’s what we got.”

(On how he keeps from going too fast too soon to start the offseason)

“I think it’s important for you to lay out a foundation, have a long-term vision, (we know) that we have 10 weeks with this offseason program. We’ve laid out the first two weeks, knowing that today we had an hour and a half with the meetings and then for the next three days this week, we’ll have an hour and 40 minutes. I think it’s very important for us, within the framework of each position, to allocate that time accordingly. If we have that foundation built, then it can kind of allow us to stay on track. For me, the excitement is something where you get excited to come in here and really getting these players in here, you feel like a coach again. We’ve all been chomping at the bit and I think I share the same feeling as our entire coaching staff, that’s it’s nice to feel like a coach again, get these guys in here and get into the meeting room. And then really, Phase Two will represent getting to be on the grass with them and start to teach and work some drill work on the field.”

(On if he got a chance to meet with QB Jared Goff)

“We’ve had little conversations here and there. Today really represents that first time where you’re meeting. It was all kind of skill-based, we were together the entire time with our quarterbacks, tight ends, receivers and our running backs. Once we get further into it, then we will start to have more individual time. I think those times are great opportunities for me, (offensive coordinator) Matt (LaFleur) and (quarterbacks coach) Greg (Olson) to get to know those guys. You want to be able to allow your coaches to coach, empower those assistants. I think when we start to have that individual time allocated to the meetings, that’s when the position coaches can get their things going.”

(On how much of a feel he thinks Jared Goff has for the offense right now and how much work is ahead of him)

“I think for our quarterbacks as a whole, there’s a lot of work. It’s just making sure we have that one day approach. If you look at it where you want to go from A to Z, then you end up getting overwhelmed with the amount of information. But I think as long as you just take little steps at a time, that continuous improvement one day at a time, then I feel like that will lead to the things that we want. But we’re just focused on making sure that these guys have a good ownership and we’re trying to get these guys, ultimately, to be an extension of our coaching staff. It’s going to be a process, we have to be patient and committed to it, but I think with the demeanor and the disposition that I sense from all three of our quarterbacks, we feel good about that happening.”

(On if bringing in CB Nickell Robey-Coleman means that DB Lamarcus Joyner will move to safety)

“I think when you look at it, just evaluating the tape, you flip the tape on, you watch Lamarcus Joyner, this guy is a football player. He shows up and you want to find as many ways to get him on the field as possible. Whether that’s him at nickel – which I think he’s one of the elite players at that spot in this league – or the safety, I think you see an instinctual player that has a great feel for the game. And I think our coaching staff has done a nice job targeting him as a player that we have to make sure that he’s on the grass, he’s competing. And anytime that you add depth like a Nickell (Robey-Coleman) does add, where he’s played a lot of football, it gives you some versatility to move a special player like Lamarcus around potentially.”

(On how much of a premium he puts on receivers with speed)

“It’s extremely important. I think one of the things you felt fortunate looking at some of the receivers they have in Washington, guys that could take the top off coverage. When you’re trying to operate with some of your play-action game where you have your three-level throws – the top-shelf, the intermediate and then that flare-control underneath – somebody that can stretch the field vertical, and if a team isn’t honoring it, then you make them pay with those big plays. The offenses that I’ve been fortunate to be a part of, we’ve done a nice job creating explosives. And that’s definitely something that we’re looking to do here and those speed guys give you the best opportunity to be able to do that.”

(On the adjustment for Lamarcus Joyner to move to safety)

“I think it will be an adjustment. I think our coaching staff has done a nice job figuring out ways we can make that transition smooth. There are some different exit angles when you’re talking about playing a deep half or the middle of the field. I think, from an underneath defender, he’s been doing things like that. A lot of those things that you ask a down safety, when you’re playing in your single-high defenses, to do are very similar to what he’s done the last couple of years from that nickel spot. I think it’s just getting comfortable, he is an instinctual player, and just understanding some of those exit angles, some of those break points, based on starting from 15 yards off as opposed to down where you’re 10-yards within the line of scrimmage will be a little bit different. But I think you’ve seen examples of great guys be able to do both across the league and we’re hoping that he’ll be able to do the same thing for us.”

(On if there are other guys he anticipates making positional shifts like OLB Robert Quinn)

“I think when you really look at a 3-4 to 4-3, with Coach Phillips’ system, like we’ve talked about a little bit, they are a one-gap penetrating front. For all intents and purposes, Robert will line up as the Will linebacker, but he’s a rush player, he’ll play a similar role to what DeMarcus Ware did in Denver for Wade the last couple of years. I think he’s going to still be, he’s going to be an elite rusher in this league for years and that’s what we’re hoping to do with him moving forward. I don’t think his role will change too much. I think you look at some of the additions that we made on the offensive line with (T) Andrew Whitworth, we’ll shuffle some guys around and then bring a veteran with (C) John Sullivan in. I think it’ll allow us to be able to move some guys around, get a feel to see if this is a position that they’re a little bit more comfortable with and will ultimately make us better as a unit up front. Defensively, I think Lamarcus is probably the best example of a guy that will have to do that transition. Other than that, we feel good about where the guys are at and the personnel we have on defense.”

(On if OL Rob Havenstein could play right guard)

“I think when he was coming out, you looked at Rob as a potential guy to be able to move inside and do some of those things. Really, going back two years, I thought he’s put some excellent tape out there as far as playing that right tackle position. You talk to people that have been around him – we’ve got (assistant offensive line coach) Andy Dickerson, who will working with our offensive line again this year – him being able to communicate what a sharp guy Rob is, how he’s able to process things above the neck. I think he and (OL) Greg (Robinson) working in coordination, in unison, will be able to help both of those guys. And then you add John Sullivan to the mix, I know from being with him in Washington, he did a great job communicating, has a really impressive big picture understanding from that center spot. And then looking at ‘Rog’ (OL Rodger Saffold) at left guard and Whitworth at left tackle – and you see good things out of (OL) Jamon Brown. I think we’ve got some good depth up front and I’m excited to see how these guys process that information and then translate it to the grass once we get the OTAs started in Phase Three.”

(On how healthy John Sullivan was last year and if his back issues are behind him)

“Yeah, that’s what we’re hoping. When you really look at it, if you didn’t know any better, you wouldn’t have known he had any back issues. I think he’s put great tape throughout the course of his career on film and when he played for us last year, it was 130-or-so snaps, I thought he did an excellent job. You really can’t undervalue or underappreciate that communication from that center spot – handling the cadence, handling the calls up front – because it all starts with that spot, most of our calls fit off of that. John was a guy that I was really impressed with, Being around him in Washington, you almost felt like you were talking to a coach. You talk about your quarterback wanting to be an extension of the coaching staff, the center position is very similar where he’s got to have a big-picture ownership of what we’re trying to get done, what we’re trying to accomplish up front. And John is certainly someone that’s shown he is capable of handling that.”

(On if there will be any give and take as far as terminology is concerned within the schemes)

“I think when you really look at it, from our systems, what’s very important, we’ll talk about our language that we’ll use now. I think it does help to have an understanding of what something was called prior to this, to help with that communication. But we are going to utilize Coach Phillips’ system with the defensive terminology. And then we’ve kind of collaborated with some of the coaches that we have offensively. And then you also try to make sure, when you’re teaching it, does this make sense? You get a chance to really go back and evaluate some of the terminology that we might’ve used in Washington and how we can make a couple of tweaks – from a starting point, if you know nothing, this at least makes sense from a teaching progression. So that’s something that we want to be aware of that we will do. And then when you look at what ‘Bones’ (special teams coordinator John Fassel) will do, that’ll be very similar. I think the success that they’ve had on special teams is something that we feel good about. And now the challenge is, can we take it to the next level for those guys. That’s kind of how we’ll approach that. But I think you always just want to make sure that, from a teaching progression, your words mean something so that it can resonate and stick with the players.”

(On why accountability was important for him to emphasize in the team meeting)

“I think any time that you’re really just looking at football as a whole, I think it’s very important for each player, each coach, to be accountable, take full responsibility for our performance, for your actions, no excuses, no complaining. We’re looking for mentally tough players, mentally tough coaches – you take accountability, you take full responsibility for whatever was done. And if it’s something that we need to get corrected and fixed, we all do that and we move forward and we don’t blink. That was kind of how we implemented the accountability process and why that’s so important for us moving forward.”