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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay, DC Wade Phillips, RB Todd Gurley October 18 press conference

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Here’s what the trio had to say today.

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(On WR Josh Reynolds being on the injury report on Wednesday)

”He’s okay. He just got his wrist banged up a little bit on the one where (QB) Jared (Goff) swung on kind of the pass near the sideline. It was kind of a bang-bang type play. He’s going to be okay. You’ve got to put all the little things on the injury report, but we expect (WR) Josh (Reynolds) to be good.”

(On the media interpreting K Greg Zuerlein potentially not being certain that he’s good to go after speaking to him on Wednesday)

”If so, then we’re going to see a very similar approach to Arizona. The only thing is, I’ll just know a little bit beforehand that we’re going for a lot of two-point conversions, hopefully, if that’s the case where we’re able to get in scoring positions. I’m going to have to go talk to (K) Greg (Zuerlein) right after this one because my interpretation is a little different than that. But in all seriousness though, most important thing is the health. He had a good workout – felt good – that was why we made the decision to release a really good player in (K) Cairo Santos. But if he does have a setback or something like that, there’s still time to be able to make adjustments.”

(On the reason they haven’t been going for two-point conversions after being successful with them in the Cardinals game)

”It’s really situational. I think a lot of times too, just being totally honest, that’s just what you’re comfortable with – you kick extra points. That wouldn’t have come up had we not had that injury right beforehand. It worked out for us that day because of the players ability to execute. I think there’s different circumstances and approaches. You look at the (Pittsburgh) Steelers over the last couple years. Couple years back, I remember they started going for two-point conversions a lot early on. When you feel like it’s going to be a high-percentage, you want to take every point that you get and that’s just kind of that approach. Whether it’s right or wrong, that’s what we’ve taken. But, you feel confident in the players’ ability to execute if you do change that at all.”

(On if he has to manage reps for RB Todd Gurley II after having such a big performance)

”Well, he’s always a guy that you’re going to be very careful with and want to make sure that you’re listening to (Senior Director, Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and (Director of Strength Training and Performance) Ted (Rath) and most importantly, (RB) Todd (Gurley II) and his feedback that he’s giving with regards to how he feels. I couldn’t speak for Todd, but I know that the way he’s running the football, what a physical player he is, I can only imagine that he’s sore. We try to do everything we can, but especially somebody like him that takes the pounding and has the amount of work that he’s getting right now. That’s something that we want to make sure that we’re, number one listening to Todd – how’s he feeling – but then also, we’ve got a lot of confidence in (RB) Malcolm Brown as well. If he needs to get some work and Todd’s not feeling great or want to just spell him throughout. He’s got a great play demeanor during the game. Seattle game – doesn’t really want to come out. He gets into a rhythm the other day. He’s a special player and for him to be able to play the way that he has. He kind of gets stronger as the game keeps going. But, you also do want to be mindful of the fact that we’re six games into a 16-game season. So, him getting stronger as the season progresses is something we talk about and that’s predicated on a lot of things, but most importantly, his feedback that he gives to us.”

(On if he thinks Gurley II is having an MVP caliber season)

”I think he’s having a great year. I think he’s been instrumental in having us have a lot of production on offense to this point. He can do everything. I think he’s a complete back. There’s really not anything that Todd can’t do in terms of what you ask him. The thing that I say over and over is, as special of a talent as he is, he’s an incredibly smart player. That’s one of the things that, in the short time I’ve been coaching, but just being around this game since you’re a little kid, when you’re around really unique types of players, there’s that talent, but then it also matches up with the special work ethic. Then, there’s also a feel and instincts and awareness that certain guys possess. He’s got a great feel for the game, just by the way he plays. I think the third-and-10 that we ended up hitting (WR) Robert Woods on a conversion, you look at the urgency that he has where it was kind of a late adjustment based on them – (Broncos S Darian) Stewart triggers through the front-side A-gap and how quickly he sells out, but his ability to recognize that, allowed Jared to be able to set his feet and make a throw versus a fire-zone (blitz). Those are the things that make him unbelievable. He’s doing an excellent job and really, I feel fortunate to work with players like Todd.”

(On if those are things you can learn or if they’re an internal instinct)

”I think certain guys have a feel, but I think they’re also very intuitive with regards to how they approach meetings – paying attention, watching the film. One of the things about Todd, too, is he’s got such an even keeled personality, but when you guys talk to him every single week, he knows every player on the defense that we’re going against. He’s aware of what goes on, really smart. He likes football and usually those guys that are really good players, they enjoy what they’re doing. He’s an elite competitor that’s at his best when the pressure situations are the highest and that’s exactly what you want from guys like him.”

(On if he makes a conscious decision to diversify how he uses Gurley by whether or not he incorporates screen passes into the gameplan)

”Well, you are delving into the gameplan (laughs). You know what, it’s really just a balance. Certain things we’re looking for when we do want to activate those screens. Sometimes the defense presents them, sometimes they don’t. Really, when we go into a game, there’s a certain feel and a flow for the game. Those are things that we always want to do is, really, get the ball in Todd’s hands in a variety of different ways. The screen game, some gameplans has been a good play for us and then others it’s the flip passes or just handing him the ball off or getting him outside and doing some different things. So, it’s kind of week-to-week based on what the defense presents, but that’s something that I think our guys have done a really good job of. You look at the one third-down-and-13 that we had at the end of the game when they end up all-out pressuring us. We get a perimeter screen off. It was just…Todd didn’t catch it, (WR) Robert Woods caught it. So, our screen game is definitely a part of what we want to do. When we activate those is a lot of times situationally driven or kind of just within the feel and the flow of a game.”

(On if he waits for Gurley to signal when he wants to come out of a game or if that’s something that coaches are deciding on the sideline)

”(Running Back Coach) Skip (Peete) does an excellent job. He’s got a great feel for kind of just the flow of a game and how Todd is feeling. He’s really in tune with, ‘Alright, what does he look like?’ Because Todd can go every play. He’s such a great player, but if it looks like he needs to be spelled or if Todd says, ‘Hey, (RB) Malcolm (Brown) go ahead and hop in there,’ he’s got the ability to be able to do that. But Skip’s got great command of that and he’s always watching those guys. That’s the thing that we say – Todd is a special player and, really, we’ve got a lot of confidence in Malcolm Brown. I think what he’s demonstrated when he’s gotten in there is what a good football player he is as well. That’s why you feel like you can kind of operate with your normal calls and your standard operating procedure with Todd or with Malcolm in the game.”

(On an update on if WR Nick Williams will be active this week and what he loves so much about Williams)

”I think there’s a chance he will be. A lot of this – (ESPN reporter) Lindsey (Thiry) tells me our kicker might not be going this week, too (laughs). So, we’ll find out about our 46 (man roster). But really with (WR) Nick (Williams), really smart football player. Can do a lot of the different things, specifically that we ask that slot role that (WR) Cooper Kupp has played for us. I just think any time that you get a chance to acquire a guy that – he’s played football. You look at what he did in Tennessee this preseason and the regular season. He’s put good stuff on tape. He’s got a little bit of familiarity in terms of some of the verbiage so that it’ll be a quick study. That’s really why we brought him in here. Got him in here yesterday. I know he’s going to do everything in his power to get himself up to speed as quickly as possible. I think there’s a chance that he will be part of that game on Sunday.”

DC Wade Phillips

(Opening statement)

”This team we’re playing, I know their record isn’t good but when you look at the offense the last two weeks they’re over 400 yards. They’re number three in rushing in the league, the young quarterback has come in and really played well. They scored 30 points last week in Green Bay, so I don’t see anything wrong with their offense for sure. They look strong in that area and the quarterback has filled in really well for them.”

(On how he thought the Rams did on run defense this past weekend)

”We played the run like we should, that was our goal in the game certainly. That was the top running team in the league as far as average. I think they were under four, I think they were 3.8 or something like that. We played the run tremendously well which helped us win the game. Obviously we were ahead 23-13 at the end of the game, we had three penalties in that drive that hurt us. I thought we played really well.”

(On playing well in the run defense and if part of that was due to players sticking to their assignments)

”We had a challenge. We didn’t play well the week before. I said last week, every game is its own entity. We played a team that could really run the ball well or we felt like could run the ball well, and we stopped the running game. And we didn’t give them many points either and that’s the big thing.”

(On if numbers seem skewed in passing game coverage due to a lot of big plays and if that seems normal or if it’s a concern)

”No, you always don’t want to give up big plays certainly — running game or passing game. Usually if you have too many yards in one area that’s what it is, it’s a big play. People aren’t being consistent against us passing game or running game wise. We just need to not give up big plays and we’ll be right where we want to be.”

(On where he thinks the team is regarding edge rushing)

”We get pressure on the quarterback. We haven’t had as many sacks certainly — but I think we can play real good pass defense. The third downs were 30 percent last game and they were doing well before that game. I think we’re going to be fine, we rush the passer pretty well. Obviously, we have a strong presence in the middle, but we have (DT Ndamukong) Suh outside some. We have different match-ups for different players and that seems to be working pretty well. (DL) John Franklin’s (-Myers) a rookie. He’s a work in progress but he’s also had some good rushes too. (OLB Matt) Longacre was banged up a little last game so we’re getting him back strength wise. I think (OLB) Samson (Ebukam) has done pretty well too really, just pressure wise. We’d like to see him hold a little bit longer and get more sacks. It depends on the team you’re playing sometimes and what their approach is.”

(On the combination of playing CBs Troy Hill and Sam Shields)

”(CB) Troy’s (Hill) playing first and second down basically and (CB) Sam’s (Shields) playing third down things. We’ve got to limit their strengths to what they do and what they do well. That’s the way we work it.”

(On if he’s pleased with the way that combination is working)

”Yes, I think we’re fine. Like I said, third downs we were really good. I know people are going to say – Troy – but I tell you, he made one of the big plays in the game. It was early in the game, when there was a taunting penalty and he didn’t retaliate. It showed me what kind of poise and what kind of person he is not to come back on that. Instead of getting the ball on the one (-yard line), they had it on the 16 (-yard line) and that was obviously a big difference in the game. He had a couple plays and then the last one they threw on him. The guy threw him down and caught the ball. We turned it into the league and we’ll see what they say. He was in great position. I trust him, he’s played and he’s played really well at times. I think he’ll do better and better.”

(On how it was for him returning to Denver and being welcomed back warmly by the fans)

”Yes, you know. I was there six years the first time I was there and two years the last time, so eight years out of my career have been in Denver. Going back and seeing the guys that won a Super Bowl, they were the biggest part, not me, but the biggest parts were those players and some of those coaches winning that Super Bowl. I know it’s football and you got to win games and all of that, and we’re going to try to win every game. But it’s still about people to me. It’s about relationships and that’s why I enjoy what I’m doing. Even though you play against some of the guys you love in certain instances, it’s a game and we’re trying to win and I was proud of our team winning.”

(On if he looks at 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense and sees similarities to concepts that Head Coach Sean McVay deploys)

”They’re both very innovate. They cause problems for defenses. They’re not exactly the same. They both get their teams to execute well. Like I said, this team they lost their quarterback which was a big deal for them. They lost their running back who they traded for and they’re averaging 400 yards a game the last two games, with a backup quarterback and basically the running backs they didn’t expect to have and they’re one of the top rushing teams. They teach their teams to execute well and I think that’s the real key to both of those guys.”

(On being the last undefeated team and at what point does being unbeaten or having a lot of success early in the season become a factor for a coach when a lot of motivation and teaching moments come from a loss)

”Anytime you’re on a run, whenever it is, if you win a lot of games in a row they realize this is how you prepare, this is how you do it every week to get ready to be able to win. I think that’s the key thing. They know what they did last week, they know what they did the week before. We try to keep them in that pattern of great focus, mentally getting into the ball game with the team you’re playing, not looking ahead – those kinds of things.”

(On OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo coming back to practice, what he wants to see from him and if he thinks there’s a role on the defense Okoronkwo can fill)

”Who’s coming back?”

(On Okoronkwo coming back and practicing)

”Oh, he is (laughs) OK. Yes, he’s practicing now. He’s got 21 days, I think, to see where he is. We haven’t seen him that much in practice yet. We’re hopeful that he’ll do well. He wouldn’t be ready to play this week for sure.”

(On if with Okoronkwo being a rookie and coming back in the second half of the season, if he’s able to play is there a place he can be inserted into on the defense)

”That’s what we’re proud of as far as our teaching progression. We’re going to play the best player, whoever he is. If it’s a rookie he’s going to know what to do when he plays. Have you won for me now – that’s the name of the business. We feel like that our teaching progression is good enough that we can play with a young player, old player, whatever. If he’s good enough and ready to play, then we’ll let him play.”

(On LB Cory Littleton and how he’s playing all over the field)

”We knew it last year. We had a lot of special defenses that we put him in. I mean, he started some games where we had an extra linebacker in the game because he was versatile and he could do a lot of things. I think he’s playing outstanding. I don’t know that any linebacker is playing as well as he is in both areas. He’s had a lot of PBUs (pass breakups) and interceptions, things like that that. You just don’t see a normal linebacker — I think he’s way ahead of everybody in the league as far as pass coverage. And obviously he’s playing well against the run and he’s having a really good year.”

RB Todd Gurley

(On how cool it is to be in the L.A. sports scene right now)

”I guess it’s an L.A. thing. I’ve been watching the playoffs. Need to get home and watch this (Houston) Astros and Boston (Red Sox) game. Couldn’t see the (Los Angeles) Dodgers game yesterday because we were still here, but it’s been pretty exciting. Been watching playoffs the last couple of years. It’s been cool.”

(On if his connection to Dodgers SS Manny Machado is from Baltimore)

”Yeah, for sure. Most definitely. Most definitely.”

(On if he liked Machado when he was coming up through the pros)

”Yeah, (Dodgers SS Manny) Machado. Probably going to be (Baltimore Orioles CF) Adam Jones last year with the Orioles. I guess I’ve got to rock with the Dodgers now, man.”

(On how he feels physically after last week’s game)

”I feel good. It was one of those weeks I just felt good. Obviously, the (offensive) line did a great job and everybody. Didn’t get – I had 28 carries, but they just did such a great job I didn’t take too many big hits. So, I felt pretty good.”

(On if 28 carries felt any different to him than when he receives fewer carries)

”Just depends on how hard you get hit or sometimes you might take an awkward fall, but for the most part it was a healthy game. Like I said, the linemen did a pretty good job. Didn’t really have too many free runners, taking too many crazy hits. It just varies. I don’t know what I had the first game at Oakland, but I felt like I couldn’t ever play football again and then the next week I felt fine. The last couple of weeks I’ve been feeling fine. So hopefully I can keep it up and keep feeling that way after the game.”

(On what it means to him to him to receive the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award)

”It means a lot. It just means a lot now, I feel like, because (K) Greg (Zuerlein) got it one time, (DB) Blake (Countess) got it, (QB Jared) Goff gets NFC Player of the Month. So, it’s just like – it’s good when it’s not just like one player just keeps getting it. It’s just like, ‘All right, I get it right now. (WR) Cooper Kupp or (WR) Robert Woods might get it next week.’ We’re out there having fun and hopefully – obviously, we don’t play for the accolades or whatever, but that’s what happens when you go out there and just ball out as a team. Whether it’s Goff playing lights out like he did on Thursday night or us running the ball like we did the other day. So, hopefully we can just keep it going no matter who it is.”

(On his blitz pickup of Broncos S Darian Stewart and what he saw on the play)

”Yeah, I remember. It was a third down. (Broncos S) Darian Stewart kind of – he was very high. He was probably about 15 yards, came down very late, they shift (No.) 34 over. (C John Sullivan) ‘Sully,’ they did a great job with just getting the call out real late. They kind of snapped the ball and it was just one of those quick reactions. Didn’t really want to cut him, but I just felt like that’s what I had to do at the time.”

(On if that play makes him proud)

”I’m just doing what the O-line do every play. It’s good when you can put stuff like that on film. If a team wants to blitz us, then at the end of the day, it’s our job to make them pay. If we didn’t pick that up, then they would keep doing it. So, the more good stuff you keep putting on film, hopefully we won’t have to deal with those situations.”

(On if he gave himself any time to reflect on his 200-yard performance in Denver)

”Yeah, very rare. I don’t know. I didn’t really think too much of it. I mean honestly, everybody did such a great job. I really didn’t have to do too much, to be real, because Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, the whole O-line, (TE Tyler) Higbee’s out there – everybody really just did a great job. It wasn’t an easy game, but it was really just like practice, honestly. We were out there and we got the tempo going and things were just working on all cylinders as far as the run. We just kind of stuck with running the ball and the rest took care of itself.”

(On Head Coach Sean McVay talking about his instincts and what he studies)

”Yeah, I don’t know. Honestly, the coaches – everybody helps. We all help each other out. (C John Sullivan) ‘Sully’ and (Run Game Coordinator) Coach (Aaron) Kromer does his meeting every Friday. It just helps us understand what we’re trying to do as a team. What we’re looking for on each run and why we’re running it. Once you get an understanding of why we’re doing stuff, it just makes everything so much simpler. I just kind of go out there and just react on the field. Just kind of play my rules and then go from there.”

(On McVay saying he knows every player on every defense he faces and if he knows all of the players from studying them or being a fan of the game)

”Yeah, studying. But, just kind of just being a fan of the game. Like obviously, I’ll go home and watch the game Thursday night, Monday night. Can’t watch too many Sunday night games. Then, just being in the league. One player goes on one team to another and then next thing you know, it’s just really the same player. But, just kind of being a fan of the game and just studying.”

(On if he’s a big football fan and it’s a part of his life)

”Yeah, just playing sports. Obviously, I’m always playing around when everybody else is playing, so you don’t really get a chance to watch everybody else. Like I said, I got a chance to. The Thursday night game, I got a chance to actually watch and watching (Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliot) ‘Zeke’ and I’m like, ‘Dang! No wonder why everybody loves Zeke’, because he’s a great player. He makes great plays. You see guys like (Chargers RB) Melvin (Gordon III) having a great game, so you just appreciate that. I just like seeing everybody ball out and go out there and have fun.”

(On what he notices from the 49ers defense with their second-year staff)

”They have (49ers S) Jimmy Ward, the veteran player who’s going to be very good. (49ers CB) Richard Sherman, everybody knows what type of player he is. (49ers LB) Reuben Foster’s coming on, second year in the league. Then up front, they’ve got some stop guys as in, (49ers DE) Solomon (Thomas), (49ers DT DeForest) Buckner – all those guys. Definitely looking forward to it. They’ve been out there making plays. Got a chance to watch the game Monday night. Those guys were definitely making some plays, but I feel like we can go out there and as long as we do, we do execute and the rest will take care of itself. Obviously, just coming off the game that we had, probably going to be the plan to stop the run, but it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, we have to go out there and win our one-on-ones and then just run the ball.”

(On if the Los Angeles sports landscape was what he envisioned)

”No, I was thinking more of the party life, not too much of other sports (laughs). I always knew the (Los Angeles) Lakers is always the Lakers. It’s been cool. It’s really, honestly, no other city that I would want to be in. Always, wanted to just live in L.A. and to be able to play out here. Like you said, the (Los Angeles) Dodgers are doing good – one game away from going to the World Series back-to-back. When you see stuff like, it’s more just like inspiration and you want that feeling as well. You don’t want to be the team that’s losing in the playoffs. It just brings that competitive greatness in me and whoever else on the team that feels that way. It’s exciting to be able to play in the same city as LeBron (James) and when I got here, same city as Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and stuff like that. Obviously, it’s L.A. It’s one of the top markets and it’s a high standard to play here. No one wants to lose in the big city because you will hear about it all day. You’ll hear about it wherever you’re at if you’re losing, so you definitely don’t want to lose here because it’s no fun.”

(On if he’s been hearing from his fantasy football fans)

”Yeah, they’ve just been telling me how great I’ve been doing and how I’ve been winning them their leagues. Obviously, the people that couldn’t get me, they lost against fantasy. I appreciate everyone out there. Hopefully, they can get me again this week and we can go out there and put some points on the board for them.”