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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay, Co-OC/Pass Game Coordinator Shane Waldron, QB Jared Goff

Here’s what the trio had to say today.

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(On if the increased scoring in the league can be attributed to offensive staff staying ahead of the defense or rule changes and if he’s seen more openness among NFL coaches to work with quarterbacks and receivers to implement them into their system)

”Yeah, I think it’s always tough to say what the reason is for the increased production. I do think some of the rules, in terms of trying to protect the players that are built towards safety and things like that, do often times favor the offense, especially in some of those passing situations. Really, each week you kind of look, it’s kind of an up and down thing. I think when you really look at it over four weeks, that’s a small sample size so it always tough to say. It’s something that hopefully we can play at a high level offensively against a tough team this week, but that’s kind of what really our concern is.”

(On if there’s a challenge to maintain the team’s current culture and the guys operate)

”You know, I hope not. I think we trust the leadership that we have from our players and we try to be consistent from a coaching staff – and really organizationally – with our core values, our core principles. Regardless of whatever those outcomes are, it shouldn’t hopefully affect the way that we approach every single week. For us, I think we do – I have no doubt that we have the right kind of guys in our locker room that know it’s about earning it every single day. They are confident, but like we’ve said over and over, there’s a humility that exists and they understand that we’ve got to have a great week of preparation and it starts with a great week of practice and a great day of practice. Really today, emphasizing first and second down and getting ready for a great Seattle team.”

(On what went into the decision to make a change at kicker and what he expects from K Cairo Santos)

”It’s always a tough decision, especially just because the sample size is small. You don’t want to have too much of a short leash, but there’s certain things that every decision that we make is predicated on what we feel like it best for our team. We’re appreciative of what (former K) Sam (Ficken) has done for us. Wish him nothing but the best. In discussions with (Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel) ‘Bones’ and really as an organization, we felt like moving forward – we had a workout yesterday. (K Cairo) Santos did an excellent job and ‘Bones’ felt comfortable with that and that enables us now also to give (K) Greg (Zuerlein) a little bit more time where you don’t want to rush him back into that process. He’s a guy that’s had a lot of success in this league, experience kicking in big games and that was really kind of what went into that decision.”

(On if that’s an indication that Zuerlein will not play on Sunday)

”That’s probably the case, yeah. We kind of pulled back a little bit. There was a possibility that you look at maybe even carrying two, but because of some of the situations that we have occurring with guys that might or might not be available with our 46 (man roster), we don’t want to rush Greg back in too soon. It was a good workout. He’s feeling good, but I think we probably would be accelerating a little faster than what’s best for Greg, number one, and best for our team as well.”

(On an update on LB Mark Barron)

”Yeah, he’s going to practice today. We’ve kind of got a plan in place that we’re anticipating him being able to go. That’s subject to change based on how he responds, but he’s feeling good up to this point. Really, the mental aspect of today just occurred. Then, we’ll get the physical a little bit later on which is where we’ll probably have a better idea of how he’s feeling and how he responds to that physical pounding. We’re hopeful to be able to get him back. If that’s the case, we’ll be excited to get (LB) Mark (Barron) out there.”

(On if the plan would be for Barron to start if he is available)

”Yeah, if he’s going to go, he’s going to be a part of our – he’s going to be out there playing and that’s the anticipation if he is able to go. Yes.”

(On how CB Marcus Peters is doing after playing 74 snaps last Thursday)

”He’s doing good. I think he was sore just like anything else. You continue to come away impressed with just the toughness, what a great competitor he is. I think any time you’re talking about a soft tissue injury, especially from a corner spot, we want to be smart. We’ll probably monitor and kind of just alleviate what his typical workload would be to get him as fresh as possible for Sunday. But, he’s feeling good and he’s making strides in the right direction.”

(On if the Seahawks defense is still operating the same as the past few seasons or if they’re doing more as the roster has turned over more recently)

”Yeah, they’re still an excellent defense. I think what you’re talking about is really the fundamentals, the core principles with how they want to operate in a lot of their single-high (safety) structures. But, I think you talk about the emphasis on playing fundamentally sound, making offenses earn every single yard, being sound with your run gap integrity, playing your coverage principles the right way where it’s catch-tackles on any of those underneath types of things. They’ve mixed in a couple different things situationally, but they’ve got some great football players, really on all three levels. I think (Seahawks LB) Bobby Wagner is an excellent player. Been really impressed with (Seahawks DE Frank) Clark as well, showing up in a variety of ways. So, they’re still a really tough defense. There’s a couple little nuances that I think every year teams put in, but for the most part you’re seeing a really well-coached defense. They swarm to the football. They tackle well. They do an excellent job of going and trying to get that ball back for their offense. I think those are consistent things that you see with a (Seahawks Head Coach) Pete Carroll led defense and (Seahawks Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Ken) Norton (Jr.) is doing an excellent job.”

(On Goff having great numbers on first downs and what he attributes that success to and how much of an emphasis there is on having successful first downs)

”He’s done an excellent job, really, on all three downs and when we’ve had a chance to go for it on fourth down. I think it’s a credit to being able to have some balance. You really look at it, I want to say – in terms of our self-scout where we’re taking it off, where it’s those normal down-and-distances – we try to stay balanced if that’s what the look dictates. Guys are making plays, we’re protecting well and I think he’s throwing the ball outstanding with the anticipation and accuracy. He’s understanding what we’re trying to get done and you’re seeing him play really confident. When he’s able to let the ball go like he is, trusting that his receivers are going to go attack it, trusting that they’re going to be where they’re supposed to be or the tight ends or backs, that gives you a level of confidence in terms of how you want to operate. First-down efficiency, both on offense and defense, is key because then it really sets you up for the rest of the drive and how you want to operate accordingly.”

(On Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and playing against him)

”Great competitor. I think when you just look at him as far as a quarterback that has the ability to create on schedule, to create off schedule, the guy’s a winner. He’s an elite competitor, he’s got that ‘never die’ attitude. He seems like he’s a great leader for his teammates. Guys can rally around him. He can make all the throws when things are there in rhythm. You can see him speed it up, he throws with accuracy as well. He’s got a rare ability to be able to create off schedule with this legs, but he remains a passer. Big eyes down the field, seems like he’s always finding ways to scramble for an eternity and find guys off schedule. If that doesn’t present itself, then he’s got the ability to create with his legs. You just look at how important he is to that team and what he’s been for them and you see why they’ve had the production. He’s an impressive guy. It’s going to be a great challenge trying to slow him down because of everything that he can do.”

(On if there’s anything he wants to see Goff improve at)

”Yes, I think the consistency. Really he did a great job, but the more that you put on him, I think just the continued command. Handling on the road atmosphere, with what you know at CenturyLink is going to be an excellent atmosphere having to deal with those elements. So continuing to operate with poise, great concentration and some of the verbal communication that that entangles, because you can’t really hear much when their crowd is going crazy. That will be a great challenge and it’s why they’ve consistently played so well at home and had the record that they have.”

(On how he thought CBs Sam Shields and Troy Hill performed last week against the Vikings)

”I think the thing that says as much about Sam (Shields) as anything is the way that he continued to compete. If you’re a corner you’re naturally going to be in spots where you get some situations where if a guy makes a play, how do you respond? I think that says as much as anything. There were some plays that give credit to (Vikings WR Stefon) Diggs and (Vikings WR Adam) Thielen, they made some nice plays and (Vikings QB Kirk) Cousins did a great job being able to deliver it. I thought Sam competed throughout and I think he’s the first to tell you that he expects to play at a higher level, but he did do some really good things. We’re encouraged that every situation and every opportunity to play, really, in a different system that he’s really been exposed to early on in his career will allow him to get more and more comfortable with how reactionary defense is. It’s the call, but then what does the offense present personnel formation-wise that then dictations my reaction? In a lot of those situations, that’s where you have an appreciate for how difficult defense is. I thought he did a nice job. Then Troy (Hill), in the limited snaps, came in and did well. (CB) Marcus (Peters) competed, and we’re looking forward to seeing these guys hopefully do a great job against an offensive unit that can do a variety of different things.”

Co-OC/Pass Game Coordinator Shane Waldron

(On what he really emphasizes with QB Jared Goff in getting things done on first down)

”Well, I think that balance that we’ve been able to maintain on first downs has been efficient for us with the run and the pass and the screen game, the actions. So, all the little different things that we do to try to keep the defense on their toes on those normal down and distances. The offensive line has done just a great job of executing their assignments and keeping clean pockets for him. Obviously, when you get the skill players playing at a high level and you’ve got (RB Todd) Gurley II back there, gives that good balance that keeps us efficient on those first and second downs.”

(On if there is anything he’d like to see Goff improve on)

”I think we’re always striving to be great on those situational parts of the game, whether it’s third down or red zone efficiency – some of those things. I think it’s an imperfect game and there’s always something you can do a little bit better. So, we’re going to keep striving to improve in those areas and then maintain, if not excel, in the areas that we’ve had some success with through the first quarter of the season.”

(On the Rams top three receiver’s targets have been really close together and if that’s something he pays attention to)

”Well, I think the guys we have, they can all do a little bit of everything. I don’t think anyone is pigeonholed into one particular role. So, I think that allows, like we’ve talked about each week, Jared to go through his progressions and truly read out the coverages and take it to his open man, so to speak. There’s so much confidence in those three guys to do each role, whether it’s playing outside, inside, moving around, motion – they can all do it and do it at a high level, so it allows us to distribute the ball evenly, how it’s played out so far.”

(On what he has seen from the Seahawks defense schematically this year)

”As a whole, they’ve always been consistent. They’re going to run to the ball. They’re going to play their main coverages at a high level. They’re going to try to get those tip picks off the tips and overthrows. They’re going to try to strip the ball. They’re going to do all those fundamental things that you hear (Head) Coach (Pete) Carroll really emphasize all the time. This unit’s no different. It’s unfortunate you get a great player like (S) Earl Thomas get injured. You never want to see that. Hope for a speedy recovery for him. But, they’re going to keep plugging guys into this system, which they’ve shown with (Seahawks S Bradley) McDougald and their guys plugging them in and playing and playing at a high level in their system.”

(On how important Gurley II is and what he draws from a defense and how much it opens up the passing game)

”Yeah, I think it’s really important. Obviously, he’s done a great job being an efficient runner this year. Those first down runs that he had this past game where he’s gaining six, seven, eight, nine yards per carry, is huge for us. Then, even the dirty runs, so to speak, where he’s even gaining one or two, but he’s making the right read and he’s making the best out of a play that might’ve been defended well. He just comes with that same approach every rep. So, you’ve got to be able to key on him because he’s such an effective player if he gets out in space or gets loose. So, he’s done a great job of just preparing every week the same way, improving off of what he had started on last year.”

(On if that opens up opportunities in the passing game)

”Yeah, I think it does because now you get - you’d like to get that split in the second level, between the second, third level because those linebackers and down safeties have to honor Gurley in the run game. Like to think that that puts those guys in the secondary in more space and gets our guys to be able to execute at a high level on some of those downfield throws.”

QB Jared Goff

(On the music being louder at practice today and if that was to prepare for the crowd volume in Seattle)

”Yes. They’re definitely, obviously, a loud stadium and somewhere we’ve prepared for before and have to prepare accordingly with the noise. Most away games are that way and this one will be no different.”

(On what he has learned from playing in Seattle and being in that environment the previous seasons)

”Yeah, it’s loud. It’s loud and they do a good job of knowing when to be loud and when not to be loud. They’re smart and they know what they’re doing. I think you need to try to quiet them early. I think that’s the best way to do it but you never know. Most times they’re going to be loud for most of the game, it just depends on what happens.”

(On what’s different, if anything, about the defense this year with the turnover and with a new defensive coordinator)

”Yeah, it’s definitely different. Obviously, not having (Seahawks S) Earl (Thomas) now, this week changes a lot and just how good he is at understanding offenses and concepts. You wish he was there, you want to get them at full strength with him as part of that and how good he is. Would of been great to compete against him. But without him, we’re obviously prepared to play whoever’s next up. They have a lot of good players that we’ve got to prepare for. It’s a similar scheme but there’s definitely a lot of new players, like you referred to, and we’ll prepare accordingly.”

(On if he got any texts or phone calls after getting his perfect passer rating on what an accomplishment that it was)

”Yeah, I got a bunch of texts. People saying good game and what not. They tend to do that when you play well, not so much when you don’t play well.”

(On if anyone notable texted him after getting a perfect passer rating)

”No, I can’t remember now. My Mom.”

(On being 4-0 and how they stay on track and cut out the noise about perhaps being the best team in the NFL right now)

”Just continue to prepare one day at a time. I think that’s the way our team’s built, as a mature team and as a smart team. I don’t think we’re getting any bit caught up in anything. I think we understand that each week is a separate week. I’ve said this before, I think a lot of people on this team being part of that team two years ago understand how easy it is to be on the other side of it and you don’t ever want to go back there. You understand the work that needs to be put in to stay where you’re at and I think we all understand that.”

(On if there’s a feeling that they’re just being themselves or if they’re hot and what’s the balance between the two)

”I think we’re just being us. I think there’s definitely a lot of confidence that comes with playing well and definitely can get some momentum going, but I think we’re just executing. We’ve done a pretty good job executing. I’ve said it before, the offensive line is playing tremendously and opening up stuff for (RB) Todd (Gurley II), and keeping me clean and allowing me to get the ball out. That’s where it starts, and when we can do that and continue to execute up front and then everyone follows suit.”

(On outperforming themselves in yards every game and if it’s a matter of finding their cohesion more each week or if it’s that defenses have more tape out there for them to be able to find more to expose)

”I don’t know. I think it’s just we continue to get better and continue to try to get better every week. If that’s the case, I didn’t know that. I think it’s just a product of us continuing to work together and getting more confident together and understanding each play and each snap better and understand defenses better.”

(On being good at first downs and if there is a particular emphasis with first downs)

”Yeah, I think we do. We definitely want to stay out of what we call, ‘Get back on track,’ which is second and eight-plus. We want to stay out of it and we’ve done a pretty good job of that so far – staying in second and manageable and then third and manageable as well. It starts with that first play, like you’re talking about. I think, so far, up to this point, we’ve done a good job of that.”

(On if there is anything he hasn’t done in the first four games that he would like to achieve or be able to execute over the next four games)

”The turnover in the red zone still kind of irks me a little bit. The one (Chargers S) Derwin (James) made the play on and (Cardinals CB) Patrick’s (Peterson), I think, was from the 21, which might as well be the red zone as well. So yeah, those two – and I think about when you have points on the board, you never want to turn the ball over – those two were ones that I’d like to have back. Hopefully don’t do that again this year. Keep the ball, once we get in the red zone, finish with points.”

(On if he ever had a perfect rating at Cal)

”I don’t know. I don’t think so. I don’t know. You’ll have to check. I know the college metric is different and it’s much higher, but I don’t remember.”

(On what he remembers from the last time they played in Seattle and if he’s expecting a fired-up Seahawks team)

”Yeah, of course. I think they’re always fired up, but I think we’ll obviously get their best shot. I think we’re ready for that, as we will give them ours. They’re a great team and have been for a long time. We’ve got to prepare accordingly and understand last year is a much different team and we’re a much different team. It has no impact on anything that happens this year.”

(On having three receivers within a couple of targets of each other and if that’s something he’s conscientious about)

”No, not at all. It’s good when that happens though. You’d like to be spreading the ball around and getting everyone involved. But no, it’s not something that I even knew before you said that. It’s good to hear. You want to spread the ball around. But no, not really conscious of it during games.”

(On how important it is having RB Todd Gurley II as a threat and how much that contributes to the success they’ve been having)

”Huge. I think when we’re able to do our play-action stuff and he’s the guy that we’re faking to, adds a little bit of emphasis on those linebackers stepping up and everyone having to fill in a little bit more when he’s the one that could potentially get the ball there. Then, at the same time with his protection ability – how good he’s been in protection and how good (RB) Malcolm (Brown) has been in protection, all those guys. How good they’ve been back there at understanding what we’re getting done and what the blitzes are and understanding who their responsibility is. They’ve all been tremendous at it.”

(On if his approach would change if he didn’t have as good of a running back)

”Just gives you confidence, yeah, definitely, when those guys are back there. You just have confidence and it’s not even a thought. I know Todd’s on it. I know Malcolm’s on it. That goes for all of our running backs, but those are the two that have been in the most right now. You’re confident that they know exactly what they’ve got and they do a good job of it.”

(On if any of the success has surprised him)

”No. Were we planning to be bad? People say, ‘Are you surprised you’re 4-0?’ No. We wanted to win every game we play and we won the first four up to this point. Hopefully, we win the fifth and one game at a time. But, no, we want to be good and we prepare to be good and prepare for success.”