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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay Week 12 bye week recap November 26 press conference

Here’s what McBae had to say to the media today after the bye week.

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(On having a rhythm in the beginning of the season and if he feels like they’ve slightly lost some of it and how he plans to maintain it for the rest of the season)

”I don’t think so. I think our guys have handled everything pretty seamlessly. I think these last couple weeks, if anything, have demonstrated that our guys have the maturity and the mental toughness to be able to handle any sort of circumstance and find a way to get themselves ready to go. I think the bye served – it came at a convenient time for all of us – coaches and players included. We’re about as healthy as you could ask for and that’s a credit to our players taking care of themselves and then obviously, (Senior Director, Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and (Director of Strength Training and Performance) Ted (Rath), which we talk about a lot, and the programs that they’ve implemented and the players following it out. We’re looking forward to getting ready for a tough Detroit (Lions) team and there’s a lot at stake for us this week. We’re excited to be able to get (CB) Aqib Talib back as well.”

(On having the next two games on the road and potentially being uncomfortable with them due to the weather)

”Fortunately, that’s something that we don’t have to deal with this week. We’ll get ready to play indoors at Detroit. I think our players have done a nice job just taking it one day at a time, one week at a time. Really, our goal isn’t to go 11-1. Our goal is to get to 1-0 this week. I think that focus has served us well. It was a good start to get these guys back in here, make sure that we cleaned up some of the mistakes, some of the things we did well against Kansas City (Chiefs). You put that game to rest and you move forward. Now, we know we’ve got a great challenge with the Detroit Lions coming up this week.”

(On what he’d like to see from Talib and if he thinks he’ll make the decision to activate him)

”Yeah, I think we could. A lot of that’s predicated on when he gets checked out with the doctors – does everything give the thumbs up? I know he’s feeling good and he’s really pushed it – had some really good workouts with Reggie (Scott). But a lot of it too, especially when you’re talking about a player of his caliber, but also his experience – you value his feedback that he’s giving you. As far as if he’s ready to go, those are things that as the week progresses, we’ll figure that out, but that’ll be a collaboration of, from the doctors hearing and seeing how Aqib does. I know he’s excited and just his presence for our team will be a big benefit to us – having him out on the practice field. He’s been around a lot and he’s voted a captain by his guys and he’s clearly one of the leaders on this football team based on the production and the experience and really, just the way he handles himself. So, it’s great to have him back out here and we’re looking forward to seeing how he does this week.”

(On if everyone made it back safe and sound after traveling during the bye week)

”Yeah, everybody’s good. We’re in good shape. Everybody was accounted for and it sounded like guys had a good, enjoyable week with their families. I can’t remember the last time that you were able to have off during Thanksgiving. Sometimes, you’re kind of always rushed and then going into work on Friday. So, it was a blessing to be able to have the bye fall on the time that it did for everybody.”

(On if he took the week off)

”I did. Depends on what you consider taking the week off (laughs). It was good. It was good to be able to get away, relax a little bit. But, you enjoy being a fan – watching games on Thursday and then watching games yesterday. But, it’s good to be back. I know guys are excited and we’re certainly excited as coaches as well.”

(On how pleased he is with how TE Gerald Everett has been performing and if he plans to make him more involved in the offense)

”(TE) Gerald’s (Everett) is a guy that, he’s got an unbelievable amount of talent and really, he was making a lot of really positive steps in the right direction in terms of, just his progress and things like that before he had the shoulder injury. But, he’s really talented. I think he’s certainly maximized his opportunities that he’s gotten, especially over the last couple weeks where, you see three touchdowns, you see aggressive hands. Those were great examples, especially the other night, to come away with those two touchdowns, where (QB) Jared (Goff) does a great job getting through a progression, finding him on the in-breaking route for the touchdown on third down. Then, to be able to find him down the right sidelines and what great body control by Gerald to be able to stack and then to be able to keep himself in-bounds, and make what ended up being the game-winning play. So, it’s been exciting. I wouldn’t say surprising, just because of the confidence and I just think it’s great to be able to see him be healthy and maximize the opportunities. Certainly, Jared and the (offensive) line is doing a great job protecting that enabled Jared to be able to get those throws off to him.”

(On what enabled OLB Samson Ebukam to have a breakout game and how he thinks WR Josh Reynolds performed stepping into a bigger role)

”With (OLB) Samson (Ebukam), it was exciting to see. I mean, you’re talking about a guy that just made great plays when he had the opportunity to. Really happy for him to earn a (NFC) Defensive Player of the Week award. He’s a guy that if you watch him, he’s really just consistently gotten better, extremely coachable, extremely conscientious. I can remember even going back to last year with what a great job (Former Rams OLB) Connor Barwin did, putting his arm around him and that mentorship. Now, watching Samson transition where he’s more comfortable. Truly a starting player that has the opportunity to make a lot of impact on both, some of our base downs and situations, and then also in some of the nickel pass-rush. You talk about doing a great job with those little things and then he also had a handful of other rushes that ended up kind of moving (Chiefs QB Patrick) Mahomes off of his spot. It was great for him and I think the coaches have done an excellent job developing him. He’s obviously a very talented player. As far as (WR) Josh (Reynolds) is concerned, it’s fun just to be able to see him continue to maximize his opportunities. I think the Green Bay (Packers) game kind of represented what we’ve always felt. He’s a starting caliber receiver. Got great length. Got great hands and he’s tough. He does a great job after the catch. Made a handful of big-time plays and really, if he didn’t have a 13-and-a-half size shoe, he probably would’ve had a couple touchdowns the other night. Josh is doing a great job and you could just see, as you continue to get opportunities and then when you’re able to make those plays, it gives you confidence. You can feel a lot of our younger players that are making those plays that end up impacting the outcome of the game. That certainly gives you confidence to draw on and continue to move forward in a positive way.”

(On making OLB Matt Longacre inactive against the Chiefs and if OLB Dante Fowler Jr. is now the starting outside linebacker)

”Yeah, (OLB) Dante (Fowler Jr.) has played a lot of downs. Really, that was specific to the gameplan because we stayed in a lot of nickel situations, just based on some of the personnel groupings and the things that the Chiefs presented. Where (OLB) Matt (Longacre) is a starting player for us in our base alignment. So, that was really just specific to the gameplan. Don’t expect that to be something that is the norm moving forward. It was really just specific because, ‘Okay, here’s a couple of the personnel groupings. Here’s some of the packages that we anticipate activating based on what we envisioned the Chiefs doing offensively.’ That was really kind of just a gameplan-type specific decision there.”

(On how Fowler responded to that and how he played on Monday night)

”He did a nice job. You certainly feel him off the edge and I think he’s getting more and more comfortable. He’s got that juice that we talk about, but I just think as he continues to accumulate getting familiar with the verbiage – he’s obviously a very good football player that makes an impact in those known passing situations, but I think he’s continuing to get better. We expect him to be a complete player and that’s kind of the anticipation and I think he took a step in the right direction.”

(On if he is a believer in kicking it up a notch down the stretch or more of a believer in continuing to do what they’ve done all season)

”I think kicking it up a notch means continually improving and that’s exactly what this represents. We’ve got to find a way to get better. Those good teams really do that. I think it’s a credit to our players, to our coaches to be playing meaningful football this late in the season as you’re going into your 12th game to have a chance to you know you win it then you end up getting the division title. That’s certainly something we don’t take for granted, but as long as we focus on that daily improvement, that daily excellence, then I think you naturally do kick it up a notch. Aqib is a guy that certainly has an understanding of playing in a lot of playoff games, where you kind of get down this latter stretch of your regular season schedule. You’ve got to continue to get better if you expect to compete, but for us, that focus is on the Detroit Lions this week.”

(On the latest on Gurley’s ankle injury)

”He’s feeling good. Really, when I said that he had tweaked it a little bit, that was more of a result of some of the things that happened early. Todd continued to push through, did a great job. I thought he made a real big impact in some of the screens and different things later on and then had a couple tough, physical runs that ended up influencing the outcome of the game in a positive way for us. He’s feeling good. I think the bye week served him really well and he’s a tough player. We expect him to be ready to go and 100 percent.”

(On if he watched the Seahawks-Panthers game on Sunday and his emotions as the game came down to the end)

”Yeah. I wouldn’t really say there was any emotion because I think the unique thing is, is that – if anything, I respect the resilient mindset and mentality that that team displays. You talk about the fourth-down conversion where he hits (Seahawks WR) David Moore, the off-schedule play to (Seahawks WR Tyler) Lockett. I thought they did a great job defensively tightening up, forcing some turnovers. The first drive of the game with the stop that they ended up having on the run that (Panthers QB Cam) Newton did and then (Seahawks S Bradley) McDougald making a pick. So, I was just impressed with the caliber of game that it was. As far as saying would I have been upset if Carolina won? No, I wouldn’t say that, but the nice thing for us is, I think our guys have earned the right to say, ‘Lot of respect for what Seattle has done.’ They’ve done an excellent job winning two big games against the Packers and the Panthers the last handful of weeks. But if we take care of business this week, then that kind of takes care of itself.”

(On if there is one play from DT Aaron Donald this season that stands out to him)

”I could pull from a lot of different plays. He’s making such an impact in so many different ways. I just think the consistency – kind of like we talked about the other day. You look at the forced fumbles and often times lines are sliding to him. He’s able to split doubles. He’s making plays in the run game. There was a situation where we had our front set and they ran a wide-zone away. He beats the guard across his face and ends up making a play in the backfield. He’s forcing fumbles. I just think the consistency at which he’s playing is what’s so impressive. He’s made an impact in so many different ways. You know that when teams are getting ready for us, that’s one of the first things, ‘Okay, let’s be aware of where (No.) 99 is.’ The fact that he can still find a way to influence and affect the outcome of the game in a positive way for our defense and for our team is what makes him special and I just think the motor that he plays with from the first quarter to the fourth.”

(On how much the team has missed Talib and how it has gone replacing him for half of the season)

”I think the way that we look at it is it’s given us a great opportunity for guys that wouldn’t have gotten a lot of those snaps to continue to get that experience, to continue to grow and learn from some of the good and some of the things that we can be better with. Any time that you lose a player of his caliber, both from a production standpoint and just from a leadership standpoint, certainly you don’t replace a guy like that. But he’s been around, he’s made his presence felt in the meeting room. He’s traveled with us to these games. But I think it has enabled us to develop some depth at that corner spot where you’re seeing guys like (CB) Troy Hill, (CB) Sam Shields, get a lot of snaps. You’re continuing to see (CB) Nickell Robey (-Coleman) do an excellent job and play in a lot of different situations. Then, obviously, (CB) Marcus (Peters) has played a lot of football for us, but it’s a big boost to our defense getting him back for a variety of ways. But I just think the overall presence that he has on our team is extremely beneficial and he’s one of those guys that I love being around because you learn from him just based on his experience, his knowledge of the game. Any time you talk football with him, you come away and you say, ‘Man, he’s an impressive guy, obviously very talented.’ Told him not to get too good at that NFL Network job because he looks like he’s got a couple years left in him.”

(On having former WWE Hall of Fame Wrestler Ric Flair on the sidelines last Monday night and how that came about)

”I’m not sure exactly how it came about. I know that he’s got a relationship through a mutual connection with Todd and we invited him out to the game. I didn’t get a chance to connect with him, but he did send me a nice video wishing us congratulations on the win. I was hoping for him to be able to ‘Woo’ for us in the locker room afterwards, but hopefully we’ll get a chance to see him again soon.”