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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay, Co-OC Aaron Kromer, QB Jared Goff November 28 press conference

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Here’s what the trio had to say today.

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(On if the adjustment to the team’s practice schedule this week was due to rain in the forecast)

”Yup, that’s exactly right. Yeah, because we’re playing indoors this week, a lot of the good work that we get is typically on Thursday, where you’re getting your full-speed reps and a lot of the things that we wanted to try to get. You’d like to be able to have it on Thursday, but with the rain and the elements, want to try to be smart about what are we playing in this week and how can we get that good work just based on what the weather and what we anticipate the weather being.”

(On how he would evaluate DT Ndamukong Suh’s play so far this season)

”I think he’s done a really nice job. I think the thing that has been impressive is the versatility that he’s displayed where you don’t often times see guys that have been dominant interior rushers and dominant interior players have the ability to seamlessly transition and do a variety of different things coming off that edge from an (defensive) end spot as well. Those are things that he’s done throughout the course of his career, but I think in a lot of ways, specific to certain situations or what we’re trying to dictate and how that effects the way that offense adjusts and reacts to what the defense does, his versatility and flexibility has been instrumental. He’s made a couple huge rushes in crunch-time situations. Really enjoy being around him.”

(On how much Suh’s presence has affected DT Aaron Donald’s ability to record 14.5 sacks this season)

”I think in a lot of instances, you always talk about the power of the unit. (DT) Aaron (Donald) has done some unbelievable things, but I think he’d probably be the first to tell you that it’s a credit to the unit, to the other 10 guys around him that are helping him be able to get to certain situations. There’s a lot of instances where a player of his presence does help kind of dictate some things that maybe get you in some favorable spots. Both those guys have done great things – not only this year, but throughout their careers. Really enjoy having (DT Ndamukong) Suh here.”

(On if the schedule change impacts CB Aqib Talib in terms of determining whether or not he could play on Sunday)

”It won’t. We’ll really just kind of move it up a day. With something like that, we can always kind of create some different scenarios to continue to evaluate him separate from what we do with the team. So, it’s not going to have any sort of effect. If anything, it’ll probably help us get a better gauge earlier in the week than what we maybe anticipated.”

(On if he has any caution to a letdown after the amount of adversity the team has overcome in recent weeks)

”No, I don’t think so. I think probably, if anything, it’d be the opposite – that these guys show they can handle a variety of different situations and circumstances. I think guys feel fresh and recharged coming off the bye. There’s a good energy today. There was a good energy on Monday when the guys came in. I have full confidence in our players’ ability to kind of just seamlessly handle however it is that we want to operate and ultimately get ready to go for a tough team on Sunday.”

(On if there was anything that stood out to him from QB Jared Goff’s performance last Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs)

”He did a great job. I think you see just the way he responds, too. He took some shots and he just continues to compete. The one thing that really continues to stand out is his ability to respond from if a negative play occurs. In a lot of instances, the way the flow of the game was going, where we kind of had a lead, then you give it back to those guys and they had had some success defensively against our offense. He had such a great demeanor with his teammates. You could see that resonates with them. There’s a belief that exists and then they’re able to go get it done. But, it was exciting to see him create with his legs off-schedule on the touchdown on third down as well. So, he’s doing a lot of really good things. There’s always room for improvement, but I think his ability to be at his best in those critical moments was big for our team and really just for the overall feel and then ultimately getting the win.”

(On what has enabled the Rams’ 2017 draft class to perform at the level they are now)

”I think it’s a combination of our personnel staff and our coaching staff working in unison to identify players that not only were very productive, but smart players – people that liked football that possess some of the traits and characteristics within the framework of their position and really, just the overall personality that we like. You see a lot of smart football players. Guys that have continued to grow, guys that like being around football. That’s something that’s important, but whether it’s a first, second rounder, I think we’ve seen guys that if you redrafted, a lot of those guys would be taken a lot sooner. We feel fortunate to get some of those guys when we did. I remember how highly we thought of a (WR) Josh Reynolds to be able to get him, how highly you think of a (WR) Cooper Kupp. We really like (TE) Gerald (Everett). We liked all those guys that we got. You get a (S) John Johnson (III) and I think for those guys to continue to mature, continue to progress and get better and become intricate parts of this team is a real credit to the coaches’ ability to develop and then those players’ ability to be able to continue to improve and do it themselves.”

(On how difficult it is to identify players between the second and fourth rounds of the draft that have become staples of the current roster)

”I think, really, I would say this – I’ve been so impressed and appreciative of how thorough our personnel staff is with regards to getting the information necessary and then (General Manager) Les (Snead) and his guys do an excellent job of if we need more information based on our personal interaction – whether it’s bringing guys in for a 30 visit, spending some time with them at the (NFL Scouting) Combine. There’s some different avenues that we can explore, but I think the attention to detail with how thorough those guys are and then how they’re able to communicate that to us, helps us to be able to kind of target those guys and be able to identify players that we feel like we want to be able to work with and get a chance to develop.”

(On how he is looking to take advantage of the Lions’ up-and-down performance this season and getting pressure on QB Matthew Stafford)

”I think the Lions are a good football team. I know they’re extremely well coached. They’ve got guys that are really dangerous in all three phases and can make a lot of plays. I think, if anything, this league is a week-to-week league. It’s just so competitive. I saw a team that played wire-to-wire with an 8-3 football team on Thanksgiving. You see them beat a team like New England and Carolina. So, this is a quality football team that we’ve got to be ready to go. I know they’ll do an excellent job with their preparation. (Lions QB) Matthew Stafford is a great quarterback. You see why he’s a No. 1 overall pick. He’s got the ability to create in rhythm, off-schedule. You talk about similar to what was so scary about both (Packers QB Aaron) Rodgers and (Chiefs QB Patrick) Mahomes, the arm – the ability for you to really make any sort of throw anywhere on the field no matter whether you get flushed or whether you’re in the pocket is scary. He’s a great athlete. They’ve got some guys on defense that are making a lot of plays and they do a great job playing sound systems that you need to have answers to in all three phases. It’s not going to take much for us to have a great focus and concentration knowing that we’ve got to be at our best to go get it done.”

(On where run defense ranks in terms of getting better over the next five weeks and what he attributes their struggles in that area to)

”It’s a good question. I think the thing that’s so complex about that – and we talk to our players about it – each play is its own entity. When there’s 11 moving parts, not only on your unit, but then the other 11, with 22 (players) and things that can change and adjust and adapt, then there’s great athletes that make some outstanding individual plays. I think you take each play as its own entity and you make sure that, ‘How can we play efficient football down in and down out, snap in and snap out?’ and then understand within the framework of the situations that arise throughout the course of a game, ‘Are we doing the things necessary?’ The numbers can get skewed for good or for bad. For example, if you’re on offense, we pop a long run where (RB) Todd (Gurley II) does a great job, breaks a tackle and goes down the sideline for 80 (yards), but then the other way, the other 20 carries that we’re getting, you can get a skewed perspective. So, it’s a matter of what’s occurring, why it’s not working or why it is working and making sure that we do a good job giving the clarity for our players and then we’ve got to go execute.”

(On if he has primarily looked at what Detroit has done this season while studying Lions Head Coach Matt Patricia or if he goes back to studying New England and what he did there)

”I think it’s a combination of both. You can see the imprint that he has on this team. Some of the things that they do schematically that – I got a chance to coach in Washington when we played New England when he was the coordinator there and you see a lot of the same principles where he does a phenomenal job. You can see there’s a clear-cut philosophy, there’s a clear-cut identity. The players know what they’re supposed to do and they do it with some urgency and they’re getting better and better. I think you’ve seen their run defense play really well. So, to answer your question, any time we go into a game, we want to be thorough with our preparation, but it is a fine line of overlooking at things to then where you chase some ghosts. But, certainly you do have a lot of respect for what (Lions Head) Coach (Matt) Patricia has done, his imprint on this football as the head coach, but then also with his defensive background. So, looking at some New England things is definitely something that you explore in weeks like this.”

Run Game Coordinator/Co-OC Aaron Kromer

(On how the offensive line is feeling coming off the bye)

”After 11 weeks of solid football and no breaks, we’ve done everything we can with some of the veteran players on the offensive line, specifically (T Andrew) Whitworth and (G Rodger) Saffold (III) and (C John) Sullivan of making sure that they’re rested and ready for the game. Because the No. 1 thing, they know how to do it and what to do, and they’ve done it long enough that they get a little bit of practice in and they’re ready for the game. But still, the toll of just playing week after week and having such a late bye week, I think that was big for them to have this week off and get their joints back and not do a lot. You can see it, even just in a walk-thru today and we bounced around a little bit the other day as well, on Monday. They just feel better, so hopefully that shows up on tape.”

(On how big it is to have the continuity in the offensive line remaining healthy and playing each game)

”Well, it’s like anything. Any time you have continuity in a job or in life or in football, you get used to the person you’re working with or living with, or trying to solve goals together and you understand the reactions and responses of the way things will work. So, you can know ahead of time, a guy’s weakness or a guy’s strength and overcome it. When you have continuity, it helps. Now, when you don’t have it, you have to overcome it. No one’s going to wait for you, so you’ve got to keep it going. But at the same time, it’s been very beneficial to us.”

(On OL Austin Blythe’s success with the Rams and earning a starting spot, and if it’s something he envisioned in him)

”Well like I said before, I thought No. 1, for our front office and (General Manager) Les (Snead) and the guys to find a guy like (OL) Austin Blythe, who was just released – not traded, not drafted – released by the Indianapolis Colts and we pick him up because they see his talent. The only game he actually played in there was the Jacksonville Jaguars and he played guard. The whole time we thought our vision for him would be, ‘Hey, you could play guard, but we’d like you to be the backup center,’ because we needed it at the time last year when we picked him up. So, we trained him as hard as we could to play center and a little bit of guard. When this guard opportunity showed its face in training camp and we knew that he would be playing guard, that’s when we really knew we had something. He gained more and more confidence, obviously, playing against our defense in practice and the talent that we have on the d-line and having some success. It helped his confidence to play well in the season and it’s just been rolling since then.”

(On what happens in that situation where a guy like Blythe slips through the cracks either by getting drafted or getting cut by a team)

”A lot of times a draft is, you’re trying to pigeonhole a guy into a certain spot or you’re going on size and speed and testing at the combine. Sometimes guys mature late. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he’s plenty big enough. He’s a guy that’s very talented with good hip strength, good quickness and good awareness of football things, so he’s had a lot of success.”

(On Bears OLB Khalil Mack and what kind of challenge he presents for an offensive line)

”A great challenge. I hate to talk about next week, but as long as you ask, I will. It’s a great

challenge because you can’t expect to not have help as a tackle blocking (Bears OLB) Khalil Mack – whether you’re sliding to him, whether you’re getting help prior to the snap with a receiver or a tight end or a halfback hitting him before the ball, before they go out for a route. You can’t let a guy like that take control of the game, especially in big situations. I think a lot of times, people lose the point – they help the tackle, they help the tackle and then it’s the big play of the game and they don’t help the tackle and they wonder why Khalil Mack beats him. That’s when those guys shine – when they get one-on-one situations and that’s where you have to be smart and constantly, it’s not a case where you can just say, ‘Hey, go block him all day, we’re going to drop back and pass.’”

(On how rookies T Joseph Noteboom and C Brian Allen are progressing)

”They got a little backup time earlier in the season and they did well. I think (C) Brian (Allen) is really learning a lot from Sullivan. Brian Allen is really paying close attention to a veteran center – the tricks of the trade, how to study, how to learn, those kinds of things. I think his growth from training camp till now has been a vast improvement, just in the knowledge of how to study a football game and how to get ready for a game. That’s half the battle – knowing what to expect. (T) Joe Noteboom has moved around to four different spots every day in practice – plays left tackle, right tackle, both guards – and getting a real good feel of how this thing works. So, we feel good about both of them.”

(On having exposure to the Patriots’ scheme during his coaching tenure with the Buffalo Bills and how the Lions’ defensive front now is similar to what he recalls from the past)

”Well, without over-exaggerating how exactly the same it is, it’s exactly the same (laughs). When you go back to, even back when I coached with New Orleans (Saints) in 2009 and we played them on Monday night – it’s the same style of defense. Obviously, they have to tweak it to the personnel they have, but they’re going to make sure they set the edge. It goes all the way back to (Former Patriots Head Coach) Bill Parcells and the style of defense. It’s a very solid, strong defense up front. They’re going to make sure they’re only giving up two-point-something yards per carry on the last few games. So, they’re doing a great job against the run and then they just try to push the pocket and mush you into the quarterback so you’re in the way of the throw. So, you can see those same principles showing up. If they didn’t have the Lion on their head, you’d think you’re playing the Patriots with the style. I don’t mean that in disrespect to (Lions Head) Coach (Matt) Patricia, he’s a phenomenal coach, but when you do something at an organization that makes you great, you’re going to take that whatever made you great into the new organization to try to make that organization great. As you sit here in the world that I live in of that front seven guys or eight guys, it’s very similar to a way New England plays it.”

(On what challenge the Lions’ defensive front presents for RB Todd Gurley II given their style of play)

“Their goal is to make sure you don’t get outside. So, you have to try to manipulate as many ways as you can to try to get there. Like any defense, you’re trying to use their rules against them to gain yards.”

QB Jared Goff

(On how practice went today coming off the bye week)

”Practice was good. Got a little rain out there which was kind of nice to see, a little cool down and it went well. We did some things today that were good, tried some new things. I was pretty happy with it.”

(On if trying new things meant Head Coach Sean McVay was cooking things up during the bye week)

”Yeah, to an extent. We always change stuff up, pretty much weekly and put in new wrinkles and today was no different.”

(On how he spent his bye week and if it came at a good time)

”Yeah, it was a great time. Great time. Anytime you get a bye week is a good time usually. We needed it and it was good to rest up and hitting on Thanksgiving week was pretty nice, going home. Getting to spend Thanksgiving with my family and spend a week with them was great. It was nice, good to rest.”

(On the tight ends increased role in the last two games and if it was natural or intentional)

”I think it’s a little bit of everything. I think just naturally as guys have success, like we have at the receiver position, they get a little bit more attention. It usually gives guys other opportunities and that as well with definitely some intent to try to spread the ball around a little bit. They’ve stepped up and we’ve always had confidence in them and just a matter of time before they did that.”

(On TE Gerald Everett coming to the Rams as a playmaker type of guy and if that is starting to come along for him and if he’s getting more confidence and chemistry with him)

”No doubt. He’s really come along. Just seeing his progression from even the beginning of this season until now and just how much more he’s taking command of everything he’s doing and really just dialing in on the details has been great to see. Just proud of his progression and excited to see how far he can go.”

(On his thoughts on his performance after reviewing the Chiefs game, and what what did he think he did well and what would he like to work on)

”I wish I would of taken care of the ball a little bit better. Those two sack-fumbles were not what you want to do, and especially one leading to a touchdown for the defense. You never want to do that and put points up for them in any way. Just continuing to take care of the ball in the pocket. Then what I did well, I thought I spread the ball around pretty well and was fairly accurate.”

(On McVay mentioning his ability to use his legs to earn a touchdown and if he feels like it was his most complete game he’s played since joining the league)

”I don’t know. That’s for you to decide, I don’t know.”

(On if he self-evaluated the Chiefs game to be his most career complete)

”I think I’ve played a lot of good games and I thought I played pretty well. I don’t know if I’m going to crown that as my best ever. I thought it was pretty good, but we got a lot of work to do.”

(On if it was easy to get back into the swing of the things returning from the bye week)

”Yeah. Just having time off, anytime that happens, definitely takes a day or two to kind of get back and get your brain going again as far as play calls and what we’re doing and everything. So that took place on Monday, just getting out here and walking through some things. Today, I thought was a good day and again, kind of getting back into that full speed rhythm and feeling good with everything.”

(On partnering with the California Strong fund and other local athletes and how important is it for him, being in the position that he’s in, to be able to help out and if if he’s looking forward to be able to do more things in the community in the future)

”No doubt. I was really looking for something to do, something to start, something to get a part of to help raise money and raise funds for the community. Saw that as the perfect opportunity and was approached by them. I’m so happy that they did and so happy to help all these people that need it and just try to do my part. Like you said, I’ve got a decent following now where I can spread that word and hopefully can help all these people that really need it right now.”

(On going against other elite quarterbacks and if he finds himself watching how the other quarterbacks are playing since he’s a fan as well)

”I don’t think so anymore. I think when I was young – again young, relative, two years ago. I did when I was playing (Patriots QB) Tom (Brady) and (Saints QB) Drew (Brees) and those guys. It was kind of like, ‘All right, let’s watch this.’ Now I think it’s more regular and I feel much more confident in myself where I don’t feel like I need to – I see myself more as a peer now and not so much star struck.”

(On what it means to be playing in a game this week where they have the opportunity to clinch the NFC West)

”It’s always great and (Head Coach) Sean (McVay) talks about it with us, we’ve given ourselves this opportunity. We’ve earned this opportunity, we’ve worked for it, we’ve won the games to put ourselves in this opportunity so go take advantage of it and go have fun and go seize the moment. These are the games that truly can make things happen and we know that. It’s not going to change anything we do throughout the week, but definitely will make it a little bit sweeter when you win and can put on the hat and t-shirt. Hopefully that is this week, they’re a tough team and we got a lot of work to do this week to get ready for them but hopefully at the end of the day we can do that.”

(On what are some of the characteristics that stands out for the Lions defense)

”The pass rush. The pass rush is really good. Anytime (Lions DE Ezekiel) ‘Ziggy’ Ansah is on the field you have to be aware of him and he’s a great player. And then just continue to take care of the ball. Just continue to be good in the pocket and not let them get to it.”

(On when he played the Patriots in 2016 when Lions Head Coach Matt Patricia was the defensive coordinator and if he sees characteristics between the two defenses)

”Yeah, it’s obviously completely different players. There’s obviously some carryover from that, but we’re watching Detroit tape and I don’t remember much from that to be honest.”

(On what has enabled WR Josh Reynolds and TE Gerald Everett to develop and step into bigger roles)

”They’re obviously both really good players and guys that have obviously showed their worth and all that, but I think them being around some of the veteran guys has been huge. Just (WR) Josh (Reynolds) kind of seeing the way that (WR) Robert (Woods) and (WR) Brandin (Cooks) – the way they work and the way they go about their business. For him to be able to step into those roles when needed throughout the year and now permanently throughout the year has given him the ability to do that. It’s been huge for them to kind of setting the example, but they’re great players. I expect Josh to play great every game and have as much faith in him as I do in everyone else and the same way with (TE) Gerald (Everett).”

(On if he’s looking forward to facing CB Aqib Talib in practice again)

”Yeah, saw him out there today and it was kind of like, ‘Oh, there he is. I haven’t seen him out there in a while.’ Always good to see when he’s back out there and the type of player he is, the type of leader he is for our defense. Hope to get him back soon.”