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Transcripts, 11/8: LA Rams HC Sean McVay, DC Wade Phillips, & RB Todd Gurley

Here’s what the Rams’ coaches and star RB are saying leading up to their Week 10 matchup against the Seahawks

Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Rams Head Coach Sean McVay

(Opening remarks)

”Just want to start by saying that our organization’s thoughts and prayers are with the families and the victims that were affected by this terrible act that took place in our area. It always gives you a perspective on – sometimes I know, me personally, you get upset about losing a game or whatever and it kind of brings you back down and you really realize what’s important in life and sometimes you take some of these things for granted. We just can’t wish anything but our thoughts, our prayers, our condolences for this terrible act that occurred. It’s just amazing that one person’s act can affect so many people in a negative way. What’s encouraging about the character on our football team and a lot of the players is, (T) Andrew Whitworth, some of our leaders and Jacques McClendon - our director of player engagement – are going to proactively pursue doing something to use the platform that we do have to support the people that were affected by this in a positive way. All we can do is just try to wish them our thoughts and prayers. It’s just, it’s amazing.”

(On if players handled the tragedy on their own and how he approached it)

”Yeah, any time something like this occurs, we had a team meeting. It’s always kind of an open dialogue deal, but Andrew got up and addressed, a lot of the players and talked about some of the things that we want to be able to do in a positive way to try to make this unfortunate circumstance and situation - use this in a way that you can try to help support the people that were affected by this. We’ve got the guys - you talk about just empathetic people that want to do good and that’s what we feel like we have in our building. That’s kind of the approach that we’re going to take moving forward.”

(On if he lets Whitworth take the lead to speak on everything about the tragedy or if he addresses the tragedy at all)

”Yeah, we address it, kind of talked about it. Andrew and I had spoken earlier in the day. He had met with some of the players as well about what are some things that we can get the ball in motion as far as just doing some things to try to help this situation and be a positive influence on it. I think it’s really powerful when you have guys like him that kind of can take that ownership. So, you kind of start off and then you allow him to have the forum to be able to talk and address and then we kind of answer questions accordingly.”

(On if he’s up in front of the room and addresses the tragedy in any way)

”Oh yeah, absolutely. That’s the first thing that we do. You see if first and foremost, if any of our players were directly affected by this or their families or friends. Making sure that they understand that if they were, make sure to utilize the resources – come talk to me or anybody in our organization and know that they’re supported and then we kind of go on to saying what we want to do to try to help that out. But yeah, I started out addressing the situation.”

(On if the organization has discussed about doing anything during the game on Sunday to acknowledge what happened)

”I think that we’re going to have a moment of silence. That’s as far as, I know right now, I know that there might be some things moving forward. But, as far as I know, we’ll have a moment of silence.”

(On if he knows if anyone in the organization was directly affected by the tragedy)

”Not that I know of. We asked that and nobody’s come forward with that. That’s kind of where we’re at with that.”

(On how you make that transition from this morning to now prepping for practice and the game)

“The biggest thing is I think you address the situation, you don’t run away from it. We got players that are empathetic and sympathetic to the situation in terms of what’s going on. Then with what you can control, I think we got a lot of guys that feel like it’s in their heart to try to help out and whatever we end up doing moving forward. As far as what we can do other than that then you have to go about your day in what our normal weekly rhythm would be. But it’s still, it’s something that makes you take a step back and gives you a perspective. I know me personally, I’m very guilty of losing perspective because you’re almost, kind of just, in your little own world and it’s all football all the time. Then you have things like this that occur that kind of re-gather your priorities and the perspective on what’s really important, and not to get bent out of shape on some of the things that maybe I tend to do, just being the role that I’m in.”

(On when he was putting together his offensive philosophies as a coach how much did he look back on Rams Hall of Famer Kurt Warner’s teams and what are some of things he incorporated)

“I think really just being such a fan of the game, you’re a produce of the experiences and the people that you’re around. I’ve said this before, I’ve been so fortunate to be exposed to some great coaches, some great players. I think as you gain that experience with the people that you’re around you start to formulate that offensive philosophy, but it always starts with your players. You look at those former offenses, whether it be the Rams or some other teams, that have had success for a handful of years as good as examples to say, ‘What made them different? How did they maximize their players strengths, put those guys in position to have success? And, what were the types of traits and characteristics that those specific players, specific to the positions have, that fit into the mold of doing some of the things with a (former Rams Head Coach) Coach (Mike) Martz led offense with the timing, the rhythm, the anticipation, throwing to windows and trusting that guys are going to be where their supposed to be, when they’re supposed to be there.’ So, there’s some elements that definitely you take from that. But once you figure out your players, I think the biggest thing for our coaching staff that has helped us out going into year two is you have a much better familiarity with your players, because it always starts with them. What do they do best? We got really good players that can do a lot of things, but there’s certain things that you want to accentuate. Once you’re able to do that then I think you can start to tailor in and have an identity for what our Rams offense is under this coaching staff and these players and that’s the most important thing for us.”

(On if this team reminds him of the Rams’ 1999 team)

“Well, I think those guys did it for so long. I think there’s some similar players and some abilities and some different things that get you excited. But the sustainability and the consistency are the things that’s most important. They did it for such a long period time that if that’s the case where a few years from now we’re able to make those comparisons that means things have gone pretty well.”

(On if he’s noticed a difference in focus from the team coming off a loss)

“I think it’s pretty consistent. That’s what you appreciate so much about our players is that they truly just focus on, all right, coming in on Monday let’s clean up the game whether you win or whether you lose; look at ourselves critically and then we move forward and do the best job that we can preparing for the Seattle Seahawks. I think that naturally you want to be consistent in all that you do, and say that you have the same focus and concentration every single week. I know personally there is an element of you get woken up a little bit and humbled if you will, when you don’t get the result that you want. I think that naturally, human nature, that creates a sense of urgency, but we try to be consistent. I think our players approach has been that and I think that is consistent throughout the building as a result of our players and our coaching staff and that’s what we want. Certainly, coming off that loss, getting a feel for what that feels like does create a sense of urgency that gets you excited about preparing moving forward and hopefully trying to get a big time win against a tough division opponent this weekend.”

Rams Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips

(Opening remarks)

”I’d first like to say something about the horrible tragedy that we just had here. Our thoughts and prayers, obviously, are with the people that it happened to, but it affects everybody. Our team was talking about it, our players, staff, everybody here. It’s a sad, sad deal and we feel for the people involved, that it happened to. It doesn’t just affect those people. It affects everybody. And our players are genuinely and greatly concerned about it, as we all are. So, that’s where we are there.”

“As far as the football game, Seattle we know has – and they’ve said it – they’ve gained their identity. They can run the football. They’ve run the football the last five games at least 30 times a game. They’ve got a quarterback that can make big plays. They’ve got a running game, they’ve got a big play quarterback that can create. Those are obviously two big problems for us. As far as last game is concerned, we played horrible the first half. That’s my fault, obviously. I thought we – I’ve never been around a team that came back from 21 points. Now, we ran out of gas at the end, but it just shows you what kind of effort. Our guys did turn it around second half, I thought we played really well. The last play I know everybody is going to say (CB) Marcus Peters, but I’m putting that on me. Any time that it’s third-and-seven, it’s the end of the game and you’ve got one-on-one with no help with their best player, then that’s on the coaches. That’s on me. But, we’ll bounce back from that. We’ve had games throughout the year, ‘Well, we gave up too much rushing. We gave up too much passing.’ We keep working on those things. We keep trying to get better and I think we will.”

(On what he believes some of the problems were that the defense was having against the Saints last Sunday)

”Yeah, the first half. We had some plays in the red zone that we felt like we could’ve stopped and we didn’t. Then, like I said, even with the last play, they scored 10 points in the second half. If you can play like that for the other half, then you’re in good shape and we didn’t do that.”

(On how he would assess Peters performance against the Saints)

”Yeah, it’s just what I said. We put him in a tough situation against their best receiver, but we didn’t give him any help. You’ve got to plan that better. That’s poor planning.”

(On Peters referencing that he had played poorly for a few games)

”People don’t know the calls on a lot these things or what his responsibilities are. Now, he’s got to play better, but we’ve got to coach better. I think it’s more on me than him, I believe.”

(On how much pressure they were able to get on Saints QB Drew Brees)

”I thought we had good pressure on the guy. We had a lot of hits on him. He made some great throws, obviously. Again, I thought the second half we really played well against him. We weren’t in a situation that we were ahead any time, but I thought we got good pressure on him.”

(On what he has seen from the Seahawks that has allowed them to be more successful running the ball)

”Well, I said it before we played them the first game, I think their offensive line has done a really good job. They’re a powerful group up front and they’ve got really good running backs and their coach, who everybody knows here, has always been committed to the running game. (Seahawks Offensive Line Coach) Mike Solari does a great job – the offensive line coach they’ve got this year – I think he’s done a good job with them too. So, it’s a combination of all those things.”

(On how he thought OLB Dante Fowler Jr. performed in his first game with the Rams)

”I thought (OLB) Dante (Fowler Jr.) came in and he did kind of what I thought he might do. He gave us some sudden movement out there. He had a tackle for a loss, he pressured the quarterback some. He didn’t play a whole lot of plays, but I thought he looked good. We’ll try to utilize him more.”

(On if there was anything he identified from their first game against the Seahawks that they need to correct ahead of Sunday’s game)

”Each game is its own entity, like I’ve said. They had a big game rushing that last game. We’re going to try to stop them from doing that. We’ve had games where people have had good yardage rushing and they’ve had none. So, we’ve got to get them down to the none. That’s where we are.”

(On what has made DT Aaron Donald so successful against Seahawks QB Russell Wilson)

”(DT) Aaron (Donald) is the best player in the league. That’s why, he has success against anybody. The best defensive lineman in the league. He’s just hard to stop. He got pressure on Drew Brees. Drew Brees threw it fast, but he got pressure on him. I think anybody that looked at the film would say, ‘Hey, that guy had a good game.’ Even though we lost, he’s going to have a good game almost every game against anybody. He’s a force. Like I always said, he’s better than the rest of them.”

Rams Running Back Todd Gurley II

(On his thoughts about the tragic situation that happened in the community)

”Yeah, heard about it this morning, sad situation. Never want to see that go down anywhere, but it’s unreal that it can happen somewhere that you work at every day. Definitely prayers to everybody and their families.”

(On if they talked about the tragedy in a team meeting and if T Andrew Whitworth led the meeting)


(On what Whitworth’s message was in the meeting)

”He was just talking about the whole situation and everything that happened. I don’t know. You’ve got to ask him.”

(On if it’s difficult to transition from talking about a tragedy and then going to practice)

”Yeah, there’s so much going on. I honestly haven’t even got a chance to read up on it or anything like that. We’ve been here all day. Obviously, you heard about it, but I don’t really exactly know what’s going on.”

(On if there’s anything he learned from the first game against the Seahawks that he can apply into this game)

”No. (LB) K.J. Wright’s back, so that’s going to be a good thing for them. Obviously, played a lot of jam against us last game. Not sure if that was the case because (LB) K.J. Wright was out and (OLB Barkevious) Mingo was at ‘backer. I know when K.J. Wright’s in there, him and (LB) Bobby Wagner are a pretty good duo at linebacker. The defense kind of runs through those guys.”

(On his reaction to WR Dez Bryant signing with the Saints)

”About time. It’s about time somebody picked him up. No reason he shouldn’t have been in the league.”

(On if he has any opinion on who should be the league MVP midway through the season)

”No, I don’t.”

(On if there is any different approach that the team is taking going into the game against the Seahawks)

”It’s the same approach. Obviously, we got the loss, but haven’t really been thinking about that since Monday. So, same approach for us, just keep getting better, show up to work, focus on us and let those things take care of itself on Sunday.”

(On if he’s had the opportunity to go see the Lakers play this season)

”Yeah, I’ve been to like three or four games.”

(On what the atmosphere has been like at the Staples Center)

”It’s been great, man. Get to go see the ‘Lake Show,’ see the greatest basketball player in the land. Just to be able to be here in the city of L.A. during the season and being able to go watch (Lakers F) LeBron (James) and the Lakers, it’s been fun for sure.”

(On if it was cool being on the video board at the Lakers game)

”Yeah, it’s pretty cool.”

(On if he would prefer to keep a low profile when he goes out or if he likes a little bit of the attention that he gets around L.A.)

”It’s whatever. I don’t really care. I don’t be tripping. It is what it is. I just go to the game, try to see the Lakers, support them. Obviously, (Timberwolves G) Jimmy (Butler) played yesterday so I wanted to go check him out and support him. But, it is what it is. I don’t really be tripping.”

(On what the wide receivers are doing in terms of blocking that helps him)

”We’re all doing our job. They’re doing their job just like the O-line and (QB Jared) Goff. We all work together. If I don’t pass protect for them, then Goff’s not going to get the ball off. If the linemen don’t protect for me, then I’m not going to do good. So, that’s why you love this game. We all need each other. Not one man can do one job. Those guys have been fantastic. There’s a lot of receivers around this league that wouldn’t block a soul, but these guys are grinding it out. You see why we’re in the position that we’re in and being able to score points because of the stuff that (WR) Rob (Woods) and (WR Cooper) Kupp and (TE Tyler) Higbee, (WR) Brandin (Cooks). All those guys, they go above and beyond just the block and give that extra effort. It makes you want to go out and do the exact same thing for them.”