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LA Rams’ head coach Sean McVay conference call transcript, 11/9

Here’s what the Rams’ head coach had to say about the fires, evacuations, and their potential impact on Sunday’s game

NFL: Los Angeles Rams-OTA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rams Head Coach Sean McVay

(On if everyone in the organization okay)

”Yeah, everybody is okay. I knew that there was going to be a bunch of guys that ended up having to leave their houses just based on the way that those fires spread and that are living in those areas that were affected by it. It was both coaches, players, some people in some other positions within the organization. Our people, our support staff did an excellent job of being able to accommodate them, help find hotels in the area that enabled them to be able to find a good location, safe location. I don’t think anybody’s houses has specifically been affected in terms of that, but they did have to leave the areas. For us, which is all the things that are considered knowing that how some of the road closings, the quality of the air potentially, we just felt like most importantly was for the guys to be with their families, their wives, their kids and kind of be that support structure and do things the right way and not have them come in, be totally distracted, like I know I would be if I was in their role. Today will serve as, really, kind of, they’ll get another day of rest and then tomorrow what we’ll do is, we’ll go down and have our meetings at the Sheraton, which is where we stay the night before the games. We’ll have our morning meetings there, which will be equivalent to a Friday. Then, we’re going to go over to USC and have about an hour and 15 minute practice, where it’ll be jog-thru. Really, it’ll be a very similar approach to kind of what we took on the Wednesday before our Thursday game against the (Minnesota) Vikings. So, something that our players are familiar with. Fortunately for us, this is a division opponent and having played them within – they’ve had three games since we’ve played them, we’ve had four. There’s some familiarity. It hasn’t been too long and we trust that that’ll be a good way to do it, most importantly for the ways that guys had to adjust with their families and having to leave the area.”

(On what he has learned from having to make adjustments to unforeseen tragedies)

”Yeah, I think the first thing, like we always talk about, it’s always about people and making sure that you’re considerate and understanding from their perspective. I’m fortunate enough where I didn’t have to leave my house, but a lot of guys did. I think when you’ve got great people that you can lean on, you make decisions that are, it’s not one person making decisions. When we make decisions, there’s a lot of people that I can lean on heavily to be able to decide what we think is best and that’s both players and staff and coaches. When we’ve got a great group that everybody has a voice, then we feel like we’re able to kind of handle things in the best way possible, make the most of the circumstances. That’s kind of just how you approach it. You just try to be consistent, whether that’s in football, but just in life. I think, if anything, the last couple days give you that perspective that we talked about yesterday. Most importantly, is having our players and our organizational people that are working with us, whether that be coaches or staff members, is be able to be the leaders of their family that we want to be able to demonstrate. Being there for them as we go through a little bit of adversity is something that we felt like was the most important thing. Get them settled, situated and hopefully things will get under control in the next day. Then, we’ll get our work done tomorrow in a little bit of a condensed fashion, but our guys have always been able to adjust and adapt in a good way.”

(On if he was tracking the fires throughout the night and when he decided to adjust the schedule)

”I wake up pretty early. But, I knew when I was on the coaches text chain we have, (Defensive Line Coach) Bill Johnson and (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) are up at three in the morning, I said, ‘There’s something going on because those guys are probably usually sawing logs at that time.’ So, when they had to leave their places, I knew there was a chance that some things were not going to work out in our favor. Unfortunately, there’s probably a lot more people than I had realized when I went to bed, were going to be affected and have to evacuate their house. But really, you get on the phone immediately. (Director of Operations/Facilities) Bruce Warwick and (Assistant to the Head Coach) Billy Nayes, our guys did an excellent job. (Manager of Business and Executive Operations) Sophie (Luoto) and (Assistant of Administration/Operations) Kristen (Lee) being able to help. Most importantly, get these guys accommodations, both coaches and players as far as the hotels. There’s about 45 people that were affected by this. Then, you start thinking about, ‘Okay, you figure out are you going to cancel today? Are you going to move it back?’ You talk to some of our players and you just feel like the best thing is going to be to move everything to tomorrow because even if you moved it back, there’s still road closings and guys are distracted with what’s most important and that’s their families and their safety. That was something that we decided on this morning. Then, they did a good job being able to give us the option of, some of the people that had to move can get into the Sheraton tonight and be able to use that hotel, so they can go there now and be there tonight. We’ll have morning meetings there and then we’ll be able to go over to SC. So, that kind of all came together earlier this morning. I would say anywhere between 4:00 (a.m.) and 7:30 (a.m.).

(On Defensive Line Coach Bill Johnson and Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips having to evacuate)

”They were. There was a handful of coaches and a handful of players that were affected and also, members of our training staff. Really, there was a bunch of different people just based on the area that it was affected. So, there was, unfortunately, a handful of people that had to evacuate their place. But to my knowledge, nobody’s house has actually caught fire or anything like that. It’s still a scary thing and extremely unfortunate that they’re having to go through this.”

(On if there is any count on how many players and coaches needed to evacuate)

”Well, it’s 45 people total. I could rattle off the names of the exact guys, but when you combine players and coaches, it’s right around 20.”

(On if it’s unfortunate to have this happen a few days before their game)

”It is. It’s unfortunate. If you’re going to say what you do feel fortunate about is, the majority of our gameplan has already been implemented and installed. What today usually entails is, we’ll get a couple full speed periods in the red zone and then jog-thru the rest. What we look at is, okay, it’s another day of recovery for our players. We’ll be able to get those meetings back in the morning. I think because we’ve already had the bulk of our gameplan installed with the two bigger days’ worth of work and Friday kind of representing more of a culmination of the week’s work while you get in your red-zone gameplan, it’s something that, our guys will do a good job. I think the best thing is when you have reference points to be able to utilize where guys have handled it the right way. Very recently, the way that we approach the Thursday game, was very similar to how we’ll approach tomorrow, with regards to what we did on that Wednesday leading into the Vikings game. I think that can give players a comfort in knowing, ‘Hey, we’ve been there. We’ve done this before.’ It’ll be a seamless adjustment and we’ll be ready to go on Sunday.”

(On if the league reached out at all to discuss air quality and other potential hindrances during the game)

”I’m not sure if they have or not. I think (General Manager) Les (Snead) and (Executive Vice President of Football Operations/ Chief Operating Officer) Kevin (Demoff) typically with those kinds of things or (Vice President of Football and Business Administration) Tony (Pastoors), would be able to answer those types of questions. Not to my knowledge. I know that’s something that our people are very considerate of given everything that’s going on. That isn’t something that I think has come about yet, but again, people are kind of all over the place right now. I’m fortunate to where, in my house, I’ve got a good office setup where it’s like I’m at Cal Lu with the access to the video and different things like that. So, when I was going to come in this morning, just based on the nature of everything that was going on, I’ve just been working at home, so I haven’t even been in the offices.”