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LA Rams transcripts, 12/12: Sean McVay, Aaron Kromer, and Jared Goff

Here’s what the Rams’ coaches and signal caller are saying early in Week 15

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

Rams Head Coach Sean McVay – December 12, 2018

(On the offensive line’s performance over the last few games and if there’s a specific cause and what they can do to get back on track)

”Yes, I think really unless we know what they’re being asked to do on every single play, really, I would say as an offense we expect to play better. I think it starts with me with the play selection, putting our guys in good spots and then it’s our ability to execute. But you do want to give credit to the defensive fronts, they’ve done a nice job. When you talk about whether it’s you’re asking about protection, different things like that, it’s really about all 11 and we got to do a good job. Starting with the coaches, putting our players in positions, giving them clarity, asking them – making sure that they know exactly how we want to get the things done that we’re trying to execute. And then it’s about everybody playing within the timing, the rhythm of whatever that specific play is and the ball coming out and guys separating in that time. I would say that it’s a combination of some different things, I wouldn’t say it’s been a falloff or anything like that. There’s been specific instances and plays that might stand out when you’re just looking at it that it’s, you know, typically uncharacteristic of what we’ve put on tape. But like anything else, we learn from it, our guys will respond the right way and we got a great challenge this week, and that’s what you love about football. You don’t have too long to feel sorry for yourself about things not working out, we move forward and that’s exactly what our players will do.”

(On what went into the decision to bring back OL Jamil Demby)

”He was a guy that we felt good about. It was a tough decision when you have him on the practice squad and then somebody wants to be able to take him and put him on their active roster. But he was a guy that (Run Game Coordinator) Coach (Aaron) Kromer felt strongly about. He had done some nice things throughout the course of the preseason and we kind of had that spot to give. We were a little more thin than most teams at the offensive line spot with really seven guys on the active and then those two guys that are up that both had to play the other night. So, you want to be able to continue to add some depth to that room and somebody that we had some history with that we felt good about.”

(On if signing Demby gives an indication of the health of the offensive line or if it’s merely an extra body)

”Yep, it’s merely an extra body and we really had a spot to give at that position. Where we were carrying eight and then when (Giants G) Jamon (Brown) ended up leaving us, we didn’t end up actually replacing an offensive lineman with that spot. It was more of a reflection of some of the nice things that he had done and then us having a spot to give.”

(On if he is aware of Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson saying that QB Carson Wentz wasn’t going to practice, his status possibly being up in the air and how does that affect the way they prepare for them)

”Yes, we had had heard that. Doesn’t affect much because (Eagles QB) Carson’s (Wentz) a great football player, but they also were able to win a Super Bowl with (Eagles QB) Nick (Foles) playing really high-level football. So, for us I think some of the things specific to accentuating those players’ skill sets might be a little bit different, but we haven’t gotten any word – we know he didn’t practice, but we don’t know anything about his game availability. They do a great job offensively and you see a lot of like concepts whether Nick’s playing or whether Carson’s playing. Certainly, we are aware of that, but it doesn’t change anything in terms of our focus, our concentration and our preparation with regards to just the way we go about today and the rest of the week as it progresses.”

(On his opinion of QB Jared Goff’s performance over the last couple of weeks and if he saw anything in common between Goff’s performances against Detroit and Chicago)

”I think it’s a combination of some different things. We try to look at things with the entire picture in mind. I think he’s done a really nice job this year. I think anytime that you get some pressure, it’s always a little bit more difficult to operate. When you got it clean and you got the ability to be able to progress, see the coverage, different things like that. It’s always difficult to navigate when you’re playing against some good defenses where they are able to apply pressure. But our production offensively is a reflection of the entire unit and then also us as coaches. The number one thing is, that’s where – last week was a great humbling day, certainly for me like I mentioned, and you get a chance to really look at yourself and you don’t have any time to feel bad about it. You got to look at it, you can’t avoid some of the things that led to us not playing well but I think (QB) Jared’s (Goff) played really well. He made a couple throws too with some people in his face that were pretty impressive the other night. He’ll be the first to tell you he’s got to take good care of the football and we can’t make some decisions. But I think I also got to stop putting our players in some spots that aren’t really conducive for finding a way of having success on those given plays. If everybody executes their role to the best of their ability, we feel like more times than not good things will happen for our offense.”

(On if in situations where you can’t get the run going or the play actions, is it up to the quarterback to make those throws with the pressure)

”Yeah, I mean I look at it as it’s up to me to have a better feel for the flow of the game and not put us in positions where some of those things can occur. And then he’s got a level of responsibility as our leader of our offense and doing some different things. But, for us, we always talk about making good decisions from the quarterback spot. There were some times where there wasn’t a whole lot of decisions we can make other than really throwing it away. The best part about Jared is he does a great job learning from it, he doesn’t let it affect his ability to move forward. I though his demeanor throughout the course of the game, as frustrating as the other night was, was exactly what we love about him. Even keeled, wasn’t flustered at all, but he knows that he can play better, and everybody can do a little bit better. And we feel like if we do that as a group, it will lead to the results that we’ve gotten more times than not this year.”

(On if the Eagles are a different team this season compared to when they played Philadelphia last year and how Eagles RB Darren Sproles changes things)

”They’ve got a great system and then they’ve got great players to be able to match and put those guys in spots. I think when you really look at it, getting (RB Darren) Sproles back, he’s really kind of one of the ultimate guys that can do a lot of different things coming out of the backfield. He’s stout enough to compete in protection. When you get him matched up, he does a great job. He had a big third down conversion last week where he’s running a rail route down the right sideline against Dallas. So, he’s a big-time weapon for them. (Eagles TE) Zach Ertz, like we mentioned, is having one of the more prolific seasons as a tight end and really can do a lot of different things. Got great hands, ability to separate. Then, you look at (Eagles WR Nelson) Agholor and you look at some of those guys with (Eagles WR) Alshon Jeffery doing a lot of things. Then, (Eagles WR) Golden Tate is a guy that you know is a really good football player. I thought he did some great stuff against Washington, but finding creative ways to get the ball in his hands. Then, (Eagles RB Josh) Adams out of Notre Dame has done a nice job at the running back spot. (Eagles QB Carson) Wentz is getting healthier, like you can see. He’s playing really good football right now and you just cut up and watch just some of the stuff that he’s done, it’s been really impressive. But if he’s not able to go, (Eagles QB) Nick Foles certainly has played really good football and kind of led them to a world title last year. So, no matter who it is, it’s going to be a great challenge for our team.”

(On if he feels any drop off as a playcaller since WR Cooper Kupp has been out of the lineup given the way the trio of starting wide receivers with him, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks complemented each other the first part of the season)

”I don’t think you want to take away – (WR) Josh (Reynolds) has done a great job. We feel more than confident in Josh’s ability where he’s been a starter. We’ve played really good football when he’s been a guy that’s been playing almost every single snap. But to say that you’re going to replace a player like (WR) Cooper Kupp – I’m not saying like replace Josh with Cooper, but when you miss a player of his caliber, no matter what his role is – and really similar with (RB) Malcolm Brown as well – you miss those guys because it’s all about the entirety of what you can present, what these players are able to do and then us putting them in the spots that allows them to try to have success. Cooper was having a great year, doing a lot of different things, but I think, really, our receiving group as a whole – and you add Josh right into that mix – has become really part of that group that’s playing really well. To say that you don’t miss Cooper wouldn’t be fair, but that’s not a reflection of – Josh has played starting-caliber football. You look at whether it’s the Kansas City (Chiefs) game, the Green Bay (Packers) game, made a handful of plays that enabled us to be able to win that. Did a good job against Detroit (Lions) as well. I don’t think, really, any of us played up to the standards that we expect to against the (Chicago) Bears last week. So, to say that you don’t miss those guys wouldn’t be accurate, but it’s not a reflection on how Josh has played because he’s certainly done a great job.”

(On how RBs Justin Davis and John Kelly performed against the Bears on Sunday night)

”Obviously, we don’t want to get the holding call that starts us really far back, from (RB) John (Kelly), but those guys are just continuing to progress. I don’t think we were able to get any sort of rhythm offensively where you’re really sustaining drives, so that was more a result of (RB) Todd (Gurley II) being able to stay in. It wasn’t like you’re really sustaining drives back and forth and he needs a blow here and there. I think in an ideal situation, in a scenario we’re able to have a little bit more continuity offensively within the framework of our drives, and then that is when you need to have (RB) Justin (Davis) or John Kelly come in and spell Todd a little bit. So, we’ll see. Hopefully that’ll be the case this week, but again, it’s a good challenge for us going against (Eagles Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Jim) Schwartz and the Eagles defense.”

(On what he saw from WR Robert Woods on tape from his time with the Buffalo Bills and what made him confident in signing Woods as a free agent)

”Really, it goes back to kind of like what we’ve talked about before. I remember evaluating him, or just watching him play at USC, even as a true freshman when he’s making plays. He had a great body lean where he could open his stride up, put it down, make all his routes look the same. You could see the ability to create after the catch. Good, aggressive hands. Then, when you continue to watch him, sometimes it’s harder to evaluate a receiver because a lot of it is predicated on the opportunities that you’re getting or some of the circumstances and situations. You could see a guy that consistently separated. Working with (Redskins Wide Receivers Coach) Ike Hilliard in Washington, he actually coached him in Buffalo as well and thought the world of him. Then, when you kind of go back and you really evaluate him closely, you see a guy that’s making a lot of plays, doing a great job. You talk to (Run Game Coordinator) Coach (Aaron) Kromer about him, he’s going to compete with and without the football. He’s been even better than what I expected, as much confidence as we had when we were able to sign him. His versatility, what he does, his leadership, just kind of the way that he goes about his business day-in and day-out, you love working with guys like that.”

(On if he considers signing Woods to have been a steal)

”Yeah, I think so. I think his agent would probably say that too.”

(On bouncing back from losses, what he believes that’s a product of and how the team typically responds to losses including this week)

”We try to be the same. We try not to let the circumstances dictate our response, whether it’s good or bad. That consistency, like you hear us talk about, allows us to hopefully be consistent with regards to the way that we’re performing on Sundays. That’s the truest measurement of performance, but I would say it’s a credit to our players’ mental toughness and their ability to know, ‘Okay, let’s look at what the reason was why we weren’t able to obtain the outcome that we wanted to. What can we do to try to fix that?’ We want to be solution-oriented and if we do that, then we can have an eyes-up, moving forward mentality. We don’t want to allow previous things that didn’t work out in our manner, to affect our ability to respond, be in the present and focus on getting better. That’s one of the things I think is important. We talk about it all the time, not allowing the past to hijack your ability to move forward, but you don’t want to avoid it. We’re not going to make excuses, but sometimes these setbacks, like we said, are great opportunities to respond. You can really show a lot more when you do go through some adversity than when everything always works out in your favor.”

Rams Run Game Coordinator Aaron Kromer – December 12, 2018

(On his assessment of the offensive line after the game against the Chicago Bears)

”Today allowed us a great opportunity to watch film and study technique and study our plan and our approach. If you asked a guy individually, I guarantee they’d tell you, ‘We learned a lot coming out of that game.’ I think it’s going to help us in the long run. It’s going to make us stronger. It’s going to make us play better in these games to come.”

(On the things he learned the most from the game against the Bears)

”I think what you learned is, when adversity hits at times, to go back to your fundamentals and techniques and not try to do something that’s out of the ordinary. Any time you get in a big game, it always comes back to staying calm and understanding exactly what you want to get done.”

(On what he likes most about bringing back OL Jamil Demby)

”(OL) Jamil (Demby) was a player that we drafted and we had high hopes for. Detroit (Lions) stole him from us and we got him back, so we’re excited to have him.”

(On what Demby was doing well in preseason)

”Jamil was showing the ability to play four spots – playing both guards, both tackles. He’s got a ways to go as far as being ready to really be game ready. But, at the same time, he’s got a lot of size and potential and athleticism that’s going to allow him to be a good lineman someday.”

(On if G Rodger Saffold III is on pace to be a Pro Bowler and what the challenge is for offensive linemen to stand out and earn votes for the Pro Bowl)

”I think a lot of times, offensive line get credit for good running games, good protections. Although the last game wasn’t the result that we wanted statistically or by win-loss, over the span of the entire year, it has been a great year for those five. We do have rushing touchdowns. They have blocked successfully. They have kept guys off the quarterback to lead in a lot of the total offense. So, our offense is still really strong. We feel really good about it and we feel really good about the line.”

(On the specific challenges it brings to him when the team uses 11-personnel)

”Well, the thing you’ll notice in our running game is that we use our receivers as blockers – whether they’re blocking in between the tackles or on the exterior or part of the play. So, those guys are like fullbacks to us and they’re also blocking the perimeter, like a lot of guys. Does it create a challenge? I don’t think so. It creates opportunity for us to have more speed, more talent – best players on the field.”

(On if he feels like running 11-personnel gives him and the Rams certain advantages)

”Defensively, you can only do so much. We have such variety of short passes, long passes, play-action passes, screens, runs and when we get all that going, that’s a challenge to any defense. I think that gives us the advantage of having more speed on the field by having those three receivers.”

(On how C Brian Allen and T Joseph Noteboom did against the Bears and if that was an example of what he was trying to develop with them being able to step in)

”It was a good example and neither of them flinched. They both went in and were successful in their blocks. They didn’t have to stay in long, but they did get three to five plays that, I would say, they graded out all pluses on those plays that they were in. They did a nice job. For Joe Noteboom to be able to go in there and play guard or tackle – any of those four spots and Brian Allen to be able to jump in at center at any time, really says a lot about their preparation and how they work throughout to be ready for that situation.”

(On him being with the Buffalo Bills when WR Robert Woods was there and what he knew about Woods and what he liked about him and what he told Head Coach Sean McVay about signing Woods)

”What a benefit it was that I could lend that information, because (WR) Robert (Woods) was such a hard worker in Buffalo and you could see the ability that he had in all the different things. You see it now where we use him to run the ball. We throw the ball to him. We throw screens to him. He blocks. He did the same thing in Buffalo, but just didn’t get the notoriety that he does here in L.A. He’s such a smart player. He’s all the things you want in a wide receiver – he’s tough, he can run, he can catch, he’s willing to do anything – you see him pass protect on a regular basis when he’s blocking defensive ends and things on pass plays and getting other guys open. So, he’s selfless and you can’t say enough good things about him. I just had the opportunity to be with him prior to him coming here.”

(On if the Rams are planning to rest any of their linemen before the playoffs)

”As we sit here, I don’t believe that’s the plan. As we go week-to-week, I’m sure we’ll make that decision as a staff and through Coach McVay. But as we sit here, no, just continue on the pace that we’re on.”

Rams Quarterback Jared Goff – December 12, 2018

(Opening statement)

”Just want to start off, I’ll be wearing ‘California Strong’ cleats for My Cause, My Cleats. It’s the charity I joined a few weeks ago. We’ll be donating them off and auctioning them and the money from the auction will go back into the charity.”

(On if being able to watch film of Sunday’s game helps in terms of being able to put some nuance or perspective on what happened and if it’s correctable)

”Yeah, there’s a lot of things to work on. That’s pretty much weekly. Win, lose or anything that would’ve happened on Sunday, we would’ve looked at it the same way and learn from it and get better and find ways to improve and look at things that we did well and build on those. That’s no different with this game. But yeah, we feel good. Had a good day today and are ready to get after the (Philadelphia) Eagles.”

(On if he’s able to pull out anything in particular from the film that he thought wasn’t characteristic of how he’s played this season)

”Yeah, there’s a bunch of things. They did a good job defensively and were able to stop us in different ways. Again, we looked at the film, we watched it and we’re moving on and feel good about it. A lot of things could be a lot worse than 11-2 going with three more weeks in the season.”

(On anything specific he gathered from the film study)

”I need to take care of the ball better, yeah. Personally.”

(On if he’s stayed in contact with Eagles QB Carson Wentz over the last couple seasons)

”Yeah, we text every once in a while, back and forth. Just heard today it’s not looking likely that he’ll play. I don’t know the details of that, but was looking forward to it. Unfortunately, I don’t know if it will happen, but I wish him the best. I’m sure we’ll talk in the next week or so.”

(On if he feels like he will be forever linked to Wentz because of the 2016 NFL Draft)

”Yeah. You know, I don’t write the story lines (laughs). I don’t know if it will be. It seems like it will be up to this point. You may have better control over that than I do (laughs).”

(On WR Robert Woods surpassing 1,000 receiving yards this season and what he has meant to the organization since he joined it)

”He’s been incredible. Getting him that milestone was something that I know he wanted, but I wanted it for him as well. He deserves it. I think he earned it last year and unfortunately missed a few games and didn’t end up getting it. But, just everything he does off the field, on the field, blocking, communicating, route running, the presence he brings to that receiver room. The professionalism he comes to work every day with has been huge for not only that receiving room, not only the offense, but our whole team.”

(On how familiar he was with Woods while he was playing at USC)

”Yeah, well I knew him. Obviously, he actually, in high school when I was a freshman, our high school played in the state championship game against (Junipero) Serra Gardena (High Hchool). So, that’s when I first found out about him. He had a great game against us. I wasn’t on the team then, but was watching the game. Then, followed his career through college and in the NFL.”

(On how much of the loss to the Bears had to do with what the Bears defense did as opposed to what the Rams offense did)

”A lot of it. It was both. We didn’t do a lot of great things and they did a lot of good things. It would take me a long time to get into a lot of the details, but there’s a lot of things that we could be better at, that we will be better at and are looking forward to improving on. Looking forward to getting into a rhythm these last three weeks heading into the playoffs.”

(On how much he feels responsible for the offense not being as successful as it has been in previous games)

”Just like I would every other game. I think almost every game we’re able to get (RB) Todd (Gurley II) going and able to get our offense going. For a multitude of reasons, they did a good job in preventing that last week. Just like every game, we’re trying to make plays and keep the offense moving and they did a good job.”

(On having offensive success against the Eagles last year and what’s the difference between this year and last year and what he’s looking forward to on Sunday)

”Looking to play well and come back. They’re the defending champions. They carry that with them this whole year, so that’s always an exciting game to get a chance to play against the defending champions. Obviously, they’ve been thinned out a little bit in the secondary, so you definitely have to look at that a little bit. But, still have so much respect for those guys and everything they’ve been able to do this year. Up front, they’re still really dangerous, they can do some things. So, we’re going to have to play well in order to win this game. We have a lot of things we have to work on and play well.”

(On the importance of WR Robert Woods’ versatility with the absence of WR Cooper Kupp)

”He’s always been so versatile in everything he’s been able to do and then losing (WR) Cooper (Kupp) and kind of moving to his position and making him more of that slot guy has been huge for our team. He’s a guy that knows all the positions and can play all the positions and when you have a guy like that, you can seamlessly move him around. It’s been good. You never want to lose a guy like Cooper but having (WR) Robert (Woods) fill in that position has been good.”

(On being 3-4 at the Coliseum last year and now 6-0 this year and if there is anything tangible that he can point to towards the success at home)

”I don’t know if there’s anything tangible. I think getting more comfortable in that stadium, for sure. Definitely getting more of a home-field advantage this year after last year coming off a good season and coming into this year and continuing to play well and getting that home-field advantage and getting that crowd into the games and getting people in the city excited – all that definitely helps. Excited to see it this weekend again.”

(On if he thinks it’s valid that Head Coach Sean McVay is getting criticism for not running the ball as much in the game and that it can be costly)

”We’ve played 30 games with him and got held to seven points once last year. We’ve got held up to six points this year once. So, I don’t know where the questioning can come from. I think he’s doing a pretty good job. We trust him.”