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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay Week 15 game recap December 17 press conference

Here’s what McVay had to say today after the Rams dropped a second consecutive Sunday Night Football contest.

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(Opening statement)

“From an injury standpoint yesterday, (RB) Todd’s (Gurley II) knee had some inflammation, but we think he’s going to be okay, day-to-day. Then, (RB) Justin Davis got his shoulder. He’ll be day-to-day and we’ll see if he’s available for the game this week.”

(On if there is anything that is leading to the recent decreased production on first down)

”I think the (Chicago) Bears was a different type of game. Yesterday, really, there was a lot of instances where we were productive on first down. But then the ones that kill you are when you go some negative runs on some early downs, if you do go incompletion – we had some penalties that set us back on offensive P.I. (pass interference) when you’re down in the red zone. Really, for us, when you look at – you don’t take away from the credit that Philadelphia’s defense deserves for some of the things that they did, but it goes back to our simple football philosophy. Really, it’s first about the ball. We’ve got to take better care of the football. That’s something that will help us out immensely when you just look at the way that we did throughout the course of the first, really, 12 weeks – or the first 11 weeks. Then, over the last three weeks we’ve had eight turnovers and that’s something that we can’t do, specific to the offense – nine when you add in the turnover that we had with (WR) JoJo (Natson) yesterday. Then, we’ve got to execute the fundamentals, the techniques and we’ve got to be smart situationally. You can’t afford to beat yourself. Those are the things that we’ll look at critically. Everybody is in this together – coaches, player alike – but I think it boils down to more of that than anything else. We try to do a good job. There was a lot of the things that they did a nice job with, but it wasn’t anything that we didn’t expect. We’ve got to do a better job.”

(On if there is something about the month of December where teams take their foot off the gas mentally and if he’s noticing it with his team)

”I just think we just haven’t played up to the standards that we expect. I think the other teams have done a nice job. You give credit to those teams. They do a good job throughout the course of the week, getting ready to go and being ready as well. So, you don’t want to take credit away from those guys. But for us, like we said yesterday, I think it’s really important – we’re not going to allow two games to define our season. The story isn’t written yet and we’ve got a say in how we finish that off. I trust the resilient mindset and mentality. Really, what’s incredible about just the way football is, there’s 174 plays total in that game yesterday, if you just paused it – we talked about this. I was talking with (Special Teams Coordinator) ‘Bones’ (John Fassel) and his dad had a great perspective on some different things. If you just paused it right before that last play on the 18-yard line and you said, ‘How do you feel about this game not knowing what happened? Where, okay, if you end up converting there and then you go for two. If you end up winning that game, how much different is the narrative, but there’s still 173 plays prior to that 174th that ultimately didn’t lead to us getting it done.’ So, what we try to do is take each play, learn from it, make sure that we do a good job of coaching the players, having an understanding of what we want to get done, how they can execute at a higher level. If we do that collectively and we do some of those things that we were doing earlier on in the season that don’t inhibit our abilities to win football games and play complementary football, we feel like good things will happen for us moving forward.”

(On why players that don’t typically make mistakes are the ones to make them in recent games)

”Really, yesterday was some younger guys with some mistakes that really hurt us – a couple uncharacteristic decisions. Whereas with the Bears, it was actually just mental errors where we weren’t doing what we were supposed to do. That did happen a couple instances yesterday, but these were from some players that hadn’t played quite as much. There’s no excuse. We’ve got to do a better job of making sure that there’s clarity with their understanding and then being able to go execute it. But, just some of the decisions. I think the one thing everybody wants to make a big deal about (QB) Jared’s (Goff) performance. When you really look at the entirety, he did a lot of really good things, took completions, gave us a chance to get back in that game based on the nature of the way that he played, specifically towards the latter half of the game. Unfortunately, when you’re at that spot and you have a couple decisions, whether it be the turnover where the guy makes a nice pick on the right sideline or the one on third-and-1 that is a decision that he’s going to learn from, those stand out. Then, you have a tendency to say, ‘Well, that’s an evaluation for not a good performance,’ when that really just isn’t true when you go back and you look at it. Yesterday wasn’t quite as many of those things. They did some good things physically with some of the guys that they have up front making some plays. Then, ultimately, some of those turnovers or third down busts in a protection end up really hurting your ability to finish some drives with touchdowns – with field goals instead of touchdowns. Those are things that we’ve got to be able to learn from.”

(On how losing WR Cooper Kupp and RB Malcolm Brown has impacted the offense)

”It makes a big impact, especially when you’re talking about then, who’s up next and how much experience do they have? Specific to when you lose (RB) Malcolm (Brown), (RB) Todd (Gurley II) gets banged up and then you’ve got two young running backs that haven’t really ever played in a game of that magnitude, or really a game that counts really, other than the preseason and it’s a different speed. It’s always that fine line of being able to make sure that you get those guys the reps, but also making sure the guys you anticipate – if they are healthy and don’t get injured – get the reps. That’s really the nature of it no matter what just based on having 46 up during the regular season, so you’re always at that delicate balance. Whether we were in ‘21’, ‘22’, whatever the personnel is, the running back situation would remain the same unless we’re playing in a lot of split-back, two-back looks where you’ve got two halfbacks on the field.”

(On the chemistry between QB Jared Goff and WR Josh Reynolds not being at the same level as Goff’s and Kupp’s)

”I think (QB) Jared (Goff) and (WR Josh Reynolds) had a good rhythm. I thought the 33-yard play that they ended up hitting, where it was called a touchdown, that’s a tough timing and rhythm throw that him and Josh connected on. Unfortunately, the one – you’re probably referring to when we ended up having the turnover, when we threw the interception – I think that was a good play by them. To say that we don’t miss (WR) Cooper (Kupp) wouldn’t be accurate, but I do think that Josh has done a nice job. I think that anytime you lose a player of Cooper’s caliber and what he’s meant to our offense, you don’t replace guys like that. But, Josh has done some good things and he made some plays in that game yesterday, really, that gave us a chance to get back in it. Sometimes those other ones stand out where, unfortunately, that’s one that we wish we could have back, but Josh and Jared will both learn from that one.”

(On if he’s aware of the exchange between CB Marcus Peters and an attendee at the game)

”Yes, I saw the video. Got a chance to talk to (CB) Marcus (Peters). He knows that we’ve got to be better in those situations and can’t allow whatever’s going on, in terms of that dialogue, to affect our ability to be focused on what is going on during the game and on the field with our team, and how we can stay focused and concentrate on that. We had a good discussion and he knows that.”

(On if Peters’ actions could result in discipline from the league)

”I don’t know how the league would look at that. We’ll enter those things internally, but the good thing is like anything else – we had a good dialogue, keep the specifics between Marcus and myself. I was pleased with the way he was able to communicate what went on and I trust that these will be things that we’ll learn from.”

(On if those are actions that he would discipline)

”I think – we talk about that. It’s more along the lines of a discussion. I wanted to have an understanding of what was going on. All I saw was that video, not exclusive to everything else that might of taken place. He and I were able to have that. I liked the way that he was able to communicate to me and I trust that when those situations, if they do arise in the future, that we’ll handle it differently.”

(On how he will approach the last two games with RB Todd Gurley II having a bothering knee)

”I think you really just take it one day at time. These games are important for us. We’ve got to do a good job of getting ready for a tough division opponent at their place and having a good week of preparation. How his knee responds, we’ve got some good, positive news with regards to – it doesn’t seem like it’s anything other than that inflammation and then really, kind of a day-to-day deal. So, if he’s able to go, we want him to be able to go. But, if it’s something that whether you’re playing for the playoffs or whether you’re not, we’re always going to be smart with a player like (RB) Todd (Gurley II) and really any of our players for that matter. So, we’ll trust the medical advice. We’ll trust how Todd says he’s feeling and then we’ll kind of have a little bit better feel as the week progresses on that.”

(On if it makes it easier to get the message across to the team that it’s not time to panic knowing that they were 18 yards away from tying the game)

”I think what’s encouraging is that, when you look back at the game, there were a lot of things that we did to put ourselves in the hole that are fixable. When you talk about the turnovers, some of the negative plays on early downs, some of the penalties where you get yourself behind the sticks and that’s not conducive for winning football. These are things that typically haven’t arise, but we can learn from it. I think the fight and the resilience that our team showed when you go down 30-13 – (CB) Aqib (Talib) makes a great pick and then you’re just kind of chipping away, I think there was no doubt that everybody believed we were going to find a way to get that done. That says a lot. But, we didn’t get it done. We talk about it all the time – the process over the results. The point that I was making is, whether we made that one play or not and then if you go for two (points) and you end up winning that game, there’s still 173 plays that took place prior to that one play that we have to honest with ourselves about, it is about trying to win a football game, but how you go about getting that done, more times than not, will take care of itself. We go back to, you can’t turn the football over if you expect to consistently win. You’ve got to handle situations really well and we’ve got to play with the fundamentals and the techniques and do within the framework of our role on every given play what we’re supposed to do. More times than not, good things will happen for us if we follow that.”

(On earlier in the season when the players talked about blocking out the noise and if he likes being in a position where everyone isn’t necessarily hailing the Rams as the team to beat now)

”I’m not sure what the players see. Unless I know it’s going to be good things, I don’t look at it because I don’t want you guys to hurt my feelings (laughs). For us, I think it’s more about just, if we trust that we can learn from this the right way, where you use those losses as learning opportunities, you stay strong, you know that you have a say and that this story is not finalized – they don’t end the season after 14 games. We know for sure that we’ve got two games left in this regular season and one playoff game. What we don’t know is when that playoff game’s going to be. But, we do know it’s going to be at the Coliseum. That’s all we’re guaranteed right now. For us, our focus and concentration is on learning from these last – really, we learn from every single game, whether we got it done or not yesterday, our approach remains the same. I do believe that as long as we look at what’s going on that’s enabling us not to find a way to get these things done and win football games, if we can all be honest with ourselves as coaches, as players and be solution oriented, we feel like we can find those solutions to be able to put a more consistent product out on the field that we’ve seen more times than not. The thing that I do think continues to resonate – which is where the belief and the confidence comes in, is in the coaches, in the players that we do have, their ability to respond and their ability to continue to compete. That’s to me, as much as anything, you could feel that momentum and, really, that clock ran out on us at the end of the game. But, in spite of all the different things that we went through, you can’t say that these guys didn’t continue to fight, scratch and claw to put ourselves in a position to try to win a game. Credit the Eagles for being able to get it done. But, we’re going to learn from this and we’re not going to allow this to define our season. I do believe that and I know that.”