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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay, Co-OC Shane Waldron, QB Jared Goff December 19 press conference

Here’s what the trio had to say today.

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(On how RB Todd Gurley II is doing)

”He’s doing good. I think he’s making good progress. It’s early in the week, but I think he’s feeling good. He came in, was feeling better today so that’s good news.”

(On if his expectation is that Gurley will play on Sunday)

”Yes, that’s the expectation, that he’s going to play.”

(On if RB C.J. Anderson is a player that could offer more than just depth at running back and if he can see him playing a role later on in the season)

”Oh yeah. You can see him playing a role as early as this week. Really impressed just being around him in the initial 24 hours or whatever it’s been. Very sharp, cerebral player. He’s played in some systems very similar in terms of the verbiage, some of the things that we try to emphasize specific to the running game and in protections just with background from being with (Former Broncos Head) Coach (Gary) Kubiak. So, it’s going to be good to be able to get him in here, get him up to speed as quickly as possible. I can tell (Running Backs Coach) Skip (Peete) has already done a really nice job. So, that’s positive.”

(On what the tipping point would be for him with Gurley in terms of deciding not to play him this week)

”I would say that it’s going to be predicated on what he says, what the doctors are saying. If there’s a chance that he’s going to do something that’s going to set him back for when you get into the playoffs, different things like that, that’s where we have to make smart decisions for our football team. We’re trying to go win this football game and do everything we can in our power to do that. Not at the expense of potentially risking the availability of (RB) Todd (Gurley II), but we’ll evaluate that as the week goes on.”

(On what went into the decision to waive WR Pharoh Cooper)

”It was a tough decision. So much respect for what (WR) Pharoh (Cooper) has done here. He was a Pro Bowl player and really, as a returner in both kick and punt return last year. Was really just impressed with the way that he’s handled himself coming back from the injury. It was really more just a numbers thing than anything else when you figure, how do you get your 46 (-man roster) up. With us having two of our three running backs banged up right now, we felt like that was a position of need and that was kind of the decision that went into it. But, it wasn’t anything that he didn’t do. Pharoh couldn’t have handled it in a more class manner. He’s a great competitor and I wish him nothing but the best.”

(On if this week is a good opportunity for the offensive and defensive lines to get back into sync with what was working through the first 11 games)

”I would just say it’s really a good opportunity to compete again. If there’s one thing that you realize just looking around the league every single week, it’s that it’s so competitive and if you’re not ready to go, you get humbled real quickly. So, the Arizona Cardinals are a tough team. (Head) Coach (Steve) Wilks does a good job. Those guys are continuing to compete. They’ve got really good players. When you look at just some of the guys individually, unbelievable players, and they continue to compete hard in all three phases. It’s an opportunity to go compete and play another game. I wouldn’t ever say that it’s a chance to get back on track. We look at every week as a chance to try to find our groove, find a way to try to improve, regardless of the opponent. But, we certainly know that we’ve got to be ready to go in Arizona on Sunday.”

(On his reaction to WR JoJo Natson’s fumble on Sunday night and if he considered that in the decision to waive Cooper)

”Like you’ve heard us talk about with these two games, one play isn’t going to dictate the entire body of work for (WR) JoJo (Natson). Got confidence in him. I know (Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel) ‘Bones’ feels that way, his teammates feel that way that, that was an outlier in terms of what he’s put on tape. You don’t ever let that one play dictate and determine the way that you look at a specific player. That doesn’t change our confidence. It was an unfortunate deal that happened, but that doesn’t change the confidence we have in JoJo Natson as our punt returner and potentially kick returner as well.”

(On if DB Blake Countess will become the kick returner)

”He has a chance. It’s really going to be him or JoJo. We’ll figure that out and talk to ‘Bones’ and see what he thinks is best.”

(On if he has talked to QB Jared Goff about resetting and going back to basics after the last three games)

”We do that every single week, whether he’s thrown for 450 (yards) and five touchdowns or whether we have a game where we had a couple turnovers. It’s the same rhythm for us where we look at every single play. The crazy thing is, there’s a couple games too where, just based on the nature of if it’s a tipped ball – different things like that. There’s so many things that lead into the factors of, if that guy doesn’t make good pick on the right sideline and for whatever reason we decide not to just take that sack, it’s a totally different narrative. So, you just talk about the fine line between a good game and really, being critical of being responsible or a part of two turnovers. So, we evaluate every single play. We always talk about making good decisions, playing within the timing and rhythm, kind of understanding situations – really, for (QB) Jared (Goff) and also for myself as you continue to navigate through some of these experiences for the first time. We’re doing it together. We get a chance to learn from our experiences and I trust that all of us as a team and, specifically, Jared and myself will learn as we go through some of these experiences, whether they be good or bad.”

(On if he’s happy with his decision making over the last three games)

”Well, I think there’s been some decisions that we want back. But, I think when you look at it, there’s specific plays. You’re talking about 65-70 plays in every single game. Unfortunately, in him, we keep talking about two plays` and that’s the nature of the quarterback position. But I would say this, we’ll continue to learn from it. There’s been some decisions that we would like to do differently than what we did. But, like me as a play caller, there’s certainly a lot of decisions that I have that I’d like to have back as well. So, if we learn from them, we trust that we can improve from that.”

(On how much WR Cooper Kupp’s absence is noticed during third-down situations)

”I think any time you take a player of his caliber out, there’s going to be some things that you miss. I don’t know exactly what our stats are with or without him, but I know that he’s an instrumental part of our offense when he’s available. That’s not exclusive to third-down. That’s in the red zone, that’s two-minute, that’s first, second-down as well. So, (WR) Cooper (Kupp) is a big-time player. You go back and even watching the first time we played these guys, you say, ‘Man, you appreciate how detailed, how sharp, how crisp, he is.’ But, that’s not an excuse for us. That’s what we talk about all the time is, those guys that have to step up, fill that void, being ready to go, doing the little things the right way. In a lot of instances, the guys that have had to step up, have done a nice job. To say that you ever replace a player like Cooper, probably, like we’ve said, kind of wouldn’t be accurate.”

(On what Cardinals QB Josh Rosen presents for the defense)

”He’s a natural thrower of the football. You can see, he does a good job mixing his cadence up. He’s got a good understanding – good football acumen. You can see that he was really polished, even just coming out. Really, they’re doing some different things. A lot of it is the same, but they’re doing some different things schematically with (Cardinals Offensive Coordinator) Byron Leftwich taking over as the playcaller. They’ve got some players. But, (Cardinals QB) Josh (Rosen) – you see why he was a top-tier pick. He can make all those throws. He can create off-schedule a little bit. Very smart, cerebral player. Even earlier in the season when he started playing, you can see he’s got the ability to move and manipulate coverage, so he understands what defenses are trying to get done and how he can – whether it’s with his eyes, whether it’s with his shoulders, move some vision defenders to be able to open up some windows. I’ve seen some good things from Josh.”

(On if he feels there’s more of a sense of urgency after the last couple of weeks)

”Yeah, I’d like to think that, regardless of what the outcome is, it’s the same. But, human nature doesn’t really allow that. I know there’s an increased sense of urgency from us as coaches. I sense that from the players. Very business-like is probably the best way that I would describe what the feel is around here. People are positive. Nobody’s looking down, but I think there’s a serious approach to, we’ve got to get some work done, we’ve got to find a way to get better and prepare to try to go win a football game this Sunday.”

Pass Game Coordinator/Co-OC Shane Waldron

(On first down production being lower over the last couple of weeks and if there’s anything opposing teams are doing to limit production)

“I think a lot of it just comes back to us and all 11 players just executing a little bit better. We’ve had, obviously, a couple of tough weeks here where we wanted to come out on top and we haven’t. It’s a team game and that’s the greatest thing about it, so I think there’s just a little that everyone can do better. We can sustain blocks a little longer, we can run crisper routes, we can make better decisions. I think that goes for everybody, everybody in the building and I think we’re in that together and it’s a great challenge against the Arizona Cardinals to move forward doing that.”

(On QB Jared Goff’s decision making over the last few weeks)

“With his decision making it’s that position where it can get magnified and it does. Those are split-second decisions, whether it’s a decision or a defender making an excellent play, those can be glaring, but the bottom line for us offensively is we’re going to keep striving like we do every week not to turn the ball over and just knowing how important that is and is something we preach every week. Moving forward with that, all 11 guys have a part to play in that as far as keeping the ball in our hands and coming away with points or a punt every single drive – preferably points, obviously. Like I said, I think it just comes down to everyone doing what they can do to help the offense and sometimes the spotlight goes on the quarterback with those throws or some of the timing that might get thrown off because of a variety of different reasons and he’s done a good job, like he has all year, of some good things have happened and some bad things have happened and he’s really stayed the course and stayed that great leader that he is within the huddle.”

(On losing WR Cooper Kupp and WR Robert Woods shifting positions and if that changes the game planning at all to make up for production)

“Sure. Well the great thing with (WR) Robert (Reynolds) and (WR) Josh (Reynolds) and (WR) Brandin (Cooks) is their ability to play multiple positions and to do a little bit of everything. You’re never going to truly replace (WR) Cooper Kupp, and that’s not what we’ve asked anyone to do. We’ve asked everyone to step up and perform their role, whatever that is, on first, second and third down to the best of their ability, and I think those guys have done a great job of doing that. Like I said, you’re never going to truly replace Cooper Kupp, he’s a great player that was very productive for us obviously. So, we’re looking to get all those guys involved, get the tight ends involved, get the running backs involved and everyone where we feel they can help us in those match ups and particularity on third down, ‘Hey, what’s the best way this week to attach the defense that we’re going against?’”

(On which of Kupp’s skillsets he feels like cannot be replaced with him lost)

“I think when he runs some of those choice routes, or some of those routes where he’s excellent at those. The good thing is we’ve had some guys – where different guys that run some of those things and taken the responsibility of running routes. Just the fact that he had a good rapport, a reliable option for (QB) Jared (Goff) in some of those situations, you can’t take that for granted. But like I said, we got to move forward with the guys that we had and they’ve all done a tremendous job of picking up where Cooper left off.”

(On the Cardinals claiming WR Pharoh Cooper off waivers and what goes into the logistics of changing hand signals and play calls that he may be able to give insight on)

“It happens from week-to-week in the NFL. You don’t want to dive too much into that, they’ve got a week to prepare just like we do and I think you can start chasing some ghosts in that regard. We’ll maintain our offensive approach. Love (WR) Pharoh (Cooper) as a guy, love him as a competitor, as a player and wish him nothing but the best. As far as when you get into some of those tactical approaches, there’s some teams in this league where those signals or some of those things have been the same for 15 years moving forward. Some of those things, I think, are overvalued. I think you got to go out there and play football and execute at a high level and if you start worrying too much about hand signals or code words, stuff like that, you’re not allowing yourself to play fast. We still feel that we can operate as we’ve been operating. Like I said, wish nothing but the best for Pharoh. Love him as a competitor and a person.”

QB Jared Goff

(On if he’s panicking after back-to-back losses)

”No. No, I’m not. I don’t think we are. I think we’re learning from them, learning from the mistakes in the last game and moving forward. It is our first time going through that with (Head Coach) Sean (McVay). That speaks to what we’ve done in the last two years, but definitely something that we’re learning through and a little bit of adversity for us to get through.”

(On if there is anything that defenses are doing to make their first-down productivity not as successful)

”I think it always comes back to us, just doing what we do – executing. Defenses are going to present different looks every game and that’s no excuse. It happens every game. It’s happened every game we’ve played this year. So, it just comes down to us executing and being our best and just really focusing on the details.”

(On what has been happening with him in the last three games)

”I think each game is independent of each other. I don’t think there’s one singular thing. Look at last game, made a couple dumb plays that hurt us and you can’t do that. That’s just something that I kind of think of every game. At the same time towards the end of that game in the second half, I felt like we moved the ball really well and we were able to build off some things there and able to kind of take what the defense was giving us. I felt like I learned a lot in the last game and was able to grow.”

(On if he feels like defenses throwing different looks at them is because of the way they’ve had success on offense and if it’s just something that comes with the success)

”Yeah, and I don’t think it’s any different for any team in the league. I think it happens to every offense, especially the ones that have success. But, I don’t think it’s any different, really. I think it’s been the same way throughout the whole year and speaking to like I’ve said earlier, it just comes down to us executing and understanding that is going to happen, and it’s going to happen for as long as we play. Just be ready to adjust.”

(On what ways the offense misses WR Cooper Kupp the most)

”Many ways. He’s such a smart player and does so many things that go unnoticed. Obviously, physically, he’s incredible and is a great receiver. He’s a guy I trust and a guy I have a lot of faith in and have built that throughout the last two years. But, a lot of things – blocking, everything. But at the same time, like I’ve said, we have a lot of trust in (WR) Josh (Reynolds) as well. We feel really good with Josh. We feel like he stepped in really nicely and I feel really good with him as well.”

(On if the upcoming game is a game where they can work on new things and start a new slate to get back on track)

”I mean, we have to try to win this game. We’re not going to try to go out there and work on things, I don’t think. We’re going to go out there, do our best this week in practice and prepare and go out and try to win a game, just like we do every week. That never changes. We do have to try to secure a spot in the first or second, third, fourth – whatever seed we end up getting and try to do that as best we can these next two games. We control our own destiny still. We’re still under control of everything and we know that. Have to focus and get it done this week.”

(On if there is any reason for offenses not putting up as many points as they were at the beginning of the season)

”I don’t know. That’s a good question. I think there’s a multitude of things. It has to do a lot with – teams have film, they watch stuff, they adjust – defenses adjust. There’s different scenarios that happen. There’s injuries. I can’t speak for the rest of the league, but I know we can do a lot better.”

(On if he feels like there’s a message he can relay to Cardinals QB Josh Rosen about staying the course while he’s going through some form of adversity)

”Just to understand that every experience – positive, negative, in between – will be valuable for you in the future. That’s something I tried to take away when I was going through a similar situation. Just understanding that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and use everything you go through as a positive experience.”

(On if he feels a sense of urgency after two-consecutive losses or if he feels like his normal, calm self)

”Definitely an increased sense of urgency. I think you feel that. He talks about it as there’s something about losing that creates that sense of urgency and that feeling that you can’t replicate no matter how you win or what happens. When you lose, and you feel that, you do get that little added sense of urgency that comes with that.”

(On if the NFL made the correct call to change his second interception to a fumble)

”It don’t matter. It was a turnover.”

(On if he feels more responsibility than the rest of the group when turnovers happen on offense)

”No doubt, yeah. I need to take care of the ball better and will. I know I’ve said that two weeks in a row now, but I felt like I did a better job of it last week and continuing to grow and improve and get better. I feel like throughout my whole life I’ve been really good at that. Sometimes things happen and you’re just not as sharp as you want to be and don’t take care of the ball as well as you want to, for a multitude of reasons. Just rely on a lot of the stuff I’ve done in my life and get back to that.”

(On if there’s anything he can discuss with his offensive linemen or coaches about the increased number of pressures he’s faced in recent weeks)

”No, it’s just one of those things. I think, again, we’re talking about a lot of things that are going bad when two weeks ago it was a much different conversation. I have the same faith and the same trust and the same belief in everybody that I’ve had since Week 1. That’s never changed and never will change. So, no, I think we’re in a good spot and need to fix some things and need to get some things ironed out and will. Expect to do that this week.”

(On what he has seen from the Cardinals defense and any differences in what they’ve been doing since the first matchup in Week 2)

”They’ve still got a lot of talent. I don’t care what their record is, there’s a lot of talent over there and a lot of guys that have played for a long time and done some really good things. Obviously, (Cardinals CB) Patrick Peterson and (Cardinals S Antoine) Bethea, right away have played for so long and have played down there in Arizona for so long and know what they’re doing. Have so much respect for them. Then, you think about like (Cardinals DE) Chandler Jones and what he’s done for so long. Again, those guys have players and played well against us. We’ve had battles with them in the past and expect this week to be no different.”

(On what it was like to be among the first initial wave of vote-getters to be named a starter in the Pro Bowl)

”It was cool, definitely. Last year was great, but it was an alternate and then this year to be voted in outright, it’s cool. But again, I think anytime you get these accolades, it’s very much so a team award. A lot of times the quarterbacks on the teams with good records tend to get in. I’m very appreciative for the fan votes and appreciate everyone who voted for me.”

(On if he remembers RB C.J. Anderson playing at the University of California and what he remembers about him, his career and what it’s like to have him as a teammate)

”I was definitely a fan growing up when he was there. Definitely cool to get him in here and get a chance to work with him and seeing how sharp he is right away. You can tell he’s a veteran in how quickly he’s picking things up. Excited to work with him. Whatever capacity we use him in, he’s going to be ready and we’re excited for it.”