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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay, Co-OC Aaron Kromer, QB Jared Goff December 26 press conference

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Here’s what the trio had to say to the media last night.

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(Opening statement)

”Starting out from an injury standpoint, we’ll have just (Rams S) ‘L.J,’ Lamarcus (Joyner) and (RB) Todd (Gurley II) will be doing work with (Senior Director of Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and his staff today. It’s all above the neck, where we’re doing walk-thrus, so this is kind of what we felt like was going to progress them along better for the week. They’re in good shape. They’re still day-to-day. Nothing has changed with regards to their status from when we talked the other day. That’s kind of where we’re at right now.”

(On if Gurley’s playing status will come down to a pregame workout or if they will determine his status before Sunday)

”I would imagine that we’ll know before Sunday this week just because now it’ll have been a couple weeks. I think we’ll have a better indicator on how he’s feeling and how he responds, specifically just because he didn’t take that pounding last week, just getting that rest. Don’t know for sure, but I don’t anticipate it coming down to really the last hour and a half like it did last week.”

(On if the plan to play starters is similar to last week)

”Absolutely, yeah. We’ve got a great team coming in here that’s very tough. Their record is not at all indicative of the caliber of football team this is. Went toe-to-toe, wire-to-wire with the (Chicago) Bears last week, had a great win against Seattle, Denver the week before that. Got great coaches, very good players at some key spots. They continue to play hard and compete hard. We’ve got to be ready to go.”

(On if there have been any setbacks, such as unexpected inflammation, with Gurley)

”There really haven’t been. He’s making good progress. I think it was more along the lines of we had to make that decision just based on that pregame workout. Todd wanted to do everything in his power to get out there and compete with his teammates. Sometimes you’ve got to be able to make those decisions because you know conscientious he is, how much he wants to be out there. Just based on the entirety of everything that we put into making that decision, medical staff, Todd’s opinion, what we feel like is best for the football team – that kind of went into it. He’s going to do a great job with his rehab and we’ll hopefully have him this week.”

(On if he had to minimize his play call sheet for RB C.J. Anderson last week)

”It’s amazing, we really didn’t. How quickly he came in and picked things up, I was extremely impressed, kind of like what we mentioned last week. He’s an extremely intelligent football player. I do think that it was helpful that he’s played in some systems where a lot of the job responsibilities, even some of the verbiage, where you can say, ‘Okay, this is what I’ve called it in this system.’ It was a pretty seamless transition. Then, he and (QB) Jared (Goff) have constant dialogue so that if there is something that there’s some uncertainty, just based on the proximity of where they’re at to each other, he can always lean on him. But, (RB) C.J. (Anderson) did an excellent job. It was pretty impressive. Also, (Running Backs Coach) Skip (Peete) did a phenomenal job getting him ready to go.”

(On if Anderson opened up enough eyes to potentially get an increased role or some packages week-to-week)

”Yeah, I think he definitely demonstrated that he’s still a very good football player. He had a big-time contribution to a big win for us last week. You can expect to see him have a role for us, for sure.”

(On what he thought about Goff’s performance on Sunday)

”I thought he did a great job commanding the game. Took the completions that were there. Really, the incompletions we had were on screens where guys were batting balls. Thought he recognized coverage. I thought his command just overall as far as the run game, passes, getting in and out of the right things, I thought it was very good. I thought he did a nice job.”

(On how he managed Goff’s recent slump and how he thinks Goff came out on the other side)

”Well, I think he’s done a great job. I think you manage it where you’re just consistent with the approach that you take on any other given week. But, we talk about being solution-oriented all the time. Let’s look at the things that are leading to us – whether it’s decision-making, whether it’s some things where we can take better care of the football. What are those things? What can we do to be proactive about solving the problem, as opposed to just saying, ‘Well, you can’t do this.’ Well, how are we going to fix it? So, that’s the biggest thing is providing the solutions, the clarity that you hear us talk about all the time. Then, him just playing his game – great decision, great timing, great accuracy, reading and recognizing with his feet, being in proper base-body position and having the right balance when you’re throwing the football so you can be consistently accurate. There’s so many different things that it entails, but it’s about being consistent. It’s about looking at the things that have led to a couple of things that we want to be able to do better. Really, the main thing, like he’s mentioned, is just taking better care of the football. When those issues arise, then that’s where you can look at it and say, ‘What can I do to avoid that in the future?’ and I thought he did a pretty good job. The one that we turned over was kind of a freak play where C.J. was stepping up, it was a five-man rush. He ended up picking off (T) Rob Havenstein. So, that was kind of the one big mistake that we had, but I loved the way our guys responded and didn’t let that affect them as they progressed through the game and then responded with three straight touchdown drives.”

(On if there is anything he’s like to see out of Goff as they finish off the regular season and get ready for the playoffs)

”I think stack another good performance. Make good decisions, play within the timing and rhythm. If there’s plays that are there to be made off schedule, do it in a smart way. You don’t ever want a guy to be a robot, but I think be a great distributor of the football, command the run game and make some plays. That’s exactly what he did last week and we expect him to do the same this week.”

(On what he thinks about when it comes to separating great quarterbacks)

”I think it’s consistency. I think the great ones consistently perform year-in and year-out. Inevitably, like you said earlier, there’s going to be a time where – that position is so hard already and the margin for error based on how good defenses are, how good coaches are is so slim. But, I think, the consistency at which these guys operate, the decisions that you see. Certainly, winning the championship is always the goal. I think in a lot of instances that does end up being a good measuring stick, but that’s always a team result and they only have so much control. But, I would say that the great ones, they consistently perform year-in and year-out. That’s really the truest measurement of performance is that consistency.”

(On how much it becomes a mental chess match when opposing defenses have 16 weeks worth of film to watch on offenses and how Goff is responding to that challenge)

”I think it’s a give and take. I think he’s done a nice job. I think continuing to get those reps where, he’s in tune with, ‘Okay, what is this defensive structure and then how does that dictate what my decision making is going to be based on the call?’ We try to do a good job of making sure that we mix it up, just like defenses do. That’s kind of from a coaching standpoint – that back-and-forth, making sure that you’re giving players chances to execute plays that have sound answers versus whatever the defense is activating. But, I think just the more reps that he gets, the better he’s going to get because he takes them the right way, he learns from it. That’s where you just realize the value of experience and I think that’s going to serve him well. I love the way that he responded, even from those couple games to where his mindset was, ‘I’m using these as learning opportunities, not something that’s going to set me back or affect my ability to operate or continue to be a really confident leader for this team.’ That’s exactly what he’s done and I think that’s going to really serve him well.”

(On what it would say about this team if the Rams win this week and go undefeated in the NFC West division)

”It’d say a lot. To be able to accomplish that at home would mean a lot because there’s three tough division opponents that we go against twice a year. To be able to do that and then what that also means is being able to secure a first-round bye – that’s a big deal. But for us, we’ve got to have a great week of preparation. Everybody doing the little things the right way – all three phases. If we do that, we know it’s going to be a great challenge, but we expect to see our preparation throughout the week show up on Sunday and guys got to be locked in. But, that’d be a big deal.”

Run Game Coordinator/Co-OC Aaron Kromer

(On what he saw the offensive line do differently than they have in previous weeks)

”I thought they did a really good job of keeping us on track and being efficient on first-down where they were very efficient in their run blocking and early-down pass protections that allowed us to not get in the third-and-long situations that we were getting into in the games prior.”

(On what he saw from RB C.J. Anderson over the course of the week)

”Yeah, the first thing you notice with (RB) C.J. (Anderson) was when he walked in, you could tell he went to Cal Berkeley – that’s the first thing you noticed when you met him and it was the first time I met him. So, he walks in and he understands football in general. To him, all he was doing was correlating the words that meant the football that he already knows. So, he did an excellent job of studying the words and making them fit his football knowledge and it showed up on Sunday.”

(On if it’s different between RB Todd Gurley II and Anderson with designing a run game in regard to blocking)

”I think C.J. fit into our style right away. You could tell that from his film a year ago, that he would fit in what we were trying to get done offensively. Like I said, just learning it quickly and understanding what was happening because of his knowledge of football, it allowed him to have that success. But, I think their styles are similar as far as, they’re not messing around in the backfield – they’re a one-cut player and they see the gap and hit the gap. I thought he did a good job with that.”

(On how much the quarterback decision making affects the evaluation of the offensive line and if QB Jared Goff was doing anything different last week than he had been doing in his previous three games)

”Like we say, with all football, it takes 11 guys. I know people get tired of hearing that it takes 11 guys, but it takes 11 guys. No matter what play you call, whether it’s the run play and we’re getting into the correct run or whether it’s a pass play and we’re throwing it on time and rhythm or whether a lineman is quickly getting beat and he doesn’t have time to get it off. So, there’s a lot of factors and that’s why earlier, a month ago, I came in here and said I don’t worry about sacks – I worry about the quarterback getting hit because if he’s getting hit, that’s affecting his play. There’s going to be sacks. I mean sacks happen for a lot of reasons – they’re covered, it takes too long, the drop is too deep or too short, a guy gets beat or we slide the wrong way in a blitz (pick up). There’s so many ways that a sack can occur, but what we’re trying to do is limit the times that he gets hit because that can affect the quarterback – it does all quarterbacks. It’s 11 guys together and when everything’s gelling and things are going on-time, sometimes you can get away with it – you can block longer than you think you have to block and sometimes you can’t.”

(On how C Brian Allen and T Joseph Noteboom looked getting playing time last week)

”Again, they got a short period of time, but every time they go in there, they’ve been solid as can be. They look very strong, physical and they know what they’re doing. So, I’m very proud of those two.”

(On if it’s encouraging to get Allen and Noteboom playing time at certain aspects of the season)

”Yeah, I know earlier in the season, a question came up about (C John) Sullivan and (T Andrew) Whitworth not practicing as much early in the week and getting their practice at the end of the week and that’s when those two guys – (T Joseph) Noteboom and (C) Brian Allen – have been getting the reps that they need with the ones. When they get those reps, then they feel good about playing in the games and that’s continued throughout the year. It’s no different from (OL) Austin Blythe last year getting the opportunity to play center and guard in practice a lot and giving him that boost and ready to play this year.”

(On how Whitworth and Sullivan are doing going into Week 17)

”I don’t know how they feel, but they look good. They look like they’re still moving well. I think we did a good job – the strength staff, the training staff, has done a good job of having a plan for them throughout the year, so they could peak at this time and I believe they’re going to do that. They have played solid throughout.”

QB Jared Goff

(On what they can improve on this week aside from the NFC playoff seeding and clinching a first-round bye)

”Just to continue on that roll that we were able to display last week to get back on track, and do what we feel like we should do every week. Just get back to who we are as a team, not only offensively, but defensively, special teams, everything and get back to who we are.”

(On what he liked about his performance on Sunday)

”The same thing I said after the game, just completions. Just getting the ball out and getting the ball into playmakers’ hands, not taking, really, sacks – I think we had one sack – and just continue to get the ball out on time and being efficient.”

(On if there was anything that felt different during the course of the game)

”It didn’t feel different than 90 percent of the season. It felt different maybe than the couple weeks prior, but it felt like who we are and felt like what we normally do. I felt comfortable, felt good. I thought we protected really well and thought we, obviously, ran the ball well. Guys were open, guys were making plays. I felt accurate. We felt good.”

(On if this week feels a little bit different personally compared to last week leading up to the Cardinals game)

”No. Same way. Just treating every game the same. Obviously, excited about getting a win as opposed to two losses. Coming into this week off a win, being able to stack another one together would be great. But, that’d be the only difference.”

(On if this week feels like Week 17)

”It was kind of weird thinking about that coming in today being like, ‘Oh, this is the last week of the season for a lot of teams out there.’ For us, it doesn’t feel that way. Obviously, we know we’ve got more to play for, but we’re treating this week like a playoff game, like being in the playoffs for us. If we win, we get that (No.) 2 seed locked up and do what we have to do.”

(On how he feels physically at this point in the season)

”Yeah, I feel good. I feel really good for being Week 17. I feel great.”

(On how significant it would be to clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC)

”Huge. That’s what we want to do is get that win this weekend and be able to lock that up and be able to secure home field for at least the first round – or it would be the second round I guess.”

(On if anything about RB C.J. Anderson’s game or skillset that surprised him)

”It was my first game with him. I think he’s much shiftier than I thought he would be, I think in the hole. I know he sees the defense well, but being able to hit those holes and being able to fit in tight areas and really just see the defense in a certain way was really good to see.”

(On Head Coach Sean McVay saying that he could tell Anderson was a University of California-Berkley guy due to how smart he is and if McVay’s ever given him that compliment)

”That’s right. Go (Cal) Bears. He’s never given me that one. I’ll be waiting for that one (laughs). Go Bears. They play TCU tonight.”

(On the importance of beating the 49ers considering their rivalry)

”I think, more importantly than that, it would put us at 6-0 in the division this year. That’s huge to show that and to truly win the division with our record, but really win the division with our games against our division opponents. To be 6-0 would be saying something, for sure, and that really means more I think.”

(On how he spent his Christmas holiday)

”My family was in town and I was able to hang out with them yesterday. It was great.”

(On helping Anderson get ready for the high-speed tempo in the game)

”Well, we do a lot of that tempo stuff. When you’re not here in the offseason with us when we’re practicing it a lot, you don’t really feel it. You don’t really, truly understand it until you’re in it. It’s not his fault. There’s nothing you can do until it’s game time and we’re actually in that tempo and actually feel it. Then, on the other side of that, yeah, he did play with (Former Broncos QB) Peyton (Manning) and had some success with him. He was able to talk to me about some different things that he would use and I would ask him. Any time that you have a guy that’s got that experience, you try to get as much as you can.”

(On if there was anything he learned about the offense after playing his first game without RB Todd Gurley II in his career)

”Yeah, you never want to not have him. He’s, in my opinion, the best running back in the league. It’s always different, but I thought (RB) C.J.(Anderson) filled in really well and did a great job. Obviously, ran for so many yards. As far as protection went and all that, he did a great job. We tried to run the offense similarly. There’s obviously some things that (RB) Todd (Gurley II) can do that limits you when he’s not in there, but it didn’t feel like much.”

(On if it would be meaningful to him if he beat former Rams QB Kurt Warner’s single-season franchise record in passing yards)

”It’d be cool. More importantly, getting the win. I could throw for 600 (yards) and lose and I wouldn’t be too happy about it. But, yeah, more importantly, get the win. To be honest, I don’t know how many I need, but it would be cool.”

(On if DT Aaron Donald is able to tie or break the NFL single-season sack record)

”I think the same thing with him. I think he, obviously, would love to do it, but more importantly for him, he just wants to make sure we win the game and do everything he can to help us win. I would love to see it for him. It’d be awesome. I think he deserves it. He’s done such a great job this year and has a chance to do it. But I think more importantly, we want to win the game. It’d be a very cool accomplishment.”

(On what the San Francisco 49ers present to him defensively)

”Similar to last week, it doesn’t matter what their record is, they have really good players over there – guys that have played for a long time with (49ers CB Richard) Sherman and even (49ers DE Arik) Armstead’s starting to become a veteran, now. (49ers DT) DeForest (Buckner) – all those guys. (49ers DE) Cassius (Marsh) up front. I mean, they’re good and they’re good on defense. Like you said, they seem to play really well late in the year and I think that’s a testament to not only their players, but what (49ers Head) Coach (Kyle) Shanahan and (49ers Defensive Coordinator Robert) Coach Saleh are able to do with them. I’ve been in a season like that, it’s hard – keep them engaged – it’s something that’s hard to do and it seems like they can score as many points as they want, whenever, with whoever’s playing quarterback. I thought (49ers QB Nick) Mullens has done a great job. So, yeah, you always have to come with your A-game.”

(On TE Gerald Everett what his versatility brings to the offense)

”(TE) Gerald’s (Everett) been great. Just his growth and everything he’s able to do. Like you said, being able to take a jet sweep and then at the same time, being able to block well and then run routes and be a matchup nightmare for defenses if we can get him on certain guys. He’s just done a great job. Seeing his progression through this year and seeing how much he’s learned, how much better he’s gotten, how much better he’s gotten with the ball, how much more trust I have in him has been huge. Hope to see it grow some more.”