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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay December 28 press conference

Here’s what McVay had to say today as he relayed that RB Todd Gurley will be ruled OUT against the Niners in Week 17.

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(Opening statement)

“Starting out from an injury standpoint, we’re going to declare (S) Lamarcus Joyner and both (RB) Todd Gurley (II) out for the game on Sunday. Those guys are making progress, but we don’t feel like it’s going to be at the point where they’ll be ready to go. So, we want to continue to be smart with that, but we’re doing everything in our power to go attack this opportunity that we have against the (San Francisco) 49ers. Just based on talking to these guys, where they’re at right now, we feel like that’s going to be the best decision. (DL) Ethan Westbrooks was sick today, so he’ll be questionable for the game, as will (RB) Justin Davis with his shoulder.”

(On if he expects RB C.J. Anderson to start at running back and who will start in Joyner’s place at the safety position)

”(DB) Blake (Countess) and (S) Marqui (Christian) are both going to get some good work. It’ll be a combination of those guys based on whatever personnel grouping we decide to put out on the field. But, there’s a lot of confidence in those guys. They’ve gotten a chance to play a lot of reps. They have a good understanding of the system and how we want to be able to accomplish some of the things we’re trying to get done, specific to defending the 49ers this week. Those two will be missed, but they’re doing everything they can to get themselves ready to go, but we just wanted to get some clarity on that and rather than wait all the way up until kickoff.”

(On how concerned he is about Gurley’s knee)

”Based on just the information that I’m getting and just talking to Todd, I wouldn’t say that I’m concerned. I think we want to be really smart about that. The thing that’s great about Todd is he’s very decisive and he’s a great communicator with regards to how he’s feeling. I think he understands his body better than anybody else. I don’t get the sense that he’s concerned, but we want to be smart about this. If it’s feeling like something where he’s not going to be able to be the Todd Gurley that we’re accustomed to seeing, just based on the way that that thing is feeling, the smart thing for him – number one – and for our football team is to be able to rest him and get him back as quickly as possible whenever that is that our next game after the Niners will be.”

(On if Gurley came to him today and said he won’t be ready to play on Sunday)

”No, it wasn’t like that. Just speaking with both the players and then taking, obviously, the medical opinions into consideration, you just kind of get a feel for talking. They’re never going to be ready to declare themselves out two days out. So, I certainly don’t want to paint that kind of picture. It’s more, you’ve just kind of got to trust your intuitions based on your conversations with them and sometimes us needing to make the decisions that we feel like are best based on all the information and then just the relationship and the rapport you have with these guys. That was what we felt like was best and that’s kind of just where we’re at with that.”

(On how Anderson is looking ahead of his second game with the team)

”He’s been great. He’s had a really good week of preparation. I think just being in week two now where there’s a lot more comfort just with the verbiage, some of the different things. I think he was feeling good after the game, so hopefully we’ll see another good performance from C.J.”

(On if he expects Gurley to be available for the team’s first playoff game or if his situation will be day-to-day)

”I would think so, but if you said a couple weeks ago that we would have to hold him out for the last two weeks, I probably would’ve been surprised about that. But based on the information that we’re getting, there isn’t any reason for us to press the panic button or think that he won’t be available. But it is important for us to get him back to full speed and to the health that he feels like he can go compete at and we’re not doing anything to put him at risk and he’s not doing anything for the longevity of his career.”

(On where he falls on listening to the players and blending it in with the coaching staff’s decision-making)

”We talk about that open dialogue all the time. As long as we can provide a, ‘Why we’re doing things,’ and then when you take the player’s input – which we’ve got a lot of smart, experienced players that have an opinion and they have a very educated opinion – it’s certainly something that you want to be able to listen to. I think, at the end of the day when they’re out there playing, it’s the players that are the ones making the plays, executing these play-calls or these schemes that we’re trying to implement or teach as a coaching staff. But, if they feel like they have some ownership or more command or control with regards to some of those things that they’re being asked to do, I think they’re more likely to have success with it. I think we’ve got enough players, really, in all three phases, really, that have an ownership and understanding. We certainly want to take their feedback. We kind of have a good checks and balances system where, if we’re not able to provide a, ‘Why we’re doing something,’ then maybe we shouldn’t be doing it that way and it goes the same thing when we ask for their suggestions. It’s been great and we’ve got a lot of guys that, I think, feel good about that. That’s also a credit to the coaches doing a great job of not only leading, but also listening and learning from them as well.”

(On if there is any cause for concern if the Rams get a playoff bye and Gurley wouldn’t have played for three weeks)

”I wouldn’t say that. In an ideal world, you’d like to be able to keep him into a rhythm. But, I think when you just look at the amount of work that he’s gotten, specific to just the pounding that his body’s taken – not necessarily exclusive to the knee – if anything, hopefully that time rested will serve us well. It’s not like he’s not going to be doing – he’s going to be continuing to work out, try to keep himself in shape. How we’re able to do that, a lot of it is predicated on how that knee’s responding and what kind of rehab process that we can implement. You would ideally not like to have one of your best players miss any time. But if that’s the case, it’s not going to be something that’s going to prevent our ability to have him go and have a normal, full workload if he’s able to go.”

(On if he likes this year’s situation more of going into the playoffs playing his starters rather than last year when they rested starters in the season finale)

”Yeah, I do. I think so because I think the natural edge, the urgency is still up. Whereas last year, just human nature when you rest guys – different things like that – it was a great opportunity where a lot of guys got a chance to compete. I think you always like to be able to compete to go win, do the best that you can, compete to the best of our ability. I would say this, I like this situation a lot better than last year. Certainly, everything is a learning opportunity. But, last year provided a little bit different approach. This year, we’re going to do everything that we can in our power to try to go win against a tough football team that is very well coached, good players and we’ve got to be ready to go in the (Los Angeles Memorial) Coliseum.”