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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay July 28 training camp press conference

Here’s what McBae had to say to the media today.

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(On how good he thinks this team is and how good this team can be)

“Well, I think you just said it. It’s a couple practices in. So, we’re still coming together as a team, we’re still figuring out our identity. I think you feel really good about the chemistry that we think can continue to hopefully develop as we get further into it, but we haven’t even put the pads on yet. So, tomorrow will provide a good opportunity for us to get the pads on. You start to really get a feel for those guys up front fitting blocks realistically, guys feeling a real rush. I think those are the things that’ll really help us continue to evaluate our team. In terms of the first couple of days, I’ve been really pleased with the guys’ effort, the way they’re communicating amongst each other and just the way that it seems like we’re starting to jell – really offensively, defensively, special teams and most importantly as a team as a whole.”

(On if this was the first time K Greg Zuerlein kicked in this training camp)

“Well, he’s kicked a handful of times in the offseason, but that’s the first time he’s kicked in an open practice. Looked like the old (K) Greg (Zuerlein), didn’t he? You feel good for Greg, just because what a special person he is and then the way that he’s rehabbing, gotten himself back healthy, feeling good. I don’t think anybody really realizes, or myself included, how much pain he was really fighting through and the production that he was able to have last year. I know that’s a big weight off of him and he’s feeling good and he certainly looks healthy. We were happy to see him out there kicking.”

(On what having that reliable kicker does for him as a play caller)

“It’s unbelievable because it enables you to feel like once you really get inside those 45s (yard lines), you’re in field goal range. There was a handful for games where he demonstrated how valuable he was to us as a whole. I think when you just look at specifically that Dallas game where he kicks seven field goals, hit all of his extra points and then he’s consistently hitting touchbacks. So, Greg was the leading point-scorer for a reason. But, you certainly want to try to finish those drives with touchdowns, but when you have a guy like Greg that can hit it from so far out consistently, it certainly is something that makes you feel good.”

(On what WR Brandin Cooks brings to this offense)

“I think, really, not exclusive just to today, but just over the course of his career how productive he’s been. Typically, you look at those as not necessarily high percentage throws, but the way he’s able to consistently track the ball, beat guys down the field and find it – he plays big down the field. I think he and (QB) Jared (Goff) are continuing to get comfortable with each other, but it gives you a lot of different ways that you can utilize him. Anytime you have somebody that can stretch the field like he can, it certainly does some different things in terms of dictating coverage and can open some things up elsewhere if it’s not there down the field.”

(On fighting the urge to make changes to his play calling when in field goal range and the red zone)

“Yeah, I think you’ve got to do a good job of being honest with yourself, looking critically. I think when you’re talking specifically about us, really in the high red (zone) is where I thought I put us in some bad situations. Once we got inside the 10s (yard lines), you certainly can always have improvement. But, I felt like we were pretty good as far as those goal-to-go situations, but I think I put us in some bad spots, really in between those 20-to-10 areas – 20-to-11, really. Some teams did a good job, but those have been a big point of emphasis for us in terms of getting better, being more efficient in the high red and it starts with me with the play selection.

(On DT Dominique Easley)

“Yeah, that’s the biggest thing. Just because of what he’s able to do when you put him on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform List) – it’s exclusive to doing things with (Senior Director of Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and his staff. But he’s made a lot of really good progress. We anticipate him contributing to this football team at some point. It might even be the possibility of removing him from that PUP list where you don’t have to wait that six weeks. So, he’s done a lot of really good things. You talk about somebody that’s learned how to fight through some adversity with some of the tough injuries that he’s had. We’re hopeful that he’ll come back and we’re anticipating him helping us out this year.”

(On if the team will tackle in their first padded practice tomorrow)

“We won’t tackle. It gives us the chance to thud, fit up some blocks, but for the most part we’re never really going to tackle in practice. That’s why those preseason opportunities – but just with all the things that can occur right now, we just feel like that’s what’s best. I think we’ve got a lot of guys that know how to practice pads on. Want to try to make sure we’re getting that physicality, but also limiting the risk for injury with some of things that can occur when guys are going to the ground, consistently getting rolled up on. But, we’ll ramp it up a little bit. It’s always good to – after these practices – because we monitor kind of the workload, see where these players are at, make sure that we’re putting them in a position to continue to progress as opposed to try to wear them out these first few days of camp.”

(On what his message is to the team to keep them from avoiding complacency)

“Well, I think we’ve got a team that’s very confident, but we’ve also got a humility about understanding how important it is to earn it every single day. There’s too much respect and appreciation for the other three teams in our division and the other 31 teams in this league to think that you can get complacent. We’ve got to go to work every single day, earn it. Find a way to consistently just get that one percent better every single day and hopefully it will lead to good things. But I think there’s a confidence, but guys aren’t taking anything lightly. They understand that we’re a long way away before we even play a game and we’ve got to do a good job looking at this tape today and then coming back and getting better tomorrow.”

(On if there is anyone that stood out today with selected veterans resting)

“It’s hard to say until you really go back and look at the tape. I think you’ve seen guys continue to improve on the defensive side of the ball. You’ve seen a guy like (CB) Sam Shields make a lot of plays on the ball. I think (LB) Cory Littleton’s had an excellent camp so far at the mike linebacker position. (DT) Ndamukong Suh shows up. Then offensively, I think you’re really getting a chance to evaluate these tight ends. They’ve done a nice job, really, throughout the course of camp. I think (Pass Game Coordinator) Shane’s (Waldron) done an excellent job with both, (TE Tyler) Higbee and (TE) Gerald Everett and really the group as a whole. See the receivers. So, there’s a lot of bright spots. But in terms of today’s practice, it’s always harder to say until you really go back and look at the tape.”

(On when the last time was that he personally spoke to DT Aaron Donald and at what point will he address the topic of the National Anthem with the team)

“So, with both parts, I spoke with Aaron – there’s no update on that situation. But, I spoke with Aaron just yesterday or two days ago. These days I don’t even know what today is. But, I spoke with him in the last day or so and we’re just checking in, seeing how he’s doing. With regards to some of the specifics, that’s not really what our dialogue entails. Aaron knows how much I love him, we love him as an organization and want him to be here. But, we also respect and understand exactly what’s going on. As far as the Anthem policy is concerned, really when it first came out, what we talked about was, ‘Hey we have a mutual respect and understanding for everybody’s individual beliefs.’ This is how we’ve operated organizationally in the past and really it goes back to what (Former Head) Coach (Jeff) Fisher had implemented in terms of how they handle the National Anthem and I said, ‘If there’s anybody that feels differently. Certainly, we want to listen and understand where you’re coming from. We just don’t want to be caught off guard.’ We’ve kind of already had those conversations and guys have been great. But it kind of goes back to our theme about that clear open and honest communication and that way nobody is ever caught off-guard. But we’re also not afraid to try to listen and understand what everybody has in terms of their individual opinions or beliefs with regards to handling that matter.”

(On once the Players Association and the league hash it out, if that’s when they’ll all sit down and talk about it with the players)

“We’ve kind of already discussed it in the offseason. We don’t anticipate any issues with that. That’ll definitely be something that you address again, probably before we go play Baltimore. But, we will do it before Baltimore and definitely address it again.”

(On if any player had addressed any concern)

“No, they’ve been great. Has been good communication. That’s what you appreciate about these guys and I think as we get closer to that Baltimore date if anything comes up, then whichever player that is, if that’s the case, we’ll have a great conversation and then we’ll decide what’s the best way to handle it out of respect for everybody involved.”

(On if he’s texted Donald or actually been on the phone with him)

“We actually talked on the phone. So, I was excited about that.”