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Transcript: LA Rams’ coaching staff post-practice, July 30

Here’s what the coaching staff had to say after their second padded practice session on Monday

NFL: Los Angeles Rams-Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rams Head Coach Sean McVay

(On what he saw from the team during the second padded practice)

“You know, I thought it was some good work. We trimmed it down a little bit today. Really, day five, five consecutive days – you can feel it was a little bit lackadaisical at some times, but guys always come out here and compete. I think it’s good that they’ll get a chance to get off their feet. We’ll cut down meetings a little bit tonight as well and then let them have their rest tomorrow and then we’ll come back. We’ve really got three good days of work with the walk-thrus and with practices before we head to Baltimore on Sunday. So, we’ve got to make sure we maximize these opportunities. They’re going by fast. I can’t believe we’re already five through.”

(On what he saw on tape from DT Ndamukong Suh, CB Marcus Peters and CB Aqib Talib during yesterday’s practice)

“Yeah, you know you see? You see guys influencing and effecting, whether it’s when we’re throwing the football, (DT) Ndamukong (Suh) getting into the backfield. You look at (CB) Aqib (Talib) and (CB) Marcus (Peters) playing tight coverage, doing a great job communicating with some of the formation adjustments and just overall getting more and more comfortable with playing as a unit. Understanding some of the calls that (Defensive Coordinator) Wade’s (Phillips) going to make situationally. Did a little bit of unscripted, moved the ball yesterday and kind of just tried to create a situation where – getting guys’ conditioning up, getting what would be equivalent to about a 12-play drive and kind of playing that many snaps in a row. You get a feel for just getting back into football shape. But, those guys have done a really good job. They’ve also been instrumental in just kind of the dynamic around the team in terms of the way that they’re interacting with their teammates and really effecting the overall culture in a positive way.”

(On what he hopes WR Brandin Cooks can bring to the bigger picture of the offense)

“I think it’s just about being a productive receiver. Doing the little things the right way, being a threat that can kind of really challenge people down the field, but also intermediate and underneath. Like you’ve heard us say over and over, he’s not really limited in any way that we can utilize him. But, I think he does a really nice job of kind of fitting into that ‘X’role in terms of what we’re looking for from that spot. You look at he, (WR) Cooper (Kupp) and (WR) Robert (Woods), those three seem like they’re kind of tight at the hip. Everybody talks about (CB) Aqib (Talib) and (CB) Marcus (Peters), but watching the way that (WR) Brandin (Cooks) has gotten to develop and build a relationship with Robert and Cooper. The receiving group as a whole, (Wide Receivers) Coach (Eric) Yarber’s done an excellent job with those guys. Brandin is certainly somebody that we’re excited about seeing him when we get into these games.”

(On if he has learned anything from Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips in terms of his training camp approach)

“Absolutely. I think he’s got such a great way about himself where he’s always got such a good perspective where it doesn’t really get too high. Sometimes I can get a little bit high-strung, if you can believe that (laughs). But, he’s been really good in terms of, that experience is so valuable and I think that’s one thing that we’ve talked about before – just the appreciation for the experience until you really go through something. Being able to have him as a sounding board with, ‘How do you think we should handle practice today? Do you think it’s the right way to do it – trimming it back? What’s your feel for making some adjustments here? Or, this is the schedule.’ He’s done it so many different ways and he’s got such a great way about himself where he’s able to give his input but it never feels forced. That’s what you feel so appreciative of. You talked to (Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel) ‘Bones’ today and (Run Game Coordinator) Coach (Aaron) Kromer and (Pass Game Coordinator Shane) Waldron. We’ve got a lot of guys that really do a good job of kind of helping us collaborate to figure out what’s the best way to operate and ultimately be the best coaches we can for our players.”

(On any update to DT Aaron Donald’s situation)

“No update there. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to talk to (Executive Vice President of Football Operations/Chief Operating Office) Kevin (Demoff), (General Manager) Les (Snead) and (Vice President of Football and Business Administration) Tony (Pastoors) about that. Usually, we’ll kind of get a chance to do our little recap for the day a little bit later on. Hopefully we’ve had some good conversations, but no update that I’ve heard today.”

(On how much of an advantage it is to have Special Team Coordinator John Fassel on the team given the recent changes to the league’s kickoff rules)

“I think you feel really fortunate to be able to work with a coach like him. He’s such a great leader, but then from a schematic standpoint, he’s always been a guy – even before we worked together – that you have so much respect for from afar. I can remember when I was in Washington some of the things that they did schematically to put guys in good spots. Then, when you add that on to the fact that we feel like we’ve got really good personnel, especially with some of those core guys that’ll be playing for him, it’s exciting. But, in terms of what that does as far as how that influences and effects the way that the scheme is operated and the way that people kind of utilize that play, it’ll be interesting to see as it builds. But, I know ‘Bones’ has done a great job kind of having plans in place and contingency plans. We’ll be ready to go there.”

(On how the offensive line has progressed because they were able to have continuity last season)

“Well, I think the biggest thing is that rapport that linemen develop. Everybody always talks about getting comfortable – quarterbacks, receiver – different things like that. But, I think there’s the same level of rapport that exists between a tackle and a guard understanding the combinations, guards and centers. When you can keep that continuity as a unit, but then also with the people that are playing on each side of you – especially from those interior spots – it’s instrumental. (Run Game Coordinator) Coach (Aaron) Kromer does an excellent job. I think, really, you look at the influence that an (OT) Andrew Whitworth and a (C) John Sullivan had. (G) Rodger Saffold’s able to stay healthy and you look at the way that he’s able to play. That’s a veteran group that’s done a really nice job. Then, you look at (G) Jamon (Brown), you look at (OT) Rob (Havenstein). We know that we’re not going to have that continuity for the first two weeks, but it’s exciting because you see a lot of young interior players stepping up. We’ve mentioned (C) Austin Blythe as a guy that’s really stepped up and done a nice job with the opportunities he’s had. So, it’ll be interesting to see who fills that void at right guard when September 10th rolls around.”

(On if there is a drop off on the offensive line, how significant does it have to be in order to see it affecting the offense)

“Yeah, it’s tough because so much of it is predicated on what the defense presents and then how that affects what you’re doing, whether that be running the football or protecting in pass pro (protection). A lot of different things are involved in that. But, I think it’s about that person sliding in and having a good rapport with the center, with the tackle, playing alongside him. That’s a big reason why (Run Game Coordinator) Coach Kromer cross-trains a lot of these guys so that we’re not just a right guard but you’re really playing all three interior spots. We’ve got some guys that you might see at any one of the five spots. So, it’s a credit to him and we’ll be excited to see how that thing shapes out.”

(On his thoughts on RB Malcolm Brown and what he expects from him this season)

“(RB) Malcolm Brown has been extremely steady. Since we first got here as a coaching staff last year, Malcolm’s been one of the more reliable players we’ve had. Really productive special teams player, but then when he’s gotten his opportunities as a running back, he just does exactly what he’s supposed to do. He’s a very productive runner. Levels off downhill on some of those runs where he can square his shoulders off. Then, really, going back to the offseason – I was actually talking to him and (RB) Todd (Gurley) before practice today saying, you can really see how comfortable they are in the system, understanding how to set up their blocks and how they can put their linemen in favorable spots to be able to give them those creases that they want. Malcolm’s been excellent. We’re fortunate to have him.”

(On WR Josh Reynolds and his position among the wide receivers)

“(WR) Josh Reynolds – coming off an injury – when he got a chance to play last year, especially the New Orleans game, I thought he stepped up big. One of the things about Josh is wide catch radius, got great length. But, I think what kind of goes unnoticed is the rare body control he has for a player of that size. He’s got good, aggressive hands. He’s come back from the shoulder injury really well and Josh is another player that we’re really excited about.”

(On what he’s seen from CB Ramon Richards in his first year)

“Yeah. (CB) Ramon’s (Richards) done a good job. He’s got a lot of confidence. He’s played a little bit of corner, a little bit of safety. In the offseason, he made some plays at the corner spot. He’s playing a little bit of safety right now and we do a lot of different things on the back end. But, I think when you look at the experience we have in our secondary, there’s a lot of great guys to learn from. When he’s gotten an opportunity to get out there and compete, he’s done a nice job.”

Rams Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips

(On his thoughts after the second day in pads)

“I thought we had good work. The guys are working hard. Once you get into four and five days, it’s as much of a mental grind as it is physical. I thought they pushed through it well. We had a good practice again today.”

(On what he sees from DT Ndamukong Suh)

“I mean (DT) Ndamukong (Suh) is, I think right where he needs to be. We’re still in training camp but he’s a smart player, so he doesn’t make many mental mistakes as far that’s I’m concerned. We’ve got to get him matched up, some of the things we do pass-rush wise that match him up with certain players and take advantage of that, but we’re not doing all that now. We’re doing mostly base stuff. We’ve got about 70 percent of our defense in and then some of it obviously will be our matchup stuff, when we have players that we feel like will matchup with different people.”

(On doing training camps for a long time and how he keeps it fresh and interesting for himself)

“It’s always interesting to me. No matter what, even if you have the same guys, it’s a new team every year. Just to see them building together. We’ve got some new faces certainly on defense that they’ve got to meld in with what everybody else does and they’re doing that well. So, it’s fun for me. Sometimes it’s a chess game and sometimes it’s just coaching - seeing if you can improve players no matter who they are.”

(On if CB Aqib Talib and CB Marcus Peters getting along so well is how he had hoped that relationship would go)

“Yeah, they were really rivals and now they’ve – just like anybody, you get on a team together and work together. But I think it’s been, like you say, since they’re both cornerbacks and they’re both elite players, they’ve talked to each other. (CB) Aqib (Talib) obviously was in the system before so I think he gives him a few more pointers. But, their relationship is really good and that’s what you want to do. You want to get a team that’s together and along with the rest of the guys. They’re not just with each other but they’re with a secondary and I believe they’re going to be leaders in the secondary.”

(On what LB Mark Barron brings to the defense and how important he is)

“(LB) Mark Barron is a special player in that he can play inside linebacker and cover. Usually the position he plays on third downs is where a safety play is at. So, he can play third downs in a safety-type position and first and second downs he can play inside linebacker. So, he gives you a lot of versatility.”

(On if that saves him a roster spot or gives him more flexibility)

“Well, yeah just gives you more flexibility on defense in what you can play. If they go in empty sets, like they’re doing a lot, you’ve got a guy that can cover man-to-man, where some linebackers are in a mismatch.”

(On the linebacker corps and how players like LB Cory Littleton are moving into a starting role)

“Yeah, I’m pleased with where we are, I mean without Mark practicing obviously. But, it gives a lot of guys – you get to look at some of the inside backers and what they can do. You’ve got a couple young kids that we’re working in that we’ll see how they come on.”

(On if anyone has jumped out at him in terms of the first week of practice)

“We’ve had two padded practices. Defensively, I thought we played really well, especially pass defense. Pleased with that. We’ve still got a long way to go. It’s hard work, but they’re working hard.”

(On what it was in LB Cory Littleton that made him say ‘This guy can play middle linebacker’)

(On what he has seen out of rookie CB Ramon Richards)

“Yeah, I like all of those young kids. Like I said, they’re all working hard. They’re going to make some mistakes that the guys who have been here don’t. But, (CB) Ramon (Richards) is real smart. He not only knows what he does but he knows what the safety does and those kinds of things. So, that helps him.”

(On if there will come a point in training camp when he would like to see what Suh and DT Aaron Donald can do next to each other)

“Yeah, tomorrow would be good, but we’re off tomorrow though. Yeah, I think hopefully that’s coming up that he will be. That’s what everybody is looking forward to, along with the coaches.”

(On if the defensive backfield, secondaries and the defensive line is as good as everybody expects will that take pressure off the linebacking corps as it comes together with young guys)

“Everybody has to be good. But, I think the difference in good and dominant. We’ve got some dominant players, I think that will really help the rest of the guys.”

(On if he knows what Fortnite is and if he plays the video game)

“What? Oh, you didn’t see my tweet? (laughs) No, my grandson was playing it and of course I was watching him. But, I don’t know if I could play. But, I did the shirt for my grandson because he’s 6 years old. Hey, don’t mess with me. But, I would have a pretty good squad, I think, if I played. I don’t know if I could save the world or not but, I might win the battle royale.”

Rams Pass Game Coordinator Shane Waldron

(On how things are going so far for himself, QB Jared Goff and the rest of camp)

“So far so good. We’ve got a bunch of guys that work really hard and have made it enjoyable. Really picking up from where we left off as far as our effort and confident level from OTAs.”

(On if his workload has increased or become a bigger burden since going from coaching tight ends to being the pass game coordinator)

“There’s some extra stuff here, but we’ve done a good job of just dividing up. It’s all the same roles and responsibilities that we have to take care of ever year, so we just divided them up a little bit different. It’s been great for me. It’s been a great challenge working with (Head) Coach (Sean) McVay and a little more detailed with as far as the scripts and some of that stuff goes. Overall, it has been great. We’ve handled it together as a staff.”

(On the tight ends as a group with TE Temarrick Hemingway returning to the lineup)

“First of all, it’s his birthday today. He’s 25, so I think he can rent a car or get cheaper car insurance (laughs). He’s done a great job. It’s great competition in the room right now as it was last year as well. The great thing with him, and I had mentioned this at the end of OTAs, he had really started to peak and picking back up where he was prior to his injury. I think he did a great job that month in between of coming back and ready to roll. We put the pads on and he’s that same big, strong guy on the line of scrimmage that can give us that beneficial role as a tight end right there.”

(On what he starts to look for from the tight ends as a collective group now that they’ve put pads on and can see how they’re blocking)

“One thing we stress is once you put the pads on, the technique really doesn’t change. The hard part with the way the rules are, is you really don’t have the pads on from the end of season till yesterday. So, we’ve emphasized all these things and then naturally, you know, human nature the pads go on, you get a little bit more hyped up and just want to go smash the guy in front of you. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to rely on your technique and fundamentals. That’s the biggest point of emphasis once you put the pads on.”

(On how he expects opposing defenses to attack the Rams offense differently this year since studying film of last season)

“I’m sure they’ll be studying all offseason. I’m sure Oakland will have something fun in store for us Week 1, and then that’s our job to adjust and overcome that. We’ve had some thoughts on that, we’ll keep working on those and see what happens that first Monday night.”

(On TE Tyler Higbee going into year three and what he needs to work on to be a big part of the offense in the red zone)

“Particularly I think, overall as a part of the offense, he does a good job of doing a little bit of everything. He does a lot of dirty work. I think as far as his role in the red zone, just like anything else growing in his second year in this offense in particular. Just getting that rapport with (QB Jared) Goff just like the rest of the tight ends based on so you have a good rapport in the red zone and it’ll probably come. You know what, every play is read out based on the coverage. So, control what we can control and then rely on Jared to read it out correctly.”

(On TE Gerald Everett going into year two and does he think people can expect to see from him this year)

“I think he has done a great job. His daily approach has more than consistent. I think that’s the thing you learn as a rookie. It is a job. It’s different. There’s no class that you to have to go to. There’s none of that stuff in between. So every minute of your day has to be accounted for with football in mind. He had that mind last year and I think this year he’s really grasped that. You see his focus on the details and his attention to his alignments, assignments has just improved every day.”

(On what it would do for the offense to get 25 percent more production out of the tight ends over the course of the year)

“I think as an offense, we’re looking for production out of all of our eligible receivers. So I think the biggest thing is the quarterback doing a great job of sticking with his reads, and the plays come where they come within the reads of those and we’re not forcing anything. It’s a special thing to be a part of a group of receivers, running backs and tight ends that all have an excellent individual skillset and all are great with the ball getting distributed to where it needs to go.”

Rams Run Game Coordinator Aaron Kromer

(On how the young rookie linemen are doing so far)

“That’s a good question. They seem comfortable in the scheme with all the study and work that they had in the offseason. They’re moving around, there are a lot of positions and I think they are going to be able to play a lot of positions in this preseason to show what they can do.”

(On the importance of cross training and versatility)

“Everytime you talk about a backup offensive lineman, you are saying that when he goes into the game you’re only going to dress seven, so there will be two standing there and they have to play one-of-five positions, so they need to be cross trained to be able to fill in the different spots because if someone does have to come out of the game in the starting five, you don’t want to have to move two people for one substitution, so you want that backup to go into multiple spots.”

(On how T Joseph Noteboom is coming along in terms of playing both guard and tackle)

“You know, it’s been a good experience for him because he’s playing right guard and left tackle, so he’s getting both a right handed right side of the line experience, but inside and then also covering the space of a left tackle that he has to do to protect the blind side of a quarterback and he’s done a good job, really good job to this point.”

(On if continuity is expected again for this season)

“Yeah, I’m expected the same five will play every game, and that’s what you hope, that’s what you work for, that’s what they train for in the off season, to be able to keep themselves healthy throughout a year. So, we hope that happens again, and if it doesn’t, we need to be ready and that’s where we’re trying to get. Find the best eight or nine guys to make the team and a couple practice squad here and there, so we’re ready for anything that could happen.”

(On if there are players who got less experience last season because of the health of the team)

“Another good question, because what we’ve done in practice, because we have some veterans playing the left side that have a lot of experience, that we allow them to take the walk-thrus during the season, but they don’t practice everyday. So, what that does is keep them fresh, but also give their backup the opportunity to play the entire practice. So, they’re getting a lot of reps with the ones, which they wouldn’t have in any other situation.”

(On if there is concern that G Jamon Brown cannot play the first two games)

“Yeah that’s great that you ask that because (G) Jamon (Brown) is going to have to get himself for the third game. Then we have to prepare for that fill in spot for those two games until he gets back and that’s I think, one of our main goals in training camp, that we have one or two guys ready to fill that spot and we’re going to keep pushing to that and putting guys in there to make sure that we’re solid in those two weeks.”

(On if there is open competition for G Jamon Brown’s spot)

“We have a handful of guys, but at the same time, you know, the guys with the most experience playing in there, (C) Austin Blythe and then (T) Joseph Noteboom, is playing in there with the twos and they are trying to give him an opportunity to not only learn the guard position, but also have a chance to possibly be that.”

(On Brown is able to practice for those two weeks)

“Yeah, as soon as the week starts he has to leave the fields.”

(On if it’s tougher for an offensive lineman to come back after sitting out as opposed to another position)

“You know, there’s a lot of challenges during the year and that’s one of them. That will be one of them, and not only him, but us. Dealing with the fact that he won’t be there, not having his personality, not having all his energy that he brings and his power in the running game and we have to overcome that. I think that’s why you have backup offensive linemen and that’s why you train other guys. That’s a challenge, one of the many challenges we’ll have throughout the year that we have to handle early.”

Rams Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel

(On how it is going so far with the special teams crew)

“It’s going wild and crazy, like every first five days of training camp, figuring out who can run around the wild and craziest.”

(On if there are a lack of jobs open for special teams positions)

“I was kind of thinking the opposite, that there are quite a few jobs open. You look at (LB) Cory Littleton, you have starting ‘MIKE’ probably. (OLB) Samson (Ebukam) was a huge contributor, (former S) Cody Davis has been for years, and there’s three critical guys that have played a lot of snaps for us, so those are opportunities to fill for whoever might show up. There are some other core guys that are coming back like (WR) Michael Thomas, (DB) Blake Countess, (S) Marqui Christian, (RB) Malcolm Brown, and (LB) Bryce Hager, so there are some good core returners. We think, OK, these guys are going to be the guys for us, but we’ve got to fill out 11, 12, 13 guys that can play all four phases. I think there’s quite a few spots to still be determined.”

(On the strategy for monitoring (K) Greg Zuerlein during training camp)

He’s full go. I think just because he’s full go doesn’t mean I’m just going to turn him loose everyday. I think part of my job, I mean, going into his seventh year is to manage his volume, even though he’s feeling good. You could ask him, but I think he’s feeling as good as he has in years. So, sometimes you get that itch to just want to kick, and kick and kick and kick, and that’s kind of what happened to him before. So, I’m going to do a really good job of managing his reps, but giving him what I think that he needs to be ready for Week 1. But he’s strong, gosh he looks good. So, I’m happy that he’s happy. With an injury like that with him and (OLB) Matt Longacre, it just affects your life. If you’re not happy then you come to work and you feel better, and you’re happier.”

(On how the evolution of NFL rules will change the process of special teams and the types of players that make the roster and don’t)

“I think the rule changes are very significant this year on kickoff, kickoff return. In my opinion, taking the whole bias out of it, I think the value of a special teams guy goes up because of some of the rule changes that you might not really see to the naked eye sitting up in the stands and the press box, but there’s a lot of things that in the meeting room we’re working on now that are different. I think a really good way to make the play safer, which is what they want, but I think more action-filled, too. Guys on special teams are really getting good at using their hands and shoulders, which is taking the head out of the game and some of the rules are helping with that. I’ve told our guys the value of a special teams guy goes up because I think you’ll see that they’re debatable, there could potentially be more returns coming out on kickoff return than before, then punt returns the same, two critical phases in the game.”

(On if the rule changes impacts the technique)

“Yeah, it becomes more specialized and it’s going to take longer to master. So, I really think the value of a special teams guy on a roster is going to go up because it’s not as easy anymore, but it’s more valuable. That’s what I’m going in with the mindset thinking and I think that’s going to hold up, which will be great for special teams guys.”

(On how the rules changing will create a level of unpredictability with kickoff and kickoff return and whether he is unsure of what is going to happen until preseason games)

“I don’t think you’re going to see until the first couple regular season games because people are going to have a plan going into the regular season and I don’t think they’re going to give it up in the preseason. So it’s going to be a free-for-all so, I think, for the first month on kickoff, kickoff return, which is fun because no one can copy anybody else. Whatever people come up with, that’s what they’re doing because that’s what they think and then I think it might become a little bit more, not copy-cat, but people will see stuff like, ‘Oh that was a good idea’ or ‘maybe we shouldn’t do this’ and kind of start molding. But the first month is going to- be pretty awesome on those two phases.”