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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay, QB Sean Mannion, OLB Samson Ebukam, WR KhaDarel Hodge, RB John Kelly post-game press conference

Here’s what the Rams had to say after the Week 2 win over the Raiders.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(On QB Sean Mannion’s performance)

“I thought he did a good job with some plays. I think, tough start a little bit, but I think the big play down the field to (WR) (KhaDarel) Hodge and then earlier on when he hit (WR) Mike Thomas off the play action on the deep in-breaking route – those were two big plays. Good throws, where longer developing play actions kind of let it develop. Made some nice accurate throws down the field – one in-break, one down the sideline and then kind of managed the game throughout. But, I think to go 10-for-16 definitely was an improvement and those two plays were two of the better plays that he made today.”

(On whether some starters will play in the third game)

“Yeah, I think that’s something we’re still going to talk about. We talked about it, let’s see how this game goes, how we get through it and then we’ll discuss that as a staff. But, I think you’ll expect to see some guys, but again, we haven’t made that full decision yet. But, looking forward to kind of looking at this tape, seeing how things look and then evaluating how we want to approach this week’s specific to the Houston game.”

(On whether starters would have played if it was not for the season opener against Oakland)

“I mean typically the way that you look at it, yeah, I mean that’s kind of what we’ve done in the past, but I think each year provides a new opportunity to do what we think is best for our team. I think certain specific situations dictate why we did what we did, but there was definitely an element of, ‘Because we play them in the opening week’ why we did that. I don’t know if that was the entire reason so, it’s tough to say just because that was the circumstance that we had.”

(On the possibility that QB Jared Goff and RB Todd Gurley II could not play during preseason)

“I would say there’s a possibility, but I think those guys both would tell you that they want to play. I think being able to listen to those guys, understand kind of where they’re coming from to get into a little bit of a rhythm, get out there, put some pads on where they can actually get tackled is something that we want to think about. And again, like we talk about, we’ll make those decisions as a staff. Certainly, our players’ opinions do have a big part of it in terms of kind of what they’re feeling and how we can put them in good spots ultimately to feel as good as possible for September 10.”

(On meeting up with Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden before the game)

“Yeah, it was fun. I think everybody knows what a huge amount of respect I have for (Raiders Head Coach) Jon (Gruden) and how great he’s been to me over the course of my coaching career. It was a good opportunity to be able to do that today. It’s definitely something that’s exciting and certainly I think that September 10 date will be pretty special as well.”

(On if this game showed the amount of depth this team has)

“I think so. I think that’s what we’re trying to continue to establish, is depth - really on both sides of the football. See who those guys are that are going to be key contributors, God forbid if we have some of those injuries at those spots where there’s a little bit more kind of certainty in terms of who’s going to be your projected starters based on day one and things of that nature. But, I thought some guys flew around. I thought our defense was outstanding to start, to be able to play the way they did with that energy, that effort early on. I thought (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) and the coaching staff on defense did a great job and to be able to get two turnovers I thought was key to being able to secure the win today.”

(On if he was able to pick up anything from the Raiders team)

“I think it’s tough to say. They were pretty regulated. Very similar in terms of the approach by both teams – very vanilla. I think there’s some key concepts that both teams will run offensively. Some situational things that you see that show up defensively in a (Raiders Defensive Coordinator) Paul Guenther led defense. But, for the most part it was pretty regulated and that’s kind of what we expected just based on the way we were approaching this on both sides.”

(On what he’s liked about T Joseph Noteboom these past couple games playing multiple positions on the line)

“Just that – his versatility. I think (Run Game Coordinator) Aaron Kromer has done a really good job of not necessarily limiting him in terms of just playing tackle. He can play on both the left and the right side of the line and then he’s also able to play inside at that guard position. He’s shown a lot of good, encouraging signs for us. Confident, smart, conscientious player and that’s really – it’s been a credit to (T) Joe (Noteboom), but also Aaron Kromer’s leadership.”

(On WR KhaDarel Hodge’s catch in the second quarter)

“Yeah, I think it was an incredible play. Really, if you look at the last couple weeks, somebody that’s been consistently showing up in terms of making plays, it’s been (WR) KhaDarel Hodge. You see, that’s a big-time play down the field where he’s got a guy draped all over him. It was going to draw a ‘PI’ (pass interference), but he ends up coming down with it. Then, last week, you look at the touchdown catch that he makes. He’s a guy that’s consistently showing up. Real credit to him and to (Wide Receivers Coach) Eric Yarber. You look at it where he came in, we worked him out at the beginning of training camp – he wasn’t with us this whole offseason. For him to continue to take these steps in the right directions and then being able to demonstrate that play-making ability has been something that you definitely can’t help but notice and it’s been good to see.”

(On if another player will replace G Jamon Brown with the first team next week)

“It’s a good question. I think that’s going to be specific to our approach as far as exactly what we decide to do in terms of this game, but we’ve definitely done a good job. (Run Game Coordinator Aaron) Kromer’s done a really good job of being able to kind of get some different guys some reps with that first unit at that right guard spot. (G) Jamon’s (Brown) still taking a handful of them as well knowing that we’re going to get him back in that third week. But, those are kind of things that we’ve kind of been thinking about for a long time. That’s why that kind of versatility where guys have the ability to play more than one spot is really important so that you don’t have to make too many changes if you are going to fill that spot from maybe somebody other than – whether it’s a younger player, whether it’s the (C) Austin Blythe’s of the world. I think that situation will naturally sort itself out.”

(On if he needs two more preseason games to get the team ready for the regular season)

“Well, I think we need a lot of work in terms of what we get done in practice. The thing that we’ve always talked about that you have a tough time managing is, you don’t ever take for granted the work in being able to play in these live game situations and what that does for your team. But, it’s that balance of, ‘Okay, getting that work at the risk of if somebody gets rolled up in a game that’s really not going to count, how do you really measure that?’ I think that’s where you’ve kind of got to take each individual situation and figure out what’s best for our team, but certainly we’ve got a lot of work to do until we’re ready to roll for that September 10 date. That’s what we do know for sure.”

QB Sean Mannion

(On what he thought the Raiders did differently in the first versus second half that enabled them to progress)

“I don’t think it was anything necessarily. I just think we just did a good job executing, it was crisp execution. I think anytime you can do long extended drives in the preseason, which I think we had maybe two drives that were 10 or more plays, that’s what you want. It shows you’re executing well on first and second downs, a couple third-down conversions. I think that was a really good sign for us. That was what we wanted to do today.”

(On if he felt like he improved since last week’s performance)

“I felt good. I think going back and looking at the tape of the Baltimore game, obviously not the performance you want, but also don’t think it was all bad. There was a couple of balls bad at the line, some things that are a little bit out of your control on offense. The whole team did a great job of just looking to improve, and there’s certainly ways for me to improve. Like I said, I just felt like it was efficient. I didn’t think there were any balls that I forced or any balls that I had open and missed. I think it was an efficient day for the offense as a whole.”

(On his completion to WR Mike Thomas)

“It was great. We had an efficient run on first down, I think it was like second-and-five or second-and-six. (Pass Game Coordinator) Shane (Waldron) kind of said if we’re going to do a first-down run here we’re going to dial for run-action, and that’s exactly what happened. (WR) Mike (Thomas) ran a great route, did a great job winning on his route and great protection. Anytime you get one of those explosive passes, really you get into a rhythm pretty easily.”

(On the pass to WR KhaDarel Hodge)

“(WR) KhaDarel (Hodge) has been doing great. He’s been making a ton of plays, really through camp. Last week he caught a TD in the preseason. KhaDarel has been awesome. He knows where to be on every play. That was a situation where we got the right look to take a shot. I just tried to put some air under it, give him a chance and he went up and made a great play.”

(On how he feels about his progress and if he feels like he’s ready to start a regular season game if he needed to)

“Yes, absolutely. I think the preseason is a great chance for everybody to get live reps and real game action. I think our coaches do such a great job of even in practice, whether it’s situational work or a competitive period against the defense. Really making it as close to a game as you can without it being a real thing. I absolutely feel comfortable going into a game if need be. I think that’s a credit to (Head Coach) Sean (McVay) and the whole staff for giving me opportunities in the preseason, and then also creating those situations at practice as well.”

OLB Samson Ebukam

(On if he felt the pass rush today was more this team’s style)

“Yeah, I’m one of those guys that just keeps going and going so I feel like if I would’ve kept playing that second half definitely would have been over and I definitely would have hit that quarterback a lot more because I had QB hurries but I just have to get there faster.”

(On why he was still out there during the preseason given he is listed as a starter)

“Because I have something to prove to the coaches. Because we lost a key factor in (former OLB) Robert Quinn and (former OLB Connor Barwin) ‘CB’ last year, so we’re all just trying to earn our spots and I’m trying to prove something to the coaches.”

(On how much it helps to see more plays at this point in his career)

“It feels awesome. It’s just more experience for me and it’s just going to help me out for when the regular season gets here because we’re going to put it together.”

(On how close these reps in preseason look like what he saw last year)

“I mean it’s definitely different because it’s not their starters that I’m going up against. I just have to show the coaches what I can do and gain more trust from them so that in the regular season they can just put me on the field and I can just go out there.”

(On if he feels pressure replacing two guys that were significant)

“No, not really because the coaches don’t really put any pressure on anybody. They just want you to do your best and show out on film just so that when regular season gets here they know who to trust.”

(On what it’s like to be in a position group with so many rotating guys)

“It’s pretty awesome. It keeps you on your toes because you always want to do good. You can see today I was out for one play and (DL Justin) Lawler came in and made a great sack-fumble. It’s that close of a competition. Everybody is always trying to put their best foot forward.”

WR KhaDarel Hodge

(On the play where he made a 47-yard catch)

“Really, I just looked it in and I tried to stack them and I just did what I usually do, what I’m coached to do – use my fundamentals – made a big play and I just thank God for it.”

(On having two big plays in two consecutive weeks)

“Oh yeah, it’s pretty exciting. I feel pretty good about it, but I’m not going to get comfortable or anything – still go out there and try to play ball every week.”

(On where he thinks he is compared to where he started with the Rams)

“I’m not even sure. I’m not even trying to keep up with it. I know I’m just going to try to push myself everyday to be the best me. So, if I end up at the top, then I end up at the top. If I don’t, then I’m going to continue to work.”

(On if he thinks he made an impression)

“I think I’ve made some progress towards the depth chart, but I’m not thinking about it. I let the coaches make a decision.”

(On battling against the Rams defense and how he feels it makes him a better player)

“We have, I think, we have the best defense in the league, anyway. So, we practice against the best defense every day. So, in the game it’s just practice basically. It’s not overwhelming or anything.”

(On what the call was and what he was thinking during the long pass play)

“It was basically a go-route. I know I had the win. I’ve seen the safety in the middle, so I knew (QB) Sean (Mannion) would come to me. So, I just dug out and I’d seen the ball in the air – and at that point it’s just having the fundamentals. I didn’t get ahead of myself and made a big play.”

(On if he feels like he’s making an impression as an undrafted free agent)

“Yeah, I think I am. Well, I don’t let it get – I think I am and I just thank the Lord. I just thank God for what he’s blessing me with talent wise and coach wise. I’ve been in these situations before where I’ve had to come from the bottom and stuff. So, this is nothing new to me.”

(On what it says about all the players around that can come from a small school, undrafted and play well)

“My mindset is that – I’m not being cocky or anything – but, my mindset is that I can be the best. I can be better than anybody. I’m sure that’s everybody’s mindset, but I am surrounded by a bunch of great players in this locker room and they’re pretty good leaders. They show me and tell me about the whereabouts and what I need to do and how I need to do it to last in this league.”

RB John Kelly

(On how important it is for him to prove what he is capable of doing after being drafted in the sixth round)

“It really didn’t matter to me as far as the whole draft process. I was more just eager to figure out what team I was going to be on and getting drafted by this organization, they gave me a tremendous opportunity to get out there and compete on offense, special teams. So, I was blessed to just have the opportunity to get out on the field today and I got a little bit more time than last week. So, all those opportunities and reps were definitely valuable. So, I just try to go out there and take advantage of it.”

(On having 18 carries)

“Oh, I had 18 of them? I didn’t even know that. It was good. I was just happy to get the snaps, be out there to get the clicking with my teammates and everybody. Just getting a good feel for the offense with a lot of the younger guys that were out there with me. So, I thought it was pretty good.”

(On if he was getting tired at all)

“No, we’ve got a great conditioning staff here – great strength staff. So, they prepared us for situations like this.”

(On the touchdown run looking like he fumbled the ball)

“Yeah, I got a fumble recovery. So, I was counting stats – I was trying to pad the stats.”

(On 4th & 2 and the offense going for it)

“We had to have it. So, whatever I had to do to get in that end zone, that’s what I was going to do. So, tried to go over the top of the guy, he kind of put his helmet on the ball and he helped me out because I got a fumble recovery. Then I got an opportunity to get in there and celebrate with my teammates. I told them we were going to roll the dice, so it was a gambling thing and we literally did because I almost didn’t get it in there. But, that doesn’t even matter anymore because we got the seven points.”

(On if it feels like a test when they give him those goal line carries)

“Oh yeah, definitely. We knew we’ve got to have it. In the running back room, if it’s third and short – any of that, any of those situations – it’s just got-to-have-it plays. So, I was glad that I was able to get in the end zone for us.”