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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay, QB Jared Goff, RB Todd Gurley August 23 press conference

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

NFL: Los Angeles Rams Press Conference Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(On if he’s eager to see his starters in action)

”Yeah, we are. We’re excited about it. I know the guys are. We kind of went through something similar to what would be an in-season Friday today. Guys moved around, got some red-zone work in a couple kind of jog-thru periods at the end. So, it’ll be good. We’re looking forward to it.”

(On if there are any players who will be held out of the game)

”Yeah, for-sure guys are (T Andrew) Whitworth, (C John) Sullivan and (RB Todd) Gurley (II). No Gurley.”

(On the thinking behind the decision not to play RB Todd Gurley II)

”Well, we’ve done a little bit different approach in terms of working him out just with some things going on just in his lower half. Just getting him up to speed in the way that we’ve kind of felt like to get him at his best for September 10. Just the workload that we gave him, we haven’t really set him up like you would in a normal game week. So, the focus was on – just because some other things going on, we felt like that was the best plan, get him ready for that Oakland game feeling as good as possible.”

(On if there are any concerns that Gurley could start the regular season slower without any preseason reps)

”You try as much as you can to mimic and emulate those things in practice, but there’s certainly nothing like getting truly tackled. I think you’ve got to weigh those decisions. You definitely don’t want to take away from the value of the preseason, so I don’t want that to be misunderstood by any stretch. But, that risk-reward and then also kind of being mindful of getting (RB) Todd (Gurley II) as fresh as possible. I think that’s one of the things last year that enabled him to sustain and really get stronger as the season progressed, was what a good job he did taking care of himself, being mindful of just kind of his maintenance program throughout the course of the year – especially with all of his touches. We feel like this is going to put him on that track and that was more important to us. You try to get him as much good work as you can. There’s nothing like truly playing football. I totally agree and understand that, but that was kind of what we felt like – all things being considered – was going to be the best approach with him.”

(On what it says about the younger offensive linemen that are going to play)

”Yeah, it says that you feel good about these guys. There’s a couple things with some things that still might occur leading up to this game. (T) Rob (Havenstein) got a little tweak in his ankle. Whether he plays or not will affect some things potentially. But, it says that we’ve got confidence. I think you guys have heard us say it over and over, (Run Game Coordinator) Aaron Kromer has done a really good job developing, especially these young linemen. You look at (C) Brian Allen and (T) Joe Noteboom specifically. Obviously, we’ve talked a lot about the progression of (C) Austin Blythe who’s been with us and you just see what a good player he’s become that really can play any one of those three interior spots. So, we feel really good about the depth that Coach Kromer has developed, really with (Offensive Quality Control Coach) Zak (Kromer) and (Assistant Offensive Line Coach) Andy (Dickerson) as well. It’s been a credit to those guys and the players for being receptive to it.”

(On if Aaron Kromer has a voice in the evaluation and selection of potential draft picks)

”Absolutely. Yeah, I think that’s one of the things you feel really good about is the ability for our personnel and coaching staffs to work together to find out, ‘Alright, what are the guys looking for from a coaching standpoint?’ I think (Run Game Coordinator) Coach (Aaron) Kromer does a great job painting that picture. (General Manager) Les (Snead) and his staff did an excellent job of kind of being able to group some of these linemen that really fit the specific traits and characteristics that he’s looking for in terms of guys that, ‘What are the traits you’re looking for for guys that can protect? What are the traits you’re looking for for the way that we want to run the football?’ He has a huge voice and it’s definitely a good collaboration with personnel and with our coaching staff.”

(On if TE Gerald Everett is on target to play on Saturday)

”He’s not, no. He’s a guy that maybe for New Orleans. I think probably most realistic is for that Oakland (Raiders) game. So, it’s always tricky with a shoulder injury. You want to be smart about it and kind of how you balance getting a guy back in there, but then not risking a setback. The ultimate goal is Oakland, but it would be ideal if you could get him a little bit of work against New Orleans as well.”

(On if he’s 100 percent certain on the decision to play QB Jared Goff on Saturday)

”No. No.”

(On if Goff will play)

”We’ll find out. There’s a lot of things going into it. So, like we talked about these guys up front, that has an affect on what we end up doing. So, to say that we’ve decided that yet wouldn’t be true.”

(On any concern if Goff would start the regular season slower if he doesn’t play in the preseason)

”It’s the same. I think you’ve got to weigh a lot of different things. We’re playing a lot of football out here. The way that we would operate if he does play is not going to be anything close to the way that we’ll operate in a normal game anyways. So, there’s a lot of things that – like I’ve told you – self-admittedly, this isn’t like an easy answer because there’s a lot of layers to it. I think those guys would want to play. But, we’re not game planning, we’re not doing things that are consistent with our normal approach. So, that’s where the struggle occurs – especially given the fact that you’re resting some linemen and then our other tackle is potentially not going to be healthy. So, (T) Rob’s (Havenstein) availability will definitely have an impact on what we do.”

(On if there’s anything that has changed since he last said Goff could play on Saturday)

”Yeah, when (T) Rob (Havenstein) tweaked his ankle, that definitely potentially alters it – especially when you’re talking about any team in general, but specifically an excellent defense when you’re looking at guys like (DE J.J.) Watt, (DE/OLB Jadeveon) Clowney. I know (OLB Whitney) Mercilus has been banged up a little bit, but I wouldn’t feel great about going against those guys without our line. But, we’ll see what happens. We’ll see (laughs).”

QB Jared Goff

(On the possibility of him not playing in the preseason at all)

“Whatever they decide to do, I’m on board with. I think we got a lot of good work through training camp and through different situations that may come up this weekend that may happen. I’m planning to play and we’ll see what happens.”

(On if it concerns him at all to possibly go into Week 1 of regular season without having played ‘real’ football)

“No, we’ve gotten plenty of work and feel good. Again, I’m planning to play but if something were to come up where it doesn’t happen, then that’s what they decide to do.”

(On if there’s something he does want to get accomplished out of playing)

“I think anytime you go out there, you can get just more experience, more time out there, feel good and get in a rhythm. We get a lot of work done in practice the same way too, and so there’s times where it doesn’t matter as much as you may think. I’m planning to play, like I said, and I hope to get out there a little bit.”

(On if getting tackled is something he feels like he needs to get re-adjusted to again)

“No, I’ll get hit plenty this year (laughs). I’ll get adjusted to it eventually.”

(On if he thinks there’s enough time in practice for him to get to where he wants to be for the regular season)

“Yeah, I think so. I think we’ve been working so long, just like every other team. Again, whatever happens this weekend happens. I’m expecting to play and if it’s a situation where I don’t that’s okay.”

(On how different it is prepping for a preseason game when you’re not game planning)

“A little bit different. Definitely different. You’re used to a game week where you’re so detailed and so intricate on what they’re doing. At this point in our training camp/preseason, kind of phasing into the season, you’re still getting reps with everyone. Still working on the whole team and trying to work on yourself in practice more so than you focus on the other team. We’ve been watching their (Houston Texans) film, we’re prepared for it. I have a little bit of experience from playing them last year and so we’re ready to go.”

(On how productive the offense was last year and if there are any aspects of the offense he thinks can improve this season)

”Yeah, I think there was a lot of good things, like you said, last year. I think some of our down-field passing stuff is something we’ve put a big emphasis on, something I’ve put a big emphasis on and something we’ve seen improvement in already through the offseason. Something that we hope to improve on this year.”

(On if he dwells on the Wildcard playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons from last season)

”No, I watched it a couple times.”

(On if he decided to just let it go)

”Yeah, it’s a bad way to end the season. You don’t want it that way. Watched it and evaluated it like any other game, learned from it and moved on.”

RB Todd Gurley

(On not playing against the Texans on Saturday)

”It’s unfortunate. I really wanted to be out there with my teammates, but (Head) Coach (Sean McVay) makes the decisions (laughs).”

(On if he feels like he’s getting enough work in at practice to be ready for the regular season)

”Oh yeah, for sure. (Head) Coach (Sean McVay), (Senior Director, Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott), (Director of Strength Training and Performance) Ted (Rath), they all do a great job of just making sure when we’re on the field trying to get some great work in and when it’s time to take care of us, they do a pretty good job. But, it’s our duty to make sure we’re staying on top of things as well.”

(On if he wasn’t on the field at all during the preseason would he be fine going into the season opener)

”What? That is everyone’s dream – to not play in the preseason. What are you talking about? No, I mean some guys are different. Obviously, at the end of the day, it’s always going to be different between playing in the preseason and playing in the regular season. I’m kind of happy not to be playing in it, but it’s definitely good for some guys as well, too. Some guys just like being out there to get a feel for it and to see, but not this guy.”

(On when the next CBA comes up, would he like them to cut out a preseason game)

”Yeah, for sure. Especially the way everything is going now. I mean majority of the teams are practicing against teams, so it’s like, you have four games and then you’re also practicing against a team for three days, at least. So, most definitely, but when the time comes.”

(On what seems like a good number of preseason games to him)

”Zero. (laughs)”

(On if he feels like he’ll be able to endure more work by not playing in the preseason)

”That’s like a tricky question, but obviously, it’s going to save me - the least you do to – it’s definitely going to save me just a little bit. We do such a great job – (Head) Coach (Sean McVay) makes sure he does a great job with just getting us a lot of reps. It’s about that time now, where we’re starting to get majority of the reps and it’s starting to go through a regular season schedule. So, like I said, everybody – we make sure we do our job of just maintaining the work on the field and they do a great job of taking care of us when the time is right.”

(On if there is something he’s been trying to improve on in his game throughout the course of training camp)

”Pass-protection, always can get better at that. Going against these guys, guys like (LB) Cory Littleton, he’s a great linebacker. Guys like (S) Marqui (Christian), he’s been having a phenomenal camp and those guys have been bringing it on the pass-protection – the blitz pickup – so, always just definitely getting better at that. Then, just trying to not drop any balls when (QB Jared) Goff throws it. Just try to stay on the same page as the line, but (Run Game Coordinator) Coach (Aaron) Kromer and those guys up front, they do a great job of helping me out and us all being on the same page.”

(On if there is any part of the offense that he thinks they can do better this year)

”Yeah, for sure. Definitely going to be a lot better in the red zone. I mean we were pretty good, but the main thing will be short yardage. I didn’t do a good job converting a lot of third-and-ones, third-and-twos, like that. So, we can definitely get a lot better on third downs, for sure.

(On what leads to improvement on third downs)

”Yeah, just executing. I mean, obviously, just everybody being on the same page whether – just getting lined up right, play calling, whatever it is – just making sure we go out there and at the end of the day, whether they know the play or not, it’s one yard, so go get that one yard. We harp on it every week and that’s what separates the good from the greats is just being able to get that extra yard or extra two yards. So, it’s definitely something we’ve been working on this whole offseason and just trying to get better in that.”

(On if he’ll let us know when he gets his cats)

”Nah, I’m not going to let nobody know. We’re just going to chill at the house of mine – mind our own business.”

(On when he became a cat guy)

”I’ve always liked cats. Yeah, I’ve always liked cats. We always had cats growing up, so it was just my thing.”