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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay, QB Sean Mannion, RB John Kelly, CB Sam Shields, DL Ndamukong Suh post-game press conference

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Here’s what the Rams had to say after the Week 3 win over the Raiders.

NFL: Houston Texans at Los Angeles Rams Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(On what he saw from his starters on defense)

“Yeah, I thought a lot of good energy. Want to be able to get these guys out here. Hear (LB) Cory (Littleton) make some of the calls, the communication that occurs on the back end. Obviously, (S) Lamarcus’ (Joyner) interception was a big play for us – good positive. I thought they did a good job. Until you go back and really look at the – it was such a small sample size – but the entire tape where you can really evaluate everybody. But, I thought the energy – I thought the way the guys came out ready to go was exactly what we had hoped for.”

(On if it was the plan to only play the defensive starters for two series)

“Yeah, it was going to be two or three. I think the fact that they got a turnover ended up making us feel good about it. One of the things we talk about as a coaching staff, it’s always that fine line, but we got a lot of good players that we’re counting on. Want to continue to use this preseason as a chance to evaluate some of these guys that – figuring out if they have to step up in the midst of somebody getting injured or whatever it might be with where there’s some competition. But, want to get to that first game in Oakland healthy and ready to go and we’re giving ourselves a chance to do that.”

(On if there are any concerns about his offensive starters going into the regular season without any preseason snaps)

“Yeah, I think it’s always tough. You’d like to be able to do that, but when you balance the risk-reward, we felt like as a coaching staff this was going to be the best thing for us. We do have 10-of-11 starters returning. You don’t take anything for granted though. We’ve got to come out, we’ve got to be ready to go and what we’ve got to do is maximize every single day, try to create some of those situations in practice even though you know that you can’t. But, like we’ve talked about over and over again, this is what we felt like was best for our football team. Might not be for everybody. Might be disagreements, but this is what we talked about as a coaching staff and this was kind of the decision that we made.”

(On if sitting out the preseason affects QB Jared Goff more than anyone else)

“Yeah, I don’t think you can ever get enough snaps. But, the balance of leaving you susceptible to some of the hits we talked about with some of the linemen that we were going to rest today. So, there was a lot of things that went into that decision. We try as much as we can to try to do a good job of ramping it up at practice. I think our players do an excellent job of understanding how to do that. There’s nothing quite like playing on Sundays or on Monday night like we’ll do on September 10 when you can actually get tackled. But, all things considered, I think that we’re trying to get as much good work as we can. We’ve got a long way to go still until that September 10 date. But, it’s an imperfect deal, but this is the decision that we felt like we wanted to make.”

(On if has ever been affiliated with a team that went into a regular season without any preseason snaps for its offensive starters)

“I haven’t in the experience that I’ve had. I’ve been around a lot of players that have gone through preseasons where they haven’t played and seemed like they were ready to go. I think the reason that we felt like this was best was because of the continuity that we did have, specific to the offense, where these guys have played together. A lot of these guys have some experience. Certainly, you don’t take away from the fact that we do have some young players, but they were able to play a lot of snaps together last year – (WR) Brandin (Cooks) being the only one of our starting 11 and we know that he’s had a lot of experience in his career. To be able to get to that game with all 11 guys intact – obviously with the exception of (G) Jamon (Brown), but with some of those other guys that we expect to step up at that right guard spot – is something that we felt like was going to be best for us. Defensively, we thought it was important to get that work today because there are so many moving parts – (LB) Cory (Littleton) at the MIKE linebacker spot, you look at (DT) Ndamukong (Suh) up front, you look at some of the guys coming off the edge with (OLB Matt) Longacre, with (DT Dominique) Easley being able to get their first action and then obviously the new additions that we had to our back end. So, there was a handful of reasons why we went about it today.”

(On if RB John Kelly has firmly put himself on the radar)

“I think he’s certainly making a case. He’s done a really good job. You look at it where you’re really just trying to get yourself into a good field goal position and he ends up making an excellent run, breaking some tackles. Guys did a good job blocking up front. Good runner, good, confident player. He’s got a nice – just good play energy where he kind of brings guys around him where guys get excited playing with him. He’s continuing to develop day in and day out. (Running Back Coach) Skip Peete is doing an excellent job with him. We’ll look back at the tape and it’s always good to be able to see some things that we can clean up, but a lot of positives from (RB) John (Kelly) right now.”

(On how good it was to see OLB Matt Longacre out there)

“It was good. Until you go back and watch the tape, but I think to get he and (DT Dominique) Easley out there – guys that have really persevered through some tough injuries and a lot of different things that they’ve gone through to get to this position is a real credit to them, (Senior Director of Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and our medical staff. Really happy for those guys.”

(On what he saw on the interception by CB Sam Shields today as well as in training camp)

“Yeah, (CB) Sam (Shields) is another guy that hasn’t been with us as long as (DT Dominique) Easley and (OLB Matt) Longacre, but same type of story. You look at the perseverance he’s demonstrated to be able to miss football for a couple years, come back. Unbelievable athleticism. You see the great ball skills, former receiver. I told him his ball security was pretty poor on that play. Good thing he just went out of bounds (laughs). But, it was exciting to see that. Sam’s been a guy that’s consistently made plays. We’ve talked about a lot of the big-time acquisitions we’ve made. I think people seem to forget what a good player Sam Shields has been in this league too going into his eighth season. Really happy for him and encouraged with just the development and the progress that he’s made throughout.”

(On if RB John Kelly showed anything that he hadn’t seen from him during this preseason)

“I think he’s shown a lot of that. I think the touchdown run on the third-down-and-long was a great finish by him. Had to get it started with a couple broken tackles or running through some arm tackles early on, but that’s been consistent for John throughout. I thought he did a nice job though overall. We’ll see how his eye progression was and some of the protections, different things like that, how his footwork and how his tracks were. You always talk about being in alignment with everybody else on the same page, all 11 (players) in the run game being able to set and press some of those blocks up front and it seemed like for the most part he did a good job.”

(On any update for DE Ryan Davis)

“Not sure. I haven’t gotten a full update yet.”

(On any update on DL Ethan Westbrooks)

“(DL) Ethan (Westbrooks) is okay. I’m not sure. I didn’t hear anything happened to Ethan.”

(On if there is any concern about whoever fills in at right guard won’t get much time with T Rob Havenstein and C John Sullivan)

“Those guys aren’t getting that work in the preseason. They’ve gotten a lot at practice. (Run Game Coordinator) Coach (Aaron) Kromer has done an excellent job moving guys around where (G) Jamon (Brown) has gotten some work, but it’s also been a lot of different guys. You look at the (C) Austin Blythe’s, we’ve talked about (C) Brian Allen and (T) Joe Noteboom. But, those guys have really gotten a lot of work and we’re looking forward to kind of starting to tailor our game plan with that singular focus as far as kind of just starting to lock into the (Oakland) Raiders as soon as this week.”

(On any explanation from the referees on the roughing the passer call)

“Yeah, they said on the one that they ended up calling on (LB) Micah (Kiser), they told me that when he was stood up, he’s trying to keep his head out of it. When (QB) Joe Webb (III) ends up getting moved at the last point, they said that his head – helmet-to-helmet contact. Those are the things that are always tough. That’s what I was talking with (NFL Referee) Shawn (Hochuli) with, the head ref today, just about those are the things that are really tough to officiate because it’s that bang-bang, where things change at the last minute, or last second really, and guys are trying to keep their head out of it and how do we do a good job of trying to be consistent with that. But, those guys did a good job of explaining exactly what was going on today.”

(On how many wide receivers he expects to start the season with)

”We’re not sure. That’s going to be predicated on really how we end up shaping our final 53 (man roster) and then also what we anticipate for our 46 (man roster). Talking with (Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel) ‘Bones’ and (Assistant Special Teams Coach) Matt (Daniels) as far as some of the special teams guys that’ll contribute. But, typically you can say anywhere between six, seven or eight guys, but it’s good competition. We’ve got a lot of depth specific to that receiver position. But, as far as how our skill positions on offense shape out will be highly predicated on kind of how we really envision that game day active roster as well as that 53 (man roster).”

(On QB Sean Mannion’s performance today)

”Well, I think if the one thing that you could take away that says a lot about him is it didn’t start out great, but we always talk about how do you respond from some adversity? I thought he did an excellent job with that. A lot of times when the game starts out the way that it does, it’s easy to kind of let it snowball. He certainly didn’t do that, found some completions. Want to say that he ended the half with seven completions in a row and a couple touchdown drives. So, certainly pleased with that. We’ll go back and look at the tape and see how we can try to start fresh, start sharp right from the beginning. But, I was really pleased with the way that he responded and didn’t kind of let that snowball. I think that says a lot about (QB) Sean (Mannion).”

QB Sean Mannion

(On how he felt about his performance)

“I was happy about it. Obviously, the interception, but at least when I think about it now, that’s the only one I really want to have back. I felt like we put together some long drives to get a couple touchdown drives, capitalize off the turnover our defense forced. I thought it was a good performance. I think when you feel good about two straight weeks, it’s some good efficient offense for us.”

(On what Head Coach Sean McVay said after the touchdown pass to WR Pharoh Cooper)

“I think the possession before I threw an interception, so he was just happy I was able bounce back. (Head Coach) Sean (McVay) is great. He’s an awesome coach, awesome guy to work with. He was just super supportive and was real happy after that touchdown.”

(On how happy he is getting to start every single preseason game)

“Absolutely, every chance you get to play is an unbelievable opportunity. This is the highest level of football in the world. Anytime you get to start it’s a great opportunity. I’m happy with how all three games have gone. There has been some great stuff and some things to improve on. Like I said, I think when I reflect on these three games it’s been really good.”

(On what he would like to continue working on)

“I think it’s just accuracy and decision making. Really, I felt good about those things throughout the preseason. I think it’s just getting yourself in the game situation, reading the coverage on the snap and just putting the ball in the right place. I really felt like today I did a good job of that.”

(On if the group he started with today is generally the group he starts with during practice)

“It varies really. Had a couple receivers that typically would be out there, (WR) Mike Thomas and (WR) Josh Reynolds - both we need to get healthy for the regular season. I love working with all those guys. I know (WR) KhaDarel Hodge made a ton of great plays last week. (WR) Fred Brown we had on the practice squad last year. I definitely feel a rapport with those guys.”

(On how familiar he is with the players he started the game with)

“For sure. Like I said, a couple guys weren’t able to play but big picture we’re going to need Mike and Josh to make plays in the regular season. With KhaDarel and Fred and I thought (RB) John Kelly made a lot of nice runs. He’s just a rookie but he’s picked everything up well. I think having (RB) Malcolm Brown out there for the start of the game was huge. He’s so valuable to our 2s. He’s a great runner, a great pass protector so that whole unit. The o-line also - I didn’t even get touched today - so they did a great job. I think that whole unit is a real cohesive group that works well together. It was fun being out there with them.”

(On the slow start to the game and if he felt like they picked up the speed)

“For sure, definitely. I think we started with maybe two three-and-out’s, which you don’t want. But, things like that happen. It’s not always going to be perfect. I think you just want to be set in, always put it in the short memory, move on and execute.

(On RB John Kelly)

“He’s a super, super talented runner. I think maybe the thing people don’t notice is the way he’s developed in pass protection and route running. The running ability jumps off to you as the obvious and easiest to see. I know the quarterbacks, o-line and everybody appreciates the attention he pays to being a pass protector and a route runner. He’s done a great job.”

RB John Kelly

(On if he feels as good as his stats look)

“Yeah, I would think so. My stomach was hurting a little bit in the second quarter. Besides that, I was good. I think I ate a little bit too much this morning”

(On if his stomach hurt because of nerves)

“A little bit. That too, though. It’s kind of still new.”

(On if it reminds him of when he came to Tennessee and was waiting for his chance)

“It’s different situations, definitely, but it’s kind of the same scenario. I’ve got a few great running backs ahead of me, so I’m just going to be ready whenever my number is called. Whenever I get out there, I just try to take advantage of it – every opportunity on special teams and offense – regardless of where they call me. I just want to make sure I’m ready.”

(On his second touchdown)

“Well, I saw the linebackers back a little bit, trying to play the sticks. So, I was like, ‘Oh, they don’t think we’re going to score.’ So, I just took advantage of the soft spot. My linemen, they did a great job blocking up front, gave me a one-on-one with the safety. I was able to make him miss, so shout out to my o-line on that one and those receivers that were blocking on the perimeter. So, it was a well-executed play.”

(On what has led to his level of comfort early on)

“I learn from a great group of guys. So, it always comes from practice – just being able to get a good feel for the offense while we are taking reps at practice. Whether it’s with the 1s, 2s, 3s - it really doesn’t matter. I just want to make sure that whenever I’ve got to go out there and execute a play, I’m going to do what I’m supposed to do.”

(On if he was determined to not fumble from his teammates giving him grief last game)

“(Laughs) Yeah, because (CB Marcus Peters) ‘MP’ was still talking junk – he’s hating on me. That’s the thing, ‘MP’ is hating on me. It’s only ‘MP’. It’s not the guys, it’s ‘MP’. He’s the only one, but I got something for him (laughs).”

(On what he feels like he still has to prove to the staff)

“It’s a trust thing. So, I’ve got to constantly go out there and stay consistent. That’s really about it – just make sure I stay consistent on executing the plays, knowing my plays and whenever I get out there I’ve got to just make sure I’m able to take care of the ball, like you said, and just finish, really.”

(On if he knows there will be more scrutiny and doubt because they haven’t seen him yet)

“I wouldn’t say scrutiny, but there’s probably a little bit of doubt because I’m new to this team, just like a bunch of other guys. It’s always a trust thing. I just want to make sure I stay consistent though, that’s the most important.”

(On if he draws anything from playing behind good running backs in Tennessee and now in Los Angeles as well)

“Oh yeah, most definitely. You don’t want to rush it. You can’t sit here and feel sorry for yourself, complain or do any of that because we’ve got – not only do I’ve got great running backs ahead of me, but they’re also helping me. So, they’re definitely teaching me certain techniques, nuances on how to learn the offense and maintain certain knowledge. It’s definitely a learning experience for me.”

(On what he has learned from being around RB Todd Gurley II)

“It’s a lot – just on and off the field. I got a chance to just kick it with (RB Todd Gurley II) ‘TG’ and (RB Malcolm Brown) ‘Malc’ and (RB) Justin (Davis) like several times off the field. So, they’ve been providing a lot of good insight for me.”

CB Sam Shields

(On what it was like having the team celebrate his interception with him on the sideline)

“It’s family as you can see. When things happen in the game like that, interceptions, just any turnovers, from each side of the ball, we love it as you can see. You saw that. That’s going to make us better.”

(On if he feels comfortable again with all the reps on defense and special teams)

“Most definitely, yeah. You know this game, special teams is the key. That’s my whole mindset, special teams and defense.”

(On his break on the ball and if he feels back to where he was in the past)

“Oh yeah, most definitely. Just the route recognition and things that coach often teaches us. I’ve seen it and when you see things you have to take advantage of it. That’s what happened.”

(On what it means to have a game like this)

“It means a lot. Like I said, it gave me a lot of confidence. I’ve been taking it one day at a time. I’ve been feeling great every day. I can’t explain it, but it’s been great for me.”

DT Ndamukong Suh

(On what happened on the quarterback pressure that led to the interception)

“Yeah, so I was running the game with (DT Dominique) Easley and they kind of sat on me and the tackle had Easley and he obviously bulled in and I came and played off of him and obviously the quarterback was set up so I hit him in the chest and then he threw it up in the air and we went and got it.”

(On if it felt good to get a hit on the quarterback before the season)

“For sure it feels good. I mean we can’t hit 16 (QB Jared Goff) or even get near him in practice let, alone all the other guys so it feels good to hit a quarterback especially with the new rules and all that stuff. Overall, it was a decent showing. Like I said, I have to check out the tape.”

(On how he sees the balance between playing and resting starters in the preseason)

“It’s a balance that you just respect. I respect (Head) Coach Sean (McVay) and his methodology the way he wants to run the team and how much work and get the live work. Like I said, previously in weeks before that we had good work against Baltimore. We had some good stuff in camp when we came back from Baltimore. I think we had a good week of practice and obviously eight plays or so today.”