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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay August 28 press conference

Here’s what McBae had to say to the media today capped with an unusually strange and optimistic bit on Aaron Donald...

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(On if the team scrimmaged during today’s practice)

“We did. Yeah, we got a lot of different situations in today. Got some work where it was kind of for Oakland and then also just some good competitive stuff and it was a good balance, had some noise going. It was good. We’ll go back and look at the tape, but I thought we got a lot out of it – a lot of different situations, lot of different things that hopefully will help us when we go on to things.”

(On if there was any special emphasis with the starters today)

“Yeah, and you know what, we might be able to do something similar to this next week. We’ll see how these guys feel. But, I think the more competitive atmospheres you can try to create, the better for us. But, like we’ve talked about, you can truly never mimic and emulate those game-type situations. But, I thought our guys are doing a really good job with what we can control and how we practice, getting the most out of it, being out here in full pads working those guys up front on both lines. The coverage is so competitive on the back end with our receivers, our DBs, tight ends and our linebackers. So, it was a lot of good work and a lot of things that we still can improve on for sure.”

(On if there was a sense that they had to cram in a lot of work because of the short week)

“The biggest thing was for a lot of these guys that aren’t going to be playing in this game, we were focusing on a little bit of Oakland, but really, let’s just focus on being as sharp as we can with our systems, with our execution. From an offensive standpoint, being able to handle the noise – which we know is going to be a crazy atmosphere – really probably on Thursday in New Orleans, but then also on September 10 in the Oakland Coliseum. So, then we got a lot of good walk-thru reps with those guys that will be playing on Thursday, just being a short week and with most of those guys having played a lot of snaps just on Saturday.”

(On if he wants the players to have a lot of mental reps because of the short week)

“That’s exactly right. We want to make sure that they feel sharp and want to try to get them as fresh as possible. With the short turnaround, we felt like for those guys taking the majority of the reps on Thursday, more of an above the neck emphasis in those guys that aren’t participating really took place in that scrimmage and it was a lot of good work.”

(On the status of WRs Josh Reynolds and Michael Thomas)

“Yeah, (WR) Mike (Thomas) has had a little bit of a deal with just his hip. He could go if we really wanted to press it, but we’re going to be smart with him and get him as healthy as possible. With (WR) Josh’s (Reynolds) ankle, he’s making progress. With both those guys, I fully expect Mike to be ready to go for the Oakland game and with Josh that’s kind of the goal. Unfortunately, when he did that ankle in the Baltimore game, it was a little bit more severe than we thought. He is making good, positive progress, but we know that he won’t be available on Thursday and the goal is Oakland for him.”

(On if QB Luis Perez will play in Thursday’s game)

“Yeah, we’re expecting him to play that second half. So, (QB) Brandon (Allen) will start out. We expect to see him the first half and get (QB) Luis (Perez) in there and it will be fun to watch him compete. We all know what a good job he’s done in practice and looking forward to seeing him playing in a game.”

(On if there’s any way to quantify how many jobs are on the line going into this final preseason game)

“Yeah, it’s a good question. I think it’s hard to say because some of those decisions might be predicated on who gets released elsewhere. But, we do feel really good about the guys we have in our building. There are certain spots that, I think just from the outside looking in, have a little bit more competition. There will be some definite spots that are up for grabs with the evaluation of Thursday. Like we talked about earlier, most importantly, whether it’s with us, whether it’s in a practice squad role or whether it’s trying to put them in good spots to put good film out there for potentially one of the other teams – that’s what we want to try to do as a coaching staff and looking forward to seeing these guys go on Thursday.”

(On how confident he is with Sean Mannion as the backup quarterback

“Yeah, you feel good. I think we’ll continue to evaluate things moving forward. I think that it’s been up and down, but I think it’s tough because the sample size is so small. What I think says as much as anything, like we talked about at the game, is right after that – it didn’t start out the way you wanted, but a lot of times we talk about that mental toughness, not letting things snowball. He certainly ended the half in a good way the other day, but there’s always room that we can look to for improvement, really for the quarterback room as a whole, not specific to (QB) Sean (Mannion).”

(On what he’s seen from QB Brandon Allen throughout the course of the preseason)

“Yeah, I think he’s done a good job. He’s made some plays with his legs, we talked about it yesterday. Really efficient on third downs. That first drive coming out of the half – I want to say it was about 20 plays, but he’s done a nice job executing the offense. I think with that quarterback spot, there’s so many different things that those guys are responsible for and we’ll always look to see what we can do a better job of putting them in good spots. Then, there’s a lot of different things – whether it’s footwork, timing, rhythm, ownership on some of the stuff in the run game. So, they’re making improvements.”

(On if the quality of the defense helps to balance out the lack of live reps for the first team offense)

“You hope so. You certainly feel like you’ve got a lot of really good players on defense. Got some different guys that are presenting some different problems up front with our rush game. Really, (DT) Ndamukong Suh’s done an excellent job the last couple weeks. You really started to see him take it to a whole other level and then we’ve talked about how competitive our back end is. But, it’s always a different element when you’re getting ready for a different team, but when you’re talking about beating some of the man coverage principles, winning one-on-ones, a lot of good competitive work that we’re getting and I think those guys would be able to tell you that.”

(On if he and any team staff are planning to take a side trip to meet with Aaron Donald’s agents again this year)

“Things are heating up. You might see that sooner than later. It could happen (laughs). It’s exciting. We’re very optimistic. Seriously, we are.”

(On if they’re excited about a potential trip or signing)

“Could be both. Could be both (laughs). So, let’s put it this way – maybe it’ll happen.”

(On how long it might take DT Aaron Donald to get ready for a game if he does sign)

“Well, hopefully if we do get it done in the next couple days, then you feel good about him going for Oakland. I would say, like we’ve kind of talked about, really about a week and a half acclimation-type period. But, getting him in here sooner than later – which is something that we do feel good about – is hopefully going to happen.”

(On if something has changed with Donald’s situation from yesterday)

“Yes (laughs). No, I’m just kidding. No. The dialogue has increased. The level of urgency is extremely high on both sides and let’s go (Executive Vice President of Football Operations/Chief Operating Officer) Kevin Demoff. Alright? Let’s go, man (laughs). I’m just kidding.”

(On if he’s kidding)

“I don’t know (laughs). I think that we’re hopeful that we’ll see if something changes in the near future. This is a serious statement – I’m very, very optimistic that things will be good for us.”

(On if it would be before the game on Thursday)

”Whether it’s going to be before the game or after – being out there in New Orleans – whatever we can do to make it work and do our part to try to demonstrate to (DT) Aaron (Donald) how important it is for us to get him here, be a part of this team. All jokes aside, there is a level of increased optimism. I’m not really kidding around with that. There’s a lot of things that need to get done for it to be finalized, but we’re working in a positive direction. (Senior Director, Communications) Artis (Twyman) it’s okay, man. We’ll get everybody excited, but that is the truth. So Aaron, see you soon buddy.”

(On the duration of Donald’s ongoing contract negotiation)

”I’ve tried not to really think about it. When you get a chance you want to contact (DT) Aaron (Donald) and let him know how important it is. But, you certainly don’t want it to take away from the amount of guys that are here doing a great job getting themselves ready to go. So, you kind of try to control what you can and then certainly in the meantime when we’re not practicing, when we’re not meeting with the players, staying in that contact with Aaron. That’s something that’s been important to us, but it’s also really important that we have a lot of good guys here working and getting themselves ready to go.”