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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay Week 2 game recap September 17 press conference

Here’s what McBae had to say to the media today after the huge Week 2 win.

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(Opening remarks)

”Starting out, when you look at the injuries from yesterday, (K) Greg Zuerlein - it looks like he’s going to be out for a few weeks. So, we did sign (K) Sam Ficken, placed (WR) Mike Thomas on IR as a result of that move. We’ll have a little bit better idea of exactly how long that’ll be once we get those full MRI results, but we’re expecting it to be at least a few weeks. We’ll move forward with Sam, got a lot of confidence in him. It’s good that he’s kind of been through some experience with us - playing in games that are very, very important, which we know this next one is. Got a lot of confidence in him and Greg will get back hopefully sooner than later and we’ll embrace that when that time comes.”

(On how soon they reached out to Ficken)

”Yeah, really, as soon as you felt like, ‘All right, he got his groin pretty good and he’s going to be out for a couple weeks’ – we had contact with him. I knew right after the game that we had already reached out to him. He was still in the area. So, worked out in our favor and we were able to get that done pretty quickly.”

(On if he plans to go for more two-point conversions after the success from the game against the Cardinals)

”Yeah, I think you can definitely say that. I think it affects your mindset and your mentality when really, you’re not in the mindset of, ‘Okay, if it’s second down then third down, you’ve got really one opportunity or you’re kicking it or you’re punting it.’ So, it enables you to be a little bit more versatile when you think you’ve got two downs to operate with. Thought our players did an excellent job handling it, most importantly. That’s definitely something that we’ll think about and it can potentially alter the way we approach things, for sure. We always talk about being an aggressive team, that’s kind of our overall philosophy in terms of what we want to present. I think those guys – when they end up executing the way that they did in those situations, it certainly gives you a belief and a confidence that this is something that you might explore doing more times than not, for sure.”

(On if has a lot more two-point conversion plays ready or if he needs to come up with more)

”Yeah, I think, really, it depends on what the defense is presenting. It really goes back to, ‘Okay, what are some of your core plays from that two-yard line.’ The one that we ended up getting the false start, we ended up being able to do that from the one. So, now your options open up a little bit more when you’re talking about getting a yard as opposed to two. But, things tighten up down there. You do have a specific menu that you like to operate with, but that’s always predicated on who the opponent is, what are some of the coverage structures, what are some of the front structures they’re presenting and then what are the plays within the framework of our offense that give us a chance to have success in those types of situations.”

(On if anything changes now with Ficken as kicker in terms of being more aggressive or less aggressive)

”Yeah, I think you’ve got a lot of confidence in Sam and he has shown that he’s a good kicker. But certainly, you don’t take for granted the fact that you’re talking about Greg smashes a 55-yarder on the dirt in Oakland. So, his range and different things like that are what make him unique and special and why you do have confidence in Sam and his experience that he’s had with us. Greg is one of the best kickers in this league, if not the best, for a reason. So, I think there is a little bit of a different mindset, but by no means does that mean you don’t have confidence in Sam.”

(On the plan for working G Jamon Brown back in following his suspension and whether the right guard position is up for competition)

”When you look at it, we’re going to kind of evaluate those things this week. I think (G) Austin (Blythe) has played really good football. (G) Jamon (Brown), as far as getting him back into the rhythm and different things like that, we will be mindful of that with how we practice this week. Those are things that we’ll see as the week progresses.”

(On if he is aware of C/G Aaron Neary’s situation)


(On when Neary’s situation came to his attention)

”I should’ve brought that up at the beginning. I apologize for that. I found out early this morning. He communicated to us about what had occurred. I think the first thing is what we try to do is use these opportunities when people make a mistake, ‘Alright let’s use these as learning opportunities for everybody.’ Thank God nobody was injured – that’s the main thing. These are certainly things we don’t want to do. When you talk to (C/G) Aaron (Neary), I do believe that Aaron is a good kid. I could tell he felt horrible about the decision. We really use it as an opportunity, ‘Let’s all learn from this. Let’s look at ourselves critically. Let’s use the resources at our disposal with the way that Uber or the way that Lyft is, and different things that we can utilize to try to avoid some of these circumstances. Thank goodness nobody was hurt. We’re going to help work through this with you.’ But, that’s kind of the approach that we take. Now, each situation – you know how important it is for us with the character, different things like this – I think this was a poor decision in terms of the judgement, but this is something that based on how he felt and when you sit down and you talk to him and then based on the history that we have with the human being, I think you want to try to help him work through something like this as opposed to have severe consequences where he’s not a part of it. Now, different acts and things like that do dictate a different response. This is something that, number one, thank goodness no one was hurt and then, number two, let’s help work through this. Let’s use this as an opportunity for our whole team, our whole organization to be able to learn from and hopefully let’s not make these mistakes again.”

(On if Neary was at the game)

”He was. Yeah, he was at the game on sideline like our practice squad guys are. He went to a place and shouldn’t have made that decision. The one thing when you sit down and you talk to him – when you talk to the human being – I believe that he felt horrible about it. He knows that it was a mistake. I think the way that he handled it, in spite of making that mistake, I had respect for the accountability that he took for that.”

(On what S John Johnson III has brought to the team so far this season and where he has seen growth since his rookie season)

”He’s brought a lot. I think his ability to communicate, his recognition, his instincts, his feel for the game. He’s made a lot of plays in some of these man-to-man situations. You see one of the third down stops he has where he’s split out, made a couple plays against (Raiders TE Jared) Cook in Week 1. But, I think just his overall command and understanding – that safety position, specifically where he’s playing, requires and entails a lot of communication based on what the offense is in personnel grouping-wise. You see the versatility that he provides us. When you have players like (S) John (Johnson III), what then (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) can do with the way that we’re able to utilize him in a variety of ways gives us a lot of different looks that you can present when you have kind of those joker-type players on defense. John has been outstanding. He’s been really, really good.”

(On if it’s his intention that Jamon Brown would take back the right guard spot when he’s ready or if he is considering Austin Blythe continuing in that role)

”I think he’s played really good football, talking about Austin. I think Jamon Brown – what we feel good is this is a situation where we feel like we have two starting caliber guards. As far as how we move forward, it’s not a result of anything Jamon hasn’t done, but the fact that these are decisions that aren’t very clear-cut is because of Austin’s play. He’s played so well. He’s done such a great job. We talk about how instrumental (Run Game Coordinator Aaron) Kromer has been with those guys in terms of the development. You see, really, all these guys are continuing to improve week in and week out, but Austin has done a really nice job. We feel like we’ve got two starting caliber players in Austin and Jamon.”

(On if he made a conscious effort to get the tight ends involved as targets in the game against the Cardinals)

“Really, it was the flow of the game. We talk about it all the time, there’s certain things you’re trying to be able to attack. There’s certain guys that are the primary in the progression, and dependent upon what sort of scheme or way that we’re deciding to throw the football definitely can affect where that football is going. But I think it was a situation that we wanted to spread it around. I thought (QB) Jared (Goff) did an excellent job of taking what the defense gave him. He did a good job getting a couple of those guys involved. I think it is important for us to make sure we’re using all five eligible (players), like we talked about. To say that you’re consciously aware of – ‘Ok, they haven’t gotten touches and then, lets get them those touches.’ Not necessarily, but you do want to make sure that you’re giving them an opportunity to make some plays because of all the things they’re doing on some of those early downs or in the run game. I think what you see with our offense that we were really pleased with is the amount of guys they play for each other. It’s an unselfish group. You watch the way those receivers block when they’re not part of the progression or if they’re having to do some different things we ask them to do. Whether it’s (WR) Robert Woods, (WR) Cooper Kupp, (WR) Brandin (Cooks). You watch the way the running backs were competing, tight ends. So, I think to answer your question, yes. It is important for us to spread the ball around and get everybody involved, but that wasn’t something that you’re thinking like, ‘Oh, we haven’t gotten them involved, so we have to do that at this point’.”

(On if there’s any concern in regards to the wide receiver group due to the fact that WR Mike Thomas and Pharoh Cooper were placed on Injury Reserve)

”Yes, definitely. That’s something that we’re going to evaluate as far as maybe some more personnel groupings. Being a short week and (TE) Gerald (Everett), like we talked about, not having had a chance to really get into a full practice rhythm. That could potentially affect the way that we go into this game, as far as some of the utilization of the personnel groupings and things we might present. That’s also going to be predicated on getting ready for the Chargers defense, which is going to be a great challenge for us.”

(On C Brian Allen getting into the game and what he saw from him)

”I think he did a good job. I thought he had nice command, he got good removal in the run game, he was able to make some good calls up front in the protection. The one play that – it was my fault. I got the play in late and we weren’t able to make a certain call that is pretty standard for us, and they kind of edged us on one of those fourth downs where Jared ended up getting flushed, and had to throw it away. That’s on me more than anything else. So I was really impressed with Brian’s ability to just come in, do a great job with the communication and that’s what we expect and he did a nice job.”

(On Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant’s Instagram post saying that DT Aaron Donald is a great athlete and that Durant would like to be a part of the Rams and if he could see him fitting in on the team)

”I bet he would be pretty dangerous in the redzone on some of those jump balls. So, if he thinks about wanting to do that we’ll welcome him. He can come kick it with us anytime he wants (laughs).”