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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay, DC Wade Phillips, RB Todd Gurley September 20 press conference

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

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(On DL Michael Brockers and C John Sullivan being held out of yesterday’s practice)

”Yeah, it’s more just maintenance with these guys. They were a little banged up from a physical game the other day. We want to do everything we can to get them feeling as good as possible for Sunday, but it’s not anything that we expect to affect their ability and availability on Sunday. It’s just more kind of being safe.”

(On what he’s seen from Chargers QB Philip Rivers and what has made him so successful)

”I think, really, going back to just watching him over the course of his career and then even going back to practicing against him a couple times last year, one of the things that you can feel when you’re just there present with them is the command that he has. Certain guys, when you watch them, you can just see that the game is slowed down for them and that’s how it feels like he operates. When he’s at the line of scrimmage, the amount of information that he’s able to absorb and then communicate, whether it via hand signals or certain things in the run game that he wants to get checked to. He’s just got a great feel and an understanding for what it should look like as far as how the defense should disperse and being able to get to the right plays. Then, I think one of the things that’s made him consistently really special is his ability to throw the deep ball with anticipation. You see him consistently, whether it’s (WR Travis) Benjamin, some of their other receivers, he’s consistently dropping balls over the top and hitting guys consistently in stride. He’s got a great feel for the pocket, able to move and manipulate, change his arm slot and doesn’t take a lot of sacks. Really, you see the production – I want to say it’s nine seasons in a row that he’s had over 4,000 yards passing. So, he’s a great player. You can tell just the way he competes, he loves the game. As a coach you have nothing but respect for the way that he’s carried himself and the way that he competes for his teammates.”

(On if there is anything about WR Brandin Cooks’ game that has surprised him since he’s been a part of the team)

”I would say that we’ve been – I don’t want to say surprised because we had so much confidence for him. I think he’s been in some really good situations and then he’s maximized those situations by playing productive and being able to demonstrate that he can really do everything. So, that’s what he’s done for us. I think if there’s anything that you’re – I don’t know if surprised is the right word, but you just couldn’t be more impressed with just the way that he carries himself consistently – the type of person he is, how important football is, how conscientious he is, how smart, receptive to all the little details and the nuances of things that we’re asking on a week-to-week basis with the game plan. He’s fit in extremely well with our team, with our receiving group and I think the way that he, (WR) Robert (Woods) and (WR) Cooper (Kupp) positively push each other, they’ve made each other better because of the way that they go about their business day in and day out and the standard that they’ve set.”

(On how unique it is for all the offensive play makers to always be genuinely happy for each other’s success)

”It’s a special group and you certainly don’t take it for granted. I think just the way that, like you just mentioned, the way they play for each other is something that as a coach, you couldn’t be happier just to be able to be a part of it. That’s a special thing. They play for each other. They enjoy it. They like to get the ball, but when you watch the way that these guys compete without the football, the way the linemen participate up front in the run and the pass game, it’s fun. This is as special a group, in terms of just the offense, that I’ve ever been around. They love football. They’re smart, conscientious guys and it makes it really fun for us as a coaching staff to work with these guys.”

(On if there’s anything that he needed to say to RB Todd Gurley II after his performance against the Cardinals on Sunday)

”No, I think really, he’s got a good feel. We always try to explain the intent of what we’re trying to get done, but (RB) Todd (Gurley II) is an extremely smart, aware player. He knows. That’s where the numbers can get misleading because you look at the amount of short yardage situations we had, you look at the amount of tight red zone runs and really when you look at it, the numbers are a little off. I think a main result is the early ones where I put us in some really bad spots. Then, the rest of them were against a really good, physical run defense where we’re churning out good, productive deals where I want to say at the end of the first half we got the ball with four minutes left at the 30-yard line and you end up having to overcome some penalties, but a lot of runs in that situation. Then, they punch it in from fourth-and-one on the one (yard line) as time expires. So, there’s a lot of things that go into it and that’s why you don’t want to get too caught up in some of the numbers. Each play is its own individual entity, if you will, and we really look at that and try to say, ‘Are we efficient? Are we inefficient? What are the reasons for how we can be more productive?’ Our players understand that, but we always try to explain it as well.”

(On if he embraces the outside noise and expectations or if he shuts it out)

”I think it’s easy because we’ve got a great opponent this week and really it’s, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ You ask people how many teams were 2-0 last year and nobody could tell you because it’s really not important because it doesn’t matter right now. What’s important is that we’ve got to get better every single day. We’ve got to do a great job of getting ready for an excellent football team. While I think there is a confidence and a belief and an expectation in terms of what guys think they’re capable of doing, that humility that we talk about where they understand they’ve got to earn it every single day in order to put themselves in a position to play to the best of their ability against an excellent team on Sunday at one o’clock. That’s the approach that we take. What’s so nice about football is that really, there’s something that you work towards. You’ve got those short-term goals every single week and with how competitive everything is – how good the coach is, how good the players are – you can’t afford to really look at yourself and think that you’re doing something because that’s when you get humbled and that’s when you get knocked in the mouth. Then, you end up not getting the goals that you want to try to accomplish. For us, it’s just about that one day at a time mindset and mentality. While it does sound cliché, last year was one of the first teams I’ve ever been a part of where you kind of truly believe it and I think the players have bought in. They’ve taken the ownership on it and that’s really the consistent approach with our process, our standards, every single day leading up to trying to be at our best on Sunday.”

(On if he was very often on the offensive side of a team getting shut out)

”Yeah, actually I was. My first year as a coordinator in Washington, the Rams shut me out. So, surprised I still got hired (laughs). Those are tough things. Really, it’s about how can you look at yourself critically, always trying to get better and what can you do to be part of the solution or to be more productive. That doesn’t necessarily – it’s consistent every single week whether you’re productive or not. It’s the process over the results, but certainly that was a very humbling day and one that you can’t wait to get an opportunity to compete again.”

(On favorite type of donut)

”Yeah, I like a nice donut with a little strawberry icing on it, but I’ll never turn down a sweet. I like all types of donuts, but I think strawberry. He had a high school that took up his deal. (Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips) showed me on Twitter. I guess a high school ended up getting donuts because they had a shutout as well. So, that’s why he’s the man.”

(On if he has developed any type of relationship with Anthony Lynn being in L.A. together)

”You know what, I’ve known (Chargers Head) Coach (Anthony) Lynn just through the coaching circle. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He’s an excellent coach. Great teacher, great motivator. He played running back in the league and then he’s had a lot of history being around some of the same coaches. So, in terms of just our offensive philosophy, being able to talk football. But, he’s a great guy. He’s done an excellent job. I think what says as much about his leadership as anything is being able to demonstrate that when things didn’t start out great last year, the ability to keep it together and then to fight back and to finish the way that they have. They’ve played really, really good football this year and really the way that they finished up. I think that’s a credit to his leadership, the team’s mental toughness and that’s why we know this is an excellent football team that provides a great challenge for us on Sunday. It’s something that we’ve got to be ready to go.”

DC Wade Phillips

(Opening remarks)

”(Los Angeles) Chargers offense, obviously, is a dynamic offense. (Chargers QB) Philip Rivers is an elite quarterback. When I was at San Diego (Chargers), we drafted Philip. He has been a winner ever since he’s been there. I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s a tremendous quarterback, person. You can’t fool him. He’s going to know what you’re in. That’s where he excels over most quarterbacks and makes him an elite quarterback is when the ball is snapped, he may take some time and change some things and he’ll change protections – all those things, like the great ones do. Any kind of blitz you run, he’ll audible to the right protection – all those things. He knows what you’re in, when the ball is snapped. That’s where he’s elite. Then, he can get the ball to the right guy that there’s a weakness of the defense. He basically throws to the weakness of the defense almost every play. He has been doing that for a long time and he continues to do that. He still looks great. He’s going to be a big challenge. But, those two running backs they have, certainly both of them together, I think have over 200 yards a game, total. So, they’re a big part of the offense too. Not just the passing game, but the running game also. So, we’ve got a big challenge. This is obviously the best offensive team we’ve played against. We’re looking forward to the challenge. (Chargers Offensive Coordinator) Ken Whisenhunt is a very – I think he gives you a lot of problems himself. He’s worked with Philip for a long time, so that marriage has worked really well.”

(On how CB Marcus Peters has such a successful history against Rivers)

”Well, that’s why we have (CB) Marcus (Peters) is because he’s an elite player too. Any time you have a great player like that, they’re going to make plays against anybody. He’s made some plays against San Diego or L.A., now – Philip Rivers before. But, Philip Rivers has made plays against him too. It’s a good battle, those things are good battles.”

(On how to prepare for a quarterback that knows what defense you’re going to be in)

”Well, you have to execute really well. We have – not an advantage – but, we have guys that can make plays against…when the quarterback is throwing into the weakness of the coverage, we’ve got some guys that can overlap to make some plays. You still have got to get pressure on him, so that’s going to be a big factor too. He’s like every quarterback that gets a lot of pressure, it’s going to be tougher for him to be able to – sometimes those windows are down the field and take some time. Now Philip, a lot of passes obviously, when he knows what you’re in and there is a weakness short, he’s going to throw it quick and make the yardage. If we get in the right defenses where he has to throw it down the field against some pressure, then it’s an advantage for us.”

(On what stands out to him about Philip when they were together at the beginning of his career compared to now)

”Well, first we had (Giants QB) Eli Manning for a couple hours (laughs). Well, what stands out is our staff had the Senior Bowl that year because we had the worst record in football, so we coached the Senior Bowl. We had the No. 1 draft pick. Philip Rivers, we had him in the Senior Bowl. He played four years in college. He started four years, he played in four bowl games, he was an MVP in all four bowl games. Then, when he played in the Senior Bowl with us, he was the MVP of the Senior Bowl that year. So, we knew about him and he was the guy, obviously, we wanted. We knew the (New York) Giants wanted Eli and they wouldn’t trade. So, we went ahead and we took Eli and then they had to trade for him. It worked out good for both teams, but that’s how it worked out. But, Philip, like I said, he’s a winner. He has always been that way. He’s just improved as he has gone along, improved with age.”

(On if it’s ever hard to get the Rams defense to refocus after a solid offensive performance)

”No. I told them going into the game, there’s a difference in confidence and overconfidence. We played well the first game. We were playing well, but you’ve still got to work hard at what you do, be ready for each and every team because anybody – we see it every week – somebody gets upset, all those things. We’re just trying to be our best. We have that same attitude this week. I think them having such a prolific offense, it’s not as hard to say, ‘Hey, these guys can really play,’ because you can see it on film. That challenge for good players and guys that are wanting to be good players, they want to play against somebody that is a challenge. This is going to be a big challenge this week. (Chargers Head Coach) Anthony Lynn, I picked up as a free agent from Mckinney, Texas, and he’s done tremendously well. I’m proud of him. I’ve told him before, I’m proud of him and for him. What he’s done, not only in football, but what kind of person he is and how he has done a tremendous job as a head coach. I really think a lot of him.”

(On how LB Cory Littleton has done after two games)

”Well, I said the first game he did tremendous. Then, this last game, he played really well. He communicates well, which helps us because he calls all the defenses. He has done a good job of communication with everybody. He’s athletic. He can cover man-to-man, which not all Mike linebackers can do. He’s all over the field. He’s playing well for us.”

(On how OLB Samson Ebukam and OLB Dominique Easley are playing)

”Yeah, I thought - (OLB) Samson (Ebukam) got a sack in the ball game. Had a hit on the quarterback another time. For the second game in a row, we had a holding call from (No.) 91. They have to hold him to keep him out of there, so those are big plays. Both of those guys made big plays for us the first two games.”

(On what the defensive line can do better)

”Well, we’ve had some pressure up the middle. I think you saw that in the game. The two quarterbacks we played, they don’t really get sacked. They get rid of the football, so you’ve got to win the passing game battle that way with those guys and that’s what we did. (Raiders QB Derek) Carr got sacked one time in Denver (Broncos) this last week. The (Arizona) Cardinals hadn’t been sacked twice in two games. A quarterback has a lot to do with the sacks, but the pressures were there. I think we had a lot of pressure in both of those games. That helped us in the coverage and it goes together. So, it’s not just sacks, but it’s pressure in coverage and I feel like we had that.”

(On if Rivers being different and if he’ll hold on to the ball longer)

”He will if thinks he can (laughs). Like I say, sometimes the route that he feels like is going to be open is going to be a little longer route, so he’ll hold it. But, he still gets rid of the ball as quick as anybody when he sees something quick. We just have to wait and see what he does. If we get the same kind of pressure we’ve had, I think it’ll be sufficient if we play the same kind of pass defense.”

(On if he has a favorite kind of doughnut)

”Zero, yeah. I don’t know if people realize that the doughnut means zero (laughs).”

(On if he has a favorite type of doughnut other than a zero)

”Let’s see. If Dunkin’ Donuts sends me some, it’ll be them. Krispy Kreme, if they send me some, I’ll be for them. Actually, I had a doughnut on my desk when I came in Monday morning. One of the coaches left one on my desk, so that was pretty funny.”

(On if he has a particular style of doughnut that he likes)

”It looks like I like them all (laughs). If you look at me a little bit, you’ll realize that I pretty much like them all. A team from West Sioux High School in Iowa, sent me a picture of after the game they were all eating doughnuts. I thought it was pretty funny. They said now, it’s a tradition. Which is a pretty neat tradition for high schools that if you shut somebody out to give the team doughnuts. Hope that goes on. Hope we get some more doughnuts here, too. That’d be all right with me. But, they’re hard to come by. Those zeros in this league are hard to come by. I haven’t had very many in my career and I’ve had a long career. So, it’s an accomplishment. No matter who you’re playing, to hold somebody to zero in this league – it doesn’t happen very often, so I was proud of our guys.”

RB Todd Gurley

(On if there’s anything special about playing Chargers RB Melvin Gordon III for the first time)

”No, not really. I’m not playing him. I’m playing the defense.”

(On what kind of challenge the Chargers’ defense presents for him)

”They have some great players, obviously. (Chargers DE) Melvin Ingram (III), he’s one of the best pass rushers in the game. They actually have one of the best pass rush duos. Not a good thing, but good thing that (DE Joey) Bosa is not playing. He’s a game-wrecker. (CB) Casey Hayward (Jr.), he’s a lock down corner every year – definitely underrated. They have a rookie in (S) Derwin James who’s coming in, has two sacks already. (NT Brandon) Mebane, he’s been a productive player in this league. They have some great linebackers as well.”

(On if he expects defenses to key on him every game)

”Yeah, I would hope so. If not, then the coach is probably not good. A great game plan, but still couldn’t stop me from getting into the end zone. But, that’s why we have an all-around team. I told those guys, probably after the first couple carries, I was like, ‘This is going to be all game’ and they took it over. (WR Brandin) Cooks had a crazy game, (WR Robert) Woods, (WR Cooper) Kupp. All those guys played great.”

(On what he notices between the dynamic between Head Coach Sean McVay and QB Jared Goff)

”I don’t know. I’m don’t really be paying attention that much.”

(On if he’s had a chance to watch Ingram in the pros and in college)

”Yeah, I watched him in college. I went to a Georgia-South Carolina game on a recruiting visit. He scored two touchdowns, had a fake punt for about 60 yards and I think he had a scoop and score. One thing about a player like him, he’s like a (CB Aqib) Talib and (CB Marcus) Peters. He’s just always around the ball and he doesn’t just get the ball. He puts the ball in the end zone as well. That’s why he’s been a Pro Bowl player and the best defensive player on their team. Yeah, he’s a beast for sure.”

(On how it makes him feel to see an infusion of good, young running backs throughout the league right now)

”Good. I mean, we’ve always been making plays. Always doing everything. That’s what we do. There’s a lot of guys out here making plays and doing a lot for their team. They’ve got Melvin and (RB Austin) Ekeler – two guys that’s over there making plays for them. But yeah, there’s a lot of great running backs in this league. Even when guys get hurt, other guys come in because they’re probably not keying in so much and those guys get a chance to shine and show what they do best.”

(On if he has noticed a sense of excitement in Los Angeles since the Rams have been 2-0 this season)

”It’s only been two weeks. I haven’t really been out too much. Can’t really give you a direct answer. But, the fans have been happy – 2-0. Division game. Goose egg. So, it can’t get, really, too much better than what we did last game and what we did to the (Arizona) Cardinals. So, we’ve just got to keep stacking and getting better from there.”

(On if he’s a fan of going for two-point conversions and being involved in it)

”Yeah, it’s whatever. I honestly didn’t even know (K) Greg (Zuerlein) was hurt until like halftime. We were just in the game and I really wasn’t paying attention. But, we did pretty good on getting the extra points. I think we got three or four. Leading the league in extra points. We’ve just got to keep building. But, (P) Johnny (Hekker) came in, did a good job. Whatever coach calls, we’ve just got to be prepared. We’ve got (K) Sam (Ficken). Sam’s been with us. We’ve seen what he has been able to do, so we’ve got full confidence that he can go out there and make an extra point, get field goals. Whatever he needs to do.”

(On if he is up for going for two-point conversions if McVay wants to go for it or if he would rather score a touchdown and then go to the sideline)

”I don’t really have a choice. Got to go in there and go for two.”