clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

LA Rams: Sean McVay conference call transcript, 9/28

Here’s what the Rams’ head coach had to say about his squad the day after moving to 4-0 on the year

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rams Head Coach Sean McVay – Conference Call – September 28, 2018

(On the sense his defensive players have to make a big play when needed in a close game like Thursday’s)

”Yes, you’re exactly right. I thought, really, the couple of series before the sack that (DT Ndamukong) Suh had, that forced them to a field goal was huge. Then really in the two-minute drive, even though they ended up getting a first down, I thought just to be able to start out where (DT) Aaron (Donald) gets a sack. Then, obviously, culminating in (DL) John (Franklin-Myers) forcing the fumble and Suh being able to fall on it. Just being able to step up, be at our best when our best is required, and I think that’s a staple of a good team. I think it’s the same token, you give credit to Minnesota because you look at…certainly sometimes you feel like, ‘Oh man, they’re making some plays.’ But they were making plays. You look at some of the throws (Vikings QB Kirk) Cousins made, you look at some of just the routes and just how sharp of route runners (Vikings WR Adam) Thielen and (Vikings WR Stefon) Diggs are. There’s an element of sometimes saying, ‘Man, that’s pretty good execution by them offensively,” and they get paid to make plays as well.”

(On injury updates from Thursday night)

”We came out good. Everybody seemed pretty good. (CB) Marcus (Peters) was a little bit sore, but he fought through it and it was good to be able to have him out there. We came out pretty clean, so that was good.”

(On if he expects OLB Dominique Easley to be out for an extended period of time or if the extra time off will be enough to help him recover)

”Yeah, I think we’re getting further evaluation, but I think it’s something that he might be out for a little bit of time. We’re looking into it and this poor guy has been through a whole lot. In terms of exactly what that means, you just look at how much his knee has been through, the amount of surgeries, the way that he has persevered through it. It might be something that if he has to get that thing cleaned up again, it will be a tough situation. We’re still evaluating, but it’s looking like it could be something that could keep him out for a while.”

(On if CB Marcus Peters convinced him to play on Thursday night)

”The thing that was a little bit complicated about it is, really, because of the way that this week was set up it’s hard to really say. Even though you list him as a nonparticipant in practice, we didn’t really practice. We walked-thru and the first active stuff was really when our players did a pregame warmup. So, we sent Marcus. Marcus went out, got a warm up in early and I think he really wanted to play. Based on our evaluation from our medical staff, we felt like it wasn’t going to do anything as far as putting him at any risk for further injuring it. It’s just based on him being such a tough competitor. Then when you look him in the eyes and you talk to him right before when you’ve got to make those decisions and say, ‘Hey, do you feel good?’ Making sure that he understands that we want to do what’s best for him, but if he’s able to go we’re certainly a better team with him playing. That was really how those decisions were made and you could see he wanted to be out there and compete with his teammates.”

(On how much of an emphasis he puts on teaching football rather than just coaching football when he’s assembling his staff and how much ownership he gives the players in that teaching process)

”I think when you’re a coach, you’re a teacher. Our job as coaches is to lead, teach and motivate in a positive way to really help people and our players reach and realize their highest potential. For us, it is a collaborative process. I think when you really look at that ownership that our players have on just the way we operate, that’s the most important thing and that’s really where the true power comes in, because they’re the ones out there making plays. I think it’s a demonstration of having a great staff that there’s a give and take. I lean heavily on a lot of our guys. We’re always trying to teach, and there’s a lot of instances where we’re learning as coaches from our players in different situations. The more experience you get, the better you’re able to learn and kind of put those in the memory bank. I think for us, just continuing to educate ourselves on how to handle situations, how to be smart, how to be better situationally, schematically. But being able to listen to the players is a big part of it, and the ownership that our guys have on it, I think, is what we’ve seen show up and hope to continue to see show up as the season progresses.”

(On how he feels about where the team is after the first quarter of the season as well as what he thinks they’ve done well and what they can improve)

”I think we’ve – obviously to be able to come away and be clean where you’re 4-0 after this is a really important thing. For us, it’s just continuing to make sure that, when you talk about it from an offensive standpoint, I think those guys have done a great job of creating explosive plays, whether it’s through the run game, through the pass game. I think we’ve been extremely efficient the last couple weeks, but you talk about putting together complete games, being better situationally. You look at it, as many great things as we did last night, you’re one-for-six on third down. I don’t just say this, I really, realistically, think that I’ve got to do a better job. You get a little bit greedy where some of those red zone possessions, you throw the screen when you probably could’ve run it. Just being mindful of staying aggressive but being smart in that instance and giving ourselves a chance to consistently finish the red zone drives with touchdowns. So, I think for us offensively, it’s always going to be about taking care of the football and scoring points. But, I think it’s been a little bit erratic on the third downs and the red zone. Really, the two games that stand out were last night and Week 1. I thought against the (Los Angeles) Chargers and against the (Arizona) Cardinals, pretty good. Then, defensively, it’s about just continuing to have that ownership on the system. I think we’re doing a great job for the most part in a lot of instances. Then, last night they threw the ball, made some great plays, but it’s just about consistently trying to be efficient on those early downs, preventing some of those runs from coming out. Then, when we get into those situations – the second-and-longs, the third downs – that’s where we get a chance to really kind of see a lot of the strengths that we have as a team and as a unit on defense. Show up with our elite coverage and some of the guys that can get to the quarterback, whether it be through the interior rush or you’re starting to see some guys show up on the edges. Then, special teams, really, it’s going to be about – I think we’re doing a great job with our coverage units. Certainly, we’ve got to be more efficient in our kicking game. I think for the confidence we have in (P) Johnny Hekker and then moving forward with just our kicking spot, we can be a little bit better. That’s the kind of approach that we’ll take. I know that we’ve got the right kind of guys that can look inwardly and say - regardless of what our record is – ‘Where can we find a way to improve so that there’s no complacency that sets in?’ Because there is an element of some things that have happened that can catch you down the line if you don’t get them fixed.”

(On what he thought of CB Sam Shields’ performance on Thursday night)

”I thought he kept competing. I thought there were some great plays that those guys made. Then there’s a couple instances where he undercuts an in-breaking route and gets his hands on the ball and it goes to (Vikings WR Stefon) Diggs, and he ends up catching it off a tip for a conversion. Then they did a couple things that kind of got him out of whack a little bit in terms of just playing within the framework of the system. But, you look at just his story, what he’s come back from, his movement, different things like that, I think he’s a resilient competitor. I think he did some really good things and then I think he was also right there in a position to make some of those plays. Like we’ve said, give credit to the Vikings because they did make some great plays right there. I don’t necessarily think it’s anything taken away from (CB) Sam (Shields), but more of a credit to them making the play.”

(On an update on K Greg Zuerlein and if he’s committed with K Sam Ficken going forward)

”We’ll get a chance, just because we gave guys off. We watched it as a coaching staff separately, so before we kind of move forward with any type of decision like that, I would not feel appropriate unless you get a chance to talk to (Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel) ‘Bones’ and we’ll always make decisions that we think are best. (K) Greg (Zuerlein) is making progress right now. As far as what that timetable is, I think it’s still a little bit of a ways away. But, certainly we’ve got to be better in that area when we get a chance to go up 13 (points) in a game that’s been back and forth. Those are plays that we have to be able to make and make them consistently. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case the last couple weeks, but every decision we make is something that we discuss as a staff. Until I have a chance to really sit down, talk with ‘Bones’ and talk with (Assistant Special Teams Coach) Matt (Daniels) and everybody that’s involved, we haven’t made any decision like that.”

(On if anything else stood out while re-watching QB Jared Goff’s performance)

”I think the thing that you can really appreciate is just the ability to understand what we’re trying to get done. The way that he’s manipulating defenders with his eyes, the way that he’s able to throw within the timing and the rhythm of the play if it’s there, but then also create off-schedule. I think you just continue to gain even more of an appreciation for some of the tight throws, especially some of those where you’re changing the launch point. You look at the second touchdown he throws to (WR Cooper) Kupp, I honestly thought he was throwing it away in live action. That was an incredible throw. I can’t tell you how many texts I’ve gotten from just coaches and people around the league that they’re involved with football that say, ‘That might be one of the best throws I’ve seen in a while,’ and I say, ‘You’re damn right it was.’ So, those are the things that just continue to stand out. I think when you go back, you watch the tape, you have even more of an appreciation for what it felt like and I think it’s something to really build on and very encouraging. I know he’s in a good spot right now and hopefully we’ll be able to compete with this team – as far as the way that he’s playing and leading our team – when we come back and get ready to go next week.”

(On what it does for the defense to see DL John Franklin-Myers to make a big play and how he’s evolved into being such an important player for the defense)

”Yeah, I think it’s great. When you really look at it and you see the way that (DT Ndamukong) Suh and that (DL Michael) Brockers and that (DT) Aaron (Donald) have kind of taken (DL) John Franklin (-Myers) under their wing and mentored him and continued to just watch him progress. For him to be able to capitalize on an opportunity, get his hands on the ball and force it to come out at a critical moment - that’s big. I think the more opportunities that you see these young guys getting a chance to contribute and make those plays that make the difference in winning and losing, that’s instrumental for our football team. Being able to come off the edge and do that with what we know are some really good guys that are rushing from that interior spot. Suh got the sack when he was rushing from the defensive end, but that was a big-time play. To be able to close out games is something that’s vital to us and John is a guy that’s continued to progress. He’s been somebody that’s shown up throughout the course of OTAs as somebody that has that natural rush ability like you’ve heard us talk about. It showed up at a critical moment last night and that was big for John and for our football team.”

(On any follow up on CB Aqib Talib’s surgery and if everything looked the way everyone had hoped)

”Yup, it was. It was good, like we mentioned. We’re hopeful that, really, within that eight week timetable if we want to use that designated to return tag on him, he’ll be ready to go. But, it wasn’t anything that - because if you did go in there and there was a couple different things that they had to do, you’re talking about, ‘Yeah, it’s probably season-ending,’ and that was not the news that we got. So, we’re very encouraged and I know (CB) Aqib (Talib) feels that way. Looking forward to getting him back. I don’t know exactly what that date would be, but I know that the anticipation is to get him back with a few games left in the season. We’ll see where we’re at from there.”

(On his plans for the weekend)

”Yeah, I’ll be able to unplug. My parents are here, like I mentioned. I’m sitting here - I’m actually at my house right now, but I’ve got a nice, little setup where I can watch some film and do that stuff - sitting here with my girlfriend. But, it’s actually going to be nice because we’ll go over and hangout with my family and then tomorrow. I like watching football. I’m looking forward to being a fan on Sunday. So, those are things that, fortunately, the job you have is something you enjoy watching as well. I can at least feel like I’m sitting there as a fan instead of being a total basket case, like I am when we play.”

(On what he liked about the matchup being in 13 personnel)

”Yeah, we’ve been pretty regulated, like you’ve mentioned. Being in 11 personnel for a good portion of the time. We had actually had that play in the game plan, potentially against the (Los Angeles) Chargers and on a short week, we carried it over. We felt like in that kind of high-red or that strike-zone area, right around the 30-yard line, got to it around the 31 and we felt like it was something that we wanted to activate. Most of the time when you play defenses, when you get into those three tight end sets with one back and one receiver, the call list and the menu of calls that usually defensive coordinators carry, is pretty limited just because of the nature of what you’re getting from that personnel group. Typically, you’re thinking heavy run emphasis and that’s kind of standard. We felt like we would be able to maybe get a good matchup and the guys made the play and did a great job.”

(On what it has been like being on the forefront of building an atmosphere and fan support like was on display on Thursday)

”Yeah, it’s been special. I think it was electric. Like we mentioned last night, it felt really similar to the Atlanta (Falcons) playoff game atmosphere. That was something you always want to try to get situations and environments and atmospheres like that. To be able to have that and for the guys to play the way that they did in an exciting point game, certainly, hopefully, makes it something that they’ll continue to come out and show their support. We sure appreciate it. You certainly felt that home field advantage last night, especially in the two-minute drill when their offense is going out, how loud the crowd got, how excited they were. That was special. To be able to do it in this great city is something that it’s exciting to be a part of. It makes you want to continue to do your part. So, hopefully, we have atmospheres like that all the time.”

(On if he listens to rapper YG)

”I do. I do listen to YG, yeah. I’ve got some music swag, so I like a lot of those guys that - I think Migos and Drake and those guys, when they’re here for their concert, I think in October, I think they might come by and see us as well.”

(On if he saw Kurt Warner call this team ‘The Greatest Show on Turf 2.0’ and his reaction to it)

”I didn’t see that. I think that coming from a guy that’s been such an instrumental part of this organization, winning championships, those are quite flattering words and it’s a reflection of the way that our players are playing. But ultimately, the truest measurement of performance is that consistency. We’ve got to consistently do it. We’ve done it for one quarter of the season, so far, where we’ve played at a pretty high level. Now, the challenge is can we continue it on when we get back for Week 5.”