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LA Rams transcripts, 7/30: Sean McVay and Aqib Talib

The Rams’ head coach and star corner talk about the team’s first padded practice

NFL: Los Angeles Rams-Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sean McVay – Media Availability – July 30, 2019

(On how the first day practicing in full pads went)

“It was good. Until you really go back and watch the tape, it’s always a little bit more difficult to say. Guys were communicating. There looked like there were some good, physical plays. Yesterday we had shoulder pads on and it was kind of similar in terms of the physicality because we weren’t going to the ground today. I think you get a chance to evaluate some of the things up front a little bit better. Playing in equipment that we end up playing with, so it was good to have everybody out there today. This represented a day that we had planned to give (RB) Todd (Gurley II) off. Before you guys ask, it was definitely part of the plan. He’s feeling good and he’s right on track with where we want him to be.”

(On if he gets tired of Gurley questions)

“I do. And you know what, with a player of his caliber that’s as special as he is, that’s to be expected. He’s in a good place and we feel good about Todd right now.”

(On if he’s surprised by the explosive plays made by WR Cooper Kupp)

“I think you’re just appreciative. I don’t think anything really surprises you about him because he’s the kind of guy that’s gonna approach the game and approach his rehab kind of in the same manner. That’s really attacking it at full speed ahead. It sounds crazy but he looks more explosive than he was before, actually. Some of the numbers indicate that with just the way that we’ve monitored him and he’s feeling good. I think really the thing when you talk to him, he’s just kind of getting his feet wet as far playing the game again and getting underneath himself. Physically, the knee hasn’t bothered him at all and that’s a blessing for us all.”

(On his plan for the starters moving forward)

“So that really in a lot of ways will represent what we would like to see as kind of the preseason work for our players that we know can play. We’ll really get four opportunities to compete against another team. Two against the Raiders, two against the Chargers before we even play a preseason game. Those are geared towards getting evaluation of our team, but that’s mainly for our top guys in a lot of instances. What a great opportunity to compete against a 12-4 (Los Angeles Chargers) team from a year ago. A lot of really good players on both sides of the ball. Excellent coaching staff. So to be that close in proximity to somebody like that that, we don’t play – it really works out really great for us both.”

(On the communication with the Chargers in terms of the plan for their two practices and staying healthy)

“I think you want to be clear with what the expectations are and really we’ll go thud. We’re not going to go to the ground. There’s no tackling, we’re staying off the quarterback so very similar to what you see out here. I think you get two teams who have mutual respect for one another and we’re hoping to get some good work. I think our guys know that we’re going there to get work in and it’s about that. To be able to do it against a really high-caliber team is really good for us and we have to make sure we don’t waste opportunities to get better and really the two days will represent an awesome chance for us to do that.”

(On practices with the Chargers potentially getting too physical and if he’ll mention it to his team)

“I think it’s a little bit of both. I think our guys do know it but you can’t communicate it enough and I think there’s full confidence that both (Chargers Head) Coach (Anthony) Lynn, myself, our coaching staffs on each side and, really, the players, know what we want to be able to get out of it and we’re hopeful that there won’t be any issues like that.

(On his evaluation of C Brian Allen and T Joe Noteboom through camp)

“I think they’ve done a really nice job up to this point. We’ve been intentional about trying to challenge them and our defense does a great job of mixing up some different looks, different personnel groupings and really designed to try and stress those guys. Clearly, we’ve got some great players inside that physically will stress our guys, but I think just the way that they’re building one day at a time has been really encouraging. There’s a reason why we took them the way that we did and this is kind of was the plan all along and we’re hopeful to kind of see that through. (Run Game Coordinator) Aaron Kromer has done an outstanding job and they’ve been really receptive. I think they’ve got some great leadership in that group when you look at (T) Andrew Whitworth, (T) Rob Havenstein and (OL) Austin Blythe have played a lot of football, so there’s some great players in that room to learn from as well.”

(On the addition of S Eric Weddle and LB Clay Matthews)

“You love the versatility, how smart and instinctual they are. You can just feel being around them, they are guys that have played a lot of football, they’ve seen a lot of different things. They can both play multiple spots. Very similar to offensively where the more times that you have different playmakers you can put all over the field – they are kind of that for the defense if you will. They are both very smart, they’re great communicators. I think that anytime you see a great defense, you see great, smart, communicators all 11 (players) be on the same page. These guys will represent a step in that direction and they have done an outstanding job up to this point.”

(On if Gurley will be involved in the Chargers practices and how RB Darrell Henderson Jr. looks)

“Yeah, Todd will be involved. It’s going to be a similar approach to what we have seen in practice. And fortunately for us, it is an every other day stagger. The plan is to be able to get him to go. He’s feeling good, we are excited about that. (RB) (Darrell Henderson Jr.) has done a really good job and it has been great having (RB) Malcolm Brown back as well. I think (Running Back Coach) Skip (Peete) does such a good job of being able to give clarity to these guys. Help them understand what we are trying to get done. What’s the intent whether they are in protection, in a pass route, or we are working one of our run schemes. Darrell, he’s got a nice even-keeled demeanor, it doesn’t seem like he gets phased by anything. He made a couple big plays again today and you are starting to see him flash. A comfortable level, playing a little bit faster. You can feel he’s not thinking as much. It’s still early, but he has definitely shown the encouraging things that we liked so much on tape in Memphis.”

Aqib Talib – Media Availability – July 30, 2019

(On if training camp is any different this year)

“All the same, man. You start from scratch, put the playbook in, put the work in, stack the days. Same thing all over again.”

(On his standout plays so far this training camp and what motivates him to continue to put the work as he enters his 12th season)

“I don’t know. I think that’s what makes me good. I’m just competitive. If I’m out here, I want to be the best, so I’m just competing to be the best.

(On having conversations at practice with S Eric Weddle and working together as veterans)

“It’s been good. It’s his first year in this defense, I’ve been in defense a while, but he’s so smart it seems like he’s been in it a long time. So, before the live bullets start, we just communicate when we are on the sideline and make sure we’re the same page in all coverages.”

(On what it’s like playing with Weddle and LB Clay Matthews)

“Eric super smart, he’s super smart, so he brings another aspect to our game as far as disguising. He can tell guys where to show and what to do. He just makes our defense a lot simpler than it is. He’s helping ‘JJ’ (S John Johnson) out a lot, he’s helping ‘Q’ (S Marqui Christian) out a lot, helping me and ‘MP’ (CB Marcus Peters) and just us taking our defense to the next level, as far as disguising.”

(On if he feels like this season’s defense can be better than the 2018 version)

“Yeah definitely. We can be a lot better than we were last year. I think at this point, right now, we are. We’re still stacking days but as far as where we were on the fifth day of last year, I think we are a better defense.”

(On if it seems different with DT Aaron Donald here this year)

“Oh, yeah definitely. You see there’s a few plays where I can’t even get to my run-fit, Aaron just tears the play up. It’s definitely more game-like when Aaron is in there because every third or fourth play he’s tearing it up. So, it’s regular.”

(On if he DT Aaron Donald ruins it for the offense and the defense when he’s in)

“I mean not really ruin it for us, but the offense.”

(On if there is a different feel today being at practice in full pads)

“Yeah, we’re just stacking days, man. We’re not like seven-year-olds who are just now starting to tackle or something. We put the pads on and we’re right back to it. It’s just about stacking them days, making sure we’re on the same page as a defense, getting in football shape and getting ready for the season.”

(On his second season in Head Coach McVay’s program and how he treats his players)

“I think it’s great, I think it’s great. We practice hard for him. We give it all when we are out there. I think it’s more above-the-neck for a lot of guys. He likes us to be fresh. I think it’s a proven fact, fresh teams, they win games.”

(On what he gets from joint practices like the ones coming up with the Los Angeles Chargers)

“Different looks. Really, that’s all you get is different looks, different work, different receivers – you’ve been going against the same guys for days now, for months really if you count OTAs. You just get different receivers, different looks, different quarterbacks. You get to run your defense against a different offense.”

(On Chargers QB Philip Rivers and if he talks a lot during scrimmages too)

“I don’t think I’ve ever scrimmaged him. This will be my first time, so it would be new for me too.”

(On how the team avoids a drop off following a Super Bowl defeat)

“You do the same thing whether you win or whether you lose, whether you’re the seventh-place team or the second place or the 32nd – you do the same thing, man. You reset in the offseason and you start that thing all of the way over from the beginning of the playbook and you put all of the work in over again. It doesn’t matter if we were the second-place team, the runner up, it doesn’t matter. It’s the same sequence of events.”

(On continuing the work with defense coordinator Wade Phillips)

“He just puts guys in position to make plays. He doesn’t have you doing things that you don’t necessarily do, that’s the main thing that I love about Coach Wade.”

(On if Coach Phillips has done anything funny so far in camp)

“Just regular Wade stuff.”