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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay, RB Todd Gurley August 13 press conference

Here’s what coach and JTG had to say yesterday.

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(On what’s the best thing about the team right now)

“I just think that the way that we’re coming together as a team. I think we’ve got a lot of depth on both sides. I think we feel really good about our core teams’ guys but, that they know they got to build every single day. They’re truly coming together, being that connected team that we talk about. It’s that and the fact that these guys positively push each other. When you look at the way we competed today, got a lot better and I think it’s really coaches, players, everybody pushing the same direction, but getting the most out of each other.”

(On his biggest concern)

“I don’t necessarily say there’s a concern. I think you want to continue to do a great job of developing the depth, continuing to identify some of those guys that we’re counting on that are really competing through the preseason. I don’t know if there’s really any sort of concern, I think it’s just, lets continue to consistently approach and attack every single day the way that we have.”

(On if he finds himself and the coaches pushing the players harder in practice when he knows they will not play in the game)

“Absolutely. I think that’s something that we really want to try to do a great job of with the guys that are not playing. We had a great opportunity to get, really, four competitive practices, two against the Chargers, two against the Raiders. Now as we continue to move towards that Carolina game, it’s our top guys understanding how to positively push each other, continue to sharpen each other’s saws, if you will. That’s something that we absolutely do. We take a different approach where those guys, we try to create those competitive scenarios now amongst one another. That’s going to be something that we’re really focused on over the next couple of weeks.”

(On if there is one player that has continued to stand out)

“I think it’s hard to say. There’s so many guys. Because you feel so good about this team, it’s hard to identify one person. I think when you do look at it, from an offensive and a defensive standpoint, it sure is great having (DT) Aaron Donald here, I continue to come away and press with (S) Eric Weddle’s ownership, his ability to communicate day-in and day-out. Then when you look at the ownership that (QB) Jared Goff’s taken. You truly talk about mastering the offense, becoming an extension of the coaching staff. We say it, but there’s really a special ownership when we came in and did some work the other day. In terms of reading with your feet, quickly progressing, making fast decisions, accurately being able to speed it up at the top of his drops and see coverages the right way. I really have been very pleased with what he’s done. I can really name a lot of guys, but those are the guys that kind of come to mind right away.”

(On RB Todd Gurley II going to Hawaii)

“That’s something that I would say, more likely than not, but we’re still working through the specifics of that as we kind of get closer and closer to that. I don’t have the full answer, but more likely than not, he will not go.”

(On what the reason of Gurley not going would be)

“There’s a lot of layers to it. I think it’s really just figuring out from an organizational standpoint, talking to the players, making sure that we’re in alignment with doing things the right way. Most importantly, what we want to do is always look out for players and what’s in their best interest and that’s something that we’ll have more clarification as we get closer to that trip. I said Tuesday, but it’ll be a little bit closer to when we head out.”

(On if the travel is part of the reason for not going to Hawaii)

“I think it’s something that we’ll talk about. That’s definitely part of the discussion, but figuring out the nuances and all the little details is something that we’re kind of working through as an organization right now.”

(On if what he thought of the clip of himself on Hard Knocks with Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden from 11 years ago)

“I can’t believe I had those sideburns. I thought, ‘Man, I think I’ve gotten handsome in my old age.’ (laughs) It makes you appreciate how fortunate I’ve been in such a short amount of time to be exposed to guys like (Raiders Head) Coach (Jon) Gruden, the other people that have invested in me. To be able to even be standing in this position right now is really a blessing and it’s credit to the people I’ve been around. That was definitely some embarrassing footage that they pulled out.”

(On barely being paid with the Buccaneers)

“That’s true. I could have probably gone for food stamps right there. I was basically working for free and it was worth it because the things that I was able to take away from that experience, you realize how little you knew going into that opportunity. The amount of people that I met, the people that really put their arm around me. I can remember (Raiders Offensive Coordinator) Greg Olson. He didn’t have any reason to put his arm around me and really kind of take me in and he did that. To then be able to work with him here, to see him Oakland doing a great job as an OC (Offensive Coordinator). To see what Coach Gruden’s done for me. It’s really a blessing to have been a part of that and it was certainly an experience that I’ll forever cherish. It’s a big reason why I’ve gotten the chances that I have.”

(On if it is becoming clearer that some rookies are standing out)

“I think so. Really, we’ve been really impressed with (S) Taylor Rapp. He’s a guy that’s showing up. I think you’re seeing flashes of why we like (RB) Darrell Henderson (Jr.). Mentioned (T) David Edwards as a guy that’s mature beyond his years for somebody up front. I think (DT) Greg Gaines has really taken steps in the right direction. Another guy that really you don’t talk about quite as much, (LB) Natrez Patrick is somebody that’s stood out and really taken advantage of his opportunities as a result of (DL) Justin Lawler going down. Some of those guys are truly starting to really separate themselves. I think as we continue to play these games, those guys will continue to get more and more opportunities to really shine and we’re hopeful that it becomes more and more clear as we get closer to finding our 53 and ultimately our 46.”

(On WR Mike Thomas)

“He’s done a really good job. (WR) Mike (Thomas) is a guy that I’ve always been a huge fan of, extremely tough competitor, he’s got great speed, I think he’s catching the ball really consistently. (Wide Receivers Coach) Eric Yarber and (Assistant Wide Receivers Coach) Liam Coen – our receivers’ coaches – have done a great job really with that group as a whole. In a lot of instances, you talk about (WR) Brandin (Cooks), (WR) Robert (Woods), (WR) Cooper (Kupp), (WR) Josh Reynolds now has really ascended to where you’re talking about him, and then I think Mike Thomas has really separated himself as one of those guys that stands out with the way that he’s consistently played. It’s really never been an issue about talent, he’s kind of had some unfortunate issues that have kept him out of the lineup due to injury, but he’s a special guy. (I) just love his consistent demeanor, he’s really valuable for ‘Bones’ (Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel), but he’s a guy that we’re hoping can stay healthy because he can definitely help us at that receiver position.”

(On the health of CB Aqib Talib)

“Aqib (Talib) is good. He just got a little soft tissue right now, but we’re being smart with him. He was playing so well against the Raiders, he made a great break-up and he just felt a little twinge in that hamstring, so we’re just being smart with Aqib right now.”

(On if WR KhaDarel Hodge stood out when he reviewed the Raiders game)

“He did a good job. I think (WR) KhaDarel (Hodge) is a guy when you go back to last preseason, you think about really we added him in a tryout setting right before you start camp. He quickly ascended and did a great job of maximizing his opportunities, got a chance to play in some games last year. He comes in the Seattle game and makes a big catch on a second-and-long. KhaDarel’s a guy that’s done a nice job, made some good catches, was able to create after the catch, and he’s another guy that’s been a bright spot in that receiver room for sure. Pro Football Focus grading them out, man, I like it.”

(On if he will watch Hard Knocks on Tuesday)

“I probably will since it was such an embarrassing deal (laughs). No, I’ll flip it on.”

RB Todd Gurley

(On If the team is right where it supposed to be in his estimation if it is fun)

“I mean, it’s a lot of fun. If you’re going just based off last game, what we did against the Raiders, I mean obviously we didn’t play to our expectations. Whether the starters are in there or not, there was a lot of pre-snap penalties. There is some stuff that you just can’t do in this league, you can’t beat yourself. It’s just one thing we got to get better at next game, and just keep progressing. I think we had a pretty good day today. A lot of great situational stuff. Coach does a great job of just making sure we’re just not practicing just to practice. We are practicing details, whether it’s situations, two-minute, coming out, get back on track, third-down, all different types of plays. Short yardage, two-point plays so, I think he does a great job of keeping the competitive nature in practice going.”

(On if anything popped out against the Raiders after watching tape)

“I think we did a pretty good job. Like I said, a lot more stuff you can get better at. Obviously, their defense, they did a pretty good job of trying to keep up with the intensity. But, I think we had two pretty good solid days, just being able to go out there to compete with another team, get some great work on special teams. A lot of the younger guys got some great work to get ready for the game.”

(On what it is like to see RB Malcolm Brown getting more time with the starters, more opportunities in practice and seeing him grow)

“I mean, he’s been doing the same stuff. Obviously, he’s familiar with this system as much as I am. We’ve been here the same amount of years. There’s not too much for us to do as running backs, just do our job, and just try not to have any ‘MA’s” (Missed Assignments). (RB) Malcolm (Brown) does a great job of just going in there doing a great job, doing what he supposed to do.”

(On if he has ever been to Hawaii)

“Yeah. First Pro Bowl, good time.”

(On if he has great memories of Hawaii)

“Yeah, won last time I played there, yeah we won. I got a little bonus. Coach (Michael) Irvin was my coach Pro Bowl, it was a good time. I had some of the best chicken ever in my life down in Hawaii on the side of the street somewhere. But it was pretty good.”

(On if he plans on going to Hawaii)

“That’s coach’s decision. I would love to just go to Hawaii, sit back, sip on some pineapple juice, chill at whatever hotel we’re staying. Who could complain about going to Hawaii?”

(On if he gives rookie RB Darrell Henderson Jr. feedback during games)

“Just some stuff. Just little stuff. My main thing is, at the end of the day, we know how to run the ball. There’s obviously stuff we can get better at, but my main goal to those guys is that as long as we pick up enough protections, I could care less what we do. Just make sure the quarterback is good, we’re going our job. He did a pretty good job. Obviously, a couple tough runs. There wasn’t too much there, but the times he had two good runs, there’s nothing really to tell him. Just in-game experience and just working on little things – snapping the eyes around a lot faster, tracks and stuff like that, but nothing too crazy.”

(On if not playing in preseason games changes the intensity of practice)

“I don’t know. Like I said, Coach (McVay) does a great job. He knows that we’re not going to play, so maybe the practice before or the day before, we’re still getting in those reps, we’re still getting in a walk-thru. Just little stuff like that. Mentally, it’s just one of those things where you know you’re not playing so it’s like, ‘Alright, let me go hard today or this Thursday or this Friday,’ knowing that I’m not playing Saturday. That way I can get my body two days to rest and then really just trying to push it a little bit more that day before knowing that you’re going to have two days off. Just little stuff like that.”