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Los Angeles Rams transcripts, 8/18: McVay talks Kiser/Hager, Hendo, Obo, & more

Kiser’s hurt. What’s the plan?

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay looks on during a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders, Aug. 10, 2019. Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

LARams head coach Sean McVay - conference call - August 19, 2019

(On if he has an update on LB Micah Kiser)

“He’s getting an MRI today and we are waiting on those results. We’ll have the final results of exactly what he did, the significance of the injury to his pec a little bit later today.”

(On what he’s anticipating with Kiser’s injury)

“I think it’s hard to say. I would say that we’re just kind of waiting to get those results and then we’ll handle it accordingly. I think you’re always hoping for the best, number one, for (LB) Micah (Kiser), but also for our team because of how important he is to us.”

(On what a long-term injury for Kiser means for the inside linebacker position)

“It would be (LB) Bryce (Hager) that would play that MIKE linebacker spot in our base defensive structures. We’ve got some good guys that have shown that they can play football. (LB Travin Howard) ‘T-Howard’ is a guy that has continued to improve. Really, he’s playing that inside linebacker spot. We’ve got a MIKE and a MO linebacker, but a lot of their responsibilities end up being interchangeable. We know what a great player (LB) Cory (Littleton) has been. Then in some different sub packages, you could see some of our safeties potentially drop down into those linebacker locations. But it would be Bryce that would end up being in that MIKE linebacker role if that’s the case with Micah.”

(On what Hager has shown him over the last couple of seasons)

“I think that he’s capable of being a starting player in this league. You look at when he had to fill in for (former LB Alec) Ogletree a couple years ago and played against Arizona. He’s definitely demonstrated that when given the opportunity, he’s capitalized on those chances. He’s been a great (special) teams player for (Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel) ‘Bones’ like you mentioned. In practice, you certainly feel his ability to play at a high level, understand some of the intricacies of that inside linebacker spot and what that entails from a communication standpoint from the adjustments that are necessary based on what offenses present. He’s a guy that we do have a lot of confidence in and that’s exactly why we re-signed him in free agency this year.”

(On what he saw from RB Darrell Henderson Jr. after watching tape of Saturday’s game)

“I think really just more opportunities than anything else. You could see he was another week more comfortable. There’s still some things that we can definitely do better. I don’t think he’s really had much of a chance with the exception of a couple runs that he had starting off really with the two-minute drive when he had a couple wide-zone runs and then another downhill, direct run. Other than that in the run-game, there really wasn’t any space to operate with to really be able to truly evaluate him from that perspective. But, I thought he caught the ball well. You could see, that was a big third-down catch he made on that first drive. You see the speed out of the backfield. That’s some big time players, when you’ve got (LB) Jaylon Smith covering him and he’s able to do that even if he and (LB Leighton) Vander Esch did kind of collide, you could see coming out of the backfield, (QB) Blake (Bortles) delivered him a good ball. I thought it was a step in the right direction for (RB) Darrell (Henderson Jr.) without a doubt.”

(On how he felt about his appearance on the television broadcast and if that is something he would be interested in doing in the future)

“I thought it was fun. I think it would be something I would only do during preseason games. I think I’m a little bit more relaxed – I don’t know if relaxed is the right word -- but I’d probably be a little more pleasant to talk to during a preseason game. When it’s a regular season game I think you guys would quickly realize we don’t want to do this ‘Coach’s Cam’ with this guy. He’s a maniac. I thought it was fun and enjoyed doing it, but it would definitely be something that if the fans like it and it adds value to our preseason broadcast, I’m more than willing to help any way that I can. But once we get into those regular season games, my sole focus and concentration is on that.”

(On if any other individual players stood out after he watched the film of Saturday’s game)

“I think that the guys that you guys asked about yesterday. It was good to be able to see (OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo) ‘Obo’ get in there and create some pressure on the quarterback, draw a couple of holding calls. I think the guys that we’ve seen in the limited action – (S) Taylor Rapp is a guy that just keeps showing up that you feel really good about. He’s going to find a way to get himself on the field for us because of what he’s doing and because of the consistency that he’s played with really over the last couple of weeks. I thought Blake Bortles did a really nice job just kind of being able to manage a scoring drive off of a sudden change. Defensively, you could really see (LB) Josh Carraway’s really a guy getting more comfortable. I thought (LB) Dakota Allen really showed up, (DT) Greg Gaines is getting better and better. I think, really, a lot of the younger players that we’re expecting to hopefully contribute for us have made strides in the right direction and that’s exactly what you hope for.

(On if the guys that didn’t go to Hawaii worked out today and how they looked)“It was great. I just finished working them out actually. We really got some extra work in with (Director of Strength Training and Performance) Ted (Rath), the offensive and defensive line got some great lifts in and extra conditioning. Really, our defensive skill players and (LB) Cory Littleton and then our offensive skill players and (QB) Jared (Goff), we got some really good work about 30-minutes of good work on the field, football specific movements, different things like that, working different things with our pass game combinations. It was good crisp work, the guys look really fresh and ready to go. We will have a day off and then we will come back and really hit them hard over the next three days in what will be a really good work week. I think them being able to stay back, stay rested, but then also continue to get some work on their own is going to serve us really well to stay right on track for what we want to do over these next couple weeks leading into Carolina.”

(On if any position groups or position battles he is trying to finalize heading into the next preseason game)

“I think really you’re just kind of finding those guys that work hard, that continue to make it difficult for us to say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to find ways to get this guy on the field’ or they’ve got to carve out a role for themselves. I think it’s pretty clear with a lot of the guys that we’ve chosen not to play, that have already shown that they can play in this league and play significant amount of snaps and contribute. Now its about, all right lets find some depth on the offensive and defensive line, lets see what kind of role some of these skilled players whether it be a Darell Henderson, (RB) John Kelly, what they end up doing to make it difficult for us. How does the latter half of our receiving group shake itself out. On defense, continuing to find the best group of secondary players. It’s more about, okay, we’re got a pretty good feel for a lot of our guys that are kind of at the top of the roster, but let’s continue to find those guys that are carving a niche for themselves and then see how quickly some of these younger players ascend. Ultimately, find our best 53 (man roster) and then the 46 (man gameday roster) that are going to compete on gameday.”

(On if Kiser’s injury make him think twice about playing younger guys)

“I think for us the reason that we thought it was important for those guys to play is because they are still younger guys that haven’t had the accumulation of work. Then there is also an element of what does the depth look like at that specific spot, specific to our roster. Then you say, ‘why haven’t (OL) Joe Noteboom, and (C) Brian Allen played?’ I think they’ve clearly established themselves as clear cut starters. Different than some of these situational starters that you might have on defense or even in Micah’s case. Those guys are playing every single snap so, if it is something that ends up leading to an injury you certainly hate it. I think we’ve been really thorough and always having a why we are approaching it the way that we are. Unfortunately, whether it is in preseason games or regular season, even in practice, sometimes these injuries are inevitable and you can’t always avoid it. For us, I don’t think you want to let one instance change it but if you feel like those guys that have carved out that role for themselves have got enough work in the preseason, then you say hey let’s just continue to focus on the practice and be smart about that over the next couple of weeks. That’s certainly something that we would discuss whether or not an injury occurs to Micah or whether we came out of that thing totally clean.”