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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay, Quarterbacks Coach/Pass Game Coordinator/Co-Offensive Coordinator Shane Waldron, QB Jared Goff September 11 press conference

Here’s what the three had to say today.

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton of the and Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay shake hands prior to the NFC Championship, Jan. 20, 2019.
New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton of the and Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay shake hands prior to the NFC Championship, Jan. 20, 2019.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

60Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(On if he has an update on S Eric Weddle’s injury)

“He (S Eric Weddle) is feeling good. I think he was asymptomatic, so he’s on track. He has to go through everything as far as passing everything that we need. I anticipate him being ready to go (on Sunday).”

(On if Weddle will practice on Wednesday)

“I haven’t had a chance to talk to (Senior Director, Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) about that yet.”

(On if Weddle has to change his helmet following the injury)

“That would be something, really as much as anything, for the laceration. Just to make sure because he got some stitches in his head. Those are things we’ll make sure we get squared away, so hopefully that’s not an issue that comes up in the future.”

(On if he sat down and spoke with CB Nickell Robey-Coleman about the controversial play in the 2018 NFC Championship game)

“Not really. We kind of talked about it as a team. It was something that, we all know what it looked like. Obviously, nobody’s going to sit here and say that wasn’t a pass interference and that’s why it led to some rules being changed. I think everybody, even though that play benefitted our team, nobody wants anything but a fair game. Those clear and obvious plays that we can avoid, we want to be able to do that and that’s exactly how we feel as a team, too.”

(On him saying the team wouldn’t complain when a missed call benefits his team)

“We’re not going to complain either way. That happened to end up working to our advantage. We talked about it all the time, ‘It’s got to be that next play mindset mentality.’ That was one that definitely benefitted us. But, there’s a lot of plays in a game and I think it’s good that the competition committee made the effort to be able to try to avoid some of those things happening in the future, and that’s exactly what we all want.”

(On the emotions surrounding Sunday’s game against New Orleans and if he has experience with more emotionally-filled games)

“It’s game two. It’s a great team coming in. For us, we play each game as its own entity. This is a great football team – they were the one-seed in the NFC for a reason, had a great win against a really good football team on Monday night where you can see they’re a resilient football team. They’re very well coached, they’ve got great players. It’s going to be a great challenge and we’re excited about it.”

(On if coaches and players view Sunday’s game differently than fans)

“I’m not sure. It’s hard to say. I think our players, our coaches know the level of urgency that’s going to be needed for us to be at our best in order to give ourselves a chance to compete and hopefully come out of this thing 2-0.”

(On if he watched the end of New Orleans’ Week 1 game and if he was surprised with how Saints QB Drew Brees played at the end of the game)

“I thought it was a really impressive operation. Whether it be (Saints Head) Coach (Sean) Payton managing the clock, (Saints QB) Drew’s (Brees) command, his ability to recognize the structure where No. 2 (Saints receiver) is kind of off and outside and bang it to (Saints WR Ted) Ginn (Jr.) in the slot and be able to get down and be able to use that timeout. It was a really sharp team executing at a high level in a crunch time moment. All you can do is really tip your hat to them and say, ‘That was an impressive operation right there.’”

(On if he will change the approach during practice this week for RB Todd Gurley II)

“It’ll be kind of that every other day. We’ll keep a similar deal. He (RB Todd Gurley II) is going to go – he just went in the walk-thru and he’s feeling good. A lot of it is predicated on – if it’s a normal three-day work week, he’ll work two out of those three days. That was kind of the plan that we had going in. Most importantly is how he’s feeling. He’s feeling good, I thought that he got stronger as the game progressed. It’s like anything else – and it’s not exclusive to Todd – really, our team just getting in football shape. Especially when you look at the approach that we took, playing the amount of snaps that we did in the kind of weather. I thought that was a great first opportunity for us to kind of get ourselves in game shape. You can’t ever really recreate those types of situations that occur when you’re playing live football and the guys that we’re counting on playing 65 to 70 snaps. This week’s going to be a great challenge as well.”

(On what he believes happened with Gurley in the 2018 NFC Championship game)

“What I remember the most is how much respect I had for the way that he (RB Todd Gurley II) handled it. I think that’s what separates really elite people, is being able to handle adversity and take ownership for it. Know that there’s some things that I could have done better for him, he could have done better overall. I thought he made a key touchdown run in the two-minute situation at the end of the first half. He had some unbelievably timely pick-ups at the end of the game when we’re driving to get into field goal range. What is as impressive as anything is you’re talking about a guy that’s a first team All-Pro, the reigning Offensive Player of the Year the year before, and just says, ‘Hey, I didn’t play up to the level that I expect to. My teammates lifted me up.’ You can’t say anything but, ‘Man, I respect Todd Gurley for the way he handled that.’”

(On what kind of mindset rookie S Taylor Rapp has brought to the team)

“I would say he (S Taylor Rapp) is a rookie mature beyond his years, and that was one of the things that we liked so much about him coming out. You could just see the versatility, the instincts, the short-spaced quickness, just the feel for the game that he had with the way that they utilized him at (the University of) Washington. He’s gotten more and more comfortable. He’s a guy that we consistently talked about because he deserved to be talked about based on just getting better every single day. The best way that you could articulate what he is, he’s a rookie that’s not playing like a rookie. He’s a mature player and he’s just a good football player that has a great feel for the game and that you trust in those situations and he delivered in a big way.”

(On what he sees from Saints RB Alvin Kamara and if previously facing Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey prepares them for facing Kamara)

“You’re talking about two of the most complete backs in the league (Saints RB Alvin Kamara and Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey). The versatility, what a great job McCaffrey did. You can see – and really, Kamara is the same type of deal. You look at some of the runs that he’s making, you look at the way that he’s able to be a threat out of the backfield. These are, arguably, two of the most complete backs in the NFL. Unbelievable challenge again for us and they (New Orleans) do a great job utilizing him (Kamara) getting him in space. (Saints QB) Drew’s (Brees) is going to find him, they’ve got creative run schemes to get him involved and then they’ll move him all over the formation. It’s like finding ‘Where’s Waldo?’ (Saints Head) Coach (Sean) Payton does an excellent job with that.”

(On how he defines success against players like Kamara and McCaffrey)

“That’s a good question. I would answer that differently, based on each play and the situation. I think, ultimately, we want to protect them from scoring points and try to limit the explosives. This is a great football team, a great offense coming in. First-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback – it’s a great system that they run and they’ve elite playmakers. It’s going to be a great challenge. Their operation is as impressive as what you’ll see, too, in terms of the different personnel groupings, the way that they stress you. They understand exactly what they’re doing and that’s why they’ve been at the top of the league, really, since (Saints Head Coach) Sean (Payton) and (Saints QB) Drew (Brees) have been there for the last handful of years.”

(On how DT Aaron Donald opens up opportunities for other players on the Rams’ defense)

“Really, you kind of just mentioned it. When somebody’s going to influence and affect that much attention, it’s going to create some solo opportunities. Some of the movements – one of (OLB) Dante’s (Fowler Jr.) sacks came on a two-man game between those two, where (DT) Aaron (Donald) basically occupied the guard and the tackle and did a great job of accelerating underneath and being able to finish that play. Aaron is a special player and I think a lot of his affect on the game might not even be determined based on him getting the sacks and the production, but what he does to make other people’s job a little bit easier and that’s what makes him great.”

(On Donald being frustrated following the game and if he has to talk to Donald to help him understand his impact on the game)

“I think he (DT Aaron Donald) is one of the best in the world at what he does. He’s always looking to get better. I think he was pleased with the win. He’s the ultimate team player, he was pleased with the win, but he has a high level of expectation for himself and what he demands of himself snap in and snap out. I think what’s so special about Aaron, is I don’t think anybody has higher expectations for Aaron than Aaron does. I’m never going to pull back on what he’s been doing, especially when it’s always with the right intentions and the right approach, and I think that’s one of the elite traits that he does have.”

(On what stood out about the offensive drive at the end of the last year’s game against the Saints)

“It was a bunch of big-time, crunch-time throws. You look at a big-time play by (TE) Gerald Everett, (WR) Josh Reynolds had a couple big catches. I thought (QB) Jared (Goff) did a great job being able to move in the pocket. Had a big third down-and-three conversion to (WR) Robert Woods breaking over the middle. Then, a situation where at the end, they kind of zeroed us. Fortunately, it went incomplete and then (K) Greg’s (Zuerlein) able to come in and knock it through and send it into overtime. It was blur, I remember just from watching the tape. The fans were going crazy, it was an unbelievable atmosphere. It was a great job by our players demonstrating poise in a crunch time moment.”

(On how hard it is to execute in game situations like last year’s offensive drive at the end of the NFC Championship game)

“I think it’s really hard. Especially when you’re in the absence of your verbal communication. Everything’s visual right there. All 11 being on the same page, that’s a stressful environment that our players handled really well right there.”

(On when he talked to the team about the controversy)

“Right after. You address it. You could ask (CB) Nickell Robey(-Coleman). He knows that was a pass interference. In the moment that was kind of what was officiated and you’ve got to just kind of play those next snaps and there was a lot of snaps after that as well.”

(On what the point of talking to the players was)

“It was, ‘Hey, we know exactly what occurred. Fortunately, that worked out for us, but let’s not make any bigger deal than what it is. All we can do is control what we can control and those things are out of our control.’ You don’t run away from the fact that that was a call that did benefit us. You address it and then you keep it moving.”

(On if he has seen Robey-Coleman improve)

“He’s always been a good player. That was one of those situations that they quick snapped the rail from the…the backs running a rail or the receivers running a rail route out of the backfield and he was just kind of urgently reacting to the play and kind of collided with him right there. I don’t think he intentionally ran into him before. He’s been a really competitive nickel all along. We want to try to avoid those clear and obvious and the egregious penalties.”

(On if he thought that Goff’s performance in overtime with directing those drives got a little lost)

“I do. I agree. I think so. It can’t be understated what a tough atmosphere, what elements that he was dealing with to be able to even be able to get some yards. They’re a really good defense too. For him to make some of the plays, I definitely think was a big-time representation of him and the ability to handle some of those tough moments. All games don’t always go our way, but that was a great example and reflection of a guy that’s mentally tough and did a great job. Without a lot of the plays he makes, we don’t end up winning that game for sure.”

QB Coach/Pass Game Coordinator/Co-OC Shane Waldron

(Opening Remarks)

“Obviously, an important day in our history, somber day. I think it’s important to pay respects and everyone understands how much impact today had on our country and not to let that ever be taken for granted. With that being said, we’re back at home, ready to go and it’s nice to be home against the Saints. So, I’ll open it up to some questions.”

(On how much he enjoyed calling plays during the preseason)

“It’s a great experience, really appreciative of (Head Coach) Sean (McVay) letting me do that. It’s like anything else in this game, the more reps you get the more comfortable you feel and the better you feel with it. Appreciated the chance and it gives you an appreciation for how well he does it and what goes in to that in a day in and day out, as far as the preparation goes for the week.”

(On how playing at New Orleans is different from playing home at the Coliseum)

“I think the similarities – it’s still an NFL game, the obvious difference is the noise. They do a great job there of using the home-field advantage, the crowd is well educated and they do a great job of using it to their benefit. Just like anything else with the players, communication – the coach-to-player and coach-to-coach communication has to be that much more clear and know when it’s the moments in between series where you can really communicate a ton to the players, because you’re not going to get that chance maybe to articulate something to them within a drive, that you might normally in the course of a home game. It’s a good advantage that they use and they use it very well, that’s why it’s nice to get our home crowd behind us going this week.”

(On facing zone defense and if a point of emphasis or flow of the game)

“Yeah, sure, probably a little bit of both. Where you talk about that offseason preparation, anticipating what you may or may not see. Especially Week 1, they might show one thing and play something totally different. With this past week, you end up getting a big dose of their 4-3 personnel grouping and a lot of zone coverage. You’re just trying to do a good job of taking what’s presented within the read of the play. Just like every week, the coverage is going to dictate the ball going to different places. Just doing a good job of being poised and going through progressions and keeping positive plays after positive plays, building upon that.”

(On if those concepts are a work in progress and how has QB Jared Goff responded)

“At that position, I think it’s always a work in progress. Every week you’re looking to improve and get better. I think that first week out presented him with that challenge of taking those completions, which, every week he’s going to want to go 30-for-30. The reality is, as long as he’s putting our team in a position to win, that’s the ultimate goal. I think he did a good job of that, taking care of the ball. (Panthers CB James) Bradberry makes an unbelievable pick, credit to him on undercutting the route. Other than that, did a good job of taking care of the ball and really putting our team in a position to win, which is priority A.”

(On Goff’s growth in his experience coaching him)

“I think his ability to just improve daily has now accumulated into multiple years of that improvement. You’re seeing him just take strides from before we were around him as a rookie. Like every rookie gets into this league, it’s a fast league, it’s a lot of stuff happening and it takes some time to adjust. He’s just done a great job of steadily improving every single day. I think because he’s taken that approach, you look at over the course of multiple years, starting point to where we are at now and where he can continue to grow, he’s taken some great strides.”

(On if the drive in the last two-minute of the NFC Championship last year was drawn up)

“You’re going off of, really a feel and that’s where Sean does such a great job. You prepare throughout the week for what you anticipate seeing in those situations, quarterback is doing the same thing, what he’s anticipating seeing in those. You’re going off a big menu of plays that you’ve kind of worked through and then specific plays come up throughout the course of the drive, with each situation dictating a different call and some different things there where you’re able to make some big plays. If they want to bring pressure, if they want to play max coverage, there is all those little things that can happen each play. Every play you play, every play is its own separate entity, but in those scenarios, you are working off of a group of plays, not necessarily an opener set of plays, but a group of plays you like in those situations. Each down-and-distance is going to dictate a different probability of one or the other of what you want to get at.”

(On the Saints having 6 sacks in the against Houston)

“They are a D-line that is getting after it every single snap. The big thing with the Saints, you’ve got (DE) Cam Jordan who’s an unbelievable player. Throughout their front, whether it was DE Trey) Henderson coming off the edge, using the noise to their advantage at the end there. You’ve got (DE Marcus) Davenport there, you’ve got all these elite pass-rushers that also work hard every single snap, down in and down out and that’s kind of the mantra of their defense. They’ve got 11 great players on the field every single time you’re snapping the ball. A secondary that does a great job of turning the ball over, with (S Marucs) Williams doing a great job playing that center field spot, (CB Marshon) Latimore if the ball is up in the air, he’s going to get it. Just got to be great understanding the defense that we are going against is an elite run defense and they do an elite job of turning the ball over with multiple different players, kind of coming to the forefront, depending on each situation.

QB Jared Goff

(On what he took away from the season opener against Carolina and which aspects of his game he thinks he need to improve moving forward)

“I’d like to be a little bit better in a lot of different places. I think it was a good start for our team and a good win for us to start off the year. Personally, I could knock some rust off and be a little better than that.”

(On what he wants to work on when ‘knocking the rust off’)

“Everything. I think it’s never one thing in particular, it’s always just trying to get better, trying to continue to put the ball in my receivers’ hands and just continue to get better.”

(On how he has grown since his first meeting against Saints QB Drew Brees)

“I think I’ve talked about this, but, the first time we played them, you’re kind of in awe of playing (Saints QB) Drew Brees and everything that goes along with it when I was a rookie – how great he is, how great his career has been. I think at this point now, I feel like we’re more peers. I think at the Pro Bowl with him we were able to experience that with him. Me and him have become friends and I’m a big fan of his.”

(On if he saw the end of the Saints game on Monday)

“It was great.”

(If he expected Brees to bring the Saints back down the field to win the game)

“Yeah. It was a tough situation, but he did it and that’s why he’s so great. They’re never out of it and I think we know that. With him behind center, they’re never out of it. Have to try to score a lot of points to beat them.”

(On what was going through his head when he took the field before leading the Rams to a game-tying drive in the NFC Championship game)

“I really wanted to score a touchdown, honestly. I wanted to go down there and punch one in and finish the game down there with less than 30 seconds and not give them much of a chance to get anything back. But, we had to settle with a field goal and (K Greg Zuerlein) hit a long one and the rest is history. Just tried to go out there and execute.”

(On if he remembers where he was on the sideline when S John Johnson III recorded an interception in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game)

“Yeah, I remember being on the sideline and you feel pretty helpless that you’re kind of at the mercy of whatever they do offensively. But, (I was) so confident in our defense. At that time they had been playing so well in the second half and were kind of so close to a turnover for so long. You kind of felt like, ‘Okay, we might have a chance to get one here.’ Sure enough, the ball went up in the air – and that was a chance – and ‘John-John’ (S John Johnson III) made a play. Again, (K) Greg (Zuerlein) knocks in the field goal and the rest of history.”

(On what it was like seeing OLB Dante Fowler Jr. hit the quarterback before the interception)

“It’s great. (OLB) Dante (Fowler Jr.) is a great player for us, was able to get in there and is someone we were happy to add halfway through the year and has made a lot of great plays since he’s been here.”

(On how the Rams approach the game with the Saints on Sunday)

“We’re trying to go 2-0. I think that would be their mindset as well. They’re trying to win the game just like we are. There’s nothing that we’re taking from last year as motivation, if they are, great. It’s just another game for us and it’s our home opener after not being at home in a long time. Excited to see our fans, it’ll be a big one and it’ll be a lot of fun.”

(On if he feels the Rams benefitted from facing Carolina’s zone defense approach in Week 1)

“I think it was a game that was testing our patience for sure. It was something where they were getting a lot of depth in the secondary and for whatever reason we had a hard time getting over the top. Just had to continue to take the completions underneath. If that’s what is helping us move the offense forward and win the game, I’m all for it and last week it was. Just continue to stay patient and I thought for myself, me and (Rams Head Coach) Sean (McVay) joked about it earlier in the week, but it was a mature game for both him and myself, just taking what they gave us and not getting impatient.”

(On what makes his receiving core quiet achievers)

“They are all just extremely hard workers and understand a bigger goal. I think I’m very lucky to have all three, really all four of them and everything that they do. I think it’s a very unique situation where all three of them are unselfish. I’ve never been on a team where is like that. Where one guy goes for 150 (yards) and one guy has one catch, and the one guy with one catch couldn’t care. If we win the game, he doesn’t care at all about the numbers. It’s a very unique situation where I think, all three of them individually, on their own, growing up through football have always been that way and we happened to get them all on the same team. They feed off each other, they work each other, and I think on the practice field you see it every day. I’ve experienced a few different receiver groups, but I can’t imagine another receiver group that works as hard as they do every day.”

(On if it takes a load off his shoulders as a quarterback when he has receivers that work as hard as they do)

“I don’t have to push them. I don’t have to say ‘Hey I need you to run harder here. I need you to work harder here.’ There’s never been any of that. It definitely takes a big weight off my shoulders and off the team’s shoulders. I think when you look out and you see them working hard, it brings everyone along. Those guys are three of the silent leaders of the team, I think.”

(On if he appreciates not having drama with his wide receiver group)

“Yeah, again, I think I’m just very lucky to be in a unique situation with those three. I try to show my gratefulness every day. I do realize it is rare, very rare to have three guys that, not only work that hard, but are of their talent level and are as selfless as they are. They want to block. They want to win and don’t care about their numbers and they want to other person to succeed. It’s very rare, I’m very lucky.”

(On what it’s like having WR Cooper Kupp back)

“He looked great, I thought he did a great job. For me personally, he’s always been a guy I’ve enjoyed throwing to. He looked great and I’m glad he’s back out there.”

(On if he had anything to say to RB Todd Gurley after last season’s NFC Championship game)

“Not anything that I wouldn’t normally. It was just very normal. I think I’ve stressed it before, but he’s such a great teammate and great person. He handles everything with such class and the way that you’re supposed to. I couldn’t be more proud of him for the way he’s handled everything over the last year. I’m glad he came out and did his thing the other day. I expect the same moving forward, I know he does too. I think he feels pretty good.”