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TRANSCRIPT: McVay, LaFleur, Phillips at Rams Minicamp

Posted Jun 14, 2017

Full transcripts of Rams head coach Sean McVay, offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips press conferences at Rams Minicamp.

Rams Head Coach Sean McVay – Minicamp Day 2 – June 14, 2017
 
(Opening remarks)
“I know you just spoke with (Rams C.O.O) Kevin Demoff, very excited as an organization to team up with United Way and all of the great things that they represent and be a part of helping this community.”
 
(On TE Gerald Everett and an impressive reception that he made in practice)
“I think you saw it, when he’s just understanding exactly what’s going on and he can just go play – that’s when you see his athleticism show up and that’s why we feel like he’s going to be capable of being a good player for us. I think just like a lot of these rookies, as they’re getting more comfortable with what we’re asking them to do, it allows them to play faster and not have to feel like they’re thinking so much. I thought that play that you saw was a great example of that.”
 
(On OL Greg Robinson and what they haven’t seen from him at right tackle)
“I wouldn’t say it’s anything that we haven’t seen. We’re continuing to evaluate that position. I think we’ve seen good things from Greg at times. We’ve seen some good things from (OL) Jamon Brown. But, what we’re looking for up front is just consistency. That’s both in the run-game and in protection and being reliable and accountable. I think anytime that you’re able to develop that continuity up front, that’s going to help us as a whole. That’s what you’re really looking for from all linemen. I think at times those guys have represented that. That’s what we’re striving to find from all five of our starters when this thing gets rolling.”
 
(On if he feels Robinson still has a role and a chance to start on the team)
“Yes. As we continue to evaluate guys this offseason, especially when you don’t have pads on, you always are mindful of how much you put into it. I think it was a great opportunity for us as a coaching staff to get around Greg, see some of the things that make him a special talent, and then continue to develop and move forward.”
 
(On bringing the whole team together in the middle of practice and if it was scripted and what was said)
“Some of them are, and some of them aren’t. I think we always have to be ready to adjust and adapt. Always mindful that it’s always about the team. I think we’re doing a great job coming together – offense, defense and special teams – want to continue to preach those themes. Some of those situations might be kind of just sudden change where we say, alright, we’re explaining what the next period might be if it’s kind of off the script to force guys to adjust like they would in a game. Each circumstance and each example of that is kind of a little bit different.”
 
(On how Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips teaches and implements his system that allows it to be successful so quickly)
“It’s a credit to his teaching. He tries to make things simple, make sure the players understand it. That enables them to play fast. One of the things that I think he would be proud of is that it seems like a lot of these players that he’s coached always seem to play their best when they’re working with him. I think that’s a great example of coaching – putting your players in good positions to be successful. He’s done that and that’s why we feel good to be able to have him as our defensive coordinator.”
 
(On DB E.J. Gaines and RB Lance Dunbar not on the field)
“It’s a situation with E.J., just had a soft tissue thing, just being smart with him going into this little break. No need to push it right now to make sure he’s ready for training camp. Kind of the same thing with Lance, want to be mindful of the injury he had a couple of years ago. We know he’s capable of being a good player, we want to make sure that we’re smart about that. Really, the goal for a lot of these guys is to make sure that by the time training camp rolls around, they’re ready to roll. If they’re not involved with the physical reps, they’re locked in and staying mentally into it, so that they can get that opportunity to kind of just learn from those reps that they’re teammates are getting.”
 
(On if he feels everybody will be ready for training camp)
“Yeah, that’s the anticipation right now. Feel very fortunate that as of this point we haven’t had any injuries that are going to affect guys’ ability to be ready. That’s a blessing and we feel good about that.”
 
(On his message to WR Tavon Austin and what Austin can do to get himself ready for training camp)
“I think he’s done a good job of controlling what he can control and that’s working and doing as much as he could with the limitations that he had with the wrist. I think he’s done a great job in meetings, where he knows exactly what’s going on. Then, when you get to those physical reps, as soon as he’s able to with (Head Athletic Trainer) Reggie (Scott) and the training staff, catch footballs from a quarterback and do some of those things that you’re going to do, the better. He’s a guy that’s real conscientious, he’s going to get himself ready to go. I think that’s some of the things he can do in the meantime to kind of give himself a jump start so the first time catching live routes and things like that instead of just the Juggs (machine) or a tennis ball machine isn’t going to be once we report.”
 
(On how Austin will fit in the offense)
“I think we have ideas of the way that we want to utilize him. I think he’s done a lot of great things on tape, but until you’re actually able to get out on the grass with him, watch him do some of the things that we’re asking him to do, it does make it a little bit more difficult. But, we’re certainly projecting him to be a big part of our offense. How exactly we use him is to be determined, but we have discussed those things as a staff. We’ll get a chance to see that early on in training camp.”
 
(On if he can stress situational football enough in practice)
“I don’t think so. Really, when you go through it with your coaching staff, there’s so many different things that come up. As long as you’re mindful and we’re kind of educating both coaches and the players on how we want to handle these different things and be on the same lines of communication. I think it gives us a chance to handle them in a manner that some of these great teams around the league seem to do year in and year out. We always talk about stressing situational awareness and being situational masters. That’s something that’s going to be a continuous focus for us moving forward hopefully for years to come.”
 
(On the thought process behind moving OL Rob Havenstein to guard and OL Jamon Brown to tackle)
“Initially when you look at it, you get a player like (T) Andrew Whitworth and then you get a chance to see (OL Rodger) Saffold play at the guard position, feel really good about the left side of our line. Then, when you have Rob (Havenstein) playing that right guard position, I think he’s kind of one of the rare exceptions where he’s such a sharp guy, things do happen a little bit faster inside and he’s got better athleticism. We always joke with him because he lost a little bit of weight because he got married this offseason (laughs). So, he had to look good for that. I think you’re continuing to evaluate that right tackle position with Jamon and Greg. These are both young, developing players. I know Greg has had a little bit more experience, but Jamon is a guy that’s played tackle. I think he got better as the offseason progressed. We’re encouraged to see where these guys are at by the time we hit training camp.”
 
(On DT Aaron Donald and if all of the business is behind him)
“Well we certainly hope so. It’s always good to have (No.) 99 (DT Aaron Donald) around, he’s a big part of what we want to do moving forward. He’s been a special player for this organization. Anytime you’re able to see (No.) 99 is a good thing for us. As far as the contract negotiations, those are things that will remain in-house. We feel good and we’re optimistic about that.”
Rams Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur – Minicamp Day 2 – June 14, 2017
 
(On the offense employing all of the receivers on the offense during practice)
“Yes, the more guys you have to throw to, the less the defense can really take away one of your targets. The idea is to get five guys that can go out there and are a threat on every play.”
 
(On WR Tavon Austin)
“Well, the one thing that everybody knows is that he can run. One thing that this offense is predicated on, we need guys that have speed to help create some of these explosive plays that we want to try to manufacture in the pass game - especially off our play-action and keepers. We’re excited to have him back into the fold. I think he’s done a great job paying attention while not being able to get the physical reps, but getting the mental reps. Also, he’s been very engaged in our meetings. Can’t wait to get him out here in training camp.”
 
(On how he has seen QB Jared Goff come along from the start of the offseason program until now)
“One thing that Coach McVay always talks about is daily improvement and daily excellence. That’s been the biggest thing with him is just get a little bit better each day, become a little more consistent on a daily basis. By no means is he a finished product and I really think, for that matter, any quarterback in this league you have to work to progress and get better every day.”
 
(On Goff’s confidence and how much of a benefit it is for the left side of the offensive line to be solidified)
“I think any time a quarterback is comfortable with what’s in front of him, that’s one less worry on his plate.  Let’s face it, it’s a pretty uncomfortable position for all of these guys that play in this league, in my opinion, I think it’s the toughest position in all of sports. You’ve got an entire defense ready to take you out. If you’re comfortable with the big guys in front of you, I think you have a better chance of focusing on what your job is and the intent of the play, on each play.”
 
(On if he gets the sense that Goff has that comfort level)
“Yes. Again, each rep for him is a learning experience. You’re talking about a young guy that’s played seven starts in this league, so he has not seen everything that every defense is going to throw at him yet. But the less you have to worry about the offensive line, the more comfortable you would feel as a quarterback.”
 
(On if anything he has seen from QB Sean Mannion has surprised him)
“I can’t say that anything really has surprised me. We got a chance to study him coming out of the draft. Obviously, he had a great college career. I think he’s the all-time (career passing) leader in Pac12 history. At the combine, just interviewing him. He was one of the more impressive interviews I’ve ever had there. He’s come from a system, you know, a pro-style system, so he’s had reps in doing a lot of the stuff that we’ve asked him to do. But, I think what’s most impressive about him is how he attacks each and every single day. He’s going to put the work in. He’s an extremely detailed guy, which is exactly what you want in a quarterback.”
 
(On what he has seen from RB Todd Gurley and if anything has surprised him)
“I can’t say anything surprised me because you never want to go in with a bunch of pre-conceived notions with any of these guys. The one thing that’s been impressive is again, how he works on a daily basis. I really feel that way for the entire offense. We have a lot of high character guys that come out here and they love to compete. Ultimately, that’s how you’re going to get better.”
 
(On if he can pinpoint why it didn’t happen for Gurley last year)
“There’s always a ton of factors that go into it. I think for the running game in general, when you don’t have pads on, it’s a little more difficult to evaluate. Todd’s a big guy that’s capable of running through arm tackles and unfortunately when we’re out here, it’s touch football essentially. You don’t get to see that part of his game. I think the true test comes when we start playing these games in the preseason and into the regular season.”
 
(On what he saw on tape from last year that he feels he can fix to get Gurley going)
“I think as a whole, offensively, we want to have a strong marriage with our running game with our passing game, so a defense can’t just tee off on one. The idea is to have a balanced attack and keep the defense guessing. Any time you can soften that box, whether we’re getting two-high looks or what not, it’s going to give him a better opportunity to gain more yards.”
 
(On if he sees the ability in Gurley to be an elite back in this league)
“Absolutely. Without a doubt. I think, if you ask any coach in this league. He’s a big, powerful guy that’s able to stick his foot in the ground and break tackles. I’m really excited to see what he’s going to do this fall.”
 
(On how receivers separate themselves at that position)
“In our offense, first of all, we’re a conceptually based offense, so these receivers – whether you’re the X, or the Z or the F – you have to learn the entire play. It’s our job to try to put these guys in position to really showcase what they can do. When they are put in those positions, obviously, they have to come through for themselves and for us.”
 
(On having two fullbacks on the roster and how much of that position fans will see during the regular season)
“I think that’s on a totally gameplan basis. Obviously, we’d like to do a lot of our two-back stuff because again, you can marry a lot of the run-game with the pass-game with some of your play-actions and such. But, ultimately it comes down to how we feel is the best way to attack a defense.”
 
(On his expectations for the offense and how big of an impact one offseason can make)
“I’m really not in the prediction game. But, again, we’re trying to focus on daily improvement and get a little bit better each day. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to us taking care of the football and putting ourselves in position to win games.”
 
(On TE Gerald Everett’s progress)
“I think coming from where he came from, we threw a lot of information at him early and it was probably a little bit of information overload. But he’s done a great job, especially these last two weeks of really calming his mind and being able to go out there and execute what we’re asking him to do. I’m excited for his future. I think the tight end group as a whole has been one of our strengths coming out of OTAs.”
Rams Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips – Minicamp Day 2 – June 14, 2017
 
(Opening remarks)
“Father’s Day is coming up, there’s a book out about a father and a son in the NFL, it’s called Son of Bum – anybody want to get it for their dad, I think it would be a tremendous present.
 
“Defensively speaking, this minicamp and the OTAs, I couldn’t be more pleased with the guys’ attitude number one, and also the ability we have. I think we have a lot of talented players. They’re working hard to get better and I think we will show that in the fall when we start playing, start practicing together. We don’t make many mistakes and they’re real aggressive and they play well as a team. I’m really pleased with where we are right now.”
 
(On if there are tangible things he can take from this period of the season)
“Yes, the teaching process has started with us, especially in the first year. Like I said, gauge-wise I think we’re in good shape. The teams I have been with previously, in the first year I think we’re right there with those teams. Most of them, if not all of them have done real well.”
 
(On if there’s a key thing he teaches when starting with a new defensive unit)
“Well, the teaching process, number one, they’ve got to believe what you’re saying. I’ve been in it long enough that some people think I know what I’m saying and listen a little better, that helps. It’s mainly the players – how much they want to, and this group really wants to learn. They want to listen and try to get better. We feel like we can help them that way coaching.”
 
(On if he feels this defense has top-five potential and what it needs to do to reach its potential)
“It’s hard to predict where you’re going to be, especially in the fall, the teams you play and so forth. I have a good feeling about this team, like I said. Again, we’re only in shorts and we haven’t done anything live game-wise, which we’ll get to. I feel good with where we are right now. Like I said, comparatively to the teams that I’ve gone to in the first year, I think they’re right on par with those teams and a lot of those teams did well.”
 
(On what about this group of personnel that he feels fits really well with his scheme)
“It’s just good players. We have some good players defensively. I think our secondary is stronger than what people think, I think they’ll show that. But, our front seven is going to be awfully strong.”
 
(On if more sacks should be expected from LBs Alec Ogletree and Mark Barron under this new defense)
“Well, we expect more sacks from the whole team, the whole defense. That’s part of what we do pressure-wise. I think every team I’ve been with has been in the top five in sacks when I’ve been there. We kind of expect that. We’re going to have an attacking, hard-pressuring team that we feel like is going to get to the quarterback. A lot depends on the quarterbacks you play, obviously. Some of them don’t get sacked much but the pressure causes…I think we’ve got the talent 1-on-1 pass-rush wise to match up with some people and get a good rush.”
 
(On how CB Trumaine Johnson fits in with his defense with respect to General Manager Les Snead’s previous comments on waiting to make a determination on his contract)
“Trumaine’s done everything we’ve asked him to do so far, so I don’t have any problem with what he’s done. I think he’s a good athlete and he’s working hard to get better so I don’t have any problem with that.”
 
(On not having DT Aaron Donald on the field for most of the offseason and if he loses anything as a result)
“The elite players like Aaron Donald, you say, well you’d like to have them practicing all the time, but as long as you have them in the fall, I think, that’s when you want him.”
 
(On his impression of Donald so far)
“He’s an elite player. Besides his skills, he’s got a great attitude. He’s kind of a quiet guy, but he learns quickly. He knows what to do and how to do it, and he can do it out on the field. I can’t say enough good things about him.”
 
(On OLB Connor Barwin having one of his best seasons when Phillips previously coached him in Houston, and what of his skillset was he able to use back then that he hopes to utilize now with the Rams)
“Well, we played Connor Barwin at outside linebacker in the 3-4 (defense). Since that time, he’s been playing a 4-3 defensive end. The difference in that is a 4-3 defensive end plays against a tackle every play – every running play and pass play. When you’re playing a 3-4 outside ‘backer you’re only playing against the tackle on passes. So, I think it’s freed up a lot of players, outside rushers, to be better players and better rushers to me in the 3-4 (defense).”
 
(On if the same principal for Barwin having success as a rusher in a 3-4 defense applies for OLB Robert Quinn)
“Yeah, Robert Quinn same thing.”
 
(On if Barwin is the same player he was when Phillips coached him early in his career to now)
“Connor Barwin’s a great leader, number one, but also a tremendous football player. Like I said, I think he fits in even better as an outside ‘backer in a 3-4 (defense). He’s bigger and stronger than he was. He ran a 4.5-something at the combine when he came out, so he can run. But he’s a big, strong fast guy now. I’m looking forward to having him play this year.”
 
(On what makes his system ‘user-friendly’ where players can pick it up easily)
“We think we have a good teaching system that gets it done quickly. It’s not a simple defense. We want to make it as simple as we can for the players. The offenses are so complicated that you can’t say, ‘Well, it’s really simple.’ But, we try to teach it that way. Our teaching philosophy is, ‘Hey, this is simple. This is the way we do it. If they do this, we adjust here. If they do that, we adjust there.’ I just think it’s our teaching process of how we get it taught. It’s like a professor or high school teacher or whatever, you’ve got to get your information to them and they’ve got to know it.”