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TRANSCRIPT: Sean McVay Press Conference 8-20

Posted Aug 21, 2017

Head Coach Sean McVay addressed the media the day after the Rams' preseason victory over the Raiders.

Head Coach Sean McVay – Press Conference – August 20, 2017
 
(On if there is an injury update on S Lamarcus Joyner, LB Carlos Thompson and WR Mike Thomas)
“(S) Lamarcus (Joyner) is good. He would’ve been able to play in the game yesterday. We just made the decision that when we got the clearance from him, that it was kind of at that threshold where we knew we were going to have him out anyway, so we went ahead and just kept him out of the game. But, Lamarcus is good to go. With (LB) Carlos (Thompson), expecting it to be a couple weeks. It seemed like it was going to be a lot worse, but right now we’re thinking a couple weeks with him. And then, (WR) Mike Thomas is going to be day-to-day with a concussion.”
 
(On if it was a knee injury for Thompson)
“It was his ankle.”
 
(On if WR Tavon Austin is expected to practice this week)
“I think it’s a day-to-day deal. Ideally you’d like for him to be able to play this week. If not, then that’ll be a conversation that we have moving forward in terms of how you handle him with Green Bay. With this injury it’s something that, I know it’s kind of the monotonous answer, but it’s a day-to-day deal with his hamstring. He’s making progress in terms of some of the things that he’s doing with rehab with (Director/Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) our head trainer. Right now with him, we’ll get a feel for when he comes back tomorrow since the players are off today and we’ll just kind of be mindful of seeing where he’s at and continue to try to progress his workload. Whether that means he’ll be able or not, will remain to be seen.”
 
(On if anything came out of him watching the tape from yesterday’s preseason game)
“Yeah, I thought there were some good things. I thought we did a good job of being able to sustain some drives. Clearly, being able to stay balanced and stay manageable on third downs, like we talked about yesterday, was the key. Like anything else, there’s going to be some things that we can go back and clean up and that’s what you feel good about. I think it’s always easier to clean up some mistakes when you’re able to have a little bit of success, specifically speaking offensively. And on the defensive side of the ball, those guys continue to fly around. They do some good things. There were a couple times where great players for the Raiders made great plays and that’s why those guys are special and we’ll continue to try to make every play that we can. But, I thought it was a great example yesterday of the importance that we place on turnovers, where (CB) Trumaine (Johnson) makes a big pick. We were fortunate enough offensively to turn that into a touchdown and that was a big turning point for us in that first half.”
 
(On if he is concerned at how the defense will mesh on Week 1 considering the absence of DT Aaron Donald and the amount of defensive players that have been held out of games)
“Yeah, I think it is very important for us to be able to have that continuity. Those guys out there playing together that you’re going to be leaning on when September 10th rolls around and hopefully we’ll have all those guys. But, what I think the guys have done a good job of is being mindful of, ‘Alright, if this is my opportunity to play with these guys and get the reps with the 1’s, I’m going to try to maximize it,’ and I think it’s given us an opportunity to evaluate some of those guys that maybe you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Looking at that is definitely something that we discuss as a staff and it’s kind of that balance between being mindful of being our best September 10th, but also having a respect for the process and those guys getting to play together. Especially, in a new system under (Defensive Coordinator) Coach Wade (Phillips) that those are conversations we have every single day. It is something that in a perfect world you would like those guys to get more reps together, but not at the expense of setting them back where they might not be healthy for the September 10th date against the Colts.”
 
(On if he expects OLB Robert Quinn, CB Kayvon Webster and LB Mark Barron to play in the third preseason game)
“Those are things that we’re optimistic about and those are things that, we were just in a staff meeting discussing that, and really projecting the next few weeks with each different situation. But, I think those are guys we’d like to see. Depending upon how this week in practice goes, we may have a similar approach in terms of the snap counts that we had last week as opposed to for sure playing into the third quarter or whatever that might be. Those are things that we’re going to monitor. We’re going to see how the week of practice goes, because while we will try to get a feel for our weekly rhythm, you’re not going to treat it exactly like you would a normal regular season game, where you’re game-planning, putting all those different things out there. So, it’s kind of that balance and then how we move forward and progress into the game with how long some of those guys that we’re counting on being starters will play, is something that we’ll determine later on in the week.”
 
(On if practice has been enough to evaluate his first team defense)
“I think we’ve been very pleased, overall, and I think these guys have done a lot of great things in practice. I think when you talk about some of the players that we’re anticipating we’d like to be a big part of what we’re doing this year, it does make it a little bit more difficult because of the importance of those guys playing together the calls, the communication. Just like anything else on offense, you talk about those defensive guys having that continuity being able to play together. So, I think when you talk about the (OLB) Robert Quinns, hopefully something with the (DT) Aaron (Donald) situation will end up getting settled in. (CB) Kayvon Webster, guy that we’re projecting as a starting corner, (CB) Nickell Robey. So, there’s a lot of guys that we’re projecting as being parts of what we’re trying to do moving forward that, they haven’t gotten a chance to all play together other than in some of those practice settings, which is good, but it’s still not a game. I feel good about where the defense is at, to answer the question, knowing that there is a lot of value in them playing together. So, I think we’ve just got to make the most of whatever the situation and the circumstances are that we’re dealing with and that’s how we’ll handle every single day.”
 
(On how much of the passing attack was set up by the success of RB Todd Gurley)
“Yeah, a lot of it. Anytime that we’re able to stay balanced. I think it was (RB) Todd (Gurley), I think it was the linemen doing a good job. The tight ends competed well in-line. We had receivers on the perimeter that were contributing. (QB) Jared (Goff) did a nice job of making sure that the runs we were running were verse the looks that we had discussed and wanted to be able to run against. I think it was all 11 (players) and then when you’re able to have your starting running back almost average five yards a carry, that means you’re out of those bad third downs, it’s why you’re able to go six-for-eight in the first half on third down. So, it all ties together, but it all goes back to being efficient and being efficient where you have your run-pass balance options up and your second downs and third downs, if available. It allows you to present a lot more to the defense and it regulates some of the looks that you’re able to see. I thought it was a great job by the offense, staying in those positive situations to be able to do that.”
 
(On if he feels like he was able to maintain an ideal balance of the run and pass in Washington)
“I think there’s always things that when I look back at some of the things in Washington, you certainly can do a better job of. I think in a perfect world if you’re able to stay efficient. I know there were times where we might have gotten behind the chains or I’ve got to do a better job of staying mindful of the run-pass balance. Those are things we expect our players to look at themselves critically, I certainly try to do the same thing as a play caller, where you always try to improve and learn from your previous mistakes. But, I think ultimately you’d like you have that ideal balance where you do have that marriage, but you also want to be mindful of what’s the personnel and then how that dictates and determines what you want to do with who you want to get touches. Fortunately here, we’ve got a bunch of good players and it’s a positive problem on figuring out how to get guys involved, but it’s something that we’ll work towards. I’ll continue to try and do the best job that I can of being mindful of that and being hard on myself as well, with making sure that the things we preach to our players, I’m holding myself accountable as well.”
 
(On why the play-action pass is so big for his offense)
“I think you mention it, the marriage of the run and the pass – being able to have plays that start out looking that same that are different. I think it forces the defense to kind of have to adjust and react accordingly. You have to be able to run the football for them to honor the play-action pass. You have to show that you can be a threat in the play-action game for now maybe you’re going to dictate a different box count and now you’ll get some better run looks. So, it all ties together, but I think it all goes back to kind of having that identity and fortunately I’ve been a part of some offenses where a big part of your identity is when you run the football efficiently, you’ve got some actions that look the same as that run that can kind of tie in and help you create some explosives.”
 
(On the play of the offensive line against Oakland)
“I thought they played really well. I thought the communication – I think (C) John Sullivan, can’t say enough about what a great job that he does. If you watch (T Andrew Whitworth) ‘Big Whitworth’, the way that he’s finishing, the way that he’s pushing the tempo. I can’t say enough about what those two guys have done. (G) Roger Saffold is playing excellent at left guard and I thought it was a good example for us to be able to see when you look at the right side of the line with (G) Jamon (Brown) and (T) Rob (Havenstein) playing against some really good rushers, I thought they competed really well. We did a good job in protection, came off physically in the run, had some good calls and communication. So, as a whole, credit to (offensive line) Coach (Aaron) Kromer – I thought he did a great job getting those guys ready to go and especially with those starting five, I thought they played really well and that’s the expectation that we have for them and it was good to see them play that way.”
 
(On what happened on the play where the whole pile was able to push Gurley down the field)
“I thought that was a great play for us. It was kind of a downhill second and short-yardage type situation. Todd did a good job staying up and keeping the pile moving and then when you look at everybody get involved in it and kind of push that scrum for, I want to say it came out for a nine-yard gain, when it looked like he was going to be stopped at about one or two yards. I thought that was a great example of team football – everybody getting in on it, finishing. So, all the things that we talk about and then to be able to see something like that show up on the tape is a great example of those guys playing together and finishing.”
 
(On what type of affect he thinks the success of the offense against Oakland will have going forward)
“I think you just said it right there. I think anytime that you’re able to have some success and feel good about it, especially in some of those game like situations, it gives players confidence. Now, the challenge for us is, is to know that, yeah, we did some good things, there’s definitely some things that we have to clean up and I can do a much better job for our offense as a whole. But, can we now come back this week with focus, concentration, have a great week of work where we’re getting some stuff with the Chargers and then still continuing to compete against each other and then let’s see if we can string together consecutive performances. So, to me, the truest measurement of performance is consistency and while we feel like there was some good things there, we’ve got some things that we can clean up and then being able to consistently do that week-in and week-out is I think what you see those really good offenses over the last handful of years in this league do and that’s what we’re going to be striving to do, as well.”
 
(On if anything stood out to him about Goff after watching the tape)
“I think like we talked about yesterday, just good decision making. I thought he did a good job playing within himself. One of the better plays that I thought he made was actually when I put him in a tough spot on the keeper on that third one where (Oakland OLB Khalil) Mack is right in his face – he does a great job of throwing it away. That’s a great play that maybe nobody notices because it was the only play. That’s being a good decision maker and that’s where you look at yourself as a coach and say, ‘Let’s try to avoid plays that that’s the only play the quarterback can make.’ But, to his credit, he did an excellent job taking what the defense gave him and I put him in a tough spot and he made it right and got us back to where that was the only decision to be had. The third down and short tells me a lot where he hits (WR) Sammy Watkins on the crossing route because he gets choppy at the top of his drop – we had a little bit of push from the pocket from the right side, he shortened up his fourth and fifth steps, stepped up, slid, kept two hands on the ball and then throws a nice, accurate throw where it’s only going to go down in the books as a four-yard completion on the shallow cross, but that’s good quarterback play right there. That’s being a good decision maker, that’s playing in the rhythm and timing of the offense that we want and those are the type of things that over time start to demonstrate that maybe it doesn’t go where you’re writing it because the result is not as flashy. But, when you watch it snap in and snap out, that’s being a good decision maker, distributing the football, getting different guys involved and those are some of the plays that you feel best about because that’s playing the quarterback position at a high level, both from above the neck and then the execution as well.”
 
(On if he feels like he is getting better at establishing a coaching rhythm during the game)
“Yeah, it was good. I feel like it was a little bit more comfortable having been able to anticipate some of the things that took place in the first game. I thought it was great as well because you get a chance to have a little bit of success in that first half. Then in the second half it allows you where I think we’ve got a great offensive coordinator in Matt LaFleur and his ability to get some experience as well like I was fortunate enough when I was working with (Redskins Head Coach) Jay (Gruden) in Washington. I thought he did a great job. He actually called the second half and made some great calls in that last drive of the game and I’m really happy with Matt and some of the decisions that he made. We were in constant communication, but I thought he did a great job and what the preseason offers too – I know that I have a lot of work to do. I’m not going to pretend by any means to be finished product as you’re continuing to learn and navigate through play calling. But, one of the things that I learned from working with Coach Gruden was what made him a special leader was his ability to empower others and help them grow as well. I thought that offered a great opportunity for Matt to show that he’s very capable and I think he’s a really good coach and we’re fortunate to have him.”
 
(On if he thinks that offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur will take away some of the play calling duties from him later in the season)
“I think right now, the anticipation is that I’ll be the play caller. I think the one thing that people should understand as well is it’s a collaborative effort. Everybody’s on the headset, we’ve got a plan and ultimately somebody’s got to send it in to the quarterback. But, there’s a lot of dialogue that takes place throughout the course of a game where whether it’s (offensive line coach) Aaron Kromer, (quarterbacks coach) Greg Olson, (offensive coordinator) Matt LaFleur, (tight ends coach) Shane Waldron, (wide receivers coach) Eric Yarber, (running backs coach) Skip Peete – we’ve got a lot of great coaches that have some feedback and some involvement in our weekly game planning and how we delegate those responsibilities. Ultimately, you’ve got to make the final decision, but I think it’s a representation of our staff as a whole when things go well and that’s a credit to having good guys around you. But, I think right now, the plan is I am going to continue to do that. Really it’s something that I enjoy and I think it allows you to feel like you can be a lot more involved with the offense than maybe otherwise because of some of the leaders that we do have on special teams and on the defense.”
 
(On how he would evaluate how the tight ends have blocked)
“I think they did a good job. I think each play kind of has a different response and the schemes and blocking patterns are a little bit different based on if you’re blocking a wide-zone or more of a downhill kind of power, gap-type play, so I think they did a good job. I think they’re continuing to evolve and improve. I’ve been really pleased with (TE) Temarrick Hemmingway throughout the course of training camp. I think he’s continuing to get better playing in-line – he’s got great length, great strength. I think (TE) Tyler (Higbee) and (TE) Gerald (Everett) are showing that they’re very functional both on the line and off the line of scrimmage where we can present some different looks. Those three have really done a good job. Obviously we know what a valuable piece (TE) Cory Harkey is because of his ability to play on the line and in the backfield. But, I think really when you look at those three, Shane Waldron like I’ve mentioned has done a great job getting those guys to develop. I think for the most part, they’ve competed pretty well in the run game.”
 
(On if he is going to watch the solar eclipse tomorrow)
“It’s funny because I don’t really know anything about anything other than football. Somebody was telling about that. Actually, Shane was telling me because he’s from the area that it’s going to take place.
 
(On if he knows anything about the eclipse)
“No, I don’t, but I can tell you about a defense. No, I’m just kidding (laughs). So, I think I might have to take a look and see what’s going on with that, but I just recently heard about that last night on the plane, which is embarrassing but true.”