Rams head coach Sean McVay, defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, offensive lineman Joe Noteboom, safety Jordan Fuller and quarterback Jared Goff each held video conferences with local media Thursday, discussing one of their players testing positive for COVID-19, replacing Andrew Whitworth, and preparing for Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, among other important topics, ahead of Monday night's game in Tampa Bay (5:15 p.m. PT, ABC7/ESPN).
Here are some of the highlights and key takeaways from those virtual conversations:
"I think the most important thing was making sure that people stay healthy, we do all the right things to try to stay safe, and try to minimize the impact." – McVay
- On Tuesday night, the Rams announced a player had tested positive for COVID-19. After conducting all football activities remotely Wednesday, they reopened their facility today.
- McVay said the player who tested positive is currently asymptomatic and that today "really was about as normal as it gets, all things considered." Other than a slight schedule adjustment, the team will continue to conduct virtual meetings and utilize its large outdoor tent for socially-distant in-person team meetings as it's been doing in accordance with the NFL's league-wide intensive protocols mandate issued this week.
"I think this is the best collection of skill group players that we've faced." – Staley
- The Bucs offense has no shortage of weapons between running backs Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown.
- And then when you factor in Brady, "it's a great challenge," Staley said.
"Whit's definitely an irreplaceable guy, being a 14, 15-year vet, but I feel the coaching staff, everyone here, they have a good gameplan for this game, and watching him for three years, I definitely feel prepared to go in there and do as well as he did." – Noteboom
- Replacing Whitworth last Sunday after Whitworth's knee injury, Noteboom will remain the team's starting left tackle while Whitworth recovers.
- Noteboom said going up against a defense like the Buccaneers with edge rushers like Shaquil Barrett – who led the NFL in sacks in 2019 with 19.5 – for his first start at left tackle "is definitely a good challenge."
"He's basically been playing as long as I've been alive in the league." – Fuller
- Fuller and the Rams secondary will have perhaps their toughest test of the season preparing for Brady.
- Fuller said Brady is "considered the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) by a ton of people" and "knows the game inside and out."
"We'll have our hands full, but we'll be ready." – Goff
- The Buccaneers return much of the same defensive personnel from last year's game heading into Monday night's matchup. In last year's game, Goff said Tampa Bay was "able to apply a pretty good amount of pressure and they're still doing a lot of pressure stuff."
- Goff said the Bucs have fast linebackers and defensive backs with "great ball skills."