Head Coach Sean McVay – Press Conference – August 23, 2017**
(On if there is any update on RB Lance Dunbar)
"No, it's kind of the same. We expect him to start the season on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform). He's continuing to work – rehabbing with (Director/Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and his staff and doing a great job. He's been a joy to be around in the meeting room. Unfortunately, hasn't been able to take part in a lot of the stuff on the field that we anticipated, but he's making the most of his situation and that's kind of where we're out right now."
(On if he likes that he has options at running back)
"Yeah, we do. I think (RB) Malcolm (Brown) did a good job kind of stepping up in Week 2 from what I know for him was a disappointing Week 1. I thought (RB) Justin (Davis) did a good job while he was able to make some explosive (plays) against the Cowboys, we've got to take better care of the football and I thought he did a good job with that. We did a better job as a whole with that, going from Week 1 to Week 2. But, I think those guys have done a good job in practice and we're looking to continue to evaluate those guys for the next couple weeks. So far, I've been pleased with what (running backs) Coach Peete has done with that group."
(On if there are any specific steps that he wants to see QB Jared Goff take on Saturday)
"I think you want to just see consistency and you sound like a broken record, but it's just making good decisions, being a good distributor of the football and just taking it one play at a time. If you can string together good decisions, throw the ball with great timing and rhythm and accuracy, that's going to give yourself a chance to play the quarterback position at a high level and I thought he did a good job of that last week. I know he'll be the first to tell you that there's a couple things that we all can do a little bit better with, but for the most part I thought it was a good outing for him. I want to see the same type of thing moving into this week against an excellent defense in the Chargers."
(On if starters will go into the 3rd quarter on Saturday)
"I don't think so. I think we'll probably going to approach it more similar to last week, just being mindful of some different players and on both sides of the football and just the overall outlook of being mindful of that September 10th game being very important. I think we've done a good job as a team, focusing on getting a little bit of work with the Chargers, but also continuing to compete and work on sharpening our systems. The preseason offers an excellent opportunity to go against what we know is a great opponent in the Chargers, but I think we'll take a very similar approach to what we did last week is probably what you can expect to see."
(On what he has seen from WR Nelson Spruce during the preseason and how tough does he think it is for the other receivers when you add a player like WR Sammy Watkins)
"We feel good about the receiver depth that we do have. When Nelson's been available, you can see he's a conscientious football player, just has a good feel for the game, good natural hands – unfortunately, he's struggled with just some rare injuries, whether it be his calf or some pulls here and there. Not being able to be available has made it a little bit difficult. But, like I've said about (WR) Tavon (Austin), or any of the other guys that are out with some of those injuries, I think what they can control and Nelson's been the same – he's done a good job of being attentive in the meetings, trying to rehab the best that he can. Unfortunately, when you're not healthy it's hard to compete at the best level that you want to. But, I've been pleased with Nelson and what he's done."
(On why he lines up against the players during drills)
"I've just always enjoyed being active out there with the guys. I think being able to kind of in some of those offensive periods alone, being able to give them some looks and try to mimic and emulate a defensive back or some of the looks and anticipate – I think it's always easier to have a visual. A lot of our coaches do the same thing and it's a good way to still try to burn a couple calories since you're sitting there and I'm snacking a lot more. I think it's just a great way to be able to kind of try to help paint that picture because that's what you're trying to do when we're doing some of those things that maybe doesn't have a defense. That's just always something that I've been able to enjoy doing and getting out there and moving around with the players."
(On if he chirps at the wide receivers when he plays defensive back)
"I think it's good that we've got a nice competition going back and forth with the defense and offense. I've always appreciated the swag that we have as an overall group from the defensive backs. I know (cornerbacks) Coach (Aubrey) Pleasant and (safeties) Coach (Ejiro) Evero do a good job with that as well. But, those guys don't need any help from me trash talking back. Our receivers give it back to them pretty good too, so it's been fun to watch."
(On what has been the difference with this offensive line that has allowed Goff and RB Todd Gurley to have some early success in the preseason)
"I think they've had good success. We've only played two preseason games, but I think that continuity for those guys up front when you look at the left side of the line with some of the veteran players that we do have and then watching the emergence of (G) Jamon Brown and (T) Rob (Havenstein). I've been very pleased with that group overall and I thought that they were a key reason why we were able to have a little bit of success last week. The thing that you feel good about with this group offensively though is we know that we have a long way to go. Certainly last week was positive, but by no means does that mean we've arrived. We're at where we need to be – we have so many things that we need to continue to get better at, continue to take those steps where you're incrementally improving every single day. But, so far we've been encouraged and I think the player's mindset is the same and we know that it's a great challenge ahead of us and that's why we're just kind of focusing on one day at a time. Credit to those offensive linemen though because it starts with those guys up front. I thought Todd did a good job running hard last week and like we said, Jared made good decisions and distributed it to his playmakers."
(On if he is expecting the workload for Goff and Gurley to be similar to the Oakland game)
"That will be something that we'll monitor because we did get a few of those guys out before Jared did. Those are decisions that we kind of make in games. I think especially for the quarterback position, not to mention a guy that's going into his second year, that work is invaluable for him. But, it's that delicate balance like we talk about, just between getting him out there with the players that you expect, being smart about it, trying to minimize the risk of injury there. We want to be smart about how we do that, while also having an appreciation that he does continue having to gain that experience. With Todd, I think you'll see a similar work load, if not less than what he got last week."
(On if he thinks Gurley is a more natural receiver than people give him credit for)
"Yeah, I think so. Absolutely. I've been very impressed with his ability as an all-around back. I think Todd's a very good football player all-around. You get around him and you can see – you can move him around the formation, he definitely has the ability to catch the ball outside of his frame. We've been pleased with him in that area and that's something that you maybe end up seeing a little bit more of. But, each week we'll dictate and determine a different approach, but we know that Todd is going to be a very important part of what we want to do offensively and I think he's been a great example of doing it consistently every single day."
(On if there is any update on DT Aaron Donald)
"No updates on Aaron Donald right now."
(On if he has done much game planning for the Chargers)
"Yeah, I have a lot of respect for the Chargers. I think (Chargers head coach) Coach (Anthony) Lynn does a great job and (Chargers defensive coordinator) Coach (Gus) Bradley. I actually worked with Coach Bradley in Tampa and he's an excellent leader, excellent communicator and got those guys playing hard. I think being able to practice against them twice, you have a little bit of a feel and they're an excellent defense and I expect them to do really good things. Offensively, we know what (Chargers QB) Philip Rivers and those guys are capable of. I think (Chargers RB) Melvin Gordon, what he did last year and (Chargers WR) Keenan Allen and (Chargers TE Antonio) Gates, they've got weapons all around, so it's going to be a great opportunity for us. As far as game planning, we've tried to really try to get a feel for the weekly rhythm in terms of our schedule. Not truly game planning it like you would when you play the Colts, but you do a couple things because they are a different offensive approach, they're a different defensive approach. Obviously special teams needs to do a good job of getting prepared for them. We'll continue to run our base plays, but maybe you have a little bit different approach of attacking some of the core coverages that you expect to show up from them. I think that right now in the preseason, the focus is on kind of improving our systems, focusing on our technique and then you get a little bit more schematic with the approach and maybe some things that are designed specifically to attack the defense or to stop an offense when you really get into that regular season game planning."
(On who he is picking in the Floyd Mayweather - Connor McGregor fight)
"It's going to be an interesting fight. I have a lot of respect for both of those guys. I think McGregor has been excellent as a UFC fighter. Mayweather is one of the best fighters of all-time, in terms of boxing. I think I'll have to go with my guy that's the boxer.
(On if he puts anything into the 'Fight for LA' slogan)
"I think what it does is it offers a great opportunity for two teams in a great market to try to put a sound product out there. Like we've said, I think it would be a little bit different if we were both in the NFC. But, being that we're AFC-NFC, have a lot of respect for them and what they represent and I think it's about right now what we're focusing on is trying to put a good product out there that fans can be proud of. I'm hoping for nothing but the best for Coach Lynn and his team this year as well."
(On if he has heard from Former Rams Head Coach Mike Martz)
"It's funny that you ask that. Actually, because of his history here and (Senior Director of Communications) Artis (Twyman) has a great relationship – he said that Mike Martz reached out to him and just said, 'Hey, just want to let you know that I have a lot of respect. You know how things can kind of get turned around.' He was great about it, so I appreciate him for reaching out to Artis. He certainly didn't have to do that, but I thought it was classy of him to do that and try to clear the air there."
(On if it's a blessing or a curse to have 90 guys through the entire preseason)
"It's definitely a blessing. I think when you look at it, the amount of injuries that come up whether it's guys with tweaks, pulls, you need those 90 guys. Especially when you look at how valuable those preseason games are. That's why I think it's a big reason why that rule getting passed is huge because typically before that fourth preseason game, you make that 75 cut and that offers an opportunity for those guys that are in that 15 range that end up getting cut, they don't get to put that tape out there. So, whether it works out for us or another team, that fourth preseason game offers an invaluable opportunity for a lot of guys that unfortunately won't be with us to try to put a good product out there that the other 31 teams will evaluate and really just to be able to be mindful of how we practice every single day, utilizing those numbers, drill and things like that. Having the 90 has been excellent and I think it's definitely been a great rule that they've put in place."
(On how much of his offense is in place)
"I think really what you try to do is have an identity. We're continuing to figure and find that out. Like you guys have heard me say before, we're trying to figure out what our players do best and then fit our scheme to them. We'll always have a couple things that will be our core-base philosophy, but then in terms of what we emphasize, what we really build on, it's going to be a product of what our players do best and what they're comfortable with. But, I think it's a credit to having really good, smart players. That's what we were talking about as an offensive coaching staff, is that we're very impressed with just having a smart group of guys that we're dealing with and when you do that, you have the ability to be able to expand on some different things that maybe you wouldn't otherwise. I think it's a credit to our players. As far as complex, I think you want to be able to present the defense with some different things, but you want to make sure that it's simple for the players, where they can play fast and hopefully that's how those guys feel right now."
Rams QB Jared Goff – Press Conference – August 23, 2017**
(On watching the film and how encouraging it was re-watching last Saturday)
"I thought we did a great job starting off fast, and like I said after the game, we stayed in manageable downs. I think we were only in one third-and-long, maybe two that I can remember. So, stayed in second-and-short and third-and-short and that's a good way to play. It makes it easier on us, makes it easier up front and I thought (Head) Coach (Sean) McVay did a great job moving the packet around, getting us on a couple keepers and had a couple guys open, was able to put it on them."
(On if seeing the offense succeed against an opposing defense boosts his confidence)
"Yeah, I think so. I think it does for the whole team. I mean, just seeing it come to fruition a little bit and the way we were so efficient. Like I said again, we were staying in great manageable downs. But, it wasn't like it was shocking. It's something that we expected to do. We expect to play like that. We expect to play well and we expect to move the ball."
(On if building chemistry with new receivers is different for each specific receiver)
"Oh, no doubt. It's always different. Some guys pick it up extremely fast – I think a good example would be (WR) Cooper Kupp as a rookie, picked things up really fast and it was really quick with him and I had already had some experience with him before we drafted him, so it was really quick with him, and other guys it takes time. But, for the most part I think, it's not ever a super – long deal. It takes a few weeks to a month and you get on the right timing, you start getting on the same rhythm, you start understanding plays together and start understanding leverages together and stuff like that and it starts to speed up the timing, speed up the rhythm."
(On WR Sammy Watkins ability to pick up new playbook from teams)
"Sammy's done a great job. I think Sammy's picked it up a lot faster than any of us expected. Honestly, just with the terminology and the amount of stuff we do offensively, as fast as he's picked it up, it's been really impressive. And, sure there's times where you need to remind him on things, but he's brand new. He just got here a week ago and has done a great job, ultimately just communicating with myself and the rest of the coaches on what he likes and how he feels on certain routes and stuff like that. It's been tremendous on his part."
(On if the first-team offensive line feels different)
"No doubt, yeah I think so, I think they've done a great job. I think just as a whole, they've really worked together. They're starting to gel and I think you saw that last Saturday – the Oakland defensive line is no slouch. They've got some dudes over there and they did a great job keeping them away and giving me a good pocket. It wasn't just throw it and get hit, it was clean the whole night. It was, no one really around me. (QB) Sean (Mannion) will say the same thing with his group. It was a really good job up front by everybody."
(On difference from last year's offense to this years)
"I don't know; I don't want to compare different schemes. But, I think we've done a great job installing and like I said, on Saturday you can see some of the work we put in all the way from April, all the way until now come to fruition a little bit. By no means are we satisfied or complacent, but we were able to move the ball well on those two drives and we're happy with the way it went."
(On Mike Martz comments regarding head coach Sean McVay)
Yeah, I was told about that yesterday. Like Sean said, he's entitled to his opinion. Whatever he wants to think is fine. Try not to pay much attention to it."
(On certain situations or throws he wants to experience or practice that he hasn't been able to yet)
"I'd love to get a two-minute drive. I don't think I've done that yet this preseason. That would be great, end of the half, get a two-minute drive. I think we had a good long drive there on my last one in Oakland. I think it was 17 plays, but it wasn't quite the two-minute tempo. That would be a good thing to get. Besides that, I think we've done basically everything – third-and-long, third-and-short, all that stuff."
(On how hard last year's injury was on WR Nelson Spruce and how he's handled that)
"He's done a great job. I mean, last year he had that one game against Dallas and then was unfortunately hurt for most of the year, but I think through the offseason he's just worked really hard. Worked really hard to get himself ready and get himself back and I think he's been excited this preseason to get out there and to get to play again. Ultimately, that's what he wants to do is make plays, catch the ball and he's done a great job."
(On his relationship with head coach Sean McVay)
"It's been great. He's been really good, I think we communicate well. He calls plays well. I think I've said it 100 times, it's been more than I expected. It's been really great the way he brings the play in and the way he's able to communicate with us on the field. Even off the field, in between plays, we talk about a lot of stuff. He's just a really good communicator and does a really great job."
(On if McVay playing defensive back at practice to push players is as rare as it seems)
"He makes it seem pretty normal, right? He gets out there and runs around, and I think he enjoys that. I think that's where he's very comfortable is moving around and being athletic. He used to play and being able to kind of get back into that may bring it back a little big for him. But, it's been great especially seeing him out there. You see your head coach playing defense, and you're going, 'Alright, we should bring it up a little bit.' So, it definitely does that for us."
(On if McVay instills fear in him, while playing defense at practice)
"A little bit. Not quite as much as our guys, but he does a little bit. (laughs)"
(On RB Lance Dunbar's injury forcing RBs Todd Gurley, Malcolm Brown and Justin Davis to do more in the passing game and how he thinks they've performed)
"Great. They've been great, just protectionally they've been awesome on the screws with everything and all of them have great hands. I think you throw to Todd, you throw to Malcolm, you throw to Aaron, you throw to Justin – any of those guys, great hands and get out of the backfield and make plays. Like I said, protectionally they've been on the screws and it's been really seamless."
(On if he's comfortable sitting out the fourth preseason and if he feels like he will be ready for the season opener)
"Yeah, we haven't talked about the fourth game at all. I know I'll play probably similarly to what we did last week, as far as reps. I have no idea what's going to go on the fourth week."
(On if he doesn't play the fourth week, will he be okay with that)
"Yeah, totally. I feel good."
(On if there is a play from the Raiders game that he felt was well-executed)
"The touchdown was fun. I think the play to Sammy (Watkins) was a good one. It wasn't as clean as you may like, but we did everything right up front, we did everything right on the back end with the receivers. Sammy ran a great route, sat it down. It was a huge third-down and it was on the 45-yard line, put us in field goal range and end up finishing the drive. So, that's a huge one to look back on and be like, 'Wow, even when it doesn't go perfect, it wasn't exactly the look we wanted, but we made it work and were able to throw it to a guy that's new and a guy we want to get balls to."'
(On his thoughts on the Chargers' defense after two practices with them)
"Yeah, it was fun. Those two practices we had were really fun, getting a chance to see their scheme and see what they do and they've got some good players over there. You see (DE Joey) Bosa and (DE Melvin) Ingram, even in the backend with (CB Casey) Hayward and (CB Jason) Verrett. It's a bunch of good players and it'll be fun this weekend to play them again."
(On his last game in Oakland being when he was a high school short-stop and what he remembers)
"That was my last baseball game ever, was on that field. We played the NCS championship against Saint Mary's of Berkeley. I think we won 8-2 and my last hit was a double to center field – right there on that field. That was my last one there until Saturday."