Head Coach Sean McVay – Media Availability – September 13, 2017**
"Just want to start out congratulating the L.A. 2018 (Olympic) committee. That's a big deal to be able to get the Olympics here and they're going to be at the game on Sunday. It's a huge honor for this city and it's a big congratulations to those guys. With injuries today, we had (S) Maurice Alexander was out with his shoulder – he will be day-to-day, but we're expecting him to be back tomorrow. (CB) Kayvon Webster was out with his shoulder and he's day-to-day, we'll see about him tomorrow (T Andrew) Whitworth and (OLB Connor) Barwin were out as a result of getting those guys some rest."
(On how DT Aaron Donald looked out at practice)
"Exactly like you would expect – looked fast, looked fresh, looked like the player that you've seen. It didn't look like he missed a beat and it was good to have him back out there. Great demeanor, guys were excited to have him back, he's all smiles because he loves football, so nothing but positive things there. I was happy too."
(On how much he is planning on playing Donald this Sunday)
"That's going to be something that we'll monitor. We'll see how he feels as the week progresses, but he took reps as if he's playing. We'll talk to Aaron – like I mentioned, we'll talk to (Director Sports Medicine/Performance) Reggie Scott and (Head of Strength and Conditioning) Ted Rath and we'll get a feel of what is going to be best for Aaron and our team."
(On if he is anticipating that Donald will start)
"Yeah. He's going to be a starter for us and so that's how we'll go with it this week."
(On if he's taken a look at the injury factors that go into a holdout player returning)
"Absolutely. We definitely don't wing that. I think really, (General Manager) Les (Snead and his staff already did a very thorough search. He's got a handful of guys that do a great job with the analytics where guys that have been on the holdout, that have come back, what are the amount of snaps that they've played? So, these are certainly things that we don't take lightly. We want to be very smart with Aaron in how we progress him back in, while being aware that each player has his own individual circumstance that dictates that response, whatever we decide to do. But, these are things that we'll come to a decision with both the player and our organization on what's best for everybody involved."
(On if there is any situation where Donald wouldn't play)
"No, the way that he looked today – you never want to say never – but if things continue to progress the way that they look today, I feel pretty positive and optimistic that he will be ready to go."
(On what he would say to Rams fans who are hesitant to come out to see the game)
"I think right now, what we've got is a team that's going to compete hard, we're going to prepare and try to have a very specific approach and preparation to lead to hopefully good performances. I thought our players did an excellent job last Sunday, time to move on from that and now get ready and hopefully, like I've said over and over and like we've said, it's our job to put out a good product for the fans and then hopefully after time, if it is that good product that we work so hard to try to put out there, then the support will come."
(On what is holding back RB Todd Gurley from consistently getting 100 yard rushing games)
"I think when you look at the game the other day, he popped a couple runs that got called back that you're talking about a holding that maybe it affects the play, maybe it doesn't. He's popping runs that you can just look at little things here and there, but you don't take into the count that he's making in the pass game. He's a big contributor there, 50-plus yards receiving, so he has a big influence and outcome on the game. We've got to do a good job – it starts with me, I've got to a better job of giving us cleaner looks in the run game to be able to run with and then we've got to be able to execute with those looks. It takes all 11 (players), it's not all on Todd, but we're going to work hard at that, it's a big point of emphasis for us and we certainly have to do a better job of giving a special player like him some better looks and it starts with me."
(On the challenges of knowing a lot about Washington and Washington knowing a lot about him)
"I think you have a familiarity with how each other operates, but really, when you look at it, offensively we've done some different things based on some of the staff members that we have here that have had success in other places. I know that (Redskins Head Coach) Jay (Gruden) has put his own little tweaks and wrinkles on it and they've done an excellent job. Then defensively, (Redskins Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Greg) Manusky was a linebackers coach last year – when he was the defensive coordinator in Indy, we played against them when I was in Washington, but there's still a lot of things where it's about preparing the same way that you would. You do have a little bit of an idea of just some of the offenses, but again, you don't know when they're going to do it and we've got to do a good job of trying to put our players in good spots, make good decisions and then hopefully those guys will go execute on Sunday. It will be fun. Like I've said over and over, what Coach Gruden's done for me and what that organization has done for me with (Redskins Owner) Mr. (Dan) Schneider, (Redskins Team President) Bruce Allen can't say enough about them. But make no mistake about it, we're preparing to try to go win a football game this week and then I'll be pulling for them after that."
(On the consensus being that the right side of his line graded out well against the Colts)
"I think when you look at the O-line play, it's really difficult to grade that. First of all, I think they did some good things, as a whole they protected well. We can utilize some of the techniques that (Offensive Line) Coach (Aaron) Kromer is coaching a little bit better across the board and that goes for up front, tight ends, receivers – our run game as a whole can be better from a technique standpoint. But, I think unless you really know the specifics of what the intent of the play is, how are those combinations supposed to be fit, where is the backs landmarks, it's really difficult to say that he got a plus or a minus unless you're in that meeting room. But, what I will say is, I think (G) Jamon (Brown) and (T) Rob (Havenstein) are taking steps in the right direction. They will be the first to tell you that they can do some things better and we expect them to improve this week."
(On what he thinks is the most difficult part of play calling)
"I think it's just making sure that you're aware of what you've done, staying in the flow of a game and having a feel for – you always go in with a game plan, but then I think you really have to make sure that you have a feel for if things are playing out differently, where if a guy has got a hot hand, that you're making sure of being aware of kind of being in-tune with those in-game adjustments. But when you've got a good staff, you feel good about that and then really, it's very similar to how I operated in Washington where you're in constant communication with the offensive coaches. Very rarely you kind of click back and forth and you have the ability to do that, but I think last week's performance shows why it would be silly of me to kind of try to interject on a lot of the things that our defense and special teams are doing with 'Bones' (Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel's) success and you look at what (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) has done with defenses and then last Sunday. Sometimes it's important to have a good feel for what's going on overall and that's making sure that you have an ownership on that offense, especially if you're going to be calling the plays and knowing clock management, but also making sure that when you've got great coaches, let them do their job."
(On if there is someone that he tries to emulate when coaching)
"I think there's been a handful of guys that I've been around that I've really respected.
(On if he tries to emulate anyone with regards to play calling)
"I think really, when I first started you get a chance to work for (former Tampa Bay Head Coach) Jon Gruden when he was calling plays. I really respect and admire the way that he goes about that process. Then you get a chance to go to Washington and work with (former Washington Offensive Coordinator) Kyle Shanahan, who I think is one of the best play callers in this league. He does a great job of mixing it up, very creative mind. Then having a chance to be around Jay the last handful of years. And then some of the defensive coaches that I've seen call games have been very impressive guys, so I've been around a handful of guys that have shown you what the right way to do it is and I think you want to try to always take from some of those guys that are willing to invest and mentor you, but also kind of try to put our ownership on it with our staff and what we're doing here."
QB Jared Goff – Media Availability – September 13, 2017
(On how difficult it will be to have the same kind efficiency against Washington that he had against Indianapolis)
"Just going to try to come out and execute again. I think we did a great job this past weekend just doing what we're supposed to do. Still have a lot of things we need to clean up though, which is the best part about it. But yeah, just come out this week and execute the game plan throughout the week and try to do it on Sunday again."
(On how it feels to have DT Aaron Donald back in the fold)
"It's nice. It's nice seeing him across the line of scrimmage again, making practice hard for us again. But no, It's good to have him back and it's good to see him around the building again, for sure."
(On how much harder Donald makes practice)
"Very. Very. Especially, when we have pads on. It's not fun, but that's me speaking, you should ask the O-line. I'm glad he's on our team, I'll just say that. I'm glad he's with us."
(On if Donald was disruptive in today's practice)
"I mean, I don't know. I think it's hard without pads on. He looked good today. I thought he looked fine and did what he normally does."
(On how Donald being back makes the defense better which gives the offense more opportunities with the ball)
"Yeah. Like I said, I'm glad he's on our team and I'm glad he's back and glad we get him."
(On what he notices about Washington's defense)
"I think they're just – I think they're super athletic. I think they've got really good players, really good talent over there across the board, from the front seven all the way through the secondary. They've got a lot of good players and are extremely athletic and long and can make plays all over the field."
(On if he's antsy to get back out there and continue to build on his performance against the Colts)
"Yeah. I think again, it's just day-by-day. Go out here today, try to have a good practice, do the same thing tomorrow and continue to try to execute our game plan and try to put us in a good situation to win."
(On if he feels that one of head coach Sean McVay's biggest strengths is putting him in position to succeed)
Yeah, I think so. I think Sean does a great job calling games and not putting me in a great position to succeed, putting our whole team in a great position to succeed. Putting the team in position to win. Ultimately, that's what he's supposed to do and I think he's done a great job of that so far. In the first game, it was really good."
(On the biggest difference in the way McVay calls a game compared to the way last year's coaching staff calls a game)
"He does a great job. He's done a great job so far."
(On if it will be interesting to see the way Washington's offense is run with QB Kirk Cousins)
"Yeah. I feel like we've watched almost every one of their plays from last year up to this point. Just seeing film on them, so yeah, it will be cool. But, at the same time, we're just going to do what we do and focus on us and try to be the best we can on Sunday."
(On if he feels that the Rams have a little bit more of an advantage because McVay was in Washington last year)
"Yeah. For sure. Definitely, there's part of that, but I think they know some tendencies as well, so there's going to be a little bit of give and take on both sides. But, for sure, we do have some stuff that we do know because he was there and because of some of the coaches that were there that we do have some things. Like I said, at the same they'll have some things as well."
(On if the team has addressed the 'easy fixes' that he mentioned following the Colts game)
"Yeah. I think so. I think we did a good job today getting some of that stuff fixed. I thought today was a good practice and I thought we executed well, especially in the run game, looked really good today. Hopefully we can carry that into Sunday."
(On if he talked to Kirk Cousins at all after McVay was hired)
"I met Kirk at the Super Bowl. Briefly chatted with him for five minutes about Sean. It was right when he had been hired. Like you said, nothing but good things to say about him. I'm a fan of Kirk's and after seeing what he did last year on film, I don't think he gets enough credit for what he did over there and I'm a big fan of his as well."
DT Aaron Donald – Media Availability – September 13, 2017
*(On what the last few weeks and months have been like for him) *
"Just trying to keep myself in shape – keep myself working. Not being around, knowing it's a new scheme and just trying to go off the notes I already had. Just keep myself up and ready."
(On how often he worked out and how good of shape he's in)
"I worked out a lot. I'm in great shape, but (there's) a difference from running around and then having to be the football field. So, just going day-by-day here and just seeing how I feel as the week goes on."
(On if he stayed mostly at the University of Pittsburgh)
(On how he felt today)
"It felt good. I wasn't tired at all. So when you put the pads on, I'm going to see tomorrow."
(On if he felt like he achieved what he hoped to)
"Just trying to handle the business side of things, but at the same time it's a decision that I made for my family and the guys that were helping me around me. So my main focus is, I'm back now and just doing what I (have) to do."
(On if he felt that during the time he was away that there was ever a point that contract negotiations were close to happening or not)
"I'm letting my agents handle that side of things, the business side of things and my main thing is football."
(On if there was a level of frustration he felt going up and down while contract negotiations were underway)
"I love football, so being away from it definitely was tough. But like I said it was a decision I made to do, but the way I chose to handle it is the way I chose to handle it and I'm here now."
(On if the Rams organization has offered to make him the highest paid defensive player in the NFL)
"I'm going to let my agents handle that and just do football. (We're) going to see."
(On what ultimately led him to return)
"A lot of things – just chose to come back."
(On if he has confidence that contract negotiations will eventually come to an end)
(On if he personally feels that way)
"I hope so. I feel like it's a business so business is business."
(On if he knew for a while that he would be back last Saturday and if that was a target date for him)
"No. It's just something that I just sat down and talked to my family and agents about. It was a decision we chose to make."
(On if contract negotiations don't get done, is he prepared to sit out again next year)
"I'm just thinking about now. Like I said, I'm here now and I'm back on the football field."
(On if he's able to separate the business side of football when he's on the field)
"Yeah, anytime you're around your guys again, they're going to pick me up. But, we would like for things to get done, but like I said I'm going to let my guys handle that side of things and I'm going to handle the football side of things."
(On how much he anticipates to play in Sunday's game)
"It depends (on) how this week goes. Today I felt good. We're going to see tomorrow wearing pads and just going day-by-day right now."
(On his assessment of the current Rams defense against the Colts last week)
"They dominated. They did great. They dominated, that's all you can say."
(On what it was like being around his teammates upon his return)
"Good. Just a lot of love. Happy to be back, happy for them to have me here. They understand the business side of things, but there were just glad I was back."
(On if he has any concerns about playing on Sunday)
"Day-by-day. We're going day-by-day right now. We're going to see what happens."
(On how he weighed the question of him not showing up early enough to play in the season opener last Saturday)
"Like I said, it was just a decision that talking to my agents, talking to my family – it just happened how it happened. It wasn't something I chose. It wasn't a certain date they were shooting for – it just happened."
(On how he fits into Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips' scheme and if he has a good understanding of the scheme)
"Yeah, pretty much everything when I was here in veteran mini-camp – same thing. So I don't feel like I'm behind or anything as far as knowing the plays. I might mess up here and there, but when I was out there today I felt pretty solid. I know all the checks and everything that was going on."
(On what it meant to him that Head Coach Sean McVay flew to Atlanta to visit him face-to-face)
"Just to sit down with my guys – I wasn't there – but just knowing that he went out there just trying to get things fixed and trying to find ways, from a football side of things, to get me back. He's been on my side a lot in trying to get this thing done. I feel confident that he's turning this organization around for the best, so like I said just trying to get things done so I can be a part of it."
(On the difference between being in great shape and being in football shape and it taking time to get used to hits)
"Like I said we're going to go day-by-day. I feel like, I feel pretty good. But we're going to see. I'm going to see tomorrow when we're actually in football pads and I'm actually running around hitting. But, we're going to see."
(On if he feels like there's any animosity with the Rams front office)
"Just business, that's all."