Head Coach Sean McVay – Media Availability – November 15, 2017 **
From an injury standpoint today, typical rest for (OLB Connor) Barwin (knee), (T Andrew) Whitworth, (C John) Sullivan. (LB) Mark Barron did not participate with (rest), (S) Lamarcus Joyner with his hip, (G) Rodger Saffold with his ankle – (OLB) Robert Quinn was a limited participant, (OLB) Matt Longacre did not participate with a back, (RB) Malcolm Brown with his knee did not participate, (TE) Derek Carrier with his hamstring did not participate and (CB) Troy Hill with his hamstring did not participate. This time of the year we want to be smart with our guys. We trimmed off some of the reps, had a little bit more of an above the neck emphasis with our walk-thru and that's kind of to be expected. Want to make sure that we do a good job of just being smart with the week, getting a good week of preparation, but also being mindful of getting these guys as healthy as possible for Sunday for a physical game against a great opponent. That's kind of the approach that we took – it sounds like a long list, but I think a lot of those guys will be good to go for the game, it's just more precautionary and being smart from (Director of Sports Medicine/Performance) Reggie (Scott) and (Head of Strength of Conditioning) Ted's (Rath) advice.
(On if the Vikings are more physical than some of the other teams he has faced this year)
"I would say that I don't know about more physical, but they're a very physical front on both lines. I think when you look at this team, they're a complete team and you can see why. You don't really look about the numbers, it's about wins and losses and that's the production that we care about the most in this league. But, clearly you can see a lot of the situations that often dictate and determine the outcomes of games. These guys are highly rated because they're playing really good football, efficient in all three phases: offense, defense, special teams – very well coached and they've got great players to match good schemes, so it presents a great challenge for our guys. I know that just like any other game they know how important it is and we took a step in the right direction today."
(On how much he relies on his players that were teammates with Vikings QB Case Keenum for information on his tendencies)
"I think there's certain things that just the feel that a guy has during the game. But, it's clearly a different scheme that they're running with (Vikings Offensive Coordinator) Coach (Pat) Shurmur as opposed to what they were doing here with (former Rams Offensive Coordinator) Coach (Rob) Boras and those types of things. But, you can see – I think they have an appreciation and a respect for a lot of the good things that Case has done on tape. I think those guys would probably be better accustomed to answer some of the nuances of how he might – anything tips and tells or any sort of thing that they have a feel for. But, what you do see on tape is a very good efficient football player, makes good decisions, can kind of change that launch point, athletic and I think he's been a big reason why they've been one of the top units offensively in this league so far."* *
(On if he talks to his players about Keenum specifically)
"Oh, yeah. When you start out the week, you talk about the keys to the game – offense, defense, special teams and clearly being aware of what a good football player and what a nice job Case has done and you demonstrate and you show why. Guys will get a feel for that as the week progresses as well just watching more and more tape and I think it doesn't take long to see what a great job he's done and why he's played very well and why they're 7-2."
(On what he thinks are the hallmarks are of a Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer coached defense)
"I think you have such a huge amount of respect and appreciation for the consistency at which he's produced great defenses year-in and year-out at a bunch of different stops. Minnesota is no different than Cincinnati, Dallas, he's been at a bunch of places and had a lot of success. But, I think when you look at it, really defensively very similar to some of the things that (Rams Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) preaches to our guys. You see alignment, assignment, technique, effort – they don't give up cheap things, they play hard, they're fundamentally sound, every yard that you get is earned and it's hard earned yards. They've got great players up front, great players on the second level, great players on the back end. Everybody in their secondary that competes has a pick this year. They force bad decisions. Clearly (DE) Everson Griffen, (DT) Linval Joseph, you look at (DE Brian) Robison, (OLB) Anthony Barr. Every single player on their defense is a very, very good football player that we have to account for and then not to mention how good they are and then schematically they present a variety of issues, especially in some of the known passing situations with a variety of the blitz packages that he presents. You can see they have a great understanding on how to attack protections and we've got to be ready to handle that and especially in the noise, you watch the way they get off at home with that crowd. It's a great challenge for us, but one that I know our guys are looking forward to and you can see why in all the major statistical categories they're rated at the very top."
(On if he got an idea of what to do to beat the Vikings after watching the tape on their game against Washington last week)
"Yeah, I think the tape provides a great measuring stick in terms of just some of the teams that run like formations and personnel groupings that you might see how certain things play out. But, each game and really each play is kind of its own entity, but certainly it was a good, competitive game between them and Washington. There are some similar approaches that we'll take just based on me learning so much from (Redskins Head Coach) Jay (Gruden) and kind of some of the things we've implemented in our offense here in L.A. There were some good things, but you can see, they made a lot of plays and they create a lot of problems for teams' opposing offenses and it's why they're so good."
(On what C John Sullivan has brought to the Rams this year)
"What he's brought is he is one of the most impressive, in terms of just his overall intelligence and understanding of the game, one of the more impressive people that I've been around and that includes coaches and players. He really loves the game – what we put on the center positon up front, he does such a great job of commanding the communication, the calls, he sees the game from a 22-man perspective. His vantage point from that center spot, what he's able to see and understand what goes on, he sees how everything fits and goes together. It's almost like sometimes defensively it's a puzzle – if this guy is here, what's got to occur? And he's got a very intricate understanding of that and when you talk football it doesn't take long to really figure that out. He brings that and then he's also such a great veteran leader that goes about his business in a similar manner to the way that we talk about Whitworth – just the right way, the way he carries himself rubs off on his teammates in a positive manner and just like some of these other veteran players on our team and really some of the up and coming leaders. He's a guy that you can rely on to get a perspective of the players' standpoint in terms of how we might want to handle some things from my role. So, John has been very valuable to us in a variety of ways and I know (Rams Offensive Line) Coach (Aaron) Kromer would tell you the same in terms of the influence that he specifically makes in that meeting room every single day."
(On if the success of the defense in the past five games has altered the way that he calls games on the offensive side of the ball)
"That's a good question. I think sometimes the flow of the game might dictate a different response. When you look at the Jacksonville game, the way special teams was able to get a couple touchdowns and then you get a lead and feel confident in the defense it might alter where you're never going to be conservative, but you might be a little bit more inclined to do one thing over the other if you don't feel like you have to have points to be able to ultimately come away with the win. But, I think when your defense is playing as well as they are, it certainly is a very comforting feeling. They've been taking the ball away as well. Since the bye they've had seven turnovers over the last couple weeks and other than points, there is no greater indicator of wins and losses in this league and I think they continue to embody some of the things that you hear Wade and our staff as a whole preach. I've been very pleased with their effort and then it's about offensively if we are able to get those turnovers, let's turn them into touchdowns and come away with some points where now you can really make it important."
(On if he stresses ball security even more with QB Jared Goff this week when going against a defense like Minnesota's)
"You stress it every single week, but I think going against a great opponent like that, you always talk about that improvement and especially against a great opponent like the Minnesota Vikings, that's definitely at a premium. They've got guys that can get to the rush and the thing that's so challenging about them is they can hit home with the four-man rush and play loaded zone behind it or they can give you a bunch of different issues with some of their fire zones and different pressures that they present in a lot of those known passing situations. It's a great challenge and one that as the week gets closer to the game we'll hopefully start to tailor in on our plan and feel good about it, but it certainly is going to be a good matchup."
QB Jared Goff – Media Availability – November 15, 2017**
(On playing Vikings QB Case Keenum and what he anticipates the match up being like)
"I shot him a text the other day and we're both excited for it. It'll be fun. Get a chance to see him again, just get a chance to say hi to him and see how he's doing. He's been doing so well this year. As a I guy, there's not a guy that you could be more happy for. Really, for everything he's gone through, throughout his whole career, to get to this point of Minnesota playing well, winning and doing everything he's been doing there. I couldn't be happier for the guy and he deserves it all."
(On if there was one thing that Keenum said to him that's most memorable now that he's in the position that he's in)
"There's so many things I learned from him on and off the field. I think the number one thing that he kind of imparted, he wasn't super highly touted coming out of college and he made his career by working hard. That hard work is something I tried to grasp as much as I could and pick up little pieces here and there. So, I think that could be one thing that I learned him for sure is his work ethic, everything he's gotten in this league I think he's earned and fully deserves."
(On if it was ever awkward for him last year coming in with as much media attention as he received)
"No. I feel like we just rewound a year. Asking all the questions from last year. (laughs) No, Case was always so good at handling all that. No, it was never awkward. Case handled it like a pro and like the guy he is."
(On it being the anniversary of him being the Rams' starting quarterback and what he remembers from that day and if he was surprised)
"I remember (Former Rams Head) Coach (Jeff) Fisher telling us. I was excited to play and get out there. Feels like a long time ago now and looking forward to this week for sure."
(On what C John Sullivan has meant to the offensive line and him as a quarterback)
"I think we always talk about (T Andrew) Whitworth a lot because of what he's done, especially on that left side, but John's been tremendous in his own way. I think he's been just as important as anybody on this team and everything's he's brought to the table offensively and his ability to handle so much upfront, take so much off my plate and so much off a lot of guys plates up front. For him to make all those calls and be so in-tuned every game with every look and everything little thing is so good. He's been tremendous this year and a great help for myself and a big reason why our offense has been so successful."
(On if he and Sullivan do anything special to bond)
"Not during the season. We hang out in the locker room and stuff, but no during the season we're pretty busy."
(On what he can say about WR Robert Woods after his 94-yard touchdown)
"He's really starting to come into his own now in these last two days and two long touchdowns. A 94-yarder last week and then him taking the screen 55 (yards), I think it was the week before. Credit to his hard work, he's been working really hard. I don't know if he was frustrated, but he was a little kind of maybe confused why he hadn't scored yet. He'd gotten the ball probably more than anybody so many catches and just couldn't finally get in the end zone. Now he's got four in the last two weeks, so that's good to see for sure is him getting that reward of getting those touchdowns."
(On facing a tough Vikings defense and what he thinks about them)
"They're tremendous on defense. No weaknesses, really, at every spot. Upfront, the D-line, their linebackers are really good and the secondary, they're real special too. It'll be a really good challenge for us and something we're excited for."
(On the team's ball security being so good the last few weeks)
"I think just our ability to continue to protect the ball when we get into those traffic situations, our receivers and running backs have done such a good job. Honestly, it's something that we've emphasized in the building is it's all about the ball and continually emphasizing that and continually working on it in practice not just saying it, but working on it on the practice field and setting up drills to work on it has been huge for our team."
(On if there's any special preparation as they go up against the Vikings defense)
"No. We're going to prepare for them like any other team that we play every week. Obviously, knowing they are a good defense and have a tremendous pass rush and are really good is something we'll be aware of. But, no it doesn't change our preparation."