Head Coach Sean McVay – Media Availability – December 6, 2017 **
"Did not practice today. We had really a mental approach as far as above the neck and this time in the year it actually served us well where we got a lot of good work in, got more reps than we would have otherwise than when you just do your walk-thru and your normal practice. So, where we're at, it actually worked out as a benefit to us. Now, part of that was an adjustment just based on the fires and different things like that, so certainly hope that everything is okay. Fortunately, I don't believe that any of our players or their families have been affected by that – same thing with our coaching staff. That's something that we want to monitor. But, as far as the injuries, if we had practice today, guys that would have been non-participants would have been (C John) Sullivan, (T Andrew) Whitworth and (LB) Mark Barron with their typical kind of veteran rest days – (OLB) Connor Barwin with his forearm, (LB Alec) Ogletree with his elbow and then (WR) Robert Woods with his shoulder. Those are the guys that would not have participated. But Alec is making good progress, he's doing everything the right way in terms of his rehab and he's putting himself in a position to be ready to go this week is what we anticipate."
(On what he knows about how the rest of the week will shape up in terms of a practice schedule)
"That's a good question. One of the things that just seeing the air quality and I don't know exactly what would dictate putting our players in a healthy position, seems like if things continue to improve we'll be able to go about our normal operating procedure tomorrow and be out here. If not, then we've got some contingency plans in place to go down to USC. But, with where the fires are now, going down a little bit further to that area, we might have to explore some alternative options so that we can actually make sure that we get a good practice in and get out on the field and do those types of things. But, hopefully the anticipation is to be able to use our own place."* *
(On if he is certain that the game on Sunday will be unaffected)
"I haven't heard anything otherwise. If that does change, I'm sure you guys will hear it as quickly as we do. But, as far as we know right now, normal operating procedures and expect to go on Sunday at 1:25 (p.m.) I believe."
(On if there is a concern with breaking the players routine)
"I don't think so because one of the things that I think our guys have gotten comfortable with even when you look at the long trip that we had earlier in the year, they just kind of adjust and adapt. I think we've become a more mature team as the season has progressed. – The goal at the end of the day is to make sure that our players are as fresh as possible on Sunday at 1:25 (p.m.). With the way that just the natural progression, in terms of what the season does taking a toll on guys, sometimes you do even look into it when you get later on in the season of making it more of a mental approach. We've been fortunate like we've talked about with the injuries, so we haven't had to adjust, which sometimes inevitably occurs just based on the availability with your numbers for the week. We've been fortunate in that regard, but I think our players will feel fresher. Really, we just kind of make the most of whatever the situation is that we have to deal with. I think it ends up kind of being, certainly you never want these things to occur, but a blessing in disguise as far as just for our preparation, not to be confused with how serious all the stuff that is going on is."
(On P Johnny Hekker's character and on Hekker taking his day off to go volunteer at the fire evacuation centers)
"I think that example just demonstrates and represents who Johnny really is. I bet you he'd be the first to not feel like he needs any sort of credit for something like that. As soon as you get around Johnny, he's just got a nice, authentic, genuine way about himself where (he's) very empathetic. He's a great person, great leader. He does a great job of kind of building and developing relationships with his teammates and when I hear something like that in the little bit of time that I have been around Johnny, it doesn't surprise me. But, I think it just continues to demonstrate the type of character that he has and when you've got people like him in those leadership positions with the way that they can affect and influence the rest of the team, you feel like your team is in good hands and that's what we've got with guys like Johnny and a handful of other players. So, that's great for Johnny, but it doesn't surprise me at all."
(On if there is an update on WR Robert Woods)
"Right now, he's in a situation where he's just continuing to go throughout his rehab. He wouldn't have been a participant today in practice. I think he is making progress. As far as what exactly that means with his availability, don't have any specific updates. But, I know that he is anxiously awaiting his return and he's doing everything he can in his power. We'll be excited when we're able to get Robert back."
(On if he will play it cautiously based on the success that WR Josh Reynolds has had)
"I think you want to be smart with him period because of how important he is, not just for whenever he gets back, but for the future of our team. Robert is a great football player. He's had a great influence on our receiver room. I told him really after just watching the way that Josh and some of those other guys have stepped up that he should be proud of that because of the way that he's led in a lot of ways that room and helped bring those guys along and I think he was. But, as far as just how those guys have played affecting when we get Robert back or not, we want to get Robert back when he's available and what's best for him and our team. But, it is nice that those guys have stepped up in his void, but we certainly feel like we'll be a stronger football team when we get Robert Woods back on the field for us."* *
(On if he relies on veteran players later in the season and what specifically do they help him with)
"You certainly do. I think that's really kind of been a consistent approach throughout the whole year where you really rely on your players. I think that's what is special about what we have going on, is it's a shared ownership in kind of what we're doing on a day-in and day-out basis with our coaching staff and our players. We've got the right kind of guys that you can empower. They understand what we need to get done throughout the course of the week and then how we go about that process to be as productive as possible. But, you also lean on (Defensive Coordinator) Wade Phillips, you also lean on (Special Teams Coordinator) John Fassel, (Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers) Joe Barry, (Offensive Line Coach) Aaron Kromer, (Quarterbacks Coach) Greg Olson – we've got a lot of great coaches, great people in this building whether it be from the coaching staff or the players, we certainly want to make sure we utilize as a resource to make the best decision for our team."
(On how much he thinks it helps Eagles QB Carson Wentz being in his second year in the Eagles offense)
"I think it's helped. Just being in that division and having some crossover, really impressed with just the way that he came in. He was a mature guy coming out of college just watching the way that he handled himself, carried himself, exhausting his eligibility in college, but then you just watch and I think (Eagles Head) Coach (Doug) Pederson does a great job. I think the system that they're running is conducive for success for quarterbacks. It's a proven system. He does a great job mixing personnel groupings, utilizing their personnel to the right strengths and different things and he's gotten a lot of guys involved. I think just watching Carson immediately come in and be impressive as a rookie and then you watch from year one to year two, the growth has been extremely impressive to watch. It's why he's in consideration, he's talked about as one of the best in the league. They're scoring as many points as anybody right now. He's getting a variety of playmakers involved. Then, he can create on-schedule or off-schedule and when things happen and break down off-schedule, it's a scary thing for most defenses and he's made a lot of big plays doing it that way."
(On what he thinks it is about Wentz that allowed him to be successful right away)
"I think for one he's a very talented individual and then I think he's conscientious. I don't know Carson personally, but when you just watch from afar and you hear the way that coaches talk about him, the couple people that I know in that Philadelphia organization speak the world of him with the way that he carries himself, football is important to him. He's kind of one of those guys that you look at that demonstrates what it looks like to do things the right way and when your quarterback is that guy, I think it certainly helps. He's a smart player, you can just see by the way that he plays the game – he understands what he's seeing from the defenses and how that affects his decision-making and what he's going to do with the football. Then, clearly he's got the talent both with his arm and with his overall athleticism to utilize his legs to beat you. Those are scary things to try to defend and it's why he's been playing at such a high level and why he's a great quarterback."
(On how he has seen the Eagles defense change over the last couple seasons)
"They've done a great job. I think one of the things about a (Eagles Defensive Coordinator) Jim Schwartz led defense you always see these guys play extremely hard. Great get off up front, four-man rush penetrating type front where they get off and they're aggressive. They've got speed on all three levels. They've got a very clear cut philosophy. It's very similar kind of what we said about Minnesota, where you earn every single yard you get against a defense like this. They're number one in the league in rushing defense. They do a great job in all the situations – third-down, red zone. They get sacks, they get takeaways, but I think it's just guys getting more comfortable, when you look at just from a personnel standpoint. Being about to add a (DT) Timmy Jernigan upfront and what he's been able to provide I think has been outstanding. (DE Derek) Barnett rushing as a rookie on the left side has really provided some different things for them and then they've got great players in (DT) Fletcher Cox and (DE) Brandon Graham, you look at (DE) Vinny Curry. In the middle they've got (LB Mychal) Kendricks who's playing with speed. You look at on the back end, they're as deep any as secondary that we've played all year. You kind of are like, "Wait, who's in there now?' They've got two great safeties in (S) Malcolm Jenkins and then when you look at (S Rodney) McLeod. They being (S) Corey Graham in, who can do a little bit of both. (CB Patrick) Robinson, (CB) Jalen Mills on the corner and then they're getting (CB Ronald) Darby off the injury. I know I'm naming all their guys, but they can all play. It's why they're a great defense, it's why they can provide a variety of looks and Coach Schwartz is an excellent coordinator who makes it really tough to prepare for, because of what he presents from a schematic standpoint as well."
(On what he thinks he will learn about QB Jared Goff in these big games down the stretch)
"I think each week has provided a chance to kind of reiterate some of the things that we saw early from the year. I don't necessarily know if about eager to learn, but just eager to see him continue to grow and really us go through experiences together. That's one of the things that's unique about this is that here he is in his second year as a starting quarterback in the league. This is first time you've gone about this journey. With some of the things that you're doing offensively, this is only the third year that you've called plays. So I think it's fun for us both to learn as we gain some experience together and one of the things about this league is you realize how quickly you can get humbled. Even though we've both been fortunate to have a little success, you've got to learn from the mistakes as well and we go through the good and the bad together. I think what I've seen from Jared that's been so impressive is his ability that no matter what the moment is, no matter how big it is at that point in the game, regardless of what's occurred prior to that whether he's had a successful drive or whether we've turned the football over – he's fearless and he's not afraid to fail. He goes out there and he's got a certain confidence and a belief in his ability to get it done. And a belief in his teammates and I think that rubs off on guys. That even-keeled demeanor and that kind of fearless mindset mentality, especially from the quarterback position is something that you sure feel good about as a coach and I think that's why he's going to be a special player for us."
(On the possibility of the NFL enforcing a targeting rule and could prevent those types of hit)
"I think so, what I think everything is geared towards is just being mindful of in a physical game you want to try to provide the players with as much safety as possible, knowing that there is a physical element to this game. But, I think trying to be able to keep players free from especially some of those head injures that do occur is a big focal point for the league. And that's something that you can't emphasis enough. You want to try to avoid those and if that's something that's going to be intentional about helping to provide a little bit more safety and protection for our players, then we're always about that."
(On how close RB Malcolm Brown was to playing against Arizona)
"He was close. I think if we really wanted to press it with Malcolm, we could've. But, just taking (Rams Director of Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie's (Scott) advice and knowing that he'd be pressing a little bit. With some of things that we would like to do with Malcolm that we felt like the best decision for him and for our team was to let him rest. But, we anticipate having him ready to go this week, unless he has any setbacks."
QB Jared Goff – Media Availability – December 6, 2017**
(On if he's looking forward to being on the same stage as Eagles QB Carson Wentz)
"Yeah, it'll be fun. I think it'll be good to see him, good to talk to him and good to compete on the same field. But ultimately again, like I said, I'm competing against their defense and he's competing against ours and that's kind of the way it goes. Any time you guys ask me about a quarterback matchup, I'm going to say that every time and it's no different this week."
(On if anything goes through his mind about being on the field at the same time as Wentz)
"No. We won't be on the field at the same time. Actually, one of us will be on the sidelines and one of us will be out there, but like I said, it'll be fun. It'll be good to see him, it'll be good to compete in the same game as him, but at the same time, we're focused on such different things. I look forward to saying, 'hi' and what not and chatting with him. Besides that, I just have a lot of respect for what he's done this year. I'm very happy for him and look forward to seeing him."
(On if this matchup would be one he would be interested in watching as a fan because of the quarterback matchup)
"Yeah. I'm sure it will be a fun one to watch. Yeah. It'll be good."
(On if he's been able to watch Wentz play much this year)
"Yeah. Actually, a lot of our film has crossed over, so we do actually watch a lot of their offense. Yeah, like I said, he's been tremendous this year. Everything he's been doing, especially his ability to extend plays and make plays outside the pocket. I know that's always something he was always really good at and is continuing to get really good at. A lot of respect for him and what he's done. He's one guy who has really worked his way into everything he's earned. He's deserved everything he's earned up to this point and expecting him to continue to keep getting better. He's a really fun guy to watch."
(On his opinion on the Eagles' defensive front)
"They're really good. They're one of the top defenses in the league and for a reason. Upfront – those front four are four of the best we're probably going to play all year, so we're going to have to get prepared for them. But at the same time, our front five are pretty good themselves. It'll be a good matchup for us. Then in the back half they're really good as well. I mean, they're good at corner, they're good at safety, they're good at linebacker. They're a tough, tough team and a tough defense that we're going to have to really prepare for."
(On the approach that he takes to not making this game bigger than any other game)
"Just take the same approach we take weekly. It is just one of 16 and it counts the same as every other one. There are, obviously, a little bit more implications later in the year, but it counts just the same as the first game of the year as any other game of the season. So, really approach it the same way as those."
(On how practice today was similar or different to his typical Wednesday practice)
"I think today, it actually ended up working out really well. Just getting a chance to kind of get off of our feet a little bit and get all our mental work in and get probably a lot more reps than we would have live reps. Obviously, the timing and stuff like that is something that I want to get with the receivers which we expect to do tomorrow. Today was actually really good for us to get a lot of mental work in and kind of have a walk-thru setting. It goes back to kind of the same thing the San Francisco week. Week 3, with that Thursday Night game, we did that for the whole week leading up to that game and we scored 41 points. So there's something to that, it can be beneficial at times for sure."