Head Coach Sean McVay – Press Conference – September 6, 2017**
"Fortunately for us, no injuries to report and that was kind of the goal going into this, is being as healthy as we could going into our first game. Fortunately, we've got a lot of guys back that have not played on the defensive side, they were flying around. It was a good start to our game plan. First and second down emphasis today, so that's kind of where we're at."
(On how the defense looks as a group)
"It looks good. I mean, guys had a great energy, great enthusiasm, they flew around. Great communication on the back end with some of the formation adjustments that we think their offense will require us to do. I think it was a good start to the week. We know we're taking it one day at a time right now, but I think in terms of starting off the week (the way) that we wanted to as a team, it was a positive step in the right direction for us."
(On if it has sunk in yet that his first game as a head coach is quickly approaching)
"I think we've got a lot of great people around me that can kind of help guide – you look at guys on this staff that have been a head coach. You look at (defensive coordinator) Wade Phillips, (special teams coordinator) Coach (John) Fassel did it for a handful of games last year. So, having those guys as mentors to be able to kind of guide along the way has been great. And then, really, I think until you get out there in the game, it probably won't set in, but I think we want to do everything in terms of our approach and our preparation to be smart with it, to try to put our players in the best situations to have success. But, it certainly has a different feeling this week. I know I'm excited about it. I certainly feel it from our players and our coaching staff and I think by the time Sunday at one o'clock rolls around, it will be a fun time and it will probably set in how humbling and what a blessing it is to be able to do this."
(On where he is confidence wise with QB Jared Goff heading into Sunday's game against the Colts)
I think we're very confident in our team as a whole and our offense. I think with Jared leading the way, we feel good about it. We know it's going to be about making good decisions, distributing the ball to the playmakers that we do have. Want to maintain a certain level of balance because of the confidence we have in our back that has done a lot of good things. So, as long as we just take it one play at a time, we expect him to make good decisions, throw with accuracy, timing and rhythm and if he does that, then I think he'll give himself a chance to play good football for us."
(On how he would compare where Goff was when he arrived versus where Goff is now)
"I think unless you're with a guy, it's always hard to truly evaluate him. What you see on tape from Jared before you ever get a chance to work with him and know the person – natural thrower of the football, he's tough where he'll stand in there and keep his eyes down the field. And then, in terms of building and developing a relationship with him, he's been a joy to coach – very coachable, understands that it's about correction not criticism and he takes things in stride really well. One of the things I like the most about him is, when things don't go as we planned, he doesn't flinch. I think that's something that you see in a lot of good quarterbacks, their ability to respond from a bad play, because inevitably there will be some that occur at some point. You want to try to minimize those as much as possible. But, the more that I get to know him, the more that I've enjoyed being around him and looking forward to seeing him compete on Sunday."
(On any specific areas that he's seen improvement from Goff)
"I think any time that you get guys in the games, that's where you get a chance to really evaluate them. I think we've been really pleased with what we've seen in practice – the pocket movement, the ability to work through progressions. The best test is when you can truly get tackled and I think in spurts, he's showed some really good positive signs of going in the right direction with what he did in the preseason. Certainly this game on Sunday will offer a great opportunity for us to see if what we feel like the confidence that we have in him and that we expect to see. Looking forward to seeing him deliver and we have a lot of confidence in Jared that he'll do that."
(On where Goff was mentally when he arrived as head coach to where Goff is now)
"The thing that I really like is, when I got a chance to interview for the job, you talk to him about how he processed last year. Clearly, it didn't go the way that we wanted it to go, but I sensed a guy that was motivated in the right ways. He didn't lose any of his confidence, but I think it was something that has driven him to work harder moving into this year, motivated for the right reasons. I think that's what you want from your quarterback. I've been impressed, like I was just saying, with his mental toughness and I think that's going to serve him well for a long time to come."
(On if he's disappointed that Colts QB Andrew Luck isn't playing and how he plans to attack QB Scott Tolzien)
"Well, I've got a lot of respect for Andrew Luck. To say that I'm disappointed not to see him, I probably wouldn't say that (laughs). But, what I would say is that, a lot of respect for them as a team, for Scott Tolzien. And we know that it's going to be a great challenge. I think they've got great players on that offense when you look at (WR) T.Y. Hilton, leading the league in receiving yards last year, (RB) Frank Gore's got over 13,000 yards in his career. You know, (TE) Jack Doyle I think is one of the more underrated tight ends in this league, so they've got guys that have made plays. They're tough up front. I think (offensive coordinator) Coach (Rob) Chudzinski does an excellent job in terms of the way that he attacks people, so it's going to be a great challenge for us and looking forward to seeing how things go on Sunday."
(On what keeps Colts RB Frank Gore on top of his game at age 34)
"I think he's a pro's pro. I don't know Frank personally, but I've been around a lot of people that have been around Frank and it sounds like he's all about the right things. He's one of the more patient runners. I think he's got a great feel for when he squares his shoulders off downhill. He's able to just feel the way that a defense pursues and he always seems to get the ball in the right place based on the way that the plays blocked. Works edges on people, great ball security. He's a guy that, he had a bunch of carries last year – only lost one fumble. So I think when you look at over the course of his career, when you see 13,000 yards, that production speaks for itself. Just watching the way that he competes he seems like he's all about the right kind of stuff and you respect that as a coach."
(On what he's seen out of DT Tanzel Smart thus far and whether he's a natural fit for the three-technique spot)
"I think Tanzel is one of those players that he's a natural fit for anything, because all he does is exactly what you want him to do and he continues to get better every single day. I think it's a huge credit to (Defensive Line) Coach (Bill) Johnson and (Defensive Quality Control) Coach (Thad) Bogardus with the work that they've done with him – obviously (Defensive Coordinator) Coach Wade (Phillips). But, I think he's one of the more contentious players that we do have. What he's supposed to do…you see, 'Hey, there's Smart again showing up doing exactly what he's supposed to do – making a play, affecting the offense.' Everybody wants to probably make a point about that he's short, but he seems to be a guy who tips the ball as much as anybody. You feel him as an offensive coach, can't say enough about how please we've been with what Tanzel's done. Especially in (DT) Aaron's (Donald) absence having him step up get some more opportunities that he wouldn't have gotten otherwise. It's been a great chance for him to take advantage of those reps and that's exactly what he's done."
(On any update on DT Aaron Donald)
(On if he has ruled out Donald for the game against the Colts Sunday at this point)
"No, I wouldn't rule him out. We're still in the same place. I know I kind of sound monotonous where, 'Hey we're trying to find a solution', which is exactly the truth. There's no update right now. Right now we had a great practice on a Wednesday and a lot of guys…you know you look at the Tanzel Smarts, (DE) Ethan Westbrooks. It's offered an opportunity for (DE) Morgan Fox and some of those guys to get reps that they wouldn't. You bring (DT) Tyrunn Walker back and I think they've capitalized on it. I think it's allowed us to develop some depth that maybe we didn't realize we had, so if you want to put a positive light on that. And then again, I'll continue to praise our players for…we know they love and respect Aaron – want him to be here, but they haven't let it be a distraction going into what we know is an extremely important game for us."
(On if he reacts to a quarterback's mistake differently as a head coach than he did previously as an offensive coordinator)
"No, I think especially being involved in the offense like you are. I think you always want to be mindful of how you communicate with your players. But, there's a certainly level of expectation that we have in terms of the decision making, especially when it involves taking care of the football that we expect everybody to have. And that really goes anybody that has the football, but especially those quarterbacks because they touch it every single snap. I think the guys…I think you want to make sure that you're firm with these guys, but it's always in a positive way, where it's about us figuring out how can we get better together. And like I mentioned earlier, it's not about criticizing, it's about correcting. You want to try to minimize that as much as possible. But I think when you're able to develop and build a relationship like you'd like to think you had with the guys that I've worked with in Washington like I'm continuing to do with Jared (Goff) and Sean (Mannion). It enables you to coach them in a way where they know you have a high standard for them and you expect big time results. So that allows you to coach them hard and I think they respond in the right way and that's what I've felt from those guys."
(On if there's anything during the week he's been thinking about going into his first regular season game as a head coach)
"I think the biggest thing is, let's just follow our preparation and our approach the right way to put ourselves in a position to try to play at an efficient level. Especially when you look at what you're responsible for offensively – want to kind of keep that same rhythm that you had in Washington. I don't want to try to do anything different. I don't want…I think it's just about us continuing to trust our process. You hear us talk about that all the time. We feel like we've established a good one in terms of our weekly rhythm leading up to the game. Certainly there's a level of excitement that's definitely different than what it's been, but we want to go about it where it's a very important game to us – just like any another game will be – and we'll try to do the best that we can."
(On if there's anyone from his past that he will call to lean on for advice going into his first game as head coach)
"From a family standpoint, my dad and my grandpa have been some of the biggest influences in my life. My grandfather's history in this business he's just got such a great perspective on things where he's seen it from the personnel side and the coaching side. And then, when I first got a chance to get into coaching in this league, working for (former Buccaneers Head Coach) Jon Gruden and then being around (Redskins Head Coach) Jay (Gruden) – those are two guys that I'm extremely close with, with the Gruden family as a whole. I know that I can always call them. I've talked quite frequently with Jay throughout the course of the preseason when things come up. He's a great resource for me and I think we'll even feel more comfortable sharing things with each other after Week 2."
QB Jared Goff – Post-Practice – September 6, 2017**
(On the similarities between his first season at Cal and his first season with the Rams and the similarities between moving into the second season both at Cal and with the Rams)
"In some ways sure, but I think it's completely different situations. There are some things that I definitely learned from that year, my freshman year, that I can carry over in how I approach this season. But yeah, I think as a whole we've really improved everywhere – not only offensively, but defensively, special teams, everywhere we've improved. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say we feel really good where we're at."
(On where he feels he's improved the most since last year)
"I think just understanding the intent of stuff that we do and understanding what the defense is trying to do and what the intent of their calls are and different ways to attack it. With that, the game just begins to slow down a little bit. I think that's what you ultimately feel. I felt it from year one to year two, at every level you're at, you get that slowdown effect a little bit from those two years and I think it continues to slow down as time goes on."
(On how he defines the difference from today compared to where he stood a year ago)
"Yeah, I've felt like I've answered this question many times, but yeah I feel good, I feel confident compared to last year. I think that obviously getting all the reps through the offseason has been huge and understanding what we're trying to do and like I just kind of said, understanding so much more about the game and about what everyone's intent is on the field. Ultimately, just comfortability and just being where I want to be mentally, physically, emotionally, everything."
(On if he is going to have to work at all with keeping some of that in check initially going into the first game)
"Maybe a little bit. The first game of every season there is always a lot of jitters and a lot of excitement and I think you even saw it in the first preseason game – it tends to happen and it even gets more so for the first regular season game. Yeah, there will be some of that, but I've never really had many issues with being able to stay calm, so I'll just continue to do what I do."
(On if he every puts pressure on himself because he was a No. 1 overall pick)
"I don't think so. I think I've always just tried to be the best player that I can be, day in and day out. Try to be the best teammate I can be, day in and day out and let the rest speak for itself. Don't try to do more than you can do, do what you can do every day and that's all that you can do."
(On if it's easy to have that mindset when everyone else on the outside keeps adding pressure)
"I think you have to. I don't think you can pay attention to anything and put too much unneeded pressure on yourself. Like I said, everyday come in here and do the best you can and continue to be the best person, player, teammate you can be and ultimately at the end of the day it should be enough."
(On how he will look to attack the Colts defense in the first game)
"I think we've done a good job so far up to this point game planning and getting a good sense of what they do defensively. They do a lot of things well and they do have a lot of good players there, so we're excited to get a chance to see them this Sunday and get a chance to show off what we've worked on the last six to nine months."
(On if that's important for him)
"Very, yes. Very important."
(On what is different from this coaching staff compared to last years')
"I think they've done a great job. Since the moment I met (head coach) Sean (McVay) and the rest of the staff, I think they've done a great job not only getting myself ready, but getting (QB) Sean (Mannion) ready and getting the whole offense ready as a whole. I've felt like they've done an incredible job just changing the culture around here and doing a great job with not only the offense, but Sean peeks in on the defense at times and has done a great job just keeping everything in line."
(On the overall vibe with Coach McVay compared to former Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher)
"Like I said, I just think he's done a great job since he got in the building. Just getting everyone on the same page and continues to teach us and get us ready."
(On how he will define success this season from a personal standpoint)
"You always want to win and that's always the main point, but I think as long as we continue to keep getting better and continue to improve, I think the rest will take care of itself. You don't want to say too much or say too little, but I think we're happy with where we are right now and excited about the future and excited to go into this season and hopefully make some noise."
(On if there is any disappointment with Colts QB Andrew Luck not playing in this game)
"I don't think so. I think you go into the game, you're playing the defense. I haven't looked at a snap of their offensive film. It is cool to play some of the guys that I grew up watching sometimes. Like last year I got a chance to play against (Patriots QB Tom) Brady and (Saints QB Drew) Brees and that can be cool for the first series and then you kind of settle in and start doing your thing. But no, I think most of the time you're playing against the defense."