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TRANSCRIPT: McVay, LaFleur, and Phillips Discuss Rams Camp Day 6

Rams Head Coach Sean McVay– Training Camp Press Conference – August 4, 2017



(On what he is hoping to see going into tomorrow)

"I think a good, competitive day. I think it will offer a unique opportunity to be able to compete against somebody other than ourselves. It's about that time where camp starts to get a little monotonous, so I think it will be a great opportunity for us to compete against a great team with a lot of good players and really for offense, defense and special teams to see a different system. Anytime you're able to do that, it always provides a good measuring stick, you want to be smart and being able to get all our coordinators on the same page. I think it's going to be set up for a good practice where we'll get a bunch of good situational work and it'll be great for both teams." 

(On how concerning WR Tavon Austin's injury is)

"I know he's frustrated right now too because he is a guy that wants to be out here, he's a great competitor. The unfortunate injury that caused him to really miss the majority of the offseason program and now this – it's a little bit of a setback, but the way we look at it is a setback is a setup for a comeback and I think he has a good mindset about it. We're not going to blink, we're just going to worry about what we can control and that's him doing a great job with his rehab every single day and making sure from a mental standpoint he stays ahead of the game. But, you would definitely love him to be out here to be able to get those reps and continue to figure out the ways that he'll fit and the way that we'll try to utilize him in this offense. In the meantime, there's nothing we can do about it except for just take it a day at a time."

(On how long he thinks Austin's injury could linger)

"It's a day-to-day thing. Talking with (Director/Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott), hamstrings are always things that you want to be mindful of and be very careful with, especially when you are bringing back an athlete like him. His game is so much predicated on explosion and quick twitch and those sometimes can be really tricky, so it is kind of a day-to-day thing right now." 

(On WR Josh Reynolds injury)

"Yeah, he had a minor thing with his quad. He's day-to-day, as well. We're expecting him back in the next few days, but you just want to be smart, especially with some of your skill players with any of those minor tissue injuries, especially in their lower half. That's something that we can't afford to have setbacks and he's a guy that he's making good progress and we're hopeful that he'll be back in the next few days."

(On if he talked with Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn about the joint practice tomorrow)

"Absolutely. We talked going back a handful of months and early in the offseason program when we were going to try and get these practices set up. We want to get a bunch of good situational work and then I know that (defensive coordinator) Wade Phillips has talked to (Chargers offensive coordinator) Ken Whisenhunt and (offensive coordinator) Matt LaFleur with (Chargers defensive coordinator) Gus Bradley and 'Bones' (special teams coordinator John Fassel) with (Chargers special teams coordinator) George Stewart, so they've all connected and we know what we're trying to get out of it. I think it's going to be a great opportunity for us to get some good looks and go against a team that's right down the road."

(On if there's an estimate on the number of plays each team is going to run)

"Yeah, we've got it laid out, because we're going to be StubHub (Center), it's going to be an interesting setup. While our offense will be doing team-run kind of segment of practice if you will, then our defense will be doing red zone and we'll flip-flop with that. We'll end up getting about four team periods where it'll be separate, a couple 7-on-7's – both red zone and kind of normal field stuff and then we'll finish up with some two-minute and some unscripted move the ball stuff. So, really going to try to hit all ends of the spectrum where you get the major situations with some of the stuff on first, second down, your third down stuff and then you get your red zone, two-minute and kind of that unscripted to end it where we'll all come together as a one spot drill. I think it will be a great opportunity for us."

(On if the most important thing tomorrow is going to be coming out of the practice with no injuries)

"Absolutely. I think you want to be able to get that great work, but absolutely there is a premium on staying healthy and making sure that we get all of our guys through practice and really to that first game as healthy as we can. We know that in this game, injuries are inevitable and you have to be ready to adjust. Those are things that we've already had to do. Those are situations that you always want to try to avoid, but when they come up you've got to be ready to move forward accordingly."

(On his secondary having a lot of energy and what he has seen from them thus far)

"Just that. They've got great energy, great communication on the back end. I think really our defense as a whole, they had a lot of good juice today. I thought anytime that they're able to make plays you can see everybody gets excited for each other and it starts a good, competitive back and forth between the offense and defense, which I think we saw today. Really, from top to bottom I think those guys do a great job of playing with some enthusiasm and some energy and both their coaches embody that too with (cornerbacks coach) Aubrey Pleasant and safeties coach Ejiro Evero, those guys have done a great job and I think they all feed off of each other."

(On if he sees TE Cory Harkey as more of a tight end or a fullback)

"I think it's a combination of both. I think a versatile player like him – he gives you the opportunity to be able to run some of your one back stuff and your two back stuff and the more that you can do out of the same personnel grouping with players like him, the more flexible that it enables you to be offensively, so I would say that is it's a combination of both. He's learning the 'F' position, which is really both the fullback and the second tight end and (TE) Cory (Harkey's) a smart guy that he can play on the line of scrimmage as our 'Y' as well. We try to teach guys in the offense, concepts and make sure that they understand both spots, so that we can be flexible with them." 

(On what he spent the day doing on the players' day off)

"I've got (President of Professional Sports Representation Inc.) Bob LaMonte and Mark Schiefelbein – my agent and one of his guys that's working with him here, so I had a chance to go to dinner with them last night, get caught up and he's a guy that's always really looked out for me. It offered an opportunity too for us to get a little bit more sleep and then kind of get ahead with some of the schedules and just moving forward towards the next few weeks and kind of how the first week went and how we want to set it up. So a little bit of relaxation, but also a little bit of trying to get ahead using that day off to be productive."

(On if he's received any encouraging news regarding DT Aaron Donald)

"Not to this point. Kind of still same as. Hopeful and waiting for some day when we get that good news, but in the meantime we move on and like we've said before – confident that he's working hard while he's not here and trust that when we do get that worked out hopefully he'll be ready to go and there won't be any setbacks. It'll be good to get him if we're able to come to that decision and get that thing done."

Rams Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur– Training Camp Press Conference – August 4, 2017



(On if he ever recalls having 14 receivers on a roster)

"Well, we may have 14, but as you know, we have a lot guys out. I think the one thing that's so important about the receivers is you have to keep those guy's legs fresh – otherwise, they are going to go down eventually, so it's all about saving that wear and tear on their legs." 

(On how difficult the process of determining who his "go-to" guy is going to be with so many first and second year players)

"Really, when you look at it, we've been down to about seven guys the last couple days. We just signed three today, so to expect anything out of those three guys that we just signed in the short term I think is a little unrealistic. You've got to give them a little bit of time to get acquainted with our offense and really learn our offense."

(On how much ground WR Tavon Austin is going to have to make up when he gets back from his injury)

"It's always a challenge because you need those reps. However, I think (WR) Tavon (Austin) is a smart guy, he's played in this league a long time. It's more or less the thing that you're missing out on is just getting that timing down with your quarterbacks. So I think that's kind of a big deal, but we have a lot of faith in his ability to bounce back and he's very attentive in our meetings and when we're out on the field, so he's getting those mental reps. It's just about getting back healthy, so he has a great season."

(On what he wants to get out of tomorrows joint practice)

"Yeah, I think number one is just what a great experience it is for our quarterbacks in general for seeing the same defense that Coach (Wade) Phillips has all throughout OTAs, throughout the first part of training camp, to just experience some new looks and I know that obviously (Chargers defensive coordinator) Gus (Bradley) plays a similar system to some team's that we're going to play this year, so I think it's going to be invaluable."

(On how advanced he thinks Austin is with deep route and how much does he still need to learn)

"I think there's always a lot to learn, but the one thing he has and the one thing that's hard to coach is just that speed. He can flat out take the top off the coverage and that's something that's very important to our offense."

(On if he'll be a little bit more forgiving than he would otherwise because it will be the first time his guys will see a different look than they're accustomed to)

"I don't know if forgiving is the right word. There's still expectations and standards and you have to go out and play like a pro. We expect those guys to go out and compete to the best of their ability and to perform well." 

(On if there's anything in particular that he wants to see from QB Jared Goff)

"We always talk as a quarterback group about decision making, timing and accuracy and just the timing element. He's got to learn that football is an imperfect game, when it is perfect it needs to be on time, when it's not perfect, you need to find a way to get the ball out of your hands, whether it's to a check down or whether it's a throw away. That's just something that we're continuing to stress with him every day and he's done a nice job. I was happy of the fact that we actually got a throw away today in practice."

(On where he thinks Goff is at)

"That's a tough question. I think that he's done a really nice job, but I think if you ask any quarterback in this league, I don't think they're ever satisfied. It's about daily improvement and I think he's – we've been very specific about exactly what we want him to improve upon and once he shows mastery of that, we had something else to the list. That list is constantly going to grow until his career is over. It doesn't matter if you're (Patriots QB) Tom Brady. Tom Brady probably has that same process."

(On if there are any other guys on the roster that can stretch the field vertically besides Austin)

"I feel like we've got some good speed. Obviously, not having (WR) Mike Thomas out here hurts because he's another guy that can really take the top off the coverage, but I trust the speed of our other guys as well. They're fully capable of doing everything that we ask them to do."

(On if it's concerning not having Tavon Austin and Mike Thomas out there)

"I don't want to call it a concern because obviously as coaches, you better learn to adjust to your players that you have on the field. We're going to play the guys that we have and we're going to find ways to move the ball."

Rams Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips – Training Camp Press Conference – August 4, 2017



(On how it's going for him and his defense)

"It's going pretty well. I'm pleased with where we are right now. It's going to be great to work against another team to kind of see where we are working against someone else, but our guys work hard. I think they're learning quickly. We put in about half of our defense, so we're on our way and I'm pleased with where we are. We still got a lot of work to do. We've still got to get some things done, but I'm pleased with where we are right now." 

(On how DT Aaron Donald's absence is effecting his coaching)

"Well, when (DT) Aaron (Donald) gets here, obviously it's a great addition, but we've got to work other people certainly, guys get banged up during the season, it's a good opportunity for other guys to come through. We work on what we work on. What they can do is certainly different than Aaron, so we try to put our defense in to what our players can do that we have right now, but when he gets back, it will be a great addition."

(On if there will come a point that DT Aaron Donald's absence will become an issue)

"No. He's such a good player and he did really well in the minicamp and stuff. Whenever he comes back, I think he'll pick right up."

(On if he's been able to communicate with DT Aaron Donald)

"That isn't my job, especially when they're working on contracts. It's a business part of it, I don't want to get into his business. He knows that, we'd love to have him here, we love working with him when he's here."

(On who he likes filling in for the injured DT Dominique Easley)

"Well, all of our D-line, they're all working hard. Most of them can play at any of the three positions. So, we've worked all those guys. I wouldn't say one guy over the rest of them, I think all of them are working in the three technique, several guys. (DT Michael) Brockers could even play it if we need to and (DT Ethan) Westbrooks, so we've got some possibilities."

(On this being his 40th training camp and if training camp is the same or different each year)

"They're all different. You've got different players and the schemes change, certainly for the players you have. Overall, we're playing a 3-4 and playing a four-man rush on third downs, but you change what you do with the people you have. So we're adjusting to that, but as long as they work hard and they're trying really hard, I think they can improve and I think we can do that."

(On his working relationship with Head Coach Sean McVay)

"I'm there if he needs me, but he's really sharp. I mean, he's a lot smarter than I am, so it doesn't take him that long. He's got 40 years worth of knowledge and I have 40 years worth of experience, maybe that'll help a little bit."

(On going against McVay's offense everyday)

"He gives you a lot of problems defensively. Which is great for us, because we see all the problem things that come up. It's not an easy offense. He knows what routes hurt which coverages and he knows the weakness of the coverage. So, he'll test us in that kind of stuff. It helps you to play against those things, because you realize what the weaknesses are and you play those better. If they go into the strength of the coverage, we're in great shape. We'll get a lot tomorrow. I mean, (Chargers QB) Phillip Rivers can throw the football. They've got a great passing attack, they have for a long time. It'll be great to see how we do against a team like that." 

(On if the secondary will surprise some people this year)

"Hopefully, the defense overall will give up less points than what we did last year. Part of that is the passing game. Stop, slowing down the passing game. Nobody really stops the passing game in this league. But, if you cut it down enough, you cut down on the number of points they score against you and that helps."

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