Rams Head Coach Sean McVay – Post-Practice – September 8, 2017**
(On today's practice)
"We finished up good. Fortunately, no injuries to report, so everybody is going to be ready to go on Sunday at one o'clock. It was a good week of preparation. We wrapped it up today, we'll come back tomorrow, have some good meetings and a little walk-thru. I know the guys are excited for the game Sunday at one (o'clock) and it's going to be an exciting time for us."
(On if WR Tavon Austin will play this week)
"Tavon will definitely play. He's going to be good to go. He's moved around great all week, he feels good, looks good. We're excited to have him back."
(On how fans can expect to see Austin utilized)
"Well, I think he's a great playmaker. He's a receiver for us, so you can expect him to be a part of that receiver rotation for us. We're excited to get him back out there for us."
(On how rare it is to enter the season without any injuries)
"It's extremely rare. I think it's a credit to (Director Sports Medicine/Performance) Reggie Scott and his staff and (Head of Strength and Conditioning) Ted Rath – those guys have been instrumental in kind of helping us put a plan in place. We haven't had a lot of the guys – some of the guys haven't been available that you would have liked to get some of the work throughout the course of the preseason. But, I think the ultimate goal in mind was being able to have guys ready to go for September 10th, and that's where we're at right now. It's a credit to those guys in being able to implement a plan and then the players doing a good job following through with it."
(On any updates regarding DT Aaron Donald)
"There is no news on Aaron. Kind of still in the same place. With him missing the week of preparation, we're still trying to find a way to come to a solution, but it's safe to say that he won't be a part of this game."
(On how this group of receivers are going to help the team get in the end zone)
"I think when you've got a nice group of guys where we feel like they all offer different skills and traits, but they can all play. I think when you look at the two rookies that we brought in, in (WR) Cooper Kupp and (WR) Josh Reynolds – both those guys have done a nice job throughout the preseason and making plays. Bringing in (WR) Robert Woods in free agency, we know what (WR) Sammy Watkins is capable of and then you add (WR) Pharoh Cooper to the mix and watching the way he's grown and obviously Tavon Austin. So, that's a group of guys that you feel really good about the depth that we do have at that position. Looking forward to seeing these guys play on Sunday and it's one of those deals where you feel like you can roll guys, keep them fresh because of the confidence that you have in the group as a whole and that's a credit to them."
(On team chemistry and the relationships with each other)
"Yeah, I think it's been a great credit to the leaders on the team that we do have, where we've got a bunch of high-character guys, but they care about each other. Offense, defense, special teams – you feel like we're becoming a connected team and that's something that we're striving to do. I think that these guys genuinely enjoy each other and that's something that when you go through the day-to-day grind that we do with the offseason, with training camp leading into the season, you want to be connected because I think that's going to be an important part of what we do as we try to navigate through the ebb and flow of a season. We're going to experience some things where we're going to have to stay connected in spite of some adversity and then you're able to kind of just stay even-keeled through, hopefully, a lot of good times. But, when you've got good people, guys that enjoy football, I think it creates an environment. I'm very fortunate to be a part of it and I think it's a credit to the players that we have in that locker room."
(On how he thinks he's going to feel going through the tunnel for Week 1 and will the feeling be any different)
"I think you'll definitely have a different feeling of excitement. Once the game kicks off you're getting right into your normal flow and hopefully that's how it feels, but there's certainly a level of excitement and I'm very fortunate to be in this role and to have the opportunity to be a part of this team. But, I think just leading into it, like I've mentioned over and over, having good people around you, you feel confident. It's an exciting thing, it's not a nervous thing. It's confidence to watch our guys go compete, confident that hopefully our preparation will allow our coaches to make good decisions and put our players in good spots and confident that it's going to be a great opportunity to go compete against a great opponent. I have a lot of respect for (Colts Head) Coach (Chuck) Pagano and I know he'll have his guys ready to go."
(On how much of the preseason is going to play a part in the regular season going into Week 1)
"I think it's a give and take. You don't ever really game plan, you're running kind of base/core plays and not getting too strategic in terms of your formational approach and different things like that. But, you're still running plays that – there will be some things that we did in the preseason that you'll probably see on Sunday and same thing with defense. But you always want to be careful of showing too much, but at the same time you want to put a premium on going and executing, letting the guys feel confident in running things that they've done both offensively, defensively and special teams. But, I think just adding the game plan element to it as opposed to running kind of your training camp, core playbook-based plays is mainly what the different approach is, as opposed to having a specific mindset on how you want to do certain things against their personnel offensively, how you want to attack certain things against their personnel defensively, so that's probably the biggest difference that you would see."
(On him having a new staff being an advantage or disadvantage)
"I think, maybe the unknown can be somewhat. But I think that the bottom line is, the NFL is a very competitive league and every year presents new opportunities and challenges and just like any other staff, whether they've been there or not, they're always going to add new wrinkles. They, I'm sure have done a great job of self-scouting themselves and looking at some things that they want to continue to do at a high level and if there was things that they felt like they want to change they'll make tweaks to that. Being in a new staff you learn from some of the things that your previous experiences allow you to be exposed to. There's certainly a lot of mistake that I made in Washington that hopefully we'll clean up. Then with some of things that we're able to have a little bit of success with and then you want to continue to try to do those when you're out here in L.A."
(On if there's anything specifically he says to QB Jared Goff going into the first game of the regular season)
"I think you want to be consistent in your approach, let him know how much confidence you have in him and do a good job with the weekly preparation so that he can play with a quieted mind and just kind of trust his reads and decision making – know what the timing and rhythm is of the plays and what coverage he sees and how that dictates where he's going to go with the football. But I think he's got a nice way about himself. He's very mentally tough. I think he'll be ready to go – like you said, once you get into the flow of the game then you kind of are just playing football again and you're locked in with great focus and concentration, but you're not really having a chance to sit back and think about all the things that can happen, you're just kind of reacting and trusting that preparation and that's exactly what we expect him to do."
(On if the team has bought into organizational culture of 'We Not Me')
"I think they have. I think they've done a great job of, we mentioned it earlier, becoming a connected team. We'll always continue with that message, with that theme. We talk about the culture, the coaches help start that culture, but the maintenance of it is both coach and player driven. I can't say enough about the players we have in that locker room and how they've maintained and really taken it to another level in terms of being connected, doing those things the right way, being consistent with our approach and kind of the standards we're trying to set. Now, we're hoping that it'll lead to good performance on Sunday."
Rams Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur – Post-Practice – September 8, 2017**
(On if he'll be in press box going into Week 1)
"Yeah. I've been in the press box all preseason, so I don't think we're going to change it Week 1. So, I'll be up there."
(On his thoughts on the offense as a whole this year)
"I think we're optimistic. It's going to be a good test on Sunday. Indy presents a lot of challenges in terms of just, it's a man-matched defense that is pretty aggressive and they're pretty opportunistic. So, it's going to be fun to watch our guys get out there and compete for a full four quarters. But, we're optimistic."
(On new players on the Colts roster and game plan he has in place)
"Yeah, it is a little bit of a guessing game. What do they have 27 new players on that roster? So, it's not like we're studying those players necessarily from last year, we're studying what they do schematically and then what they put on tape during the preseason. So, it is a little bit of a guessing game, but I think our guys are well prepared for whatever we're going to see."
(On what WR Tavon Austin brings to this scheme)
"Well, the first thing you notice when he's out there is, what an explosive athlete. He's done a great job picking up everything. Like, he's been really engaged throughout all of OTAs and even in training camp when he wasn't able to go. We're excited about what he's going to bring to the field on Sunday and again, a smart player that was able to grasp everything that we've asked him to do."
(On whether it's like adding a bonus to the receiving corps by having Austin after not having him)
"I'll tell you what, our receivers as a whole was kind of I think, was a little bit of a question mark when we came in here in terms of what we were going to do. We've added a lot of guys and certainly when you get the guy that again, is explosive as Tavon, that has that homerun capability, it definitely gives you a lot of just some favorable matchups out there."
(On how WR Sammy Watkins is picking things up)
"The first thing you know, I'm sure you guys have gotten the chance to talk to Sammy, he's extremely intelligent. And, luckily for us, there were parts of that offense that when Rick Dennison was the new offensive coordinator in Buffalo, that there's some terminology that's very similar, so it's been a pretty seamless transition. Again, he's a pretty bright guy and we feel comfortable with everything that we have in the plan for him."
(On how he'll feel going into his first regular season game as an offensive coordinator)
"Honestly, I think it's pretty similar to roles I've had in the past. Being a guy that has predominately spent most of his career in the press box, you're kind of the eyes for those guys on the field, if there's something that they're not seeing. As we go through the game and you see something, you're definitely going to give them a suggestion on a play or two here and there."
(On what his experience was like calling plays during the preseason)
"Oh, it was – there's no substitute for reps and those were live reps. I'll tell you what, that play clock goes a little bit faster than what it may seem to the fans. That 40 seconds goes by pretty quickly, so the whole goal of an offensive coordinator obviously is, you obviously want to put your players in a position for them to be successful, but more than anything else is, you've got to get the plays in quickly for the quarterback and just for the whole offense to be able to operate in a sufficient manner."
(On how the offensive line is heading into Week 1)
"Again, it'll be interesting to see them go for a full four quarters, but I think we're pretty confident in those guys. I think those guys have jelled well together and have gotten progressively better throughout all of the offseason program and in the preseason. I think they've done a nice job and we're confident in those guys."