Head Coach Sean McVay – Media Availability – November 2, 2017 **
(On if being on the road again this weekend)
"I think we've gotten comfortable being on the road. In a short amount of time early on in the season there's been a lot of experiences that we can draw from and so far they've been good ones. But, we've got to continue with that same approach. It's been a good week, we know that we've got to continue on with that theme and we'll travel tomorrow – expect to kind of get the game plan finalized and then Saturday will serve as a chance to kind of wrap everything up, get the final touches on that, make sure from a mental standpoint guys feel good and then be ready to go on Sunday. But, I think just from having traveled in a short amount of time you go to Dallas, you're in Jacksonville and then going to London, guys feel comfortable, it's something that we're getting used to doing and anytime you can find a rhythm and a routine, I think players feel comfortable with that. Just having to travel on Fridays is part of our routine almost – it's why we build the schedule the way we do on Fridays, whether it's at a home game or away. We're trying to keep some regularity in it and (Director of Sports Medicine/Performance) Reggie (Scott) and (Head of Strength and Conditioning) Ted (Rath) do an excellent job of helping those players get adjusted to an Eastern Time Zone and that's why we leave two days early."
(On if he's talked with Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden about this game)
"Yeah. Obviously I have a lot of respect for Jay, he's a close friend of mine. They play Seattle this week, they play, Dallas the previous week, so now that we start to have some common opponents, different things like that – they haven't played New York yet this year, they still have two games against them. I think just being able to share with somebody else that maybe has a different perspective as opposed to inside the building and he's such a great resource having been in the head coaching role and all that entails. So, to be able to have a close friend like that most importantly, but then also somebody that you can confide in that might be outside of the building. With all the good resources we have in here you don't really need it, but he provides that as well."
(On if he's open to doing that or would he only do that with Jay)
"Yeah and it's not like we're sharing every secret or anything like that, it's just you can feel like you can talk football and not give away anything from a competitive advantage standpoint is more along the lines of what it is. We still talked, even leading up to our game, it's just you don't talk about football. So, you feel like you can talk about football and see how things are going. They've had some unfortunate injuries there and that's something that they're having to work through that hopefully those guys recover fast and they get their guys back on the field."
(On if there is anything he wants to see from RB Todd Gurley II that he hasn't seen in the first part of the season)
"I think it's kind of a broken record, but I think just that consistency. If there's one thing that you can point to that he's done a better job of the last couple games is making sure that we take great care of the football. The thing that says as much as anything about Todd is you look at any time you can use one of your premier players as an example to teach from and he responds the right way when you go back to the Seattle game – we don't want to reach out in that situation and (Seahawks S) Earl (Thomas) makes a great play. Similar type situation comes up against Arizona and he does exactly what we want going through the pylon and you can see that's why he's able to secure that finish, there was no question about it. But, I think he's so conscientious – he's done a great job of correcting those little things, he's playing at a really high level, but it's always going to be about the ball for us. Just seeing him consistently play the way he has in the pass game and the run game, if he can do that, that's why he's playing as good as anybody at that position in this league right now."
(On the Giants struggles to stop tight ends and how he's felt about the development of TEs Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett)
"Yeah, I think they've done a good job. I think (TE) Derek Carrier offers a nice, versatile player at the position as well and really that's what we're looking for from all three of those guys. I think it's been good for Tyler because you've seen a mix of making some plays in the pass game and then I think he's playing really well in the run game. I thought the Jacksonville game was probably one of his best games where he might not have had the stats that show up, but competing inline, making a lot of plays that don't go unnoticed by our coaching staff and by his teammates. So, I think he's continuing to develop as a complete tight end, which is exactly what we want, really from that position as a whole. Gerald is making improvements – go back to the Jacksonville game, that was a huge touchdown that he made against an excellent defense where we needed every point that we could get. So, we're always looking for that improvement. I think (Tight Ends Coach) Shane Waldron's doing an excellent job helping those guys develop and that's going to continue to be the theme moving forward for us."
(On if he draws from his prior experiences against New York heading into this matchup)
"Well, you do. You draw on the experience just from having gone against the scheme and (Giants Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Steve) Spagnuolo – I think he does a great job of being able to put his players in great spots, presenting a variety of looks. You can see that he's really in tune situationally with the things that he's done, because he does mix it so well, but he still stays in the framework of their system. He puts his players in good spots consistently, so that's going to be a challenge for us. But, they've evolved as the years have progressed, they're doing some different things, but there still is a similar foundation in terms of how they want to operate. So, anytime that you have a history against a specific team or a specific coordinator, you want to draw from those experiences and make sure that you're aware of it, but you also want to realize what good coaches do, like Coach Spagnuolo has done – is you evolve and you adapt to each given year and they're doing some really good stuff on tape that presents our offense with a variety of problems."
(On if he has WR Robert Woods in the back of his mind as a play-caller to get the ball into his hands in the end zone considering he hasn't scored a touchdown despite his production)
"I think you obviously want to be able to get your good play makers the ball in their hands no matter where you are on the field. You know that Dallas play, he had a touchdown for about a minute until they overturned it, but hopefully we'll find a way to do that. Yes, ultimately it's about once we get down in that red zone what are the plays that we think are going to be best and certainly finding a way to get Robert involved. And try to get him in the end zone is something that as a coach, you want to try to do while still making sure that what's important is what's going to be best for our team to come away with points and scoring touchdowns. But, with the production that he's had and it's why he's such a great guy, he's made a lot of plays for us and I think eventually it's going to happen for him, but you definitely want to reward those guys and try to give them the opportunities and get them a chance to score so certainly, yeah."
(On how he sees the Giants offense minus WR Brandon Marshall and WR Odell Beckham Jr.)
"Those are two great players, but they've had some guys that have stepped up. I have a lot of respect for (Giants WR) Sterling Shepard and what he's done when he's been available this year. You look at the long touchdown that he's creates against Philly to allow them to take the lead when they're coming back from behind and they played them extremely well. Philly's playing as well as anybody in this league, so you see what a very good competitive team this is that we're going against. I think (Giants TE) Evan Ingram has done a nice job as a rookie tight end. They're continuing to find ways to get the ball in his hands, but those are some special players and then (Giants Head) Coach (Ben) McAdoo's always done a nice job of being able to spread the ball around. (Giants QB) Eli (Manning) does a good job of recognizing the coverage and how that dictates where he wants to go with the football. But, without Odell and without Brandon those are two great players that they do have, but you see some of these other guys stepping up and there's a lot of good challenges for us moving forward into this week for our defense."
(On how he hopes to get WR Sammy Watkins more involved after self-scouting and self-evaluating the team during the bye week)
"I think you want to continue to try to find those opportunities. He did a great job against Arizona. From a receiver position you're looking at, 'Alright, what did I do within the framework of my route? What's the coverage and how did that dictate where the football went?' Because a lot of times you can't control it. But what he did a great job was, was competing without the ball. He made the most of the opportunities that he did have in the pass game. You look at each given play and there's some opportunities where we had a chance to get him down the field and whether it's protection or some different things or maybe I called a play in a bad situation versus the coverages. It isn't just exclusive to, 'Alright it's as simple as here's how we call a play and now he's going to have 10 touches all of the sudden.' But what I've been really pleased with, with Sammy is all he's done is just continue to work. He's playing every snap with great effort and you see the talent that he does have. You certainly do, as a play-caller, which is my responsibility to try to get him involved. If it were quite as easy as saying, 'Alright let's get this ball right to him and now here's seven and eight catches' then I should start letting you call the plays, because that would be a good way to answer a lot of these questions. But all jokes aside, I think Sammy's really done a nice job and there's a lot of things involved. We expect to continue to try to give him those opportunities whether it be short, intermediate or down the field. Really been pleased with the way he's competed without the ball in his hands. Makes a couple key blocks, one that sprung a touchdown to (WR) Cooper Kupp on the screen at the end of the game. So, that to me is indicative of good team football and when you've got good players doing that, we feel good about that and want to certainly try to keep getting him more touches."
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips – Media Availability – November 2, 2017**
"I've had a long relationship – I guess you'd say with the Manning family. Archie (Manning) was with us at New Orleans. I know him, that's a great family. Peyton (Manning), obviously, was with us at Denver and then Eli (Manning) was with us at San Diego – for about two minutes (laughs). I thought I was with him. But, what a great career he's had and he's a tremendous player. We all know two Super Bowl wins and what they can do. You can say 1-6, but this guy is a great quarterback, so we have all the respect in the world for him and what they can do. They had a week off like we did and I know we feel rejuvenated. I think you got to expect the other team to feel the same way. I expect it to be a heck of a game."
(On what things he still sees now from QB Eli Manning that he saw earlier on Eli's career)
"Unfortunately, we saw him three times one year and we beat them twice during the regular season then they beat us in the playoffs and won the Super Bowl. But yeah, the talent is there and plus he's obviously more experienced now. He's one of those quarterbacks that, he knows what coverage you're in even if you disguise things. He knows when you're blitzing – those kind of guys are hard to blitz. They know where to go to and quickly to do it. He's a complete quarterback, he wouldn't have all of the rings and the championships he's had without being a great player."
(On if a part of him wishes he could put off the bye week to continue playing good football)
"Well, the game itself, obviously we played really well. There was a lot of talk about us not being able to stop the run and their running back had a great game the previous game and all of those things. We had a really good game against the running game and the pass obviously. But I think we're playing well and I think we've had a stretch here that we seem to be all on the same page and doing well. Each game is its' own entity. Would I like to play this last week? Sometimes, certainly you get in a groove and you want to stay there. The other part – I think the hard part is the timing and so forth coming back and playing football again and getting that same timing and things that you're doing well that keep doing well. It's not easy, it happens in the playoffs when you have a bye. A lot of teams don't play quite as well, at least it seems to me. But A lot of it has to do with the focus of your team. I think we've had good practices and hopefully we'll have a real good one tomorrow like we did the previous weeks going into the other games. I think we're back on track, but you worry about it as a coach, but it's the players focusing back again. Then getting rested I still think helps you."
(On if anything stands out about teams that play well on the road)
"I always tell our guys it's an opportunity to pump each other up rather than having the crowd do it for you. I think if you play well on the road, I think your team is well – knitted together that, yeah, the crowd is hollering anything bad happens and when they do something well, they all pull together and pull for each other and high-five or low-five, or whatever we do these days. So, sometimes it brings you closer together if you play on the road."
(On if he's found himself scheming up new ways for DT Aaron Donald to rush the passer)
"We kind of use the old ways that we used for (Former DE) Bruce Smith or (Former DE) Reggie White or some of the guys I've had. (Texans DE) J.J. Watt, (Broncos OLB) Von Miller – I mean, I can go on and on. You try to match him up one-on-one. Some people scheme to get blitzes and you get a guy free, it's not going to be a lineman it's going to be a defensive back or linebacker. But in his case and the real great defensive linemen, you try to get them one-on-one. I will say that the Cardinals did a good job of trying to double him all the time in the game, but he overcame some of those. If he can get in one-on-one, he's going to make plays. He's going to pressure the quarterback. He's going to make plays in the backfield, he's a great player and that's what we have to do as coaches is make sure that they can't double him all the time."
(On if he knew that S John Johnson III and DT Tanzel Smart would be contributors this early in their careers)
"No. I didn't know. You like guys in the draft certainly and you try to evaluate the team when you come in and say, 'Hey, these areas would help us, can we get a guy in that area?' Of course our scouts and (General Manager) Les (Snead) and those guys have done a great job of picking the right people – those two guys in particular. Both of them have played and started for us. It's them proving what they can do and both of them have come in the game and done from 'OK' to 'real good'. They're not going to be perfect all the time, but both of them have different skillsets that have helped us. John Johnson, he's got a knack, he's got a real nose for the football, he really does and that's shown, once we started letting him play a little bit. We saw it in practice with both those guys, we saw it in training camp with both those guys, but you still got to go out in the game and be able to do it against other teams. They were able to do that and compete. So we're glad of that and hope they keep improving."
(On how he evaluates the Giants offense after injuries to WR Odell Beckham Jr. and WR Brandon Marshall)
They still have skilled players and (WR Sterling) Shepard's coming back, the tight end has been outstanding, so they still have weapons and they've got running backs. (RB Shane) Vereen who we played against when he was in New England quite a bit is a really good receiver out of the backfield. So they've got skilled players and they've got a quarterback that can throw the ball really well. They have a big, big, huge offensive line, so that'll be the challenge."
"Cooper Manning, I didn't coach at all, but he's the funniest one of the group (laughs)."
Rams RB Todd Gurley – Media Availability – October 19, 2017
(On how his bye week went)
"It was cool. I didn't do much. I was going to go to the Georgia game, but good thing I didn't because they beat them boys up pretty bad, so I just stayed here in L.A."
(On what needs to happen for them to draw a bigger crowd of if that's something they even pay attention to when they're playing)
"Yeah, 100,000 people can fit in that stadium. You can definitely tell the difference when there's not that many people. But, just like any other team, we just got to win. Obviously, we're new back in L.A. so we just got to win and establish that fan base again."
(On if they are going to pick up where they left off offensively before the bye week)
"I hope so, man. Yeah, I was saying that to coach, I wish we could've just kept playing maybe a game or two then had a bye, but it's cool. Everybody got a chance to go back home or do whatever they did, rest their bodies and we just got to get ready. They had a bye week just like we did, so hopefully we can go out there and pick up right where we left off."
(On if there is anything he wants to improve on in the second half of the season)
"Obviously, always get better. My main thing is just to make sure I'm just doing my same routines, not slacking off. Just making sure I still get my massages or my extra lifts ect., ect. So, just making sure I'm doing the exact same thing I was doing in the beginning of the season, towards the end."
(On how much gratification he takes from being among league leaders in statistical categories)
"It means a lot. Obviously, if you're winning you hope you have somebody at the top. I've been able to be up there in rushing. Like I said, the O-line has been doing a great job of giving me room, the receivers out there blocking. Everybody just out there doing their job. So, I told (QB Jared) Goff to give me the ball so all these fantasy people want their points, so got to make them happy (laughs)."
(On how confident he was going into the year that he could get back to being a league leader)
"Like I said, when coach came in, man, and just going through that install, that first weekend. Just seeing the plays he had, just seeing what he had done in Washington and we were looking at each other and getting excited. We've been playing ball our whole life. The good come with the bad, the bad come with the good – so you just have to bounce back after a rough year, a rough start - whatever it is. Like I said, we play ball, so I know what I'm capable of doing. You just not going to be able to do it every game or every season. That's just how it works."
(On how his body feels with the high quantity of touches he's had every game)
"The bye kind of messed me up a little bit actually. But, it's cool though man. My body's been great like I said. (Head Strength and Conditioning) Coach Ted (Rath) and (Director of Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and them, they've been doing a great job of just checking numbers, making sure we're doing the right things in the weight room, recovery-wise. So, I've been feeling pretty good."
(On what he means when he said the bye week messed him up and if he was referring to his routine)
"Yeah. That messed me up for sure. (laughs) Just being lazy. Four to five days can make a difference. Didn't know it could make such a difference, but it definitely makes a difference."
(On Head Coach Sean McVay's comments regarding his ability to correct mistakes and whether he was conscientious during the Arizona game of the mistake he made in the Seattle game of turning the ball over on his way to the end zone)
"Oh yeah, most definitely. I just saw two big guys running at me, so I was like, 'Dang, they're about to hit me.' But, they didn't. But, it did, it came to my brain. Then, on the 10-yard line, I was like, 'Got to run through this, got to run through this.' That's the good thing about messing up. No one wants to make mistakes or try to mess up, but it's just like life. You learn from your mistakes and if you don't then something's wrong. But that is the good thing about messing up, because you know that you're not going to let that happen again or you know the look that just happened. Like I said, the bad comes with the good. The good comes with the bad."
(On how he thinks the team is handling the hype from their success)
"It's cool. Obviously we're a very close team – offense, defense – everybody's pretty cool. We're just excited just to be winning. It's the first half the season, man. It doesn't mean anything until you keep winning, keep winning. So we just have to take one game at a time. Not try to focus on playing Seattle next or whatever, so just focus on the task at hand. Getting better every day and just worry about taking care of the ball during the game."
(On the production of Rams rookies WR Cooper Kupp and TE Gerald Everett and whether it is hard to break your way into the NFL and if he talks to them about being patient)
"Not really. Obviously, those guys have been pretty healthy. Especially when you're healthy and able to get those reps, especially during OTAs and mini-camp. They had another mini camp. So the more reps you get, the better you feel. They always say, what's this about half the year, they aren't rookies no more. So they've been able to get a hold of the game, learn how fast it is, be able to adjust. But, they're smart players. Like I said, if they have a mistake, they're able to fix it. That's one thing about this team – we're very coachable and everyone responds well to getting coached."
(On if he has a favorite play he's made thus far in the season)
"Not really, no. I guess the Washington touchdown. It was cool, but we lost so I don't really want to put that up as number one. But, I don't know. My thing is to go out there and try to make one or two of those plays a game. Everything's not going to be perfect. That's what separates you from being great and being good. You just have to go out there and try to make those plays every week."