TRANSCRIPT: McVay, Phillips, Gurley Press Conference 9-7

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Head Coach Sean McVay – Post-Practice – September 7, 2017**

(Opening Remarks)
“No injuries to report. We came out on the good side of that from yesterday’s practice and it was the same thing today, so we’re in good shape right now.”

(On the captains voting)
“Yeah, we let the players vote on the captains and what we did was we had the top-six vote getters, so we had three guys on defense, two on offense, one on special teams. It was (P) Johnny Hekker on special teams. Offensively, it was (T) Andrew Whitworth and (RB) Todd Gurley II. Defensively, it was (CB Trumaine Johnson was one of them, (OLB) Connor Barwin and then (LB) Alec Ogletree. So, a great representation of guys that have done things the right way. I think there’s a lot of candidates that – we’ve got a lot of guys that I guess we should say that we consider leaders on this team and I think it’s a bunch of great guys in that locker room. Fortunately for those guys, that was who the team picked and I think that’s the way to do it and that’s who those guys voted on.”

(On if he liked the picks)
Oh yeah, I like the picks. Absolutely. I think there’s a handful of guys that are deserving of being captains as well and I don’t necessarily think that you have to have a ‘C’ on your chest to be a leader and to do things the right way every single day. We’ve got a handful of guys that have done that. I think you look at guys like (DT) Michael Brockers, (QB) Jared Goff is continuing to lead the right way, (C) John Sullivan, so there’s a handful of guys that I could go on and on about. But to those guys’ credit, those are the six that the team voted on and I’m very pleased with those picks and happy for those guys. I think it’s a great honor.”

(On if there is any update on DT Aaron Donald)
“No update on Aaron. Kind of right where we were yesterday.”

(On if he would rule him out of the game at this point)
“No. I wouldn’t rule him out of this game. I think we’re right in the same spot that we’ve been. We had a great practice today working on some third downs, different situations, short yardage, two-minute, so I’m pleased with the guys that are here working hard, doing a great job and I thought it was another good day where we’re putting ourselves in a position to hopefully have a good performance on Sunday.”

(On if there are any injury risks with Donald playing if he shows up tomorrow)
“Yeah, I think you certainly have to have a plan in place. But, kind of like we’ve talked about, our message remains the same – we’re very happy with the guys that we do have here. We’re continuing to work on trying to find that solution if we’re able to get it figured out before Sunday – how we exactly go about that will be determined.”

(On what he’s seen from QB Brandon Allen)
“I think he’s done a nice job. I think really when you get into some of the preparation work where Jared’s taking most of the reps offensively and then (QB) Sean (Mannion) gets the majority of the reps with the look team and things like that. He’s gotten a couple of throws, but you can see he’s a natural thrower of the football, the ball comes out quickly. But, other than that, really haven’t had too much of a chance to evaluate him and I think you look at those two guys that we’ve had here with Jared and Sean, pleased with what they’ve done.”

(On if he is totally comfortable with WR Sammy Watkins at this point or if he still has to learn some things)
“I think in terms of the position that he’s playing, he feels really comfortable. Like I’ve said with Sammy from day one – very smart player, understands football, so I think in terms of the way that we set up some of our concepts and the spacing, he understands that and I think he’s getting more and more comfortable with some of the little nuances with how we want to run certain routes and things like that. He’s a guy that’s played at a high level in this league and you can see that he’s ready to go. He’s had a good first couple days and I’m expecting a good performance from Sammy. But, to answer your question, we feel good about where he’s at and I think he’s done a good job of learning the system in a short amount of time and now it’s going to allow him to go play fast and do what he does.”

(On how he feels about the defensive line rotation if Donald is not available)
“I feel really good. I think what we’ve talked about when you look at the guys like (DT) Tanzel Smart, I think he’s really stepped up and made the most of his opportunities. You bring back a (DT) Tyrunn Walker, (DE) Morgan Fox has gotten reps. We already know what type of player that Michael Brockers is, so just looking at the interior of our defensive line, I think we’ve had a chance to develop some good depth. You get a guy like (OLB) Robert Quinn back, where we know what kind of threat he is coming off the edge and what Connor Barwin has done over the course of his career. So, I think just as a whole, looking at those guys, I feel good. (OLB) Samson (Ebukam) is going to add some depth on the outside as a rusher and then playing SAM linebacker in base, so that’s a good group of guys that we’re listing right there and that’s something that we do feel good about.”

(On what he thinks it says about Connor Barwin and Andrew Whitworth in being voted captains their first year with the team)
“I think when you look at targeting those types of players in free agency, what you really like is clearly the production as a player, but also the human being and the way they go about their business – they are pro’s pros. We talk about that all the time and they both have a nice, natural way about it. It comes off authentic and genuine and they do it whatever is true to their personality. I think their teammates sense that and that’s why the way that they lead, both in different ways has been received so well from guys that have been here. Like I mentioned earlier, I think to be voted on by your peers as a captain is an extremely humbling thing. It’s a great honor for those guys and from what I’ve seen from them and the impact that they’ve made both in the locker room and on the practice field, it’s kind of exactly what we had hoped and envisioned and we’re fortunate to have two players like that.”

(On what it says about CB Trumaine Johnson being voted a captain after expressing disappointment in not getting a long term contract in the offseason)
“I think it shows you what a great job he’s done on focusing on the things that he can control – being about all the right stuff. Since he’s gotten back from training camp, you see a motivated player. He’s doing everything that we ask. Clearly, we know what type of talent he is, but now I think he’s starting to bring people with him, where he’s setting a good example for that room day-in and day-out and when your peers vote on you as a captain, that says a lot. So, credit to Trumaine for not letting some of the things be a distraction and all he’s done is the right things and I think it’s a great example of when you come in here, you just do the little things the right way every single day, you get rewarded for that and now we expect big things from him. I’m really proud of Trumaine and I think it’s a great honor for him.”

(On if he has a pregame ritual that he normally adheres to)
“I think you’re figuring out that rhythm. I think you have a couple things that you do as far as getting ready for some of the plays that you want to run and how you want to be able to call a game and the way you want to try to set it up and get guys involved, so we’ll do that. Normally, that takes place on Friday night, so kind of trying to get a little bit ahead on that, but I think I’ll stay pretty consistent with some of those routines and it will be fun. Keep it the same as what we’ve done.”

(On if he has a special breakfast on Sunday morning)
“No special breakfast. Nothing like that. I’ll probably just wake up every hour, tossing and turning, excited about the game. But that’s been pretty consistent since I’ve been coaching.”

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Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips – Post-Practice – September 7, 2017**

(Opening Remarks)
“We’re excited about this game. I think it seems like a long time since we stared with OTAs and a new group and trying to put them together. And actually, we haven’t played – our first group really hasn’t played together very much in the preseason. Now we’ve started to practice together more, so I’m looking forward to see how we do. The Colts have a really good offense, they’ve got a premiere receiver in the league and (offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski) ‘Chud’ does a great job. I worked with Rob in San Diego. He does a great job as offensive coordinator. I know Chuck Pagano is a really good head coach. They’ve got good coaches and they’ve got good players, so we’ve got to get ourselves ready.”

(On how concerned he is that the starting defense hasn’t gotten much in-game work yet)
“I don’t know that concerned – I’m just waiting to kind of see how we do. I think there’s going to be good things. We’re practicing together well this week. I’ve been impressed with our practices this week and we have all our guys healthy and all of them are practicing now, so you’ve got to carry that to the game, but I thought we’ve practiced really well.”

(On DT Aaron Donald)
“As far as Aaron Donald, we know what the situation is and I know what the situation is. I’ve been through it before. It’s disappointing. It’s disappointing that he’s not here for whatever the reasons are, but I’ve been through it before, too. You’ve got to play with the guys you have. We believe that we can play well and that’s what we’re going to try to do. So, wishing and hoping one hand and all that stuff.”

(On what he feels his scheme can do for Donald)
“Well, I don’t know if I can do anything. I mean, I don’t know that I did anything for (Pro Football Hall of Fame DE) Reggie White, or (Pro Football Hall of Fame DE) Bruce Smith, or (Pro Football Hall of Fame DE) Elvin Bethea, or (Pro Football Hall of Fame DT) Curley Culp, or (Pro Football Hall of Fame LB) Rickey Jackson or some of these guys that are in the Hall of Fame. I think you give them the opportunity to do what they do well. I think those kind of players, (Texans DE) J.J. Watt, I can go on and on really. They’re talented. They do what they do really well. You’ve got to let them do it and you’ve got to put them in a position to be able to utilize their talent, is all you have to do. That’s not real hard.”

(On if he presumed that Donald wouldn’t be here when he started game planning for the Colts)
“No. We have adjustments in our defense for whoever we have. Guys have certain responsibilities, let’s say a gap responsibility, but how you do it is different on who the guy is. If you’ve got a big, heavyset guy that doesn’t move real quick, well then he kind of powers the guy. If you’ve got a guy like Aaron Donald, you tell him, ‘Take off and beat the guy real quick.’ So, we just adjust with our personnel and let them do what they do well.”

(On what has impressed him about DT Tanzel Smart)
“Tanzel Smart has come in and done a really good job as a rookie, a lower-round draft choice. We thought, he had some ability and he’s shown that ability. So, he’s going to have to play in a rotation. We think he’ll play all right. He played well in the preseason. He’s still got to get better, but I think he will.”

(On what he has seen from CB Trumaine Johnson)
“I’m really impressed with Trumaine Johnson. I think he’s come in here and done everything we’ve asked and a little bit more, really. And that’s what I’ve been impressed with. He works at what he does, he’s a smart player, he’s athletic, he listens to what we’re trying to teach, he knows how to fit in, in the defense. I’ve been really impressed with him. I’ve had some really good corners, but he can be right up there. Throw in (Broncos OLB) Von Miller and (Former OLB) DeMarcus Ware, you can throw him in there too. If we’re just naming names, (former DT) Jerome Brown and (former DE) Clyde Simmons were pretty good too, so.”

(On his approach to coaching talented defensive players like Watt and Miller early in their careers)
“Just like I’ve said, they’re really good players. I think you’d have to mess it up as a coach for those guys not to play well. I said it before, if a great player like that can play in your scheme then you’ve got the wrong scheme. So, I don’t worry about those kind of players. Now, I still think you have to coach them. I still think they have to work to be better whoever it is. And those guys that you mentioned did that. They kept working at what they did even though they were really talented, they kept working at what they did. (Hall of Fame DE) Bruce Smith, at the end of his career was still the same way. He kept getting sacks because he kept working at what he did and tried to get better all the time. And, I think the great one have that too. They have heart too. You can’t – the intangibles that people talk about – one of them is that they have a tremendous will to be the best and you get around guys like that, they’re going to do well unless you mess them up, really.”

(On what he has seen from LB Alec Ogletree)
“I’ve been really impressed with Alec Ogletree. He’s a smart guy, but he’s really athletic. He gives you everything you want in a linebacker. He’s strong, he’s powerful, he’s fast and he’s smart. He can make all the calls and the adjustments. It’s a new defense and he’s the leader of that defense and done a great job with it.”

(On if he will monitor OLB Robert Quinn’s snaps)
“Yeah. I think anybody that hasn’t practiced the whole time or whatever, we’ve got to be aware of Robert Quinn or even (LB) Mark Barron. Some of those guys that haven’t been in live action during the preseason at all. We’ll have to be aware and monitor how many snaps they have. They’ll be on the snap count or pitch count or whatever. Whether it’s baseball or football, whatever it is.

(On what it is about the Colts offense that allows WR T.Y. Hilton to be so dangerous)
“He led the NFL in receiving so, just like any – I said ‘Chud’ is a really good coordinator and he’s got a great player there and he utilizes him. That’s what you do, you put him in situations where you can get him one-on-one and you can get him running option routes where he can go any way he sees, which he’s great at. So, you have to double him every play, so we will.”

(On if it is a little bit of a sign of relief that he will not have to face Colts QB Andrew Luck on Sunday)
“I just think you have to play as good as you can play whoever you play against. We hadn’t had any luck, we hadn’t had any luck this game anyway. They don’t either, so. No, I don’t worry about that. I worry about who they have and what they’re doing and try to stop them. That’s what our job is.”

(On if it’s tough to get a read on a different quarterback)
No. I think their offense is going to be similar. Obviously he’s played some, he played last year against Pittsburgh, so we have some background on him as far as playing and he’s a veteran guy that we know can read defenses and things like that. So, it’s just preparation. It’s just getting prepared for what you feel like they can do. Then you get in the game and they’re doing something else and you have to adjust and we have a capability of doing that I think.”

(On Coach McVay’s first regular season game as a head coach)
“Sean McVay is – I thought – that’s why I came here, but I thought when I came here he’s going to be an outstanding head coach. The more I’m around him the more I have that feeling. I think if you talk to any of the players, the culture here, he’s doing all of the right things. That doesn’t make you win all your games, certainly, but I think, I was around (Hall of Fame Coach) Marv Levy who’s in the Hall of Fame and, obviously I was impressed with Marv. Dan Reeves who won 200 games and Marty Schottenheimer who won 200 games and this guy is potentially that kind of coach because he’s got a clear message, the players know what to expect and that was the thing that those other guys I talked about had.”

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RB Todd Gurley – Post-Practice – September 7, 2017**

(On being voted a captain by his teammates and what that means to him)
“It means a lot. The team voted for me to be a captain. For that to be my second year in a row to be a captain it means a lot. It just means a lot for what the guys think of me. So, I appreciate that – just trying to work hard and try to be the best leader, the best teammate I can be.”

(On if being a captain brings on any extra responsibility)
“Obviously just being yourself. When you have that ‘C’ that gives you just a little bit more edge to do a little bit more, say a little bit more, because they voted for you for a reason. And it’s a good thing, just to have ‘Whit’ (T Andrew Whitworth) with me. It doesn’t matter if you have a ‘C’ on your chest or not. Anybody can lead, anybody can…doesn’t matter if practice squad or whatever, you know. So, just take information from everybody else and we just all work together as one.”

(On how he thinks the offense looks going into Week 1)
“I’m excited. I’m very, very excited. I can’t wait…football, well it starts back tonight. I’m pretty sure everybody’s anxious to see how we’re going to do just like we are. So, we just can’t wait to play Sunday.”

(On if feels any different going into this season, because he got a lot more work in this year’s preseason as opposed to last year’s preseason)
“Not really. You know it’s just a new offense. It felt like things have been clicking. We’ve just got that confidence about us – just try to build it every day. We feel a lot more comfortable with the offensive schemes that we’ve been running the last four, five months. We just can’t wait to get out there.”

(On what specifically gives him and the offense confidence)
“Just practice reps, you know practice reps, game reps – just seeing what other teams (did) in the past against those types of defenses. And just going out there and practicing, executing – not looking sloppy, catching the ball, running the ball, not turning the ball over. Just the more things you do…,just like you all, the more articles you get, the more comfortable you get. The more practices you get, just the more comfortable you get. So that’s just kind of how we feel right now.”

(On what WR Sammy Watkin’s addition to the team can do for the offense)
“A lot. He’s a great play-maker. Obviously, we know what he can do with the ball in his hands and when he’s healthy. Just having him, having (WR) ‘Rob’ (Robert Woods) you know those two guys being on the same team last year and having their connection – just adding ( WR Cooper) Kupp, (WR) Tavon (Austin), (TE) Gerald (Everett), (TE Tyler) Higbee. It’s a lot of guys I feel like can step up and we all can be that go to guy. A lot of people are depending on a lot of people. I feel confident that we can all come together as one and make it happen.”

(On if he heard complaints last year from fans who drafted him to their fantasy football team)
“Yeah, that’s the only thing you hear these days is fantasy football. (Nobody cares) about nothing else (anymore).”

(On if the fantasy football comments get annoying)
“Yeah, it’s always annoying. I mean, I don’t really care about it. But that’s just how it is now, you know, it is what it is.”

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