(On spending time with some of the veteran head coaches)
"It was pretty cool yesterday. You're sitting at the pool after we finished up the meetings. You're sitting there with (Steelers Head Coach) Mike Tomlin and (Saints Head Coach) Sean Peyton and how willing those guys are to share. This is probably the first time that it's starting to kind of set in, what a unique experience it is. You actually slow down a little bit when you come to these, as opposed to how fast things are going back in L.A. and trying to get everything settled and situated. What a unique thing and what a refreshing experience it has been with how willing everyone has been to share."
(On what it is like for him to experience a league meeting, when a decade ago he was finishing up college at Miami University (Ohio))
"It's surreal. It's very humbling. You reflect back on how appreciative you are to a lot of people that were willing to invest in me. You're also aware that you've been very fortunate with timing. Walking over with (Buccaneers Head Coach) Dirk Koetter this morning, and even thinking back to when I finished playing at Miami (University, Ohio), to have the opportunity to get right in to coaching at the NFL level when (former Buccaneers Head Coach) Coach (Jon) Gruden hires me on at Tampa. I was fortunate where you don't have to go some of those routes where you're a GA in college, so that's where you're just very appreciative. Being around good people is a huge reason of why I'm fortunate enough to be in this role right now."
(On if during his time as an assistant coach, he ever wondered what happened at league meetings)
"Well, I think with the coverage that this gets, people always joke, 'Do you watch anything other than ESPN and NFL Network?' But, because of the coverage you kind of have an awareness and an understanding. And (Redskins Head Coach) Jay (Gruden) was always so willing to share, especially when you get to where you're off because of the league meetings because the general manager and the Head Coach and owners are going to this. I think it's a unique experience. Didn't know what to expect. When you're sitting in those meetings yesterday with the owners, GMs are voting on a couple of those different things. (Falcons President and CEO) Rich McKay is up there explaining and articulating why some of these propositions are being made or some of the other teams that might have proposed a change is pretty cool. It kind of gives you a better understanding of what we're trying to get done for this game."
(On if he has noticed a change from being in a position to make suggestions to making decisions)
"I think the first time, really a couple years ago when you go back, when Jay gives you the opportunity to call plays in Washington is the first time where you've got the accountability to make those decisions, they're highly scrutinized or you're fortunate enough, if things work out, where you feel good about it. But, being in a role where you're involved in some of the personnel where you're having discussions with (General Manager) Les (Snead) on a daily basis about what type of players are we trying to acquire. Then, based on what we did in free agency how that's going affect the way that we approach the draft. It's really unique. But, I think it goes back to that communication – we always talk about it, it's a trademark of any quality organization – and that's what we're going to strive to do. It's about us all collaborating and figuring out a way to do it. The other thing that I would say is what's been so refreshing is getting a chance to come in to this opportunity, some of the other leaders that were already in place - are really strong. And that enables you to keep the main thing, the main thing. You can keep it about coaching - that's why you can't wait for the players to get involved. You can really lean on Les and (Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer) Kevin Demoff with their leadership – that's why you're excited. You're sitting there at dinner last night with a lot of these people and that's why you say, 'Let's get this right,' because these are a bunch of good people and I want to be able to do this with them for a really long time."
(On his use of technology in assessing players and if that's part of his generation)
"I think what's unique about that is as you look at all of the different things that are at our disposal to be able to more efficient with how you work. I wouldn't say that I'm quite there yet. But, being able to understand how you can make a cut-up quickly. How you can utilize and access information about a certain player, different things like that – they've already done a good job. Les has incorporated kind of a specific area in the building where you have three really smart people that have a bunch of different analytical data that they can pull anything up based on what we're looking for. I do think it's a benefit. Really, that's our entire staff. We have a bunch of experienced people but they're all still youthful where they're up-to-date. I think that can enable you to be more efficient, especially when you go throughout the process of acquiring players – gathering that information and then when you're trying to put together a game plan on a weekly basis and compiling that data that is going to dictate and determine a lot of those decisions that are made on gameday."
(On Demoff saying that the roster is starting to take on McVay's image)
"That's nice of Kevin. I think they are taking on our image, kind of what we've all agreed that we're looking for. When you really look at some of the players that we've acquired; when you look at an (T) Andrew Whitworth, you look at a (RB) Lance Dunbar, (WR) Robert Woods – especially just on offense – get (CB) Kayvon Webster and (OLB) Connor Barwin – these are good people that kind of represent what we want to be in terms of that football character: accountability, coach-ability, you can depend on these guys. Then, they also have a certain way about themselves when you talk about them. Kayvon's kind of the guy that doesn't have as much experience. Lance is a guy that when he got his opportunities in Dallas, I thought he showed really well. But, you look at Connor Barwin, you look at Andrew Whitworth – these are guys that have been Pro Bowl caliber players. I worked very closely with Jay (Gruden) – couldn't say enough things about Andrew Whitworth. Then you get around him and you see this guy is different. He's played at an extremely productive level and he's a grown man. I think for our offense, especially with how many young players that we have when you look at (WR) Tavon (Austin), (RB) Todd (Gurley) and (QB) Jared (Goff) – a lot of those skill guys. I think being able to have a player of his magnitude, but also just the way that he handles himself is going to be extremely beneficial. He's going to be someone that I'm going to lean on. He's the only guy on the team that's older than me, but he's great. Then, Robert Woods is a guy that I've been really impressed with him just going back and watching him play at USC. He does all of the little things the right way. He's competing in the run game. He can play inside, outside. Aaron Kromer, our offensive line coach, was with him last year. Then (Redskins Wide Receivers Coach) Ike Hilliard who I was with in Washington the last handful of years had him in Buffalo. Everybody that you talk to can't say enough nice things and good thing about him. (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) was with both Connor and Kayvon and having his opinion on those guys and that intricate, inside knowledge, especially with Kayvon when he didn't have a lot of snaps is really helpful and it's why you're glad to have a guy like Wade Phillips that we can all lean on. I think his resume speaks for itself."
(On his first meeting with Whitworth)
"The first meeting was – the way things are set-up – really, the first time that you're meeting him in person was when he came in to sign his contract. Just how impressive he is when you talk football, you feel like you're talking to a coach. Talking to those other coaches that have been with him: Jay (Gruden), (Bengals Defensive Coordinator) Paul Guenther, (Bengals Offensive Coordinator) Ken Zampese, even (Bengals Head Coach) Marvin (Lewis) – talking about the leader that he is. Whether it was offensive or defensive players, he had a way of bringing people together. You get around him and he's got a presence and a way about himself that's very impressive. He's a guy that we feel very fortunate to have. He brings his family in and you can see he's all about the right stuff. That's why, I think, he'll be great for us."
(On the best thing that Wade Phillips has given him so far)
"What he did was, when you're looking at setting up for phase one, especially kind of getting to know the team, how we're going to meet as a team, establish our identity, both what we're looking for in Rams and that kind of culture we're trying to create. Initially, we had things set-up where we were going to meet 30 minutes at the beginning of the week to kind of set the tone, and Wade comes up – and he's been great about picking and choosing his spots – and he says, 'I think it's really important for you to meet with the team every day, so they can get a feel and especially establish that rapport with the defensive players." To have somebody like that, that's been in this role but from a defensive perspective and how he connected with the offensive players - I think that's great. You sit in some of their defensive staff meetings. He's got a subtle way about just what he picks up on and what he notices, just those fundamental things - you quickly realize why he's such a good coach. I know I'm going to learn a lot from him. That first meeting when he was meeting with the defensive staff, I loved what he said. I've said this to a couple of you guys before. He says, 'You're not working for me, you're working with me.' I love that. I thought that was something that we want to embody as an organization, especially with our whole coaching staff. It's kind of something every day, but that was one thing recently that stood out. We're going to meet every day. It won't be too long, but it will be a chance to allow the team to get to know us and get to know me as a coach."
(On if he expects T Andrew Whitworth to be a sounding board for QB Jared Goff)
"Absolutely. I think, especially when you look at that left tackle position, what he'll be able to do for Jared and that mentorship – and he's seen what it looks like. You're talking about (former Bengals QB) Carson (Palmer) and (Bengals QB) Andy (Dalton), those are guys that have played an extremely high level. You look at the success they've had in Cincinnati when he's been there. I think there's a lot of value in guys that know what it looks like when it's right. There's a certain way that players who are those leaders, where it's genuine and authentic, their message is going to resonate even different than a coach, just based on the way things are structurally set up. You can say something, but when Andrew Whitworth is talking to Jared, or even a (RB) Todd (Gurley), just offering his bit of advice, I think it's received in a different way, because they're actually the ones that are going to battle in and out of the huddle with him. I think that's what his contribution will be and I definitely expect him to do the same."
(On how he monitors Jared Goff when coaches cannot have contact with the players)
"That's what's so frustrating. Because you want to be able to be around these guys – he wants to be in the building, you want to start teaching him our system and see how he's able to articulate our verbiage, yell it in the huddle and then be able to translate it to the grass. I think what's ended up happening right now is he's done a good job, he's gone out of his way to seek out (baseball pitching coach and quarterback coach) Tom House, working on throwing the football and things like that. I think he's got a little bit of an idea of what we're going to try to do, so when he's throwing with some of our receivers, you're at least getting work in where it's going to translate to what we're going to be doing here in a couple weeks. But it's really frustrating and that's why that April 10th date can't come around fast enough. And it's why, when you've got nine weeks – and really we've got 10 with the addition of that voluntary minicamp, being (our first as a staff) – you can't waste a single day. Every minute is so precious and none more important than at that quarterback position, because of the amount of information that he's going to have to absorb and be able to retain."
(On what would happen if Tom House teaches Jared Goff different mechanical things than what McVay would teach)
"That's why I thought it was really important where we're in alignment. We've talked Tom, Tom and Adam (Dedeaux), they've been great. And, actually, (offensive coordinator) Matt LaFleur was kind of the one that put it in motion because he and (Falcons QB) Matt Ryan, they did that last year and had a bunch of success. And I know it really helped Matt (Ryan) and Matt (LaFleur) felt really good about it. We are in alignment with a lot of the fundamentals and a lot of the mechanics in terms of how we want to throw the football in an efficient manner. That's what's nice about it, before he even goes and works with those guys, you know that your core beliefs are in alignment with some of the things they've been working on."
(On if he would be in favor of allowing coaches to have more contact with quarterbacks in the offseason)
"Absolutely. I think, as a coach – if you ask any of these guys, I think they're all going to say, 'Of course, we want our players around more, we want to be able to have more access to them and them to us.' I think it serves a couple of different roles. For one, it gives you a chance to develop a relationship, more of a rapport with them from just a foundational level, but then also being able to teach them football – I don't think that can be underappreciated. Anytime, as a coach, you're going to ask if I want the players around more, the answer is always going to be yes. And I would be willing to bet that the other 31 guys would say the same thing."
(On if it is different at the quarterback position in particular)
"Yeah, I think it's so important. That's why you see some teams bring in those quarterbacks early in training camp. It's why you appreciate – being in Washington with a couple guys that truly were extensions of our coaching staff – that's what you hope to quickly do with Jared and (QB) Sean Mannion and we just added (QB) Aaron Murray, as well. The amount of information, you always talk about it all the time, just from an offensive philosophy and I learned that this goes back to my grandfather's influence on me and what he said (former 49ers Head Coach) Bill Walsh would always talk about is it's the most difficult position in all of sports, it's the most important one for the football team, so everything that we do starts with the quarterback in mind. And our job is to make the most difficult position as easy as we can – obviously you can't do that, but being able to have them have an understanding and kind of know from our perspective what we're thinking and why we're running certain plays in different situations is going to be the important thing and that's why you need more time with these guys."
(On if he is going nuts not being able to talk to the players)
"Absolutely. You're going nuts because, again, going back to that April 10th date, they're around – that's the nice thing about the L.A. area, that the players stay around. There are certain places where they get out of town and live in other places in the offseason. So, if you had the ability to be able to spend more time with them, especially because they're around, even if it was something where, if they wanted to come in, you could do it. You can't even do that. And that's why, what you're doing right now, you're so busy, there are so many different things – with free agency, implementing our schemes where the coaches are getting on the same page so when April 10th does come, we're all speaking the same language, especially that quarterback position, where Matt LaFleur, (quarterbacks coach) Greg Olson, myself, we're going to have a lot of interaction with Jared and Sean and that quarterback room as a whole. Making sure that all three of us coming from different places, are speaking that same language and not sending mixed messages is going to be important. And that's kind of how you're passing time right now."
(On how much he will coach the quarterbacks and if he will be in the quarterback room every day)
"What we'll do is, a lot of the ways we'll implement our offense will be skill-driven. Most of the time, unless it's a unit meeting where you're addressing the entire offense and you're talking about something that applies to everybody, we'll start out with the quarterbacks, receivers, tight ends and running backs are all together. I'll be involved in all those meetings where you're installing the offense, you're talking about some of the core things, showing some of the tape. And then I think it is important, when you break up individually, to let the coaches coach. That's something that I really took from (Washington Head Coach) Jay (Gruden), is his ability to empower his assistants, trust them to do their job and that's what you want to be able to do. I'll try to be in there, but I also think it's important for me to be visual and visible to the entire team. I look at it as my contribution to the offense will be to install with those skill players and then when you break up individually, letting those coaches coach, find a way to bounce around where you're able to be visible. That's kind of how that will be. And then, on the field, if we ever have an unscripted period, or during certain things like that, I'll call the plays. But individual drills, I want to allow those coaches to coach their players and develop that rapport with them as well."
(On how much it sped up his process that Jay Gruden let him coach)
"I think it's a huge reason why I'm fortunate enough to be in this role. Because, until you do that, as a coach you always like to think you're preparing yourself – and then until you do it, you realize what a difficult task it is. I've heard (Steelers Head Coach) Mike Tomlin say this, 'Everybody has the answers, but no accountability.' When you start calling plays, you're accountable for those decisions and different things that are made. I thought it was great just to be able to do that. You look at, from year one to year two, how much you learned and you realize you're a much better play-caller when you have good players like we had in Washington, too. It was great, I think it's a huge reason why I'm sitting here. I can't tell you how much I learned from that."
(On QB Kirk Cousins' value to Washington and to its offense)
"It's funny, because you know what a big fan of his that I am. The first week that I got the job, they asked me about this and you go on and on about Kirk – I get a call from Rams (Executive Vice President of Football Operations/C.O.O.) Kevin Demoff saying, 'Hey, when you talk about other players now, that's tampering, you can't do that.' I would love to be able to go on, but I can't talk about Kirk right now."
(On how he eases the transition to the NFL for young quarterbacks who haven't called plays in a huddle before)
"That's it right there. Because a lot of the things that you're trying to evaluate, especially in the college game, playing underneath the center and running a play-action game, just doing some different things, it's totally different. It's why you have to do a good job projecting and being able to see what are those three or four things that you really value from an intangible standpoint and then from a physical-trait standpoint that you can't evaluate when you might not be able to see a guy work through pure progression or different things like that. I think those guys that are doing that, those teams that you see operate underneath a center in a conventional pro-style, if you will, they're a little bit easier to evaluate. But I think there's examples of guys around the league having success. And I think good coaches do a nice job of adjusting and adapting to whatever your players do best. We were just talking about it earlier, the thing that's frustrating, especially with the quarterback spot is how little time you get with them. So then you end up projecting, you say, 'Okay, we're going to take a Jared Goff.' And he's almost exclusively operating out of the shotgun at Cal, he plays for three years and now he comes in as a rookie, he has seven games of experience where he showed some signs, showed some of those things. That's why, when you get into this role, you want to be able to get with him right away because there's so many different things you want to see and evaluate. But it does much, much more difficult. That's why you have to do a good job evaluating, projecting and figuring out what you're looking for that you value and then see if it translates."
(On how much QB Jared Goff has been in the film room this offseason)
"He's around, he's hungry for information. There's even still some restrictions. Even if he wants to be there, you can't do anything that's football related. He's around though, and you can tell he's dying to get going. It's the same thing with (Rams QB) Sean Mannion, and a lot of those players. They're all around and they're present. Most of the guys have been in the building where you get a chance to meet them face-to-face. He's around and you want to be able to spend a lot more time with him."
(On the transition from adapting to the West Coast from the East Coast)
"I've had people joke with me. They say, 'You seem like an L.A. guy already.' But, it's been good. Anytime that you get a chance to go from Washington (D.C.) to L.A., I think it's really just getting used to the three hour time difference. That's the one biggest change. I love being in a city with great weather. I like to be be outdoors as much as possible. It's like teasing me though, when you see how nice it is and you're inside doing some different stuff. But, I've loved every second of it. Where our facilities are, it's in a great place in Thousand Oaks. The biggest thing is getting used to communicating with people back East on the three hour time difference. Fortunately, I'm an early guy, so it kind of times up. But at the end of the night, if you want to call somebody at 8:00 (p.m.) when you're on your way home, and it's 11:00 (p.m.) back there, usually most people are sleep by then. That's been the biggest transition."
(On if he's going to continue to call plays, and if so, how he will balance it)
"That's really important, and I am going to call the plays. When you really look at it, I think it'll be a collaborative effort. That was something where when we put together a game plan, it's going to involve all of our offensive assistants. In essence, we're just setting the table. And there's a bunch of conversation and dialogue that goes on throughout the course of the game where you heavily rely on your assistants. And then, you're the one that kind of sends it in and communicates with the quarterback. Talking about it earlier, I think that's why you feel so good about the other leadership positions, where you can delegate and trust that they're going to do their deal. And that's why you feel so good about having a (Defensive Coordinator) Wade Philips and a (Special Teams Coordinator) John Fassel running the special teams and the defense where you want to be visible. You want to make sure that you're a Head Coach that is an offensive coach. Not just an offensive coach that is actually the head coach as well. I think it's going to be an ongoing balance. I talked to (Dolphins Head Coach) Adam Gase about that, because that was one of the things that he's been able to give me some great advice. Sitting there yesterday with (Saints Head Coach) Sean Payton kind of in a similar role. Having those guys so willing to share and kind of be able to articulate and explain some of the challenges that they went through, has been really helpful. And seeing it first-hand with (Redskins Head Coach) Jay (Gruden) and working for Coach (Jon) Gruden. So, I've kind of been around guys that have done it. I think it's really helpful to be able to see it first-hand, and then have these guys who are so willing to share throughout the course of that."
(On information that other coaches have shared with him that has helped his transition)
"I think trust your assistants. Then, make sure that, especially if you are going to call out how important it is to be involved in those meetings, so that the message that the players are getting is consistent. Because especially with some of these guys you haven't worked with, you got to make sure that what you're saying is received by the players. They're all hearing that same message so that they know exactly what the roles and responsibilities are within the framework of a concept or a certain play. That communication is extremely important. Then, being able to trust those other guys that when you're not able to be there, knowing that that message is going to be consistent, and it all goes back to communication."
(On if he's ever talked to his grandfather about his time with the New York Giants)
"Absolutely. It's funny, if you've ever met my grandfather, he's probably one of the most even-keeled people that you've ever met. At the time when that occurred, my dad was playing at Indiana University. He's getting pounded in the New York media about that situation. He calls my grandpa, and he says, 'Hey Dad, don't worry. One day, we'll all look back on this and laugh.' And my grandfather said, 'Tim, there is no chance we'll ever go back to that situation (laughter).' He said, 'Ain't no chance.' He used some other verbiage in-between that (laughter). But, it ended up kind of being a blessing in disguise where he goes to San Francisco, and gets a chance to be a part of five world championships, and it's a pretty unique deal. He kept his first and fifth rings. He's got three sons. He gave his other three rings to his kids. So, when my Dad wears a Super Bowl ring, I go, 'You can't wear that man. You didn't have anything to do with that.' But, it's pretty unique, and he has talked to me about that."
(On if he's watched that play before)
"Yeah. I think you see that run over, and over again. Then, it pans to my grandfather on sideline. That was a tough experience, but adversity's inevitable in this game. I think that's why my grandfather was able to have so much success is he didn't blink, he kept it moving, and I think he did a nice job for himself."
(On how difficult it is working with a guy with a one-year deal, when you don't know where he will be down the road)
"I think when you really look at this league, it's such a, 'What's important now?' Let's just stay in the moment and not get ahead of ourselves. You look at how many different things change year-to-year. Even to think that I got a chance to sit here right now in this role, when a year ago, you're kind of getting ready for the draft for the Redskins. So, I think what's important is having people that are mentally tough, are able to focus on the now, and realize what's important, especially with how much this league changes from year-to-year. Being around mentally tough people is kind of what you want, and that's what a lot of those players were that I was able to work with in Washington."
(On if he ever had concerns working with quarterbacks in regards to their mental toughness)
"I think what you look at is, the quarterback position is so tolling, there's so much pressure on it just in general by the nature of the spot. Then, whether it's a guy getting a big contact, getting a franchise deal, that comes with expectations. I think what's important is for those guys to remember that you're either getting paid or you're becoming a franchise player because you've played at a high level. So, don't lose sight of what got you to this spot. Don't put too much pressure on yourself, just operate. Focus on your role, your responsibility within the framework of each play or kind of whatever we're asking. I think when you're around those types of guys, like I've been, they're able to do that. They worry about just being the best football player that they can be, and they know that the rest will kind of take care of itself."
(On what his thoughts were when he was sitting at the head coaches' group picture)
"What's going through my head is, this sun is really bright, I should've worn some shades. It's unique. Just this experience, being around these guys is probably the first time it's set in where you realize what a unique deal and what a humbling and really cool experience it is to be around these other 31 coaches. It's definitely something that you'll cherish. You get that picture and what a flattering and unique, cool experience it's been."
(On his experience this week)
"I think what you are, is you're appreciative. You don't want to be, kind of, a fan, but in a lot of ways, you have so much respect for this game, that I'm a fan of a lot of these coaches. You have such a huge amount of respect for the way they lead, the way they communicate, the way they call plays and handle different situations. I'm a fan of a lot of these guys. That's why what's been cool is sitting down with (Falcons Head Coach) Dan Quinn, like I had mentioned, talking to (Steelers Head Coach) Mike Tomlin and (Saints Head Coach) Sean Payton yesterday, reconnecting with (49ers Head Coach) Kyle (Shanahan). What a neat kind of experience it's been to have these guys so willing to share. Talking to Dan Quinn about how did he handle his first team meetings – I've always respected the way that he's led. What a mentally tough person he is. You look at the way they handled things after the Super Bowl, talk about the epitome of class. That toughness that his team embodies and kind of personified through their leader. And that's what's been, really, awesome about it all – you're just continuing to learn and grow. And that's what it's about."
(On CB Kayvon Webster Snapchatting former NFL QB Peyton Manning at the Rams facility)
"Yeah, Kayvon's Snapchats, hanging out with Peyton. Just like you're talking about with these coaches, when you get some exposure – that's what's been really unique about it all, is the exposure you get to different people in certain roles and responsibilities. Peyton is a guy that, obviously, his track record is so impressive with what he represents from the above-the-neck approach as a player. Getting his perspective on how he's done things, what he thinks based on – whether you're talking about football or his interaction with teammates – what kind of recommendations he would have for (Rams QB) Jared (Goff), in terms of developing and establishing that rapport with his guys and his receivers and tight ends and backs. Anytime that you get around somebody that's been great and that's a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer, that's a pretty good deal."
(On what he saw last year from RB Todd Gurley)
"I think what you look back at is, the run game takes all 11 – whether it's getting it targeted up front the right way with your linemen, having receivers that are willing to come down and block safeties when they bring an eighth guy down in the box, if you've got some run-pass options with the quarterback where you want to run it versus a two safety look and throw it versus single-high, I think it takes all 11. And the back has to do a great job pressing it or reading out his keys, because everybody is tied together. Those landmarks up front are tied in with where the back's supposed to initially start his read. I think what you still see is a lot of times you have a tendency to just look at the stats instead of the actual tape. I think you still see a natural runner who's got a great body, he has a natural feel for how to work edges on people. And I think that showed up in spurts last year. Clearly, what he did in his rookie year, I think it sets the expectations where this guy is going to be a great back year-in and year-out. And that's what we feel, too. I think Todd's motivated, challenged in the right way to respond and can have a bounce back year. But it's going to take everybody and Todd is going to be a big part of it and we feel like he's going to be a really good, consistent back that kind of, is one of the better ones in this league for a long time – that's the goal."
(On how he responds to people who question his experience level and young age)
"I think it's natural. Because you are aware of how fortunate you are to be in this role in such a short amount of time, but I think it's just about taking it one day at a time and ultimately it's a production based business. The results will end up dictating and determining what is said about that and that's why you feel so good about having great people around you. You have to do a great job to help our players reach their highest potential. But, I've been fortunate, where you've been around this game for such a long time and you realize that if you don't win, things are going to be said and everybody's got a job to do and if you do (win) than that's the goal. Every single week we're not going to lose sight of that, but right now what we're focused on is establishing a rapport with our players, getting better every single day, and then ultimately trying to put ourselves in a situation to compete every single week for wins."
(On if his experience makes him feel like an old soul)
"I've had people tell me that. So, I take that as a compliment. You have an appreciation for the history of leadership, especially coaches in general. I've always been a big fan of reading, trying to just continue to learn and acquire information. That is something that has been said, and I take it as a compliment."
(On whether there are any books he's had time to read recently during his recent move across the country)
"Actually – you try to read a little bit at night – a book I'm reading right now is You Win in the Locker Room First. A guy named Jon Gordon wrote it and Mike Smith (former NFL Head Coach/Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator) had a part in it as well. A lot of the core beliefs, a lot of the things in terms of implementing a culture, what you're going to be based on – are some of those messages that we want to be able to kind of have be a foundation of what we're trying to do in L.A. That's actually the book that I'm reading right now."
(On anything that he's read that has been helpful to him in his job)
"The book that I probably pull the most from is The Score Takes Care of Itself. Bill Walsh (former 49ers Head Coach) wrote it with Steve Jameson and that was really after he had finished up and Bill was so willing to share with his process and it was kind of all encompassing. A lot of the core messages had a huge influence on me. I think when you look back at what he was able to do and accomplish, you want to try to mimic and emulate it, but you also want to make it your own. That's one of the things that I thought was pretty cool, that's been consistent with a lot of the coaches that I've kind of reached out to. You want to make sure you're establishing that identity, but you also want to do it true to what you and your coaching staff truly believes in and be yourself. That's probably the book that has been the most influential that you end up pulling from a lot and I go back to it a lot as well."
(On whether the title of the book is the overall message)
"Yeah, he would say focus on all the little things with precision and detail and the score will take care of itself and that's where you kind of hear us talk about the process – you focus on that continuous improvement, that daily improvement, that daily excellence and over time those small chunks will incrementally lead to gains and that's kind of what Bill talked about, be more process driven than with results because inevitably and eventually that will be what ends up getting the results."
(On coming from the Walsh background and whether he would consider himself a Walsh guy)
"Just based on my grandfather's experience. I've never even met Bill, I've never had any interaction with Bill. But my first experience in coaching was working for Coach Gruden and he's been around Coach Walsh and things like that, so I think it goes back to Bill Walsh. But I would say the people that have been most influential and instrumental in my development so far as a coach have been Jon (former NFL Head Coach) and Jay Gruden (Redskins Head Coach), Bruce Allen (Redskins President) in a different non-coaching role, Mike Shanahan (former NFL Head Coach), worked for Jim Haslett (former NFL Head Coach). I've been around a lot of great guys. All of those people are willing to invest and kind of help me grow."
(On if he's reached out to Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh with him also being a Miami University (Ohio) alum)
"I saw John the other day, and got a chance to connect with him and have always had a respect for him just watching him from afar. It was funny, I ran into him as I was checking into the hotel and one of the questions that they were asking about with the combine and different things like that, was if all the coaches ran a 40-yard-dash, who would win. A lot of the guys said the younger coach. But he and I played at Miami University (Ohio) and he said 'I think I would take him. He was a probably a possession receiver at Miami University (Ohio) and I was a corner, so I'll take him' (laughs). He's a great guy. I will definitely reach out to him moving forward."
(On if he ever ran into Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at Miami University (Ohio))
"Right when Ben ended up leaving, it coincided with the next year then I came in, so we were never there at the same time. But he came back a couple times. He was honored at some of the games, so you got a chance to meet him. What he did – especially when you watch some of the tape – they finished 10th in the country the year that I committed there, they had a 13-game winning streak, being able to put them on the map. I know they had a bunch of nationally televised games where they did a great job that year and that was big reason why you end up going there and that appeal."
(On if he ever read up on Miami University (Ohio) coach Paul Brown)
"It's funny that you mention that. I read about Paul Brown, just with his background with Bill. From that book that I was just talking about, he references Paul quite often and talks about how he was so influential in a lot of Bill's core beliefs. That's kind of the way that I've been exposed to Coach Brown. But what a great job he did and why he's respected the way that he is."
(On his first impressions when he first sat down with Jared Goff)
"The first impressions are this is a guy that is motivated to respond in year two I think he has a little bit more fire then a lot of people realize, where he kind of has that laid back Cali swag, but then when you sit down and you talk to him he's a fiery guy and he's serious about football – really willing to learn, really a likable guy. Easy to talk to and I'm looking forward to getting to know him better moving forward."
(On why he thinks Jared will respond well in year two and what he sees in him)
"I think when you talk to him about the way he received last year and the fire and the passion that he talks about and why he's challenged to respond. What I really like about him is when you talk about – it's easy when things don't go well, to try to deflect and put the blame elsewhere and all he did was take the accountability – here's what I have to do a better job with moving forward, here's some of the challenges. That's what you like and that's what you want from your leader."
(On if he's found a place to live)
"I have. This was the first exposure to L.A. – it's all over TMZ yesterday. I closed on a place earlier this week. My girlfriend, she's on social media, I'm not and she says, 'You know, it's everywhere. Where we're living' and all that stuff. I did. I'm going to be living in Encino, which I'm really excited about that. It'll probably be a month until I get in it, because my mom's an interior designer, so she's going to do a bunch of different things and spend a bunch of my money (laughs)."
(On if he's going to pay his mom)
"It's funny, because she's done the last two places that I've lived and she has a great feel for it. Then she gives you the bill and you say, 'what kind of deal is this for your son?' She says, 'This is the (family) discount.' I said 'Geeze mom, you got pretty expensive.'"
(On L.A. being such a busy town)
"It's unique. What I didn't realize, is getting out to L.A. you realize how normal it is, especially if you go eat or have dinner in West Hollywood, everybody is somebody out there. Two of the first three weekends I'm out there are the Oscars and the Grammys. We were joking around with a girl that works in our business office, (Manager of Business and Executive Operations) Sophie (Luoto), she's great. She's from the L.A. area and she is kind of able to set it up and she has a feel for some of the restaurants. And I called her, I want to say it was Oscar weekend, and I said can we get into Catch L.A. with like a group of 10 and she found a way to get it done. Which is kind of a popular deal, but she told (Senior Assistant) Tony Pastoors, 'We have to tell coach that he has to give me a little more advanced notice, when it's Oscar and Grammy weekend. He has to get to know the social calendar a little bit better around here too.' (laughs)"
(On when he first met Mike Tomlin and how he has helped him)
"I first met Mike a couple years ago through (current Falcons Assistant Head Coach) Raheem Morris. Raheem is a guy that I was able to establish a relationship with, I know Mike was kind of his mentor and really instrumental and influential in his career. One of the things I've always appreciated about Mike, just watching him from afar, is he's got a presence and a charisma about himself where you always feel Mike Tomlin in a room. I haven't had a chance to spend a whole lot of time one-on-one, but in the times that you have, you always walk away impressed. He seems like he never has a bad day. He has a great way about himself, just dealing with people. And that's something that I want to try to mimic and emulate. I think Coach Gruden was very similar in that regard, where they're two big personalities that you always felt and I thought they did a great job with their motivation. What Mike's been is just a great influence in terms of that advice for how to deal with a team, how to handle adversity, always making sure that you have a message but you stay true to yourself, who you are and what your core beliefs are. I can't tell you how much respect I have for Mike and I'll continue to try to bother him. We don't play them this year, so hopefully he'll be a little more willing to share."
(On if it's a sharing experience when he talks to Tomlin or if it is mostly him asking questions)
"It hasn't been a lot of that. I think he's probably always just taking in and having that dialogue. Mike's a guy that, in our interactions, it's been more conversational than anything. I'm sure that he's observing and taking stuff in, but I'm the one that's asking questions. You have your notes and you want to make sure that you get an opportunity to get everything in and take it all in when he's willing to sit down and talk to you."
(On when becoming a head coach started being on his radar)
"I think, when you get into coaching, it's always a goal. I've always been intrigued with leading, teaching and motivating. Whether you're an assistant coach, whether you're a coordinator, whether you're a head coach, I think inevitably, it's all-encompassing. That natural progression kind of takes care of itself. I've always learned that if you try to focus on your job and do it to the best of your ability, then eventually those next steps will come if it's the right situation and you do a good enough job. That's why you feel good about coming from Washington, where Jay enables you and empowers you to do a lot of the different things – where you're addressing the unit, you're making some of the decisions. Then, you look at it now where you're doing it with the entire team. It's an exciting challenge and it's something that we'll all do together. It's not just about me, it's about us, collectively, doing it as a group."
(On when becoming a head coach this year was becoming more serious to him)
"I think as soon as we lost to the Giants, (McVay's agent) Bob LaMonte calls me and says, 'The L.A. Rams and 49ers want to talk to you.' I said, 'Oh my God, you have to be kidding me.' I'm still getting over not getting that thing done on that Sunday afternoon. But that was immediately when it started. You always try to set your goals in alignment and you want to make sure that, when the opportunity presents itself, you're ready to attack it and go compete for the job. That was what was exciting about it, when you get into it, even getting on board with Bob, he's got a great program where they kind of, in essence, help prepare you for these interviews. That's something that goes back to when you're on the radar. Where you might potentially get those opportunities so when you go into it, you expect to compete for the job. You don't want anything given to you. But what I thought was unique about it, what was pretty cool and flattering was I don't think a lot of people expected us to be sitting in this situation. But, you go there, you present a vision and you know that it's about a lot more than just you, and I think you feel good about that. And that's why I was excited about being able to earn this job."
(On the vision he presented to the Rams)
"I think you've got a vision for the team and then you have a vision for each individual player within the framework of the team. We talk about this a lot, we're trying to be a culture of we, not me. It's always about the team and really, what's going to help us establish that is our character and our communication. That's football character and kind of that mental make-up. Your understanding of different things, but you want players that are coachable, that are dependable, that are accountable, they're great teammates. And then that communication, I think, is a quality trademark of any organization that is a quality organization. When you look at what we want our individual players to represent from that make-up, we're looking for mentally and physically tough players who are smart and love to compete. When you say smart, you talk about situational awareness, guys that are instinctual, that are smart football players. I'm not the smartest guy, but I'd like to think you have a little bit of awareness and an understanding about the game. I'm looking for good football players that get situations and that's our job to be able to teach that and we want to make sure that we're doing to the little things the right way. It was those things, kind of sharing on terms of how we saw their personnel, how you develop a quarterback. And being around the guy that I was in Washington, his success definitely helps get you into some of these situations. It felt more like a conversation than an interview, and that was why I was so excited to be a part of this with Kevin and Les."
(On where he picks up with Jared Goff)
"You start from scratch. With him, the first thing is being able to learn our verbiage, how to call a play, get in and out of the huddle and understand the intent of the play, the mechanics, what are the problems with it. It's a daily process and it's very important for us to incrementally give him our offense and help him learn that. Once we get out on to the grass, I think we'll have a much better idea. It's one thing to sit in the meeting room, talk about it, then him being able to regurgitate that information. It's a totally different thing when you're accepting a snap, you're having to decipher a coverage and how that dictates and determines where I'm going to go, what's the timing and rhythm. Once you get on to the grass, that's really where we'll start to see how much he's able to retain. Then based on the more that he can handle, the more we'll give him. But it's starting from ground one. And that's really for everybody when you're teaching them a system."
(On the influence that his grandfather, John McVay, has had on him and if they have stayed in contact)
"I'm in contact with him pretty frequently. He's had a huge influence. I think he's really been such a huge example of why I was fortunate enough to get into this business right away. Especially coming here this week, you realize how many different people he's touched, what a small circle of people it is in this league. He's been a huge influence and a huge mentor of mine. I'll continue to go back to this – I know, I'm not naïve to think that I wasn't fortunate to get in when I did and a lot of that is because of his reputation and what he was able to accomplish in this league, doing things the right way."
(On if he has remained in contact with his grandfather)
"Oh yeah, I've remained in contact with him. He lives, actually, off Lake Folsom in the Sacramento area. Once we get through the offseason program, I'll zip up and see him this offseason. But, I talk to him all the time."
(On how much he takes from other coaches he's been with)
"I think you're a product of your experiences and what you've been exposed to. Fortunately for me, I've seen it done the right way from a lot of great coaches. So, I think what you're always doing is you're kind of pulling, and saying this is something that I like, but you also want to make it true to what we're trying to do in L.A.. Being around guys like Jon Gruden, Jay Gruden, Mike Shanahan, when you see the way they lead, the way that they teach, the way that they handle adversity or certain things, problems that inevitably will come up. You always want to try to incorporate that and that's why this week is such a great opportunity because guys have been so willing to share. How do you handle your first team meeting, how do you deal with players that are late? All the different things that come up and being around people that are willing to share, you definitely pull that and you include it in kind of the way that we'll do things in L.A."
(On what his grandfather has shared with him)
"The one thing that he told me is the salaries are a lot different. Really, I think coaching is coaching. I think a lot of the ways you communicate with technology and kind of the ways that we're able to put together a game plan has shaped the way you go about it, and how much more efficient we can be now. I think it all goes back to building relationships with these players, and then being sound and good communicators. I think that's been something that's always been true. You look at any great coach, I will be willing to bet that they all probably have that similar trait and characteristic. I think whether it's 1978, 1958, 2017 – those things that you value and you want to embody as a good leader and as a great coach, will remain the same."
(On the adversity his grandfather faced)
"We've absolutely talked about it. I think what you realize is that adversity is inevitably in this game. In some form or fashion, it's going to come up. I think how you handle that and how you respond is really what ends up determining what type of leader and what type of person you are. I think you look at the way my grandfather was able to respond from that tough experience says a lot about him. Where you kind of don't blink. You show me a successful person, you show me a great leader, they've been through some adversity and they've responded in a way that you want to show that mental toughness, that resilient mindset. I think that's what he did."
(On if he has spoken with former NFL Head Coach Herm Edwards)
"You know, I haven't. But when I do come across Coach Edwards, I'm going to say, 'You caused my family a lot of stress,' (laughs)."
(On TE Tyler Higbee's role in the offense)
"I think that's something that we're going to continue to evaluate and I'll have a better feel for it once we get on the grass. But he is a guy that I really liked coming out of college – I think he's got a natural feel on the pass game. A good feel for how to work those seams, he has a big catch radius. Talking to (General Manager) Les (Snead) about some of the things that he did, especially early in camp, gets you excited to be around him. But how we'll utilize him will be predicated on, kind of, what we feel like his best strengths are. He's going to be different than (Washington TEs) Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis. We have to find a way to fit our stuff to Tyler Higbee and make sure we're accentuating his skillset – that's something that's going to be evaluated once we get into the field in Phase Two and Phase Three (of the offseason program). But he is a guy that we're excited to work with and just getting around him, he's got a nice way about himself. Looking forward to seeing how he competes when we get on the grass."
(On if he has spoken with former Rams RB Eric Dickerson)
"I have, actually right when I got hired. Eric's been great. I talked to him the day that I got hired and I've run into him a couples times since. I saw him at the Super Bowl, saw him at the Combine as well. He's a guy that will be around. You look at what he was able to accomplish as a player in his career – and I think what's important is there are so many great players that were a part of this organization and you want those guys around. You want winners around, they know what it looks like. Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce – D'Marco Farr is still present. I think being able to have those guys around, where your players can see. And we were talking about it earlier, there's a difference when a guy has done it, he's been in that role when he's talking to a Todd Gurley and a (RB) Lance Dunbar, kind of what it looks like. I have talked to Eric and he's a guy that I'm looking forward to getting to know a little bit better, as well."
(On why he thinks some coaches are reticent to bring in former players)
"I don't know. I can just say this, the guys that I've been around have always embraced and appreciated that and that's something that we'll try to do in L.A."
(On if Jay Gruden has spoken with him about Gruden's first season in the NFL)
"Oh yeah, we talked about that all the time. I think, especially when you look at his first year going into a lockout – but he talked about the challenges, the players, how much respect he had for (Bengals President) Mr. (Mike) Brown and (Bengals Head Coach) Marvin (Lewis) and the way that they were able to help, kind of, get him the opportunity where he's in Washington now. He got a really good feel and understanding for a lot of the coaches that are there. But he talks about it all the time because you are a product of your experiences and some of the things that you've been a part of. I know that was a great experience for him and he goes there for three years, does an excellent job – that's why he's sitting as the Head Coach in Washington."
(On if learning from Jay Gruden's time in Cincinnati was helpful)
"It was. And I think what was so special about it is he gets (Bengals QB) Andy (Dalton) as a rookie (Bengals WR) A.J. (Green) as a rookie – they've got those first two picks – and you really look at what they were able to do as a team. And (current Vikings Head Coach and former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike) Zimmer did such a great job on the defense. I want to say they went 9-7 and got in as a wild card. But to be able to do that is a real credit to Jay and Marvin and that entire staff."
(On how big it was to get a veteran player like T Andrew Whitworth on the line to help develop continuity)
"Huge. We're a young team, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Getting a guy that's done it at a high level for a long time, that kind of embodies what you're looking for from a leader. The way that he handles himself on the field and his ability to communicate with his teammates. I think that was a really big part of why we wanted to get him on board with us – for what he can represent as a player, but also in the locker room as a leader, just some of those intangibles that he brings to our organization."
(On if Whitworth mentioned being older than him)
"No, he didn't, but I did. I said, 'Now, you're the only guy that's older than me.' But he's still playing at a high level. He takes great care of himself and we're hopeful that he'll be able to continue do that for a couple more years moving forward."
(On whether he feels that he has enough playmakers on offense to do what he wants to do conceptually)
"I think one of the things that you talk about is that you can never have enough playmakers. We've got some guys that we think are playmakers, but you can never have enough of those guys. I was fortunate in Washington to be a part of an offense that had a handful of guys – from the receivers, tight end and the running back room. Had some quarterbacks that knew how to distribute the ball, kind of be a point guard, where they're figuring out a way to get a bunch of different guys involved and that's what we'll strive to do here. I think you always want to make sure that you're aware of that. We have a couple guys that we feel like can do that right now. But that's definitely something where you can't have enough of those guys. You feel fortunate that in the draft, I think there's a lot of depth at that receiver, that tight end spot. Les (Snead) has done a great job of filling me in – he's a little bit further along, in terms of his evaluation of where those guys are at and kind of how that might affect what we'll do with those eight picks that we have."
(On the process of getting to know a quarterback's likes and dislikes in terms of play calling and how long it takes)
"It's definitely a process that you have to be patient with. I think a lot of it is predicated on the player and it's always about the player. I think that when you look back to the rapport and the relationships that you're able to develop with the players you have in Washington and we were there together for a good amount of time. But I think it takes communication both ways. The players have to able to articulate that to you. I'm expecting Jared (Goff) and Sean (Mannion), when we're calling a play – and that thing cuts off at 15 seconds, if we get it in early enough – are you a guy that wants information when you're at the line of scrimmage or would you would you say, 'Give me the play and just stop.' Those are the types of things that are ongoing. It's just like anything else, it takes time to build relationships and that's what it will do. It will be a daily approach, but our ability to have that open communication can expedite that process."
(On how long it will take for that to happen)
"I would say, really, you go through the game experiences and try to mimic that in practice with the way that you set up certain situations and team periods. I think being able to get on the grass, we'll probably have a better feel going through the offseason program, where you've got a voluntary minicamp, you've got your 10 OTAs and then you've got your mandatory minicamps. After that, I think I'll have a much better idea of what we're going into, how these guys like it and what they feel most comfortable with, with regards to that process."