Head Coach Sean McVay – Press Conference – August 22, 2017**
(On former Rams Head Coach Mike Martz's comments about him yesterday)
"I did see that. Coach Martz is a guy that I have always had a huge amount of respect for with what he's accomplished, especially with just being an offensive coach. You look at the production of offenses that he's been a part of, so as a fan of coaching – I don't know Coach Martz, I met him real quick at the Combine a handful of years ago. Like I said, I have a lot of respect for what he's accomplished and I can't say anything but good things about what he's done and what kind of coach he is."
(On if he thinks his age may open up some of the types of comments that Martz made)
"Absolutely. That's one of the things, actually since I got that job that has been so pleased with is that you guys and really the market in general has been very welcoming and accepting of really our coaching staff and especially me. So, I feel very fortunate and blessed for that and we know that it is a production-based business. We've got a great challenge ahead of us, but what you feel good about is the coaches and the players that we're going to go on this journey with, these are the types of guys that you want to do that with and you feel like you have a chance to accomplish some things together and work through some adversity that we will inevitably face."
(On if the stereotype about his age frustrates him)
"It really hasn't been frustrating. Really, ever since I was so fortunate enough – as soon as I got done playing in college, I got right on with the Buccaneers. So, I've always been around the players age, just because of the broad range with the professional level of kind of the guys that you're dealing with. The thing that's been really good about it, that I felt like hasn't been an issue is that these are professional athletes, there is a mutual respect that exists between coaches and players and ultimately, it's about us trying to help them reach their highest potential, but it starts with developing and building those relationships like you hear us talk about all of the time. I think when you do that, when you care about these guys and then you have some things that can help them have success on the field, that's where that respect ends up coming into play and I feel fortunate that I've been around some great people, great players that to this point – my coaching journey has been really such a blessing. I have been around a lot of great people and I can't say enough about it."
(On what he thought about Martz's comments)
"Since I got out here, I saw that he also said that those were taken out of context. So, I certainly have an understanding and an awareness of how things can kind of get changed around and until I actually heard that directly – if he said that then everybody is entitled to their opinion and I can understand that and the bottom line is this – I've never been a head coach before, I haven't won a game, I haven't done anything. So, it's going to be a great challenge and we're confident with the guys that we do have. I know that it's going to be a great learning curve and I'm not going to pretend to have the answers to things that I don't know. But what I am going to do is continue to look at myself critically and try to be the best head coach and leader that I can be for this team and this organization."
(On if these types of controversies are what he thought they would be like as a head coach)
"Yeah, I think it is and I think the important thing is that as long as you keep the main thing the main thing and you really know whose opinions you are really evaluating in terms of what's important, who's in the know in terms of what goes on day-in-and-day-out and that's really our players and our coaches. Those are the guys that you're doing it with, that you're going through the ups and the downs together. There are different things that come out, but I think what's good that we're trying to create here is an inclusive environment where everybody feels a part of it – that open communication where you prevent some of those things that you maybe have seen in the past. I'm not even talking about what Coach Martz said, I'm talking about leaks in the building and different things like that. Like I said, I feel like when you're around great people that are really trying to help you learn and grow like we've got here with our coaching staff and our organization, you feel confident about navigating through the challenges ahead."
(On how he would describe his day-to-day treatment of QB Jared Goff)
"I think we try to coach every player the same and that's trying to help them reach their highest potential. You don't look at it as criticizing, it's correcting. When we coach guys, it's to try to help them and I think there's a way of communicating and dealing with people that one of the things you appreciate about all of our players is that they want to do it the right way. It's about us trying to help them learn from if there are mistakes, continue to – when they do have that success, give them that praise and continue to try to help them reach that highest confidence level and ultimately have success on the football field. But, when things aren't done to the standards that we all have and that I know our players have for ourselves, there needs to be a level of urgency that we all have in getting it fixed together. That's how we really deal with all of our players."
(On how WR Sammy Watkins familiarity of the offense is coming along)
"It's a good question. It's tough just because of where we're at in the installation. Everything has been installed. Now we're going through different phases of our offense and what we try to do is try to create some of those pressure situations in practice where it's a sudden change and different things that you really can't anticipate – where it's on the script, they know the plays that are coming. So, for Sammy that possess a little bit bigger learning curve, but I've been very impressed like I've said, with his ability to be able to translate it. I think once you just get more and more familiar with kind of how we want to operate, what our core plays are, that identity, those different things, it will allow him to understand his role within the framework of some of those plays that come up over and over again and then the complements that come off of what we're doing in the pass game or the run game. I've been really pleased with Sammy up until this point and he did a good job today making a handful of plays and we anticipate him being a big contributor to what we hope to do offensively."
(On if there is any update on CB Kayvon Webster, WR Tavon Austin or OLB Robert Quinn)
"With Kayvon, he tried to try go practice, his ankle was bothering him a little bit today. We want to be smart about that. We anticipate him getting a little bit more work than he did, but we're going to be day-to-day with him. Tavon, I'm sure you guys saw on the side. He is continuing to work with (Director/Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and nothing has changed as far as we still expect him to be out. Actually, it was kind of a freak deal where Robert was going to practice and he got a little bit of a knee to the thigh. He got a charlie horse from 'Big Brock' (DT Michael Brockers) by accident and those big thighs will give you a nice little charlie horse that will put you out. He's okay, it's just something that when you get hit in the right spot, it can actually be something that you'd be surprised on how much it inhibits your ability to move and that was why he wasn't out there today. But he's going to be okay and you can expect him to be kind of day-to-day. I don't think it's going to be anything that's going to set him back if the direction that we go is that he plays Saturday."
(On how Quinn got hurt)
"It was a screen in the walk-thru and you always like to have to pull guys back and it was a good screen that we had. 'Brock' had a little bit of urgency to go try to chase (RB) Todd (Gurley) on the sideline and ran into Robert and that's a big man right there when guys are going in different directions. My reaction was the same."
(On if there is still a chance that Quinn and Webster will play)
"There's a chance. (LB Mark) Barron – we're not going to play Mark. We're going to be smart with Mark just for a variety of reasons. We know what Mark can do, we know what he's capable of and it's about getting Mark to September 10th as healthy as possible. I think when Mark's right, he's a special player. You guys know with the productivity that he's had in his career over the course of the last handful of years here, so I think we've kind of made that decision that he's still going to participate and we're going to be smart about it. But, in terms of getting in that preseason work, the balance, what it looks like right now is we'll probably hold him out and have him ready to go for that Indy game. Nothing is set in stone, but that's kind of the direction that we're leaning right now."
(On if there is any update on DT Aaron Donald)
"No update on Aaron Donald. I think it's kind of the same where we're just trying to continue to find a solution to this. That's something that we're actively pursuing. I know (Executive Vice President of Football Operations/Chief Operating Officer) Kevin (Demoff) and (General Manager) Les (Snead) and (Senior Assistant) Tony Pastoors have been in active conversations with Aaron and his representation and that's something that we're trying to work to figure out. Like I said, the thing that's been really pleasing about our team is that in the meantime, it hasn't been a distraction. We'd love to have Aaron here, we'll welcome him back with open arms if that does happen, but in the meantime, guys are finding ways to get better and kind of just moving forward one day at a time."
(On what he is looking to see from the guys whose last game action before the regular season will be this Saturday)
"I think the interesting thing is – we're looking at exactly how we want to approach that. I thought it was great for us to get some work last week with a handful of guys, but I think you're looking for the same thing, where depending upon how many plays we decide to play those guys that you're counting on being your starters, your key contributors – it's when they're out there let's see good production. Let's see some efficiency offensively, let's see the ability to run in pursuit of the football and get guys off the field and see if we can take care of the football offensively and get it back for our offense on the defensive side. Special teams, like 'Bones' (special teams coordinator John Fassel) has done a great job with these guys the last handful of years, we'll look to try to eliminate the penalties. But, the way they cover, the way they pursue, the way they play together, that's what it looks like. I think you see a handful of plays where (LS) Jake McQuaide makes some tackles last week. So, I think it's just looking to see good, productive football from our team as a whole, but especially those guys that we're really counting on knowing that it probably will be the last time we see them with the approach we'll take with the Green Bay game."
(On if he felt the need to sit down with CB Trumaine Johnson and discuss his frustration about not getting a long-term contract)
"I think one of the things that's really important to us is communication and we talk about that. I know that (cornerbacks coach) Aubrey (Pleasant) and 'E' (safeties coach Ejiro Evero) do a great job of communicating with their DBs and I try to do the same thing with our entire team and (defensive coordinator) Wade (Phillips) for that matter with defensive players. Trumaine is an extremely important part of what we're doing. You absolutely talk to him at the start of training camp and let him know how important and how much we value him and I can't say enough about what he's done up to this point. Talk about a guy that's doing it day in-and day out consistently, playing at a high level and then his work ethic is matching the production. That's when you start to put those two things together with a player of his caliber and you get special results. That's what we've seen day in and day out at practice. I think you guys have seen it show up in the limited snaps that he has played in the preseason. But, we're expecting him to continue on with that same approach every single day and couldn't be more pleased with where Trumaine's at and how important he is to us."
Rams WR Sammy Watkins – Press Conference – August 22, 2017
(On how he has adjusted to getting used to the team and used to the city since he was traded)
"Definitely challenging. But for me, it's just really just to come in and try to learn and help as much as I can. I've been learning pretty good, the offense. Just getting around the guys, feeling more like myself every day and just figuring the guys out and having fun. That's really what it's about."
(On how the game against the Raiders looked to him)
"I liked it. I felt like the offense and the defense played well. The offense went right down the field. (RB) Todd (Gurley) running the ball, everybody catching the ball, (QB) Jared (Goff) playing well, the offensive line - together I think we played well as a team."
(On if he was comfortable with what he was asked to do in the game against the Raiders)
"Definitely some jitters. I was definitely comfortable, but at the same time, you kind of run to the line thinking like, 'Oh, what do I have?'. So I couldn't really play fast as I wanted to, but that just comes with reps and having more time with the QB, with the offense, and just playing more."
(On if any players are helping him become more comfortable learning the offense)
"Yeah, (WR) 'Coop' (Kupp) does a great job. If I don't know anything, I definitely look to my right and he'll signal something out to me. He's definitely been helping me."
(On what happened on his dropped touchdown against the Raiders)
"Jared (Goff) threw a great ball. I just dropped it, but that's just football. You're kind of rusty your first game back, second game back. On those things during the regular season, you start to make those plays."
(On if the defender got his hand on that pass)
"No, I kind of tried to catch it with one hand. He had one on my hand and I just dropped it."
(On if it was encouraging for him to see how accurate QB Jared Goff was on that long ball)
"Yeah, I mean the preseason just trying to figure things out, trying to run the plays that you're going to be running during the season. For me, I really just try to work on my details. If I drop the ball it's kind of like, I'm upset, but at the same time, it's a learning experience for the preseason. It doesn't count, but it's really just trying to learn everything and play fast. And that was my goal and I think I passed it."
(On what his initial impressions have been working with Goff)
"Both of us are young, that's the good part. We can both grow with each other and just really being on the same page. I think those guys we have to do everything – try to be perfect and that's just to help both of us with route running, with being at your depth, that definitely helps the QB."
(On building a rapport with his quarterback)
"It's definitely reps. I think the more reps you get with him, the more he can trust you and the more comfortable he is with throwing the ball to you, and the more you get open, that's the best thing ever. Just to have a guy that doesn't even look your way, just look the safety off and throw you the ball, because he depends on you to be at the right spot. So, that's the page that I'm trying to build and I think we're moving in the right direction."
(On if he's given any thought to what number he will wear in the regular season)
"I haven't figured it out yet, but I'm kind of open to anything. I don't want to wear 80's but I'm willing to, you know what I mean, keep it in the teens."
(On if he's talked to QB Sean Mannion regarding the No. 14 jersey)
"Not yet. I'm kind of letting everything blow by. We still have preseason. I don't want to go up to him and put that on his – there's no reason to do that right now."
(On if he watched the eclipse yesterday)
"No, I didn't. I didn't even think about that, but I definitely saw it on Instagram and Twitter."
(On what it's like talking with WR Robert Woods and getting to know the playbook from him)
"It's been great just to see what type of practice – I mean I just had to get acclimated to the practices first and then being around those guys definitely helped me out. Like I said, I don't know every play, so sometimes I don't know them and guys just give me a cue, give me a signal, and that's definitely been helpful. And, with him it's just helpful, because every day he comes prepared to practice, practice hard and I try to build off that."
(On if he feels settled at all living in L.A.)
"No, I'm really focusing on football. I haven't really put too much thought about where I'm going to stay at, or been out in L.A. really. Just been trying to really handle everything dealing with football, so I'll probably be squared away in the next two or three weeks, find a place, but right now I'm just focused on football."