Rams Head Coach Sean McVay – Offseason Program Day One Press Conference – April 10, 2017
"I think starting out this has been a long time coming for us. I know our whole coaching staff was really anxious to get to this day. Get around our players – start to get to know these guys. Really what Phase 1 represents for us is a chance to meet with our players and then they'll get familiar with our strength and conditioning staff. It's exclusively meetings for us as coaches and then a lot of strength and conditioning –getting themselves ready for Phase 2. But really the emphasis for us right now is on learning our systems and establishing our identity. We feel like today was a good start for us."
(On the first impression he had of his team in terms of their general football IQ and the first impression he wanted to convey to the team)
"I think when you really look at it, you walk into that first team meeting – I was definitely very excited for it –but there was full attention, guys were locked in, they were engaged, they were ready to go, we had everybody there. I think it was definitely, exactly the way that we wanted to come off as a coaching staff. Really right now, it's about building relationships with these guys. We got a chance – within the framework of offense, defense and special teams – to just kind of get the general things. Offensively, we're talking about our style of play, our approach. Then we're introducing formations, motions, and personnel groupings to the skilled players. It's very early in the process. We've got some time right now, so we want to make sure we do a great job establishing a foundation so that it can be conducive for that long term success. But I think today went as well as we could've hoped and looking forward to tomorrow already."
(On what the core message was when he first addressed the team today and how much time he spent thinking about what he wanted to say in that first team meeting)
"I think it's really important, like we talked about, establishing our identity. We've sat down as a coaching staff, as an organization and really going back to the interview process. Talking about what we felt like was going to be conducive for having a long-term vision for our players – what was going to help us have that sustained success over time and it's about establishing our identity. You see the t-shirts that people are walking around with, with the 'We not Me'. It's always going to be about the team. All the decisions that we want to make are going to be from a standpoint of what's in the best interest of the team, before any personal agendas and that's what we want to embody as a coaching staff and with our players as well."
(On whether the t-shirts were his idea)
"It was a collective idea – the 'We not Me' approach. It was our idea."
(On whether the whole team was present today)
"We did. Everybody was accounted for, as far as I know. It was the turnout that we expected. I think the players felt as excited as we were as a coaching staff. Getting that feeling from those guys was exactly what we were hoping for and that's what we got."
(On how he keeps from going too fast too soon to start the offseason)
"I think it's important for you to lay out a foundation, have a long-term vision, (we know) that we have 10 weeks with this offseason program. We've laid out the first two weeks, knowing that today we had an hour and a half with the meetings and then for the next three days this week, we'll have an hour and 40 minutes. I think it's very important for us, within the framework of each position, to allocate that time accordingly. If we have that foundation built, then it can kind of allow us to stay on track. For me, the excitement is something where you get excited to come in here and really getting these players in here, you feel like a coach again. We've all been chomping at the bit and I think I share the same feeling as our entire coaching staff, that's it's nice to feel like a coach again, get these guys in here and get into the meeting room. And then really, Phase Two will represent getting to be on the grass with them and start to teach and work some drill work on the field."
(On if he got a chance to meet with QB Jared Goff)
"We've had little conversations here and there. Today really represents that first time where you're meeting. It was all kind of skill-based, we were together the entire time with our quarterbacks, tight ends, receivers and our running backs. Once we get further into it, then we will start to have more individual time. I think those times are great opportunities for me, (offensive coordinator) Matt (LaFleur) and (quarterbacks coach) Greg (Olson) to get to know those guys. You want to be able to allow your coaches to coach, empower those assistants. I think when we start to have that individual time allocated to the meetings, that's when the position coaches can get their things going."
(On how much of a feel he thinks Jared Goff has for the offense right now and how much work is ahead of him)
"I think for our quarterbacks as a whole, there's a lot of work. It's just making sure we have that one day approach. If you look at it where you want to go from A to Z, then you end up getting overwhelmed with the amount of information. But I think as long as you just take little steps at a time, that continuous improvement one day at a time, then I feel like that will lead to the things that we want. But we're just focused on making sure that these guys have a good ownership and we're trying to get these guys, ultimately, to be an extension of our coaching staff. It's going to be a process, we have to be patient and committed to it, but I think with the demeanor and the disposition that I sense from all three of our quarterbacks, we feel good about that happening."
(On if bringing in CB Nickell Robey-Coleman means that DB Lamarcus Joyner will move to safety)
"I think when you look at it, just evaluating the tape, you flip the tape on, you watch Lamarcus Joyner, this guy is a football player. He shows up and you want to find as many ways to get him on the field as possible. Whether that's him at nickel – which I think he's one of the elite players at that spot in this league – or the safety, I think you see an instinctual player that has a great feel for the game. And I think our coaching staff has done a nice job targeting him as a player that we have to make sure that he's on the grass, he's competing. And anytime that you add depth like a Nickell (Robey-Coleman) does add, where he's played a lot of football, it gives you some versatility to move a special player like Lamarcus around potentially."
(On how much of a premium he puts on receivers with speed)
"It's extremely important. I think one of the things you felt fortunate looking at some of the receivers they have in Washington, guys that could take the top off coverage. When you're trying to operate with some of your play-action game where you have your three-level throws – the top-shelf, the intermediate and then that flare-control underneath – somebody that can stretch the field vertical, and if a team isn't honoring it, then you make them pay with those big plays. The offenses that I've been fortunate to be a part of, we've done a nice job creating explosives. And that's definitely something that we're looking to do here and those speed guys give you the best opportunity to be able to do that."
(On the adjustment for Lamarcus Joyner to move to safety)
"I think it will be an adjustment. I think our coaching staff has done a nice job figuring out ways we can make that transition smooth. There are some different exit angles when you're talking about playing a deep half or the middle of the field. I think, from an underneath defender, he's been doing things like that. A lot of those things that you ask a down safety, when you're playing in your single-high defenses, to do are very similar to what he's done the last couple of years from that nickel spot. I think it's just getting comfortable, he is an instinctual player, and just understanding some of those exit angles, some of those break points, based on starting from 15 yards off as opposed to down where you're 10-yards within the line of scrimmage will be a little bit different. But I think you've seen examples of great guys be able to do both across the league and we're hoping that he'll be able to do the same thing for us."
(On if there are other guys he anticipates making positional shifts like OLB Robert Quinn)
"I think when you really look at a 3-4 to 4-3, with Coach Phillips' system, like we've talked about a little bit, they are a one-gap penetrating front. For all intents and purposes, Robert will line up as the Will linebacker, but he's a rush player, he'll play a similar role to what DeMarcus Ware did in Denver for Wade the last couple of years. I think he's going to still be, he's going to be an elite rusher in this league for years and that's what we're hoping to do with him moving forward. I don't think his role will change too much. I think you look at some of the additions that we made on the offensive line with (T) Andrew Whitworth, we'll shuffle some guys around and then bring a veteran with (C) John Sullivan in. I think it'll allow us to be able to move some guys around, get a feel to see if this is a position that they're a little bit more comfortable with and will ultimately make us better as a unit up front. Defensively, I think Lamarcus is probably the best example of a guy that will have to do that transition. Other than that, we feel good about where the guys are at and the personnel we have on defense."
(On if OL Rob Havenstein could play right guard)
"I think when he was coming out, you looked at Rob as a potential guy to be able to move inside and do some of those things. Really, going back two years, I thought he's put some excellent tape out there as far as playing that right tackle position. You talk to people that have been around him – we've got (assistant offensive line coach) Andy Dickerson, who will working with our offensive line again this year – him being able to communicate what a sharp guy Rob is, how he's able to process things above the neck. I think he and (OL) Greg (Robinson) working in coordination, in unison, will be able to help both of those guys. And then you add John Sullivan to the mix, I know from being with him in Washington, he did a great job communicating, has a really impressive big picture understanding from that center spot. And then looking at 'Rog' (OL Rodger Saffold) at left guard and Whitworth at left tackle – and you see good things out of (OL) Jamon Brown. I think we've got some good depth up front and I'm excited to see how these guys process that information and then translate it to the grass once we get the OTAs started in Phase Three."
(On how healthy John Sullivan was last year and if his back issues are behind him)
"Yeah, that's what we're hoping. When you really look at it, if you didn't know any better, you wouldn't have known he had any back issues. I think he's put great tape throughout the course of his career on film and when he played for us last year, it was 130-or-so snaps, I thought he did an excellent job. You really can't undervalue or underappreciate that communication from that center spot – handling the cadence, handling the calls up front – because it all starts with that spot, most of our calls fit off of that. John was a guy that I was really impressed with, Being around him in Washington, you almost felt like you were talking to a coach. You talk about your quarterback wanting to be an extension of the coaching staff, the center position is very similar where he's got to have a big-picture ownership of what we're trying to get done, what we're trying to accomplish up front. And John is certainly someone that's shown he is capable of handling that."
(On if there will be any give and take as far as terminology is concerned within the schemes)
"I think when you really look at it, from our systems, what's very important, we'll talk about our language that we'll use now. I think it does help to have an understanding of what something was called prior to this, to help with that communication. But we are going to utilize Coach Phillips' system with the defensive terminology. And then we've kind of collaborated with some of the coaches that we have offensively. And then you also try to make sure, when you're teaching it, does this make sense? You get a chance to really go back and evaluate some of the terminology that we might've used in Washington and how we can make a couple of tweaks – from a starting point, if you know nothing, this at least makes sense from a teaching progression. So that's something that we want to be aware of that we will do. And then when you look at what 'Bones' (special teams coordinator John Fassel) will do, that'll be very similar. I think the success that they've had on special teams is something that we feel good about. And now the challenge is, can we take it to the next level for those guys. That's kind of how we'll approach that. But I think you always just want to make sure that, from a teaching progression, your words mean something so that it can resonate and stick with the players."
(On why accountability was important for him to emphasize in the team meeting)
"I think any time that you're really just looking at football as a whole, I think it's very important for each player, each coach, to be accountable, take full responsibility for our performance, for your actions, no excuses, no complaining. We're looking for mentally tough players, mentally tough coaches – you take accountability, you take full responsibility for whatever was done. And if it's something that we need to get corrected and fixed, we all do that and we move forward and we don't blink. That was kind of how we implemented the accountability process and why that's so important for us moving forward."
Rams QB Jared Goff – Offseason Program Day One Press Conference – April 10, 2017
(On his initial reaction to the first team meeting with Head Coach Sean McVay, as well as his first impressions of him)
"Yeah, it's been a great day. I think there's some really good, new energy here. Coach McVay and the rest of his staff have done a great job exuding that energy and really letting us feel it. I think it's really a fresh start for a lot of people. I think it's a really good feeling. Just freshness is the best way to describe it."
(On if this "freshness" makes him want to get on the field faster than he can, with respect to the league rules)
"Yeah, of course. You always want to get out there and do your thing, but a lot of the ground work we need to do first, and learning the new stuff. Getting on the same page, with not only the coaches, but with each other, and just knowing what we need to do on the field before we get out there."
(On how much of an adjustment it is for him to learn a new offense)
"There's going to be, obviously, some time to put in for everyone. That's part of a new staff. I think the league sets it up to where you get to start earlier, and get a chance to get in there and get a head start on it a little bit, which does help. The next few weeks, we'll dig into it, and pick it up as fast as we can until we get on the field."
(On how much of a feel he has for Coach McVay's new offense)
"Good feel, good feel. From what I know, and from what I've seen, it's obviously a great offense. And from what I've heard, I've talked to quarterbacks around the league and coaches and what not, and I haven't heard a bad word about it. So, I'm excited for it."
(On if the changes made to the offensive line this offseason reassures that the team is committed to protecting him)
"Yeah, I think so. Anytime they make any sort of investment on the offensive side of the ball, especially, it's always helpful for myself and for everyone on the offensive side of the ball. I think that all of the additions we made offensively and defensively were all great. Obviously, (LT Andrew) Whitworth is going to be great for me, as well as (C) John (Sullivan), and (WR) Robert (Woods), and even (RB) Lance (Dunbar) will be great. All of those guys, I'm excited for them, and they're excited to be here."
(On his experience working with Tom House and Justin Dadue on his throwing mechanics this offseason)
"It was great. It was down in Newport (Calif.), so not too far. Nice little drive down there, it was fun. It was great. I had a lot of people recommend it, coaches included, and I went down there and did a lot of work for them. I felt like I came away a lot better player. I'm excited to continue to work with them"
(On anything in particular he took away from working with Tom House and Justin Dadue)
"Just the way they explain things makes so much sense. I was able to get so much out of it. I don't know any particulars as far as mechanically. There's just so much that goes on in a throw that you really didn't know until you go down there and can experience it, and can go through it. Now you know when you do make a bad throw, you want to limit them. But when you do, you know why. It's not just, 'Oh, that was a bad one,' and move on. You know why and how to fix it."
(On how will going through this phase of OTAs be different for him as opposed to last, in terms of establishing leadership)
"Obviously, I'm much more comfortable with the guys. I've been here for a year. I know everyone's name. They all know my name. I can talk to, basically, anyone. I have a really good feel for everyone. That'll obviously help. As well as just being comfortable around the facility. Knowing where everything is, comfortability – you can't overstate it. It's really important, as for the quarterback position, and leadership overall."
(On knowing he's the presumed starter, as opposed to this point last year, and if that changes the way he approaches this season)
"Same thing, it's great. Day-in and day-out, I'm going to do my best to continue to get better and continue to improve, and be the best player I can be. Obviously, it's helpful knowing coming into it that who I'll be working with – the (offensive) line, the receivers, all the people I'll be working with is helpful. At the same time, it's a daily process to continue to get better."
(On his expectations for the impact that can be made as a result from the changes that were implemented in the offseason)
"I think I speak for the whole team, I think we're a lot closer to where we want to be than people may think. We've got the players, we've got the talent, we've got all the pieces we need, really. It's just about putting it together now. The coaches and the system we're going to run is going to be the glue for everything we need. I know everyone is excited to be here, excited to be back. Like I said, I think we're a lot closer than a lot of people may think."
Rams Linebacker Alec Ogletree – Offseason Program Day One Press Conference – April 10, 2017
(On the first day back for the offseason program)
"It's exciting. First day back, everybody's excited to be here, to get back to doing football. It was a long offseason – and ours kind of got shortened this year because you can come in earlier (with a new head coach). It was a good first day, got good work in. Just great to get back around the building."
(On how much communication he's had with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips)
"I've talked to him throughout the offseason, a little bit here and there. The guy is a legend coach. For me, as a young linebacker, to be under a guy like him is definitely going to help me out a lot. Like I said, first day and I'm definitely excited to get back in the building and just kind of start the install and learn different stuff."
(On his first impression of Head Coach Sean McVay in the team meeting)
"Very energetic – he's a guy that brings a lot of emotion and he wanted to set a different culture for us. I felt like, for day one, coming in as a new head coach, he did a great job of addressing the team and letting us know what he expects from us and what we should expect from him."
(On Coach McVay's message to the team)
"Like I said, just a whole different culture. Just making sure we're accountable and dependable, all kind of different stuff like that to set a different culture for us and get us on the right step going forward."
(On if accountability was missing last season)
"I think we didn't do what we needed to do last year, obviously. But this is a new year and that's what our focus is on now. We have a whole new coaching staff – even new players in the building. For me, going on my fifth year, I'm definitely excited for this opportunity now."
(On if he has already noticed a different culture)
"Yeah, it could just be from having a new coaching staff or whatever. But just meeting Coach McVay and the rest of the coaches, you can definitely tell it's a different culture, as far as what they expect from us and how things are going to go. It's exciting for me and some of the guys that have been on the team for a while. We feel like something that's kind of been missing from us, from this organization. It's going to be good, we're definitely excited about it and ready for move forward."
(On if he knows enough about Coach Phillips' defense to know what might be different)
"I don't know a ton about this defense, but I've actually played a little bit in college. I guess with (former defensive coordinator) Gregg Williams kind of last year, we kind of would interchange as far as 3-4 and 4-3. With this defense, it's definitely going to open up a lot of guys on the front end to have one-on-one pass rush – me and the other linebacker, Mark (Barron), to be in coverage and help rush also. It's definitely exciting and we're just ready to get to it."
(On if Sean McVay seems like the youngest coach in NFL history when he's addressing the team)
"He definitely seems like a guy that's been around a while. You can gravitate toward a guy like that because he's young, energetic and you can definitely tell he has a lot of wisdom about him. He's got coach Wade (Phillips), got (assistant head coach/linebackers) Joe, all these different coaches that have been in the league a while to help him along. Like I said, he's going to do a great job for us."
(On how much responsibility he feels to learn everything quickly and help out as the middle linebacker)
"I feel a great deal of responsibility. What I did last year, in my first year starting at middle linebacker, that's what I did, I took pride in getting ahead of the curve and trying to learn as much as I can before the meetings actually took place. I tried to do that this offseason as well, to learn a couple of things here and there before the first day we get here. Like I said, it's been good, pretty easy install, it's not as complicated as it was for us last year. It's going to be good."
(On how OLB Robert Quinn can adapt to his new role in the 3-4 defense)
"It's really kind of the same for him. From my understanding, what we're going to ask him to do is going to be pretty much the same – do you and do your 'Bernie' (sack dance celebration) and all that stuff. It'll be good, we're definitely looking to get him back and stay healthy. Having him on the edge and (OLB) Connor (Barwin) on the other, just all the guys out there is going to be real good for us."
(On how much it will change the defense if Quinn can stay healthy)
"He's a game-changer. When he's on the field, you have to account for him. like you said, to get him back and make sure he stays healthy is definitely going to help our defense out a lot and help our team out a lot – just having him on the field and out there contributing."
(On if he has had any communication with the team regarding his contract situation)
"It'll happen when it happens. Right now, my focus is being here for OTAs and going through the install. I'll be here, not really worried about the contract thing."
(On his first impressions with the new additions on defense)
"Great guys. Meeting them for the first time, actually seeing them on TV on other teams and seeing how well they did. Definitely thrilled to have them on the team here with us."
Rams Running Back Todd Gurley – Offseason Program Day One Press Conference – April 10, 2017
(On how he thinks the offense is shaping up after free agency and how it may help him)
"I'm just focusing on what's now, not really focusing on the future. We added some great guys from other teams. Taking it day-by-day, let that come when it comes."
(On how he thinks he fits in with Coach McVay's offense and if he's had the chance to familiarize himself with the offense)
"No not really. But I know he's had successful offenses in the past. We wouldn't have hired him if we didn't think he was a good coach. Definitely looking forward to it. "
(On what kind of impressions Coach McVay has made on the team so far)
"You just see the energy out of him. It's his first head coaching job and I'm pretty sure he's excited. Has a great offensive scheme and like I said, we're just ready to work with him. He's hyped up about it, just like we are."
(On whether there is anything he is looking to focus and work on during the offseason program)
"Just getting better, just getting better every day. Taking it day-by-day and making it a better offseason than I've had in the past."
(On whether this year's offseason has been different than how he spent last year's offseason)
"Yeah, different than last year. Obviously, a long process. Last offseason, I took a lot more time off than this year – just getting back into it."
(On how easy it was to flip the page on 2016 and move on to 2017)
"It's easy. It's another year. I've been playing this game my whole life. It's just another offseason. Each offseason you want to make it better than the previous year – just focus on getting better."
(On what the first team meeting with Coach McVay was like)
"Just the typical team meeting – putting in all the rules, what we expect out of this season, what he expects from us. We're just excited. He's a great guy, great coach. We're just ready to work with him."
(On if he's had the chance to look at the offense Coach McVay intends to put in place and what he's excited about in terms of Coach McVay's approach offensively)
"No, not really. Obviously, like I said I'm just focusing on day one installments. When practices come, then we'll have a chance to get a feel for it and see what we like. But like I said, we're just excited."
(On if Coach McVay seems like a realty young guy compared to coaches he's played for in the past)
"Yeah, I mean he is a young guy (laughs). But, he's got that energy about him, that swagger about him that you like in the coach and it's definitely great to see that. Just the energy, his background, what he's done with offenses the past couple of years. It's always a good thing to see that."
(On what stands out to him as the reason for not being able to get the running game going last year and what he thinks needs to be done to prevent that from happening again in 2017)
"We just all lost and didn't win our one-on-ones as much as we should have won them. Kind of just move on from there."
Rams DT Aaron Donald – Offseason Program Day One Press Conference – April 10, 2017
(On if the team needs to prove anything this year)
"I think that's the mindset you've got to have anytime you're starting fresh, new coach and everything. We all left with a nasty taste in our mouth. I'm pretty sure everybody was grinding out there, preparing ourselves to get ready for the OTAs and upcoming season, so this won't happen again. That's what the change was for. I got to sit down and talk to these coaches, and get to pick from their brains a little bit. I'm just excited to get started."
(On what it means for him to work under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips)
"Same thing, we're still going to be a three technique, and still penetrate, get up field type of guy. I got to come here during the offseason and go to sit down and talk with him. I like his game plan and how he's going to use us, and the position he's going to put us in to have success, and try to make plays, and try to win games."
(On how the transition into a 3-4 scheme impact the defense, and if he expects any complications or adjustments from the returning defensive starters)
"It's a 3-4, but like I said, it's still a nose tackle, it's still a three technique, and things like that. It's called a 3-4 because, I guess the guys on the side are standing, but like I said, it's the same for us. We're still doing what we're doing, penetrating, getting up field, and trying to make plays in the backfield."
(On how exciting it is working with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips)
"Real exciting. He's coached a lot of big time players, and he's one of the best to do it. Anytime you go from one great defensive coordinator in (former defensive coordinator) Gregg (Williams), and then go to another one, it just makes me a better football player. I get to learn from these guys."
(On the difference in temperament from Williams to Phillips)
"Yeah, he's more laid backed than Gregg. But, he's still a great coach."
(On if he's had prior playing experience in a 3-4 defensive scheme)
"My sophomore year in college, it was the same as this defense. It was a 3-4, but really a 4-3. I played a little bit of (defensive) end. I moved around a lot, so I'm used to it."
(On if he thinks Phillips will move him around more than what he's used to in the past)
"We're going to see. I'm comfortable wherever he puts me. Like I always say, rushing the passer – it doesn't matter if it's outside, inside, nose tackle, I can do it. I did it before, so I'm just comfortable wherever he puts me."
(On his impression of Coach McVay during the first full team meeting)
"He's got the mindset to win, and like he said about holding everybody accountable. I think that's what we need to do. Not letting each other get comfortable, not letting each other slack, pushing each other so we can have success on the field come game time."
(On if he's noticed a different culture around the organization)
"Yeah, everybody came with a fresh start, a different mindset. Like I said, we left with a real bad taste in our mouths last year, horrible taste. I'm pretty sure everybody is ready, and I'm ready too. So, we're going to push each other, hold everybody accountable, and try to get ready through this process to get ready for upcoming games."
(On how much he prides himself on holding his teammates accountable)
"Anytime you can sit there as a leader, you got to. You got to do things a certain way. I'm not the vocal guy, so I lead by example. Me doing what I got to do on the field, off the field, and letting these guys watch what I do, and just trying to lead by example. And that's not making bonehead mistakes and things like that. You got to be a little smarter at times, and not let frustration get to me. But, it's a part of growing."