Rams Head Coach Sean McVay– Training Camp Press Conference – August 11, 2017**
(On what he thinks of the trade for WR Sammy Watkins)
"I think it's good. I wish nothing but the best for (former Rams CB) E.J. Gaines, he's been a pro's pro in the little bit of time that I've been around him and I think he'll be a great addition for them (Buffalo Bills). With (WR) Sammy (Watkins), I think clearly you're getting a special receiver. Obviously, his career when he's been available, he's been outstanding in terms of being able to stretch the field vertically, but when the balls in his hands, good things happen. We feel like he's going to be a good addition to our offense."
(On if the vertical threat is kind of what he was looking for when they made the deal)
"Well, I think we're looking for a good football player and that's what we got. I think the thing that you really think about is that when you look at some offenses that I've been fortunate to be a part of, you've got a handful of good playmakers and that's where you can truly say, 'Quarterback, be a good decision maker, distribute the ball and there's plenty of touches to go around.' You look at some of the success that Washington's offense was able to have with some of the playmakers they have and we're trying to do something similar here. I feel like adding Sammy to the mix with guys like (WR) Robert Woods and (WR) Tavon Austin – you're looking at the emergence of (WR) Cooper Kupp, (WR) Pharoh Cooper's done a nice job, done some nice things, done a nice job filling in and then the tight ends continue to do a nice job as far as developing in their roles and obviously we know what a special back (RB) Todd Gurley is."
(On what he thinks that addition does for QB Jared Goff)
"I think it certainly helps him because anytime that you have good playmakers where it makes it more difficult for defensive guys to be able to key in on one player, it certainly loosens up and regulates some of the coverages and I think it'll be very helpful for our team and especially for our quarterback."
(On General Manager Les Snead saying that this was something that started back in the spring)
"A lot of the stuff goes on where we kind of have discussions, but there are so many different things that go on behind the scenes, that you're mindful of focusing on football and being aware of the players that are here and then when it gets to that point where maybe something can happen, that's when you start to get involved and have that dialogue and those conversations. But, anytime you're able to acquire a player of Sammy's caliber, that was certainly something that we wanted to be able to do and we feel fortunate that we got that done."
(On when Watkins will get here and when he will start working out)
"He'll be here tomorrow night and obviously he's not going to play in the preseason game, he played last night. I don't even know if you can play in two games in one week, but he did a nice job last night. We'll get him going right away, start getting him acclimated to our verbiage and our system and looking forward to being able to get to know him a little bit better and see how he's able to absorb the material. He's certainly going to be a good addition for our offense and I think the guys are excited about it."
(On if it switches around anything in terms of the way he's been looking at guys in different spots)
"It really doesn't. I think right now, it's about figuring out when Sammy comes in, what's going to be the best spot where he fits in. I think that you can't find enough spots for good football players and that's what we're getting in Sammy Watkins and that's our job as coaches, is to do a good job of putting these guys in good situations, finding a way to develop an offense that's conducive for our players skillsets. When you add a player like that, those are the types of players that make coaches look good because he's been so successful throughout the course of his career."
(On how WR Robert Woods relationship with Watkins can help his transition into this offense)
"I think you mentioned it. I think they've had a good relationship from playing together in Buffalo the last handful of years, but just by the way he goes about his business, he'll help Sammy the same way he's helped a lot of our younger receivers and guys that have been here with just being a pro's pro with the way he goes about his work every single day. Robert is going to continue to be an extremely important part of our offense and I think he'll help Sammy grow and like you said, just kind of get him acclimated to our verbiage and maybe a couple of the things that helped him learn it. His presence will be very helpful for Sammy."
(On who will move into that backup cornerback role)
"I think when you look at it, I think you've seen really good things from (CB) Nickell Robey (-Coleman). He's made plays consistently. He's the kind of guy that's gotten his hands on balls, made some picks and certainly you feel that. I think he's done a nice job where he's kind of been exclusively looked at as just a slot, but he's done a nice job. (cornerbacks coach Aubrey) Pleasant has done a great job of getting him some work outside and I think he's shown why he's deserving of that. (CB) Troy Hill has also been a guy that you see his speed, you see his short-space quicks and those are a couple guys, but really, I think that whole group from top to bottom with our safeties and our corners – I can't tell you how pleased we've been just with the way that group has continued to improve. I think it's a real credit to (safeties coach Ejiro) Evero and Coach Pleasant with the way that they've worked and the way those guys are buying into their techniques and the way they're coaching them."
(On if there is anyone that will definitely not play tomorrow)
"Yeah, (LB) Mark Barron we're going to hold out tomorrow, (WR) Mike Thomas is going to be held out. Off the top of my head right now, those are the guys that really stick out. (OLB) Robert Quinn we're going to hold off as well. Until I actually have that list – we're going to be smart about it. (CB) Kayvon Webster is going to be a game-time decision, but if it's anything close then we'll give him a chance to rest as well because you certainly want to give your guys an opportunity to go compete and go against a great Dallas Cowboys squad, but you also want to be smart about it and how we're pushing these guys with just where we're at in the training camp."
(On how many plays QB Jared Goff will play tomorrow)
"I think ideally what you'd like is you'd like to get a good drive going where you get a couple first downs and one series as long as you're able to sustain and have a little bit of success. I think at a minimum, if things don't go well you'd like to get some of those core guys anywhere between six to 10 plays. I think in a perfect world, you're talking about getting a few first downs and being able to sustain a drive and get some plays together."
(On what his message is to some of the receivers on the roster who are competing for the last couple spots)
"I think it's just focus on what you can control. We know that Sammy is a very good player, but I think as long as these guys just focus on, 'What is my role in trying to carve out that niche?' If it's special teams or whatever that is. That is really the message for the entire team. Bringing in a player of his caliber offers us a chance to upgrade that receiving corps as a whole and that's what we said to that group earlier. I think it'll bring out the best in everybody, just like we talked about what competition amongst the team at every single spot."
Rams Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel – Training Camp Press Conference – August 11, 2017**
(On how this training camp has been for him)
"Camp's been great. I love training camp. I know it might sound crazy, but it's just the start of a new season and a new staff that I get to build relationships with and even new players to try to find out who's going to be the next young rookie special teams guys that will kind of fill in some spots, so it's been fun. Nothing better than training camp. It feels new, kind of like a little bit of a new team even though I'm familiar with the territory."
(On if he's taught Rams Head Coach Sean McVay the Stonecutters Parable yet)
"I haven't. Maybe if he needs something this year, I'll tell him about it. Hopefully we don't need that. That's like desperation mode."
(On if his perspective has changed at all after playing the role of interim head coach)
"Yeah, definitely the perspective changes. Before you get the chance to be the head coach, you can only imagine what it's like. But then having the opportunity to do it, even though for three weeks, you really get to see all the different things that come across the table of a head coach. So, really what I've done for Sean (McVay) is just say, 'I only did it for a couple weeks, but if there's any burden I can carry for you, no matter how insignificant'. I think that's an important thing because there's so many responsibilities that it's hard to do all of them. So, I told him, 'If you want me to go get you dinner because you forgot to eat and you have so much stuff, I'll go bring you a box of food.' I mean anything, because it becomes pretty heavy, so I just learned that anything I can do to help him, I'm going to do."
(On his impressions of Coach McVay after working with him for a few months now)
"It's been great. His energy and I think we have a really good chemistry that we're positive people, encouraging the guys, but also he has the ability to be critical to help a person get better without being demeaning. So, it's been a fun environment to be around, because there is a really good amount of energy and I think its sustainable just based off of the staff we have and the new blood that's been brought in."
(On if training camp is a lot easier without all the moving in between like last year)
"Yeah, last year I got my wife and kids here right now too and it was a lot, just to think of the football part of the moving, but then with the families and all that, that doubles it at least. So, it's been nice just to be in familiar territory where this isn't new, at least for me and we can just concentrate on just the football and we're only here for I think three and a half weeks compared to last year, we were here for about six weeks. Then we left here the week of game one trying to move up to Thousand Oaks, so I think there will be some advantages to being here our second year for our football team."
(On if anything about being in L.A. for over a year now has surprised him so far)
"I haven't been into the city a lot, except for gameday. I've spent some time down here in the summertime, but what I've really enjoyed, which I had never been in is the (Los Angeles Memorial) Coliseum. I love gameday at the Coliseum, because It's the old stadium and the history with the Olympics and the World Series and all that. It will be cool to be in the new one, but I think that's been the coolest part of the L.A. experience is being in that coliseum and that was fun last year. I look forward to it for a couple more years hopefully."
(On how the scrimmage at the SubHub Center went from an operations standpoint)
"Yeah, I thought it was really cool. I think the Chargers are going to probably enjoy it there for a couple of years, but a small environment. It felt kind of like a really cool medium-sized college where the fans are right there and it wasn't this huge, monstrous stadium. So, it was a great place to have a little scrimmage and I think they'll probably enjoy being there for a couple years."
(On if the sidelines or locker rooms were an issue at the StubHub Center)
"The sidelines actually were plenty big enough. The locker rooms weren't, but we were already changed, so we just showed up off the bus like in high school with your pads on walk down to the field. But, I think with that there might be some challenges, but if you just love football it doesn't really matter, you don't need all that nice stuff."