Head Coach Sean McVay – Media Availability – October 16, 2017
(On TE Derek Carrier's injury and any other injuries from the game)
"He's good. He cleared it (the concussion protocol). The checker didn't see the play, so it was a little bit more difficult. You know how careful you want to be with these kinds of things, but Derek's good and he'll be ready to go. He never was technically considered that he had a concussion. They just wanted to be smart with the spot checker and stuff like that. Everybody else is good."
(On how he has tried to keep everybody in their routine while still being on the road)
"I think the biggest thing is you want to try to mimic and emulate as closely as possible what the routine would be in Los Angeles. I think the thing that we've tried to do is that you look into this stuff and we've got people that that's their area of expertise – what's going to be the best way to try to alleviate the amount of miles you're traveling, get the players acclimated and adjusted to a new time zone and we felt like with the setup that we have here, getting adjusted to an Eastern Time Zone having come on Friday. Then really, I thought it was a great opportunity for our team to continue to connect. I've heard from a lot of these guys – I talk to (Falcons Head Coach) Dan Quinn a lot, he's a guy that I really respect and (Offensive Coordinator) Matt (LaFleur) had shared with when they took some West Coast trips last year, I want to say they played Denver and Seattle consecutively, they actually stayed out on the West Coast. It offers a unique opportunity to continue to connect as a team. Being away, but still you're almost creating another camp in-season if you will and it feels comfortable. So far it's been a great setup here. We don't want to use it as any bit of a distraction because having to travel, it can be, but certainly the Cardinals have to go through a very similar deal. They're playing in the same environment and atmosphere and just all things considered, having that Jacksonville trip back-to-back with the London (game), we just felt like a lot of decisions went into it, but that was going to be the best thing for our players."
(On if any of his players have put in their input on their preferred meals)
"These guys, they're good about communicating a lot the things from a dinner standpoint. We give them a per diem and they have a chance to go and do some stuff on their own. But, it goes to show you how clueless I am – you get here the other night, we get in late and then I wake up in the morning, 'Oh, man I didn't realize we were right on the beach.' It's a pretty good setup. It's a relaxing environment and I think it provides with the types of guys that we have where their focus is right, in between to be able to say, 'Alright, they're off for the rest of the day after we cleaned up (yesterday's) game.' They'll enjoy today being right at the beach. You almost get spoiled being out in L.A. with how nice the weather is, but I think this is as good as it gets as well, so it's a good deal for our players."
(On if he has any team bonding activates planned for this trip)
"I think we had a little bit of a staff outing last night. You want to be respectful of the players' deal and just being able to kind of keep that routine as similar as possible. We'll have some opportunities just around this area where there's things that are available, but I think trying to keep considerate of guys connecting. They're going to do things naturally together anyway, we've got a pretty good connected team. I just think being away, while also trying to keep the sameness in terms of that schedule and that's really kind of what we're doing, we're just doing it in Jacksonville.
(On how much advanced scouting has been done on Arizona and how does their acquisition of RB Adrian Peterson change that)
"Well, in terms of the advance a lot of that is predicated with your division opponents, especially if the coaching staff and the scheme remains the same, you'll look at them in the offseason. But, really you just kind of look at how the first few weeks of the season, especially once you get into Week 6 where now you've got five, five-six games of film on a team. The game changes from year-to-year and there's certain little nuances that both offensively and defensively you might just see some tweaks. So, really what you'll look at with this specific game is you'll look at the first six games that they've played, analyze and evaluate those thoroughly. You know you have an idea of the way (Cardinals Head) Coach (Bruce) Arians has operated and why he's been so successful offensively. But, they're still doing the same things schematically, they've just got a great player in (Cardinals RB) Adrian Peterson who is doing those. So, I think you just appreciate that this is a big time player, but a lot of their core principles, especially specific to the run game that you saw him having success with yesterday are a lot of the things that (Cardinals RB) David Johnson and those other guys in Coach Arians' system have been doing at a high level as well."
(On managing timeouts)
"There is a couple things. Really, you would prefer not to use those, absolutely. I think when you look at some of those situations, like yesterday when we used those that was because we wanted to run as much clock down, wanted to make sure the field goal team wasn't rushed at all and because going up to that possession. I'm trying to think, with some of the previous ones it might have been a miscommunication, guys were confused or things like that, but all things being equal, it starts with me. I've got to do a better job with that and those are always things that you would prefer to save for those two-minute situations when you might need them in crunch time and you don't want to utilize those outside of the two-minute unless another extenuating circumstance dictates that. What those situations have entailed and a lot of them have been, you're in scoring position every play, especially in that fringe area for us is so vital that you can't afford to be misaligned or take a delay or put yourself behind the sticks when there's points to be had. But, you would prefer to save those, yes."
(On if there were alignment issues forcing him to use timeouts)
"No, there is. There was a couple things that have taken place and each one of those has a little bit different reason why. But, anytime that you're responsible, get it in to the quarterback and having all 11 (players) on the same page it starts with me making sure that that communication is clear and everybody understands what their role is. There have been a variety of reasons why we've had to take a couple of those, but that's definitely something just from a self-scout standpoint we've got to a better job of and really I've got to do a better job of avoiding those."
(On how much personal pride does he take in their final offensive drive)
"Yeah, the one thing that I was really proud of with our team and anytime that we're able to do that it takes a lot of people. There are a lot of people involved in handling those different communications, ways that we handle it and really, I'll say it over and over again, we've got a great staff. I'm very thankful to have and lean on those guys. But, what I think I was most proud of is why you're able to come away with the win. Special teams, their effort was outstanding yesterday. I thought after the early start of the game, defensively they settled in and played really well. If you look at numbers, you get frustrated, but it's about winning football games and I thought we played complementary football. For (RB) Todd (Gurley II) to have over 100 (yards) on 23 carries and the long be 14 (yards) shows you how efficient we were running it – guys were getting good knockoff, they're a very good defense, you could see that they made a concerted effort to not try to give up some of the big plays that we've had in the play-action game with their backers. Some of their guys in their secondary with the exception of a couple - we hit (WR) Robert Woods, they were playing more of a deep-to-short mentality and I thought they did a nice job mixing some things up. But, at the end of the game in that situation, watching where you're up a possession, you've got a 24-17 lead and then there's a want to say seven something left on the clock, the third down- and-six to (WR) Cooper Kupp was huge for 22 yards and then we either ended up running it I want to say nine times out of 11 and really that was a huge job by our offensive line, by Todd being efficient. The third down and four down in the red zone area to make them utilize their timeouts so then when they get back they're down 10, no ability to stop the clock because it was already under the two minute (warning). There was a lot of things that I thought our team did a great job of to try to find a way to win the football game. That's what good teams do, you play complementary football and I was proud of our team as a whole. We found a way to win the game against a team that's playing really good and you've seen why they've beaten some good opponents as well."
(On if he felt like he was in a rhythm as a play caller during that drive)
"Yeah, I think I was pleased with our operation because that's really what it is. It's not just me handling all of that – I'm in constant communication with 'Bones' (Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel), (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips). There's a lot of leaders on our staff where we're discussing. That's what's nice about those headsets, it's not just one person dictating everything, it's, 'Alright, we've planned for this, we've gone through the preparation, we've got a way that we want to orchestrate some of these situations in terms of running the clock off, maintaining a two-possession lead based on the feel and flow of the game too.' Those are the things that you feel good about that I think our coaching staff did a nice job of adjusting to that. When you look at it where the special teams gets those couple touchdowns, the way the defense was playing especially as the game went on we felt like, 'Yeah, you'd love to score a touchdown right there.' But, to come away with points and being aware of the whole situation, I think we felt like that was going to be enough to win it and to be able to run the clock, run the football, keep that clock moving, you're really just playing against the clock and then trying to get another (score) to make it a two-possession game. I think all of those things that that encompasses, you're certainly proud to be a part of that, but there's a lot of people involved and that's really the truth. It isn't just exclusive to the head coach. I'm not sure, everybody operates differently, but I think that would be silly, to not be able to utilize the valuable experience and some of the approaches and understanding of, 'We've been here before.' That I haven't had and being able to lean on those guys has been a big part of doing something like what we did yesterday to come away with the win and handle it the right way we felt like."
(On how important efficiency is in getting into a rhythm on offense)
"It's huge because – that's what I was so surprised about is because, we were efficient early on, we were just poor on third downs. And credit to them, they made the plays, but I think one of the things that we've done a good job of offensively throughout the year – we're one of the top teams in third down, because we get to those (third down and) two (yards to gain) to (third down and) five (yards to gain) and it's been a really high percentage that we're converting. We get stopped on the third and one for two weeks in a row now on one of our first third downs of the game. You look at the third and one, Seattle stops us and that really hasn't been typical of what we've done. And then we end of having a drop on one of our better receivers who's got great aggressive hands on a third-and-two. We get stopped later on where they hold the ball and they shouldn't have when there wasn't a substitution, you're trying to get a 12 men on the field penalty. So there was a lot of things where I thought, it does help you because the more plays you get, the more rhythm you can get in. What was tough is, there's still a very big valuable benefit in – you've got to convert on third downs to get those plays off, but I thought it helped. We had four conversions on third down which isn't nearly good enough when you've got 13 cracks at it, but all four of those where huge and came at critical times that all lead to points for us."
(On the connection between QB Jared Goff and WR Sammy Watkins)
"I think the pass game involves so much. There's a couple opportunities that we had – it's the same thing we've talked about with the run game, it takes all 11, well so does the pass. It isn't exclusive to just the quarterback and receiver. You've got to protect, everybody's got to distribute the field accordingly. There's some opportunities that we've had to get the ball in Sammy's hands and unfortunately these last couple weeks we haven't capitalized on it. But, when we only have 11 completions, that's never going to be good enough to be able to try to play at the level offensively that we want. But again, we've kind of adjusted based on the way that the game flowed – didn't throw it as many times as you've seen, but we're interested in trying to win games. There were some opportunities that, when you go back and you look at it, if everybody's executing, everybody's on the screws, we get some plays to him that maybe change the discussion that we're having. But that's why football is the greatest team sport there is, because there's some plays that the receiver and quarterback are always responsible for making, but it isn't exclusive to just those guys when it comes to the pass game."
(On if there's anything more he wants to see from Goff at this point)
"Yeah. I think you just want to see consistency and playing each play as its own entity. There was a couple times where he'll be the first to tell you on some of the – whether it be in our play-action game or some of the third downs, where he's got to make better decisions with the football, or go where the coverage dictates based on his progression. But again, what I will say is something that you can't coach and that's really impressive is, no matter what happens throughout the course of the game, he remains even keel. I thought that third down and six where he hangs in there, great protection, gets it to (WR Cooper) Kupp was one of his best plays of the game. Made a handful of good throws against a good defense, but then there was a lot of plays that we feel like, with the standards we have in terms of how we want to execute in the pass game – that he can be better and that we all can be better on."
(On how quickly he realized Goff's ability to remain even keel)
"Yeah. I think you notice it. The first time that it started to resonate with me – I've always heard that about him from people that have known him and have been through things with him. You've always heard that about him that he's got that even-keel disposition and that kind of calm demeanor that rubs off on his teammates. I think the San Francisco game was the first time that I really saw it, because Indianapolis – didn't really face any adversity. Washington, he continued to compete, but I think when you just look at just the ability to continue to respond, remain the same, whether you're operating with the lead or whether it gets tight in crunch time. I've seen that from him in this game, I've seen that from him in the Dallas game and then even in the Seattle game. We didn't get the result we wanted, but his ability to be able to make that throw on the first play of the two-minute situation to (TE Tyler) Higbee. So, really these last – after you look at really getting past the first two weeks, in every game we've had since then I think the last four weeks, there's been different examples that have represented that even-keel demeanor in crunch time situations where I thought he's done a nice job."
(On what he means by adversity)
"When I say adversity, I don't mean adversity. I mean when its crunch time. Adversity, I guess isn't the best way to put it. When you've got to find a way to deliver in a crunch time situation that you keep your team on the field that leads to points that end up closing a game out. I think about the third down and 10 they hit to (RB Todd) Gurley against the Niners when they had started to creep back, and I want to say they cut it to a one possession game at that point. He gets across the board, finds his outlet on third-and-10 and that's ends up leading to a touchdown drive. You end up winning that game by two points. You look at Dallas, some of the throws that he made on that drive where you're up two, you run a lot of clock off, it leads to a field goal but now when you go up five, then use all your timeouts - that's where you see it. Two-minute situation against Seattle and then yesterday with those plays that I mentioned – those are examples where it's crunch time and it doesn't ever feel too big for him is probably the best way to describe that."
(On if remaining calm under pressure is an important attitude to have)
"I think so, I think it is for a quarterback. I think as a coach too. I think that even keeled demeanor and disposition helps where, you talk about it all the time I think especially with the quarterback calling those plays and being able to communicate in the huddle verbally to his teammates. They take on that personality and that disposition where everybody - nobody feels tense. You don't ever want your quarterback to feel tight or anything like the moment is too big. That, to me, is a great quality that a lot of guys that you see the poise, the resilience. When you talk about great players those are things that you want to describe your great players as. When you look around the league and you look at coaches - I talked to you about being a fan of coaching. A lot of the great ones just have a way of staying even keeled, because you want those players to take on that personality, that disposition and never feel like the moments are too big no matter what the circumstances are."
(On what his initial impressions were of WR Pharoh Cooper and how those impressions have evolved)
"Initially, I just remember Pharoh coming out of South Carolina. A guy that they had moved around just when the ball is in his hands you could see that this guy's a good football player. Didn't get a lot of opportunity, he had some good tape in the preseason then got some chances at the end of the year where you see some flash. But what you've seen from him is a guy that continues to get better at the receiver position. Extremely tough. You look at last week in Seattle, he makes a big catch on second down and runs for 19 yards after the catch on the second-and-long. Then, what he's done as a returner when the ball's in his hands, he's a great competitor. He competes without the ball really well, too, in the run game where he'll come dig out safeties and compete there. Especially talking to the quarterbacks, they've been really impressed with just his improvement as a receiver. Just watching him continue to get more and more comfortable, understanding the nuances of playing that position. Clearly, he makes a big play on the kick return yesterday, but he's a really good football player. I think guys like him, you win with players like Pharoh Cooper, because he's tough, good football player, great competitor. Those are the kind of guys you love to have on your roster and he's made an impact in a variety of ways for us."
(On DT Aaron Donald)
"He'd probably be embarrassed that I told you guys this, but I've always respected how good of a football player he is. You see on the tape, you watch he's a special talent. But, I think, when you see special players like him, the intrinsic motivation, the drive to prepare and understand the process and appreciation for that is just as important. I was leaving on Thursday night around 9:30 pm or so 10 (pm) - you're leaving, which is when you typically ramp up the game plan, you get the red zone in the next day -and there was a car, his car was there. I went into the D-line room and he was in there studying tape and studying the way guys set on pass plays and things like that. I think that's a small example of when you have the talent and it also matches up with the motivation, the appreciation for the process, the preparation and approach - you get special players like him. He makes another huge impact on the game yesterday. Really, I can't say enough. I'm really more impressed with him the more that I'm around him because of things like that. And that's what you always hear when you're around those great players. Those guys set the standard - they prepare, they do it all the right way, then they've got the talent to match up with it."
(On what he said to Donald)
"I said, 'Man, what are you doing?' He said studying his deal, doing his normal routine. Which guys that have been around him that's not a surprise. But as I get more familiar with Aaron and I think more than anything, you just walk away and say I sure am glad that guy's on our team."
(On if there is any update on RB Lance Dunbar)
"Lance Dunbar, that's a decision that we're going to make. He's available to start practicing this week and then really you've got a clock that starts. I'm actually going to get with (General Manager) Les (Snead) after this and we're going to discuss when to start that clock. Whether it'll be this week where he can start practicing or whether we wait until after the bye. There's a handful of things involved in that discussion, but that's something that we'll have to make a decision on here very shortly."
(On if Dunbar's healthy)
"Yeah, he's healthy. He's in a good place right now. He's doing really well."
(On what he meant when he said the Jaguars defense had a 'deep to short mentality')
"They're a good team that plays a lot of three-deep, four underneath just like Seattle does. They played their underneath droppers with a little bit more depth to alleviate your ability to hit some of those intermediate crossing routes and things that we've seen and they were going to rally deep to short on some of our check downs. We've been able to create some bigger plays and you can just see…I thought that's why the run game was affected as well, because they weren't quite stepping up quite as much and their 'backers were doing an excellent job keying things and that's why you try to have that marriage of the run and the pass game, but that's what I meant when I was saying kind of deep to short, keeping things in front of you and rally into it underneath."