Rams Head Coach Sean McVay– Training Camp Press Conference – August 10, 2017
(On practice being a little less spirited today)
"Yeah. We had the highest volume, most intensity yesterday in any of the practices that we had this training camp and I want to be mindful that we're a couple days out from our first preseason game so, really the focus was on kind of getting these guys loose, more of an activation flush type deal and then we had one competitive period and then finished up with just kind of a jog through mindset and mentality with some cards and then two-minute. The guys came in, there was some good stuff. I thought yesterday provided a great opportunity to get what we wanted out of it and there's a lot of good and there's a lot of things that we have to clean up, so it was beneficial for us as a team."
(On how anxious he is to get on the field and experience his first preseason game as Head Coach)
"I'm excited. I'm excited to watch these guys compete. I think they've done a good job throughout the course of training camp of putting themselves in position to have success, and that's what it's about is allowing these guys to go play with a quieted mind and just play to the best of their ability and hopefully good things happen for them. I think it offers a great opportunity for us to play in front of our home fans for the first time this season. I know as a coaching staff and our players, we're excited about it."
(On his staff's perspective going into the first preseason game)
"That's what I think the preseason offers, a great opportunity really for us as coaches - especially like you mentioned, being a new staff - kind of get everything in order so that you feel like you've really got these four preseason games, so that by the time the Indianapolis Colts game rolls around, we feel good about our process and how we want to handle things throughout the course of the game."
(On him having fun out there with the players before practice)
"Yeah. We were just putting in some end of the game situations, keeping the ball alive and just trying to get a little – try to steal a workout, I guess."* *
(On if he got a good workout)
"I did. I thought my hamstrings were going to cramp up there."
(On what stood out to him from yesterday's film)
"I thought our team as a whole, I thought there were some good times where we played physical and then as a whole, I think what I liked was the way that we responded after a little bit of stuff – after some of the things that occurred early on in practice and I thought we were able to get good work. Any time that you have that many reps there's always going to be some good and some bad. Like I mentioned after the practice, I think you talk about some of the specific situations. I thought our defense in the two-minute drill did a really nice job. Then special teams, you just look at the consistent effort displayed with our coverage units, with our punt unit. I thought it was really a job well done by them as a whole."
(On running some scout team drills during preseason)
"Really what it was, we just did a couple carded periods. Because we're so accustomed to going against a three-down front with our defense and some of the things schematically that Dallas does offensively, just wanted to put these guys in a position, at least see a couple of the plays that we expect them to see and a couple of the defensive structures. We'll get a little walk-thru tomorrow, but it was more of an introduction to those guys. Then, tomorrow will be kind of a mental walk-thru and then we'll be ready to go on Saturday."
(On his decision to keep Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel)
"I've always had a lot of respect for what he's done and his career from afar. I've met him a couple times and as soon as you meet him, you realize what a special person he is. It was more along the lines of feeling fortunate to be able to have somebody to work with like him, so if that was something that he wanted to continue to do, be a part of this organization, that was something that we had in the plans, but I feel very fortunate to have him. He's been a great resource for me and obviously a great coach that the players love."
(On Coach Fassel being a good resource in terms of knowing the players)
"That, and just I think when you look at the experience that he has as a coach, but also as a leader of this team for the last handful of weeks. I think one of the things that stands out to me is how committed those players are to playing to the best of their ability for him and how hard they play because they can see he's all about the right stuff in terms of building and developing those relationships. Then he's a great coach with substance, and I think that's what you're ultimately looking for is caring about these guys, but helping them reach their highest potential. I think he's done that over the last handful of years with these guys."
(On if he's concerned about his team's discipline after yesterday's practice)
"No, I wouldn't say so. I think that if those things carry over into the game, then that's when it becomes a concern. You always want to just be mindful of it, like we said, afterwards of making sure that we always do things that protect the team and certainly we want to make sure that we do our talking in between the whistles. I think that's something that we'll be mindful of moving forward."
(On if he remembers any touchdown celebrations being outlawed while he was coming up as a coach)
"I remember a couple last year where (Redskins TE) Vernon Davis shot one and just shot a ball through the field goal post and he got penalized for that, so I guess he'll be able to do that this year. I think it's good. It's about having fun and enjoying the competition and ultimately, it is a great entertainment sport and I think that offers a unique opportunity for the players to be able to enjoy when they're having some success and the fans can get a kick out of some of the things they can do."
(On if anything has stood out to him about WR Shakeir Ryan)
"I think probably the same thing that stood out to you yesterday – he had a great punt return, he's got that speed and I think when he's gotten his opportunity just based on some guys going down he's gotten a few more reps than he's been accustomed to and I think when his opportunities have come he's done a nice job making plays. He'll get an opportunity in the preseason to be able to do the same thing. But certainly you feel his speed as a returner and when he was able to hit the one yesterday, even though it was kind of a smaller level deal without the gunners and the perimeter players, but you can definitely feel his speed."
(On if the Rams signed another kicker)
"We did. We added another kicker and really, I think the thing is being mindful of how good you feel about your specialists you have in place and offering an opportunity to be able to have somebody play in the second half that can both punt and kick because you feel so good about (K) Greg (Zuerlein) and (P) Johnny (Hekker) and that's what that'll provide for us."
(On if there are any updates on WR Tavon Austin's injury or DT Aaron Donald's contract situation)
"No updates on those. (WR) Tavon (Austin) continues to be day-to-day – with those hamstrings, like we had mentioned it's really tricky especially, with a skill player that his game is so much predicated on explosive type movements. As far as (DT) Aaron (Donald), I'll get an opportunity to talk to (Executive Vice President of Football Operations/Chief Operating Officer) Kevin (Demoff) and (General Manager) Les (Snead) like I do kind of at the end of every single day. Sometimes there's discussions, sometimes there's not, but it's kind of the same where we're trying to find a solution to this and we're hopeful that he'll end up being here sooner than later."
(On what his job duties were in 2010 as an offensive assistant)
"2010, that's a great question. When I first got hired there I was really like an assistant receivers coach and breaking down the film, kind of helping (Former Redskins offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) out with just some of the organizational things and then really helping out all of the different position coaches – anything from making reports and creating call sheets. So, doing all of the little things that you can kind of be of help to help the position coaches and the coordinators do their work throughout the course of the week."
(On how he conducts himself on the field and seems to have fun out there)
"I think that's exactly right. I think the thing that you feel fortunate about is that we've got a bunch of great coaches with good energy and this is something that we love to do. Being out here and just kind of being engaging with the players and proactive about how we interact from drill to drill or from team drill to team drill is part of what makes this job so enjoyable."
(On if there's a big difference between being a quality control coach and a head coach)
"I would say coaching is coaching in general. You're trying to help these players reach their highest potential. Now certainly, this job dictates a different way of handling yourself with having to address the team and the platform that you have, but I think what's special about coaching is first and foremost, especially at the pro level, these are grown men. It's about developing and building relationships with these guys, them knowing that you have their best interests and you're trying to help them succeed because when they have success we all succeed together and I think that's what makes football in general so special – is that team element and that's what we're striving to create, is a connected team and I think we're on the right track right now."