Head Coach Sean McVay – Media Availability – November 27, 2017**
"From an injury standpoint yesterday, really the one guy with(OLB) Connor (Barwin) – he had surgery on his forearm this morning at eight o'clock, that went really well. They just put a little plate in there, he'll be out for the next couple weeks and really as opposed to the injury it's more along the lines of just letting that wound heal from an infection standpoint. If anybody is going to do it the right way in terms of taking care of himself and getting him ready to go sooner than later, it will be Connor. But, talking to (Director/Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and his staff and I talked to Connor a little bit last night, that was the plan, we got it done early this morning and wanted to get that done as soon as possible, so that we can get him back too. It will be a couple weeks for Connor and that's kind of where we're at with that right now."
(On what Barwin injured)
"It was a forearm. He broke his forearm. They just put a little plate in there to stabilize that and he's a tough guy, he'll be ready to go sooner than later. I would be willing to bet on Connor."
(On what he loses with Barwin going down to injury)
"You lose a lot. You not only lose a very productive player, but I think what he's demonstrated as far as one of those guys in the locker room – you look at a guy that's been brought in here, his first year being voted as a captain by his teammates. That says a lot about the type of person he is, the way he goes about his business. I think he's been a huge influence on (OLB) Samson (Ebukam) in a positive way, where you look at a true mentor that's really helped bring him along, you look at the growth that Samson has displayed, especially over the last couple weeks, so you lose a lot. But, in his absence we're looking forward to seeing Samson step up, he'll get a little bit more of an opportunity and then we'll see where else we'll go in terms of filling that void within our own roster."
(On if OLB Samson Ebukam will start in Barwin's place)
"Samson will start there. Yeah, he'll be our SAM linebacker, he'll fill that void. But, Connor is not only the starting SAM linebacker, he provides a lot of things as far as our nickel-rush package as well and Samson will be doing that, but you don't just replace him with one guy. There is going to be a couple other guys that are going to be needed to step up and then because of the void it does create with Samson and what a good job he's done on special teams, now somebody else has to step up. That's the exciting thing, is it will present some new opportunities for guys and we'll look forward to getting Connor back, hopefully sooner than later."
(On what Ebukam brings to the table)
"I think he's a player with some great explosion, he plays with good length, he's continuing to understand the nuances of the system and what he's being asked to do, both in our base package and our dime package where he's in a four-down rush mentality and mindset as opposed to the 3-4 where you're doing some things coverage wise, you're rushing off the edge, setting the edge in the run game. So, I think he's demonstrated that growth, but I think when you look at that sack that he made yesterday – great job working his hands, the counter, the length to be able to extend and drive the tackle back in and then to be able to finish that play was a big-time deal. He's shown up. You look at the sack that he forced where he forced the fumble a couple weeks ago against the Texans, so he shows up on the film both in special teams and defense and he's a guy we feel like has a bright future for us."
(On throwing the ball late in the game with the lead stem from his trust with QB Jared Goff)
"A lot. It stems from it a lot. I think we came in and we wanted to attack. I think you look at the respect that we have for them as a whole, how quickly they can strike. We felt like going into the game as a staff and really as a team that we had to keep our foot on the gas the whole game and really play to win that game not being afraid to lose it. When you have the confidence and trust in your quarterback like we do, you feel like you can put it in his hands to be able to make good decisions in those situations and we felt like with some of the defensive looks that they were presenting, really tough to run it against some of those looks – whether bringing some zero pressures, playing some loaded boxes and we were protecting well and that was just what we felt like was going to be the best way to try to keep their offense off the field, keep the clock moving, sustain a drive and then hopefully come away with some points. I thought that last drive where you ate up a bunch of clock, forced them to use their timeouts – there was a bunch of huge plays on that and when you throw it a little bit more than typically you're accustomed to seeing, I think that's a great representation of the confidence that we have in Jared."
(On if he is okay with RB Todd Gurley II only averaging 15 carries a game in the last four games)
"Yesterday was a very specific approach because Todd is such a special player. I think when you look at (RB) Lance Dunbar not being available, we wanted to make sure that Todd was ready for some of those third down known passing situations. Todd almost played every single snap and the toll that it takes on you when you carry the football, then we're asking him to stay in in the known passing situations and protect – all those different things, we wanted to be smart while also trying to get (WR) Tavon (Austin) a little bit more involved. Todd is a guy that our offense will always be featured – he will be one of the key focal points of our offense always, but just knowing how important it was going to be in the absence of Lance and (RB) Malcolm (Brown), to be able to have him available for some of those protection downs was really a very important part of our game and that was kind of why we approached it the way that we did. I thought because of that, you see how strong he was at the end of the game making some big runs when we were able to churn some clock. I can't emphasize enough what a great job he's done in the pass game when Jared finds him as a check down and then his ability to seemingly always make the first player miss, get vertical and create some explosives (plays) – I think we're all really starting to see why he's the epitome of a complete back and very, very glad that he's our running back."
(On if he thinks that 15-20 carries per game is a good gauge for Gurley)
"I think it depends on the flow of the game. I think certain games where if we're running it efficiently and doing some things like we were kind of in the Jacksonville game with a lead and we're getting good positive yards and based on what the defense presents, but we always do want to maintain a level of run-pass balance in an ideal situation. But, I think what's most important is we want to do what we feel like is best to move the football and based on what the defense presents, sometimes will dictate running it or throwing it a little bit more based on what we feel like is going to be the most efficient way to move the ball down the field and then hopefully come away with touchdowns. We want to get the ball in Todd's hands as much as possible, make no mistake about that. But, I think when you look at the premium that was placed on him being involved in some of those protection downs, known passing situations because of the variety of looks that they can present in the pass game it was important for Todd to be in there and that was kind of the plan that we had going into it all week."
(On if there is a master plan with giving Gurley rest during the remaining five regular season games)
"Yeah, I think you always want to be mindful of a player like Todd, just projecting from a 16 game stretch, especially early on with how many touches he was getting. That's predicated on how his body feels throughout the season as well and I think he's done a great job taking care of himself. As long as he's feeling good, we're going to continue to try to get him involved in a variety of different ways, but you do want to be mindful of that knowing that you're 11 games in and he's had a heavy workload. But, he's demonstrated that he can handle it all. So, I think being able to communicate with him, see how he's feeling and then him taking the ownership of making sure that he's doing everything to get his body recovered as quickly as possible with how physical this game is, so it does come into it. But, really it's a give and take in terms of him being able to articulate how he's feeling to us."
(On if they are conscious of Gurley's workload)
"Well, I think you look at it, specifically, when you go into the game, we're utilizing (WR) Tavon (Austin) as a running back, but he's also playing receiver. And then (RB) Justin Davis is a guy we feel like has a bright future, but hasn't really had an opportunity to play in a lot of extended snaps. (RB) Lance (Dunbar) and (RB) Malcolm (Brown) both not being available when they've kind of been that complementary back to Todd, there was a little bit more of an important emphasis placed on him being available in some of those situations where he might be asked to do some things protection-wise. But that's why it's looking optimistic to get those other guys back and then that can alter how we utilize Todd on some of those early downs where you don't have to feel like you're maybe playing it – I don't want to say conservative, but you're just a little bit more careful with the touches he's getting because you know you want him in there on third downs as opposed to when you feel like Lance or Malcolm when they're active, they can come in and fill those roles and do a nice job as well."
(On the team's routine on Mondays)
"Well, hopefully, it's a mindset where we're in a little bit better mood after a win. I know that those are a lot more fun. The players come in, they get a workout with (Head Strength and Conditioning Coach) Ted (Rath) and it's more kind of a recovery workout from the game. They get checked up, if there are guys that need the treatment, they get the treatment. Then we really look at the tape offensively, defensively. (Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel) 'Bones' looks at it special teams wise. Then we all come together with the team meeting and kind of demonstrate and show with the team some of the things that were really positive. And then we talk about some of the things that we can do better and that's really regardless of win or loss. You make sure that you recognize a lot of the good individual efforts that are contributing to hopefully some of the results that we've been able to get on these Sundays. I think that's important. I think there's a good appreciation that our offensive guys have, seeing some of the stuff the defense has done. Defense to offense, and then everybody being able to see the special teams – where they kind of get a better understanding of – you're so sometimes in tune with, 'Alright, if I'm on offense.' Then, when the defense is on, we're making some corrections in between series that you miss that (OLB) Robert Quinn has a great rush that leads to a sack. You miss that on the fourth-and-5 conversion, (S) John Johnson makes a play on (Saints RB Alvin) Kamara in the open field that gets him tackled. And then we got (LB) Mark Barron and (CB) Kayvon Webster that make touchdown saving plays where those three end up being really four-point plays that leads to a field goal. I think that appreciation for all the things that occur in the game, tries to keep that team unity where it's not just offense, defense, special teams, but it's looking at how many different players are contributing to get the result that we want. And then we try to getting better from it, so that's kind of the rhythm and the routine on a Monday regardless of whether we win or lose."
(On T Andrew Whitworth's struggles against the Saints and what he says to veteran like that who struggles)
"I say just like you say to anybody else, 'A couple snaps, don't change the confidence that we have in you.' I think really, when you just look at it, he's played so consistently throughout his career and this year. The impact and the influence that he's had on not only me, but this team and our offense as a whole has been unbelievable. And you look at where, really as an offensive lineman, he's done a whole lot of really good things and sometimes you only get noticed when something doesn't work out the way you want, but that guy was a pretty good player yesterday. I even underestimated (Saints DE) Cameron Jordan and his ability to not only play, I want to say every snap, but he's playing on the right side, he's playing on the left side. He impacts and affects the game. I think even being in person and just watching the way he competes – his recognition, his strength, you can see he's got a plan countering where he can go inside, he uses his hands. I was really impressed with him as a player. You see it show up on the tape, but you felt him even more in live action. That was a situation where it was a longer developing play. Sometimes you've got to make sure that you're not doing some of those things when guys are fresh teeing off on the snap count and they did a good job getting a get-off there. But, you go back and you watch that film too and Andrew had a whole lot of really good plays. But he's the type of conscientious player that expects greatness and expects perfection that I'm sure that's the only one that he remembers, but he had a lot of big time plays that ended up leading to good, positive gains for us as well."
(On what kind of impact Whitworth has had on him)
"I think, really, just the perspective that a player that has the wisdom and knowledge of the game and experience that he does have, to then be able to still communicate with you in a manner that he's still a player. He's in the locker room with these guys, but he helps you gain a perspective on maybe how to handle some things that are what's best for our team. He's just got a really good way about communicating with people and that's not exclusive to just his teammates – that goes for the coaches. His perspective on, 'Alright, maybe we're a little banged up, this is some things that I think would help with how we practice.' We talk to our coaches and we got a lot of great resources to rely on, but certainly with some of our veteran leaders and some of the captains, you rely on them heavily to get a pulse on the team. I think that ownership that our players share with our coaches is very helpful to continue to try to create that unified environment and atmosphere we want. When you've got guys like him in your locker room, it gives you a really good chance to be able to do that the right way."
(On if CB Nickell Robey-Coleman will be able to practice this week)
"I think so. I think he's going to be good. He's about 90-95 percent is what they said. What does that mean between 100 – you'd have to ask him that, but I think he is good. He's going to be good to go. The anticipation is, he'll be ready to practice this week unless there's any setbacks – we expect him to be ready against Arizona."
(On what he has picked up from newly announced UCLA Head Coach Chip Kelly over the years)
"I don't know Coach Kelly personally, I just know him from coaching against him. His first year, he was in the division in Philadelphia. You look at, I want to say they were 10-6 his first year there. Made an immediate impact. You watch the way that offensive infusion that he had and they made a bunch of plays, I want to say (Eagles QB Nick) Foles was like 28 touchdowns and two picks the year that he was playing. So, I've always just respected him as a coach and going against him. Looking forward to meeting him. I think anytime that you've got good people on the local market, I'm a fan of coaching like you guys have heard me say before. So, anytime you get a chance to sit down and talk some football with some other coaches. There's a little bit more willingness to share, because maybe you're not in the same arena or in the environment – that'd be something that I'd love to be able to do if he was open to that."
(On what his approach has been against shutdown corners like Arizona CB Patrick Peterson)
"I think it's predicated on how you feel the match-up goes and then sometimes you'll play these teams that have those players that play that star coverage and who it is they want to matchup against and how can you find way to get guys involved. But, Patrick is definitely an elite corner. When we played them the last time, he matched (WR) Sammy (Watkins) a good portion of the time. We feel a lot of confidence in Sammy as well. But, I think that's predicated on kind of the situation, whatever the concept is. Patrick's a guy that a lot of teams have avoided. I don't think you want to try to attack him all day. I don't think that would be smart, but you certainly want to try to get some guys involved and if they decide they want to try to take away who they deem as one of your most dangerous threats, that doesn't mean you'll never go to him. So, I think it's predicated on both the match-ups, the way that you feel about it, and then also kind of the situations and whatever that specific play is and how that affects the way that the quarterback would progress."
(On what Dunbar's status is looking like this week)
"It's tough to say just because of the knee kind of just flared up on him and it was just a little bit sore. He said he felt pretty good on Saturday, so unless there's any setbacks, we expect him to be available this week to practice. Then hopefully we'll get a better feel for (RB) Malcolm Brown as well. It's looking like he's closer to returning, so if both those guys are available then that will be a positive problem for us."
(On if it was Dunbar was dealing with the same knee that was injured earlier this season)
"It is, yes. It's the same knee. It just kind of got sore on him. Not really sure why, but it just kind of crept up on him. I think he felt better. If he had to go, I think he could've but it was one of those issues that we didn't want to force just based on him not really practicing this past week."