Head Coach Sean McVay – Media Availability – December 11, 2017**
(On if it makes it more difficult to get over the loss yesterday because of how long and draining that game was)
"I wouldn't say that – I think it was a disappointing day, but our guys aren't discouraged. They came in today with a good look in their eye and they had that right after the game. Philadelphia is a great football team, got a lot of respect for them, they made more plays in the end than we did and they were able to come away with the win, but I think our guys demonstrated a resilient team that continued to compete – loved the way we came out of the half and in the end there was a handful of plays that we felt like could have gone either way. We didn't make enough, credit to them and I think the guys have a positive mindset going into a big week for us. We've got a great opportunity with the things that took place yesterday to still be in first place in our division and go to a great Seattle team and get a chance to try to go win our 10th game and try to stay on top off the division, so it's going to be a great challenge. There's still a lot to play for – in spite of the disappointing outcome, our guys certainly aren't discouraged and I think they'll be ready to go this week and we know that it's going to take a great week of preparation to go try to get our 10th win."
(On if the team is still looking at it as a process)
"They are and the thing that you've liked about this team so much is they've always responded the right way after we haven't gotten the outcomes that we like. I think we are a mentally tough team, we're a connected team that stays together. You look at offense, defense, special teams, there was a lot of plays made on both sides that had us in that game in the end, didn't get it done, but we'll respond and bounce back the right way and looking forward to getting ready to go this week."
(On if there is any update on T Rob Havenstein, CB Trumaine Johnson and T Andrew Whitworth)
"Yeah, with Trumaine it was a little bit of a misunderstanding there – he didn't come back in because of a stinger, it wasn't because of the concussion. He was a stinger, so he's not in the protocol, he actually checked out on all that. That was just a little bit of a misunderstanding, so that's actually positive news on Trumaine, where it was a stinger that was the reason that he wasn't able to come back into that game, so that's positive where he's not in the protocol and everything like that. As far as for Andrew and Rob, they had their ankles kind of rolled up, but it ended up being a knee with both of those guys with the mild MCL – Andrew came back, he checked out good today, Rob was in good spirits, they'll be day-to-day, but it was very positive when you look at just the way that they both got rolled up on and in terms of what can kind of come out of some of those types of plays and fortunately for us it didn't result in something that was going to be season-ending."
(On CB Kayvon Webster's social media post saying that he has played with a torn labrum this season)
"Yeah, well what he's had is he's had a shoulder injury where he's been braced up that kept him out and it was something that he could play through that we knew he was going to be able to get taken care of after the season and there's a lot of things that demonstrate Kayvon's toughness to be able to play through a shoulder injury and there's a lot of times too where some of those injuries allow you to play and then you know you're going to get it fixed post-season. But, that was kind of where that was and I think it just continues to demonstrate the toughness that Kayvon embodies – we love Kayvon, hate it for him that he had to go out like that, but he's meant a lot to this team. I'm very happy for him to make a huge play in that game early on and he's been one of those guys that's been a free agent and offseason addition that has made a huge impact on this team, not only just on the field, but the way that he carries himself day-in and day-out. I think you guys probably would say how much you've enjoyed your interaction with him and that's a big loss for us. Like we said yesterday, it'll require some guys to step up and I thought guys did play well in his absence yesterday. You look at (CB) Troy Hill came in and did a nice job. (CB) Nickell (Robey-Coleman) continues to show up even though he's played a lot of football for us and then I think (CB) Kevin Peterson did a nice job as well making a handful of plays when he was kind of at the point of attack."
(On if Whitworth and Havenstein are on track to play this week)
"That's the anticipation. That's what we feel good about. It's going to be one of those things where you never really truly know until you see how they really respond a couple days out, but I think when you just look at it from the very next day the way they came in – good spirits, positive diagnosis from (Director/ Sports Medicine/Performance) Reggie (Scott) and his staff. Still, there is a week to go and we've got a lot of work to be done in the meantime. But, the anticipation is that we'll have those guys available."
(On if anyone else is having injury issues)
"There's really not anybody. Everybody else kind of checked out good and we'll just be day-to-day with those guys that we just discussed."
(On if OLB Connor Barwin and WR Robert Woods will start to get some work in)
"They are. They're going to start to get some work in. They'll be able to participate in practice on Wednesday. Again, just like we had kind of discussed last week, they're on track unless there's any setbacks to be able to play and be available for the Seattle game."
(On if he has been able to get more out of WR Cooper Kupp than he expected to this season)
"I think Cooper has done a great job maximizing his opportunities. I think that when you look at with Robert going down, I think he's gotten a little bit more targets and some more (opportunities) over the last handful of weeks just based on he and (WR) Sammy (Watkins) kind of being your primary targets as receivers with Robert going down. But, we want to continue to always try to spread the ball around, but I think what he's done is he's demonstrated that he's got the ability to play in the slot, he's made some plays from the outside receiver position, very conscientious and he's been a great football player for us all year. I think he's going to continue to grow. You look at it, he's had a lot of production, demonstrates a lot of maturity, you almost forget that he is a rookie. But, I think he's demonstrated that maturity, which I think has enabled him to be able to pick things up very quickly. He's been a great influence on those receivers in that room and I know he's as conscientious a player as you're going to be around and that's what allows him to be better week-in and week-out, learn from the mistakes and then continue to do the things that he's doing at a high level consistently week-in and week-out, so very happy for Cooper. I know he'll be the first to tell you that his goals are probably a little bit bigger as far as more team oriented, but happy for his production and he's been a big part in some of the offensive success that we've had this year."
(On if the leverage penalty yesterday was the same issue that the Cardinals coaching staff complained about last week)
"That was different. Last week was more along the lines of those guys are protected when their head is down, but then you can't line up over the top of the center, but then you can start to rush those A gaps – that was more along the lines of what happened against Arizona. Yesterday, it was (DT) Aaron (Donald) using one of the offensive players as a prop to help himself jump up, so that was the penalty, those were two kind of separate things. We didn't get penalized against the Cardinals, but I know that it was mentioned that there were some complaints with regards to how exactly things are worded. But, naturally when the head comes up and if you are able to rush, you'll naturally as you're going through those A gaps, sometimes bump into those players and we felt like we were operating within the framework of the rules and I know 'Bones' (Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel) is very conscientious about that and then yesterday was a situation where we've got to be smart and you can't use the offensive players to help prop yourself up."
(On RB Todd Gurley only carrying the ball 13 times)
"I think when you look at the success that Todd was able to have, certainly you'd like to get more plays off is what it starts with. But we always try to have a run/pass balance, especially in those normal down and distances. What ends up happening too is when you try to run some of your play-actions and different things – those are plays that we've had a lot of success with – I credit Philadelphia, they made some plays where they forced some coverages and now you're in a second-and-10. Then the decision is, where you're getting totally different defensive looks in those situations – do you throw the football or not? One of the things that we always try to do, you always do want to try to maintain that balance, but we're always going to make decisions. Certainly, I'm going to be the same way as a play caller, that we feel are the best plays to move the football. That's the most important thing, number one. Certainly, when you only have really those 45 plays, every single one is magnified. But when Todd's running the football like he is, that was a big point of emphasis coming out of the half – try to get him going. That's why you see that first drive where you try to get it to him in a variety of ways with the screen or the two runs coming out. Anytime we're running the football like that, I've got to do a better job of making sure that he gets enough touches to get into the flow, especially when we were getting some good movement. But it is a delicate balance and then I think everything is a little bit more magnified. At the end of the day, however you want to cut it, I've got to get him going, give him more opportunities with the way he was running it and have a better feel for the flow of the game. That was something that I didn't think I did very well yesterday."
(On if he feels like he has been too reliant on the pass the past couple games)
"I think there's been some times where you definitely get a little bit too aggressive. You'd like to be able to not lose sight of – while you do want to always apply and attack defenses, let's not lose sight of just the flow and being able to kind of have some run/pass balance. I think, especially, just going back to the New Orleans game and then these last couple weeks, you can definitely look at it – and I look at it myself and say, 'You've got to make sure that you're cognizant of giving the runs a chance and trying to stay balanced.' And that's something that I haven't done. You can't keep standing up here and saying the same things, you've just got to get it fixed. That's something that I've got to be mindful of. I think especially when you look at it where, they were the top rushing defense in the league, but our guys were doing a good job getting some movement. Todd was running really well. That's something that every single game provides an opportunity to learn from. You'll hear us say that all the time about our players and we expect the same thing as coaches. This year, there's been a handful of things that you try to learn from and this is something that I've got to do and stop saying it and just get it done."
(On if he is accustomed to attacking teams through the air due to the fact that he was in Washington where that team relied heavily on the passing game and QB Kirk Cousins)
"I think it is, but I think however you want to cut it – it's kind of an excuse because, really, you've got to have a feel for the current team that you're with. Whether that was a product of your past experiences…I think when you look at each game, we have certain game plan going into it and how you identify and kind of how you ideally want to call a game. These are things that we put a lot of thought into. It's not just kind of just rolling things out there in terms of what we're running down-in and down-out and you try to kind of foresee some of the situations that can come up and what you would want to call. I think credit to (Eagles Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Jim) Schwartz. They did a good job coming out, playing a couple different looks, especially in those early different down-and-distances that were maybe a little bit different than what they had done throughout the course of the season. We've got to do a good job executing and I've got to put our players in good spots. Whether that's maintaining a better run-pass balance. Whether that's being aware of, 'Alright, we're running, efficiently, let's make sure we don't get away from that.' It's always that delicate balance, because one of things that we have done well and I think that's demonstrated by the couple touchdown drives that we do have where there is a little bit of a balance where it's run, run alright it's pass. It's play-action, explosive, then it's an explosive run. So ultimately to be able to get into the best rhythm plays, more plays are how you're able to do that. I think yesterday to their credit, they did a good job on some first down pass plays, getting us into the second-and-10s. Then it looks bad when you end up throwing it three times and you're off the field. So those are things that you certainly want to evaluate. I've also got to be mindful of the play selection and are we doing things that are putting our players in good spots? Especially against a great front and a great backend and really a great defense as a whole like they were yesterday. I think yesterday, like every single game will provide something that, hopefully, I know I'll be able to learn from and our players as well."
(On what he has thought about how the concussion protocol in the NFL works and if he would make any changes to the current protocol)
"I think what I've been impressed with and what the NFL's done a good job of is you can see there's continuous steps made to try be progressive and try to be preventative in terms of some of these situations happening. I know that just with the way that we operate here, got a whole lot of respect for (Rams Director of Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and his staff and how mindful them and the doctors are of just being in tune with the flow of the game and watching some of those possible collisions or plays that could result in some of those injuries. You always want to try to avoid that. I think that every single opportunity like we're talking about with the games provides chances to learn from. As long as we don't make the same mistakes twice or you try to prevent some of these things from occurring – that's all that you can really do in a game that it does involved a lot of physical collisions. I know those are things that the league is very contentious about. They're doing everything in their power to continue to be progressive and making steps and we're all for that. Because, we want to see these guys do a great job of staying as healthy as they can, but also understanding that it is a physical game where collisions like this do occur. Protecting our players and their safety is one of the priorities for sure and that's something that I know the league and every single teams feels the same away about."* *
(On if one of the words he would use about yesterday's game would be 'frustrating')
"I think that anytime that you don't get the outcome it's frustrating. I think, really, when you look at a loss, it's a learning opportunity and we're going to stay strong as a team as we move forward. But, all these things provide chances to learn from, whether we win or lose. I think yesterday's loss does provide a learning opportunity for our football team and another chance for us to respond from a little bit of adversity. I think that's when you really learn the most about people. It's easy for everything to be good when you're winning and things are going great, but after you come off a tough loss like this in a big time atmosphere, which was a great on yesterday – it's a great opportunity to see the guys respond the right way. Have a great week of preparation and then see if we can get ready to go against a great Seattle team at their place with a lot on the line."