TRANSCRIPT: Sean McVay Press Conference 12/4

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Head Coach Sean McVay – Media Availability – December 4, 2017**

(Opening Remarks)
“An (LB Alec) Ogletree injury update, just a hyperextension of his elbow, he’ll be day-to-day. I think we all know the type of competitor that Alec is and he’s going to do everything in his power to be ready to go, he was in good spirits today and I think he personally bumped up the treatment time for tomorrow morning. It was positive news – the X-rays were negative, so it’s a hyperextension, which certainly is not something minor when you just look at the ability to utilize that, especially at his position. But, those are positive results compared to what it could have been.”

(On the statuses of WR Robert Woods and OLB Connor Barwin)
“That’s going to be updated on Wednesday. I think we’ll have a little bit better idea with Robert and then looking with Connor, he’ll more than likely be out for this week just as he continues to recover from that surgery.”

(On if LB Bryce Hager would be in line to fill Ogletree’s position if he’s not available this Sunday)
“Yeah, I think that would probably be the plan. You look at what a great job Bryce did filling in. I thought there was a lot of plays that he made, did a great job communicating some of the calls and different things and adjustments that are required at that position. But, as far as if Alec isn’t available, how exactly would we handle that will be determined if that ends up being the situation. But, you have a lot confidence in Bryce – maybe you explore looking at a way to get (OLB) Cory Littleton involved as well. These are good things when you’ve got some of the players that we do have at those spots, ready to go, but just right now based on the way the game played out, we are expecting Alec to be ready, but we’ll have a better idea as the week progresses. If that’s not the case, then you have a lot of confidence in Bryce based on what he did yesterday and then finding a way to get Cory involved and on the field is something we would explore as well.”

(On what he took away from Seahawks Eagles and if he was able to watch that game last night)
“It was actually available on our flight, so as we were waiting to take off and then when we were flying we got a chance to watch that and two great football teams going against each other. A lot of great plays on both sides and certainly you know that Philly has a great offense, great defense, they’ve always been great special teams. One of those teams that truly is a complete team and it shows up. You see why they’re 10-2 through 12 games and I think yesterday you look at it and a lot of great plays on both sides and ended up leading to Seattle winning that game. It’s going to be a great challenge and we know that (Eagles Head) Coach (Doug) Pederson will have those guys ready to go and we’ve got to be ready as well.”

(On what the similarities and differences are between his offense and the Eagles offense)
“Yeah, you know I’ve gotten kind of a chance when we’ve crossed over a little bit to see some of things offensively. But, I know that they’ve got a quarterback that sure is making a lot of great plays, both on-schedule, off-schedule, you can see he stands tall in the pocket, they’ve got some great receivers on the perimeter when you look at what (Eagles WR) Alshon Jeffrey has been able to do, you look at (Eagles WR Nelson) Agholor and how well he’s played – (Eagles TE) Zach Ertz is a very versatile tight end that they get involved and kind of move all over the formation. Then I think you look at what (Eagles RB LeGarrette) Blount’s been able to do and then you add (Eagles RB Jay) Ajayi and then you look at the back from Wisconsin who’s really done a nice job, (Eagles RB Corey) Clement. They’ve got playmakers, they’re really good upfront, they’re physical, they’ve got an identity, they mix personnel groupings up really well. This is an offense just in terms of kind of some of the philosophies in which Coach Pederson operates that always had a lot of interest in and just studying the way that, going back to even when he was with (Chiefs Head) Coach (Andy) Reid. They’ve done a great job of presenting a variety of issues and kind of being able to run a lot of the similar concepts off of different personnel groupings. They’ve played great football and they’re scoring a lot of points and it’s going to be a great challenge for our guys.”

(On the challenges that the Eagles pose on defense)
“I think when you just look at (Eagles Defensive Coordinator) Jim Schwartz led defense – they do a great job of creating a lot of pressure with a four-man rush – penetrating front, aggressive, great get off. You just look at some of the players that they do have up front – I think when you look at adding (Eagles DT Tim) Jernigan, I’ve always had a whole lot of respect for those guys that have been there when you look at (Eagles DT) Fletcher Cox, you look at (Eagles DE) Brandon Graham. But, Timmy Jernigan has been an outstanding addition for them. I think (Eagles LB) Mychal Kendricks is one of the more athletic linebackers in this league and then on the back end, I think (Eagles CB) Jalen Mills has gotten a lot better. I thought he was a really good player as a rookie and then he’s playing really good football now. You add (Eagles CB) Patrick Robinson, you get (Eagles CB Ronald) Darby off the injury. They’ve got a lot of guys that can play man-coverage principles and then I think (Eagles S) Malcolm Jenkins is as good a safety as there is in this league and we all know what a good player (Eagles S Rodney) McLeod is too. So, they don’t have any weaknesses. There’s a reason why they’re one of the top defenses in this league and you see it show up with their personnel, with their scheme – they know what they’re doing and Coach Schwartz is a really good football coach that presents a lot of challenges and different things that you have to be ready for. These are the games that you better be ready to go for because they are a great football team and it’s an exciting matchup.”

(On if he wishes that they were still on their winning streak heading into this game)
“That’s a good question. I think they’ll be ready to go regardless of what the outcome was yesterday. I know that they wanted to win that game and whether they won or not, I think their approach is pretty consistent when you just listen to Coach Pederson, you watch the way that he leads those guys and they’re a great football team. Whether they win or lose the previous game, you know they’re going to be ready to go and that’s kind of the same mindset and mentality that we try to take on as well and I do feel confident that our guys will approach this week with the focus and concentration that’s required to give ourselves a chance to compete on Sunday.”

(On if he is looking at this game as one of the biggest of the season or if he’s still just looking at it as one of the 16 games this season)
“It does count as one and I think our approach will remain the same, but I think when you look at the stakes because of the way that we’ve played and the way that they’ve played – as these games get further on into the season they mean a little bit more because of the implications. But, as far as changing the way that we’ll practice this week, changing the way that we’ll approach it, our approach will remain the same and we’ll be consistent with that. We feel like that’s served us well through the first, really including the bye, 13 weeks and 12 games. While we do know that – I think it’s a great opportunity. You talk about being able to play in the National Football League and get a chance to play in games in the 13th game of the season with a team that’s 10-2 coming into your place when you just got a chance to wrap up the third quarter of the season 3-1 and get to 9-3 overall, this is what you love about the NFL. These games are fun, but it doesn’t make it any more pressure, it just makes it more exciting because of what our guys have done and what they’ve done to make the game a little bit more intriguing.”

(On if he reinforces to the team the importance of staying focused leading up to a matchup like this one)
“I think a lot of that comes from our players being so focused and doing the little things the right way. We tried to establish a rhythm and a routine. You hear us talk about our weekly and our daily process and that’s kind of that rhythm that we operate with and it remains the same. I might have to answer a couple more questions, but that’s a positive thing just because of what these guys have done to put themselves in a position to play a meaningful game like this later on in the season. As far as the way that we go about our gameplan, the way that we go about correcting the mistakes that we made yesterday and then trying to continue to do some of the things we did well yesterday – that will remain the same. I think one of the things that you’ve seen consistent amongst good teams in this league year-in and year-out, is they try to get better as the season progresses. We’re going to always focus on improving week-in and week-out and that’s going to be the same exact thing this week. It’s going to be focused on the Eagles and putting together a good gameplan in all three phases and try to give our players a chance to go execute at a high level.”

(On if he will talk to QB Jared Goff about the matchup against Eagles QB Carson Wentz)
“I don’t think so. I think those guys – I know he (Goff) and Carson, they have a lot of respect for each other. I think it’s a fun thing just because they were the one and two picks the year before and they’re having a lot of success this year. But, like we talk about, it’s not Jared vs. Carson, it’s the Rams vs. the Eagles. Jared’s job is to play well against their defense and Carson’s will be to play against our defense. So that’s what his focus will be on this week. I think it always makes for a fun storyline, but it is about doing a great job against a great defense that the Philadelphia Eagles have and there’s going to be a lot of challenges. That’s really what our focus will be on with Jared this week.”

(On if he evaluated Wentz coming out of college and what his impressions were of him then and now)
“Yeah. It was kind of similar to Jared, just because the situation that we were in in Washington, you had an idea just looking from the outside in. But with the quarterback situation we had and it was kind of pretty much predetermined that these guys were going to go one and two. The amount of study that you do, typically, on guys that are available that are potential possible picks, you don’t ever want to say that you don’t do your due diligence. But to say that I had a good idea other than just kind of watching a couple of different games and things like that, that would be the extent very similar to kind of what we did with Jared in Washington just based on knowing where those guys were going to be slotted, because it was pretty obvious they were going to be one and two.”

(On if RB Todd Gurley’s ability to make people miss in open space is something you can teach and if he designs plays based on Gurley’s ability to make people miss)
“To your first part, all the moves he makes in the open field are a direct result of (Rams Running Backs Coach) Skip (Peete) and our coaching. (laughs) I think one of the things I heard (Former Redskins Head) Coach (Mike) Shanahan say when I worked with him in Washington – usually if you have to tell a runner how to run you probably have the wrong guy. And I think certain guys, even going back to…I bet you when Todd was playing pee-wee football, he just kind of knew how to work edges on people naturally and certainly you always want to give them a starting point and a framework based on whatever play it is. But, I think Todd’s got a great feel on just how to work edges on guys in spaces, specifically you look at the plays he’s made in the check-down game and the pass game, catching a check-down, then the screen-game. But, we always try to find ways to get Todd involved whether it be through running it or in the pass game. You look at it, when we really needed a big play, he had a couple huge screening plays. He had a huge third-and-six conversion yesterday. I thought at the drive where we’re trying to really hold on to that 10 point lead and then take it to where we end up getting a field goal on that drive. The 33-yard screen that he had, they bring a fire-zone pressure of the left side, Jared does a great job delivering and then Todd has a good feel to kind of bluff (Arizona S) Tyrann Mathieu and then come out. You see when the ball is in his hands, you feel like he might take it every single time. He’s a special player. He continues to demonstrate, week-in and week-out how important he is to our offense and when Todd’s having a good day, usually that’s going to be good for our whole offense and for our team.”

(On if there is a specific area that he can pinpoint that would explain why the screen game has been so successful this season)
“I think guys have done a great job executing. I think specifically when you just look at some of our linemen, I think they’re a lot more athletic than they’re given credit for and then we’ve got receivers that are willing to compete on the perimeter as well. You watch (WR) Josh (Reynolds) on that specific play, Josh Reynolds – he knocks down the guy that’s coming down in the fire-zone coverage. I think Jared’s ability, you don’t ever take it for granted, quarterbacks usually – I know Jared has such a high standard. You ask him the plays that they like, he’s never going to say a screen because they kind of almost look at it as a breather play, but that took a lot of execution right there. When you’ve got a fire-zone like we did, he’s got to speed it up. Be able to beat that with the blitz when (LB Josh) Bynes was coming from depth as well. So, Jared’s done a great job selling it. I think our guys have executed and then Todd is clearly special in the open field when the ball is in his hands. Those are things that you always try to creatively find ways, whether it be with the perimeter screens to your receivers, some of those screens to the back. That’s been a part of our offense. It kind of fits with some of the other things that we’re doing and that’s been an important phase of our offense this year that the guys have executed really well.”

(On how he will prepare for the potential of there being a lot of Eagles fans in attendance on Sunday)
“I think those are things that hopefully (Rams Senior Director of Communications) Artis (Twyman) will be able to give us a little insight on. (laughs) I don’t know, maybe (Executive Vice President of Football Operations/Chief Operating Officer) Kevin Demoff will have a little insight on how many Philadelphia fans we’re anticipating. But, just looking at it, maybe. Because, it was something that we had to explore at the end of the Seattle game. I think with the way that these players have played, we’re hoping to get a great crowd to come out and support us and create a great home atmosphere. We felt like it was like that especially against the Saint. So, that’s something that will be exciting, just getting a chance to come back at home compete in front of an L.A. crowd. Hopefully put on a good product that they can  be proud of and an exciting game with a good result that we’re all striving for. But, yeah if that is something that we anticipate, you bet we’ll make sure that we have some contingency plans in place.”

(On what he learned about clock management on the drive to end the first half against Arizona)
“Absolutely. Really those types of things are inexcusable and that’s all on me. When you look at it, we get the first down. When you feel like, okay the first thing you want to do, you want to come away with points right here and sure that you’ve already got a field goal. When you get in a situation where you gain the first down, if you had it over again – when Todd has the eight-yard run on first-and-10 – would’ve liked to have said, ‘Okay, let’s go ahead and let it bleed down a little bit probably about 30 seconds we take a timeout on second-and-two.’ Now you give yourself a chance, still with another timeout remaining to say, ‘Alright, let’s run our best play right here, where if we get a first down. Now we can at least compete for a touchdown. Because what’s inexcusable and that’s 100 percent on me is that get the second-and-two run then you take the timeout and then on third-down we convert. But, because there’s only four seconds left, we have to kick the field goal and ensure the points. We ask our players to be accountable, and that’s a situation right there, where I’ve got to be better. You try to learn from your mistakes, certainly that was one and fortunately it didn’t cost us, but those are the type of things that get you beat and I can’t do that to our team. I’ve got to be smarter and learn from that. But what you would do, that’s what you’re always trying to say, ‘What would you do if you had it all over again?’ It was just, I didn’t handle that the right way and the way that you would handle it if we had it again would be like that.”

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