Head Coach Sean McVay – Media Availability – August 28, 2017**
(On why QB Jared Goff isn't going to play at all against Green Bay)
"We've made the decision that we were going to get a chance to evaluate the guys that we're not projecting as starters and get them an opportunity to compete against Green Bay. That will offer an opportunity as well for our starters to kind of start getting in the mindset of preparing for that Indianapolis game. Where, we'll get a chance to still compete against each other like we did, but then we'll also start moving towards what we're going to do against the Colts on September 10th."
(On Goff not playing against Green Bay even though he hasn't played two full quarters in the preseason)
"Yeah, it's something that we've gone back and forth with about. And, certainly not undermining how important that experience is for him. But, that's why we've made a real big emphasis – especially with some of those guys that we're really counting on that haven't gotten that work – that, we've got to understand the importance of when we ramp up the tempo of practice, let's make sure that we get something out of it. Even though nothing is quite like a game and that's what the decision that we felt like was going to be best for our team and for our offense and some of the guys that we'll rest on defense as well."
(On if WR Tavon Austin was a full participant in practice today)
"He wasn't a full participant. He might have been able to do that, but we're going to be patient with him. He went through the individual drills. He feels good. In terms of letting him go full-speed where he's getting into some of those competitive periods that you just saw, that might be something that we discuss about doing tomorrow with him. But, he's in a good place right now and we feel like if we continue to take those steps, he'll be in great shape to be ready to roll for that Indy game."
(On if CB Kayvon Webster, LB Mark Barron and OLB Robert Quinn practiced today)
"They did. With Mark right now, we're just being smart where, with that maintenance program like you've seen where we rested (T) Andrew Whitworth today, Mark's going to be a guy that has kind of the same type of plan just based on being smart and having that September 10th date in place. Robert's gotten a lot of rest. He did a great job today. You certainly felt him out there rushing the passer and Kayvon was a full participant and did a nice job as well today."
(On how he envisions using WR Tavon Austin)
"Well, that's a good question. I think we're going to put him a quarterback actually (laughs). No, I think that's something that's unique about what you can do with a player like him. So that's one of the advantages that we do have, if you're going to look at a positive of him not having played this preseason. Haven't put that on tape and I think that's a competitive advantage that we're still figuring out as a staff. But one thing that we do know is, he's a special player and we've got to find a way to get him touches and get him involved because in the past, when the ball is in his hands good things have happened. That's what we're going to look to continue to do with him moving forward into the season."
(On if not playing some of his key players in preseason puts the team behind the eight ball heading into the regular season)
"I think it's certainly something that you always discuss because you have an appreciation for the importance of the preseason. But, I thought (Defensive Coordinator) Coach Wade (Phillips) said it best where, a lot of these guys that have played a lot of football, the important thing is being aware of allowing them to be at their best September 10th with their health, with everything else and trusting that they know how to prepare to the best of their ability. Not taking away from that, that's definitely something that, in an ideal situation, we'd like to have all those guys having played together, getting ready, but just based on the circumstances that we've dealt with, we've made some of those decisions that the first time a lot of the guys will get an opportunity to play together is September 10th. We're certainly not using that as an excuse to be rusty in any form or fashion. We just know that the level of urgency for these next 13 days has to be ramped up, especially for those guys that haven't gotten a chance to play in the preseason."
(On if he is going to take all 89 guys to Green Bay)
"We'll take those guys. The only guys that we've left behind are guys that would be out because of an injury. So, we'll take all those guys unless it's something where a (TE) Temarrick Hemingway situation, or somebody that wouldn't be able to play because of an injury. So, right now that's the plan and that's what we're going to do."
(On if WR Sammy Watkins is going to play against Green Bay)
"He won't. No – he's not going to play this week. I think when you talk about Sammy I think it's very important for us as a coaching staff, to do a good job of getting a game plan together, so that we can start to trim his focus as well. I think that will enable him to be able to play faster, where we can detail up the assignments in a better way, to put him in a good spot. Because, as of right now, you look at the last couple weeks, he's kind of just been thrown into the fire. We haven't game-planned like we normally will, so in terms of the attention to detail and having more of a singular focus on a game plan as opposed to the whole playbook being up. I think it'll make it a little bit easier for him and that's something that we want to do sooner than later to allow him to play fast and be the best version of Sammy Watkins that we've all seen before."
(On how he thinks WR Tavon Austin took the news about the Rams acquiring Watkins)
"He was great. I think the biggest thing…we always talk about clear communication with our players. Before it even happen we discussed that with the receiver room to let them know that we're going to adding another good player to the room. That resulted in losing a great player in (CB) E.J. Gaines. I think as long as you deal with these guys upfront and honest – they're great competitors. Tavon's response was exactly like what you would expect. 'I'm excited to have Sammy on this team. It makes our receiver room even better and it gives us the ability to utilize a variety of guys in a variety of ways and that's where when you have a couple guys that can stretch the field or some intermediate underneath you always want to have complements. But, when you have guys that can do some of the same things, it gives you versatility as well."
(On if there's a specific area within the team that he's going to focus on heading into the final preseason game)
"I think there's specific players, but I think as far as just kind of looking at specific areas on the team every single position is so important. Right now, especially on offense and defense and some of those key guys that we're trying to continue and figure out on special teams, it's going to a great opportunity to evaluate some of those guys that fill will in those depth positions. Whether it be the inside linebacker position, some of those additional rushers that we're looking at, guys that are going to be your back-up lineman, in addition to the five guys that we're counting on being our starters. I think it's going to offer a great opportunity to see a lot of players that, at some point just based on the way an NFL season goes, we'll probably be relying on, where they'll start out maybe providing depth but you never know what ends up happening. They'll be a very important part of what we do so, that's why this evaluation for us is very important over the next week."
(On if there is anything that he needs to focus on in terms of his head coaching duties heading into the final preseason game)
"I think really the first three weeks has offered us a great opportunity to get that figured out. What you feel really good about, and you'll continue to hear me say, is when you've got great leaders in (special teams coordinator) John Fassel and (defensive coordinator) Wade Phillips running your defense and your special teams – you feel very comfortable to allow them to do their job. What that frees you up to do is, really as a guy that's going to be heavily involved in the offense calling the plays, be focused on that similarly to the way that you would approach it as an offensive coordinator. The difference is just making sure that when you get inside two minutes, John Fassel and I will be in constant communication which will mostly be relevant when we're mostly on defense. Because, when you're on offense calling the plays you're more involved in some of those game-like situations. We've told Wade that if there's ever a time where when the defense has the possession which has kind of naturally occurred over the first three weeks anyways – if I was talking to the quarterbacks or going through some pictures where you're still making sure that you can transition from series to series, then his experience trusting his judgement if there's a defense penalty – whether there's a decision to accept or decline that has to be made right there if I'm not there, then you have a guy like him that you can empower for those decisions. We discussed all of the mechanics of you look at something as simple as the challenge. We talked about that where the reason (assistant to head coach) Billy (Nayes) has that flag and we joke about it the other day, but if for whatever reason being involved in the offense, a defensive challenge has to occur – where I'm kind of moving on to the next series. He's got to be ready on the sideline to throw it for the ref and that's again where you trust your defensive coaches up top to be able to say, 'Hey definitely want to challenge it. You trust your assistants and ultimately, I'm the one that responsible for it. When you have great coaches around you, it enables you to feel comfortable with the game-day dynamics knowing that you're going to be involved in the offense. I know that's kind of a long-winded answer, but I think it's been a great way to figure that out and feel very comfortable going into the regular season with kind of the way that we have it laid out."