Head Coach Sean McVay – Media Availability – September 18, 2017**
(On who would have missed practice if there was practice)
"Right now, the guys that would be day-to-day because we just lifted today and did some stuff just in the meeting rooms, the guys that would have missed if we practiced today would have been (TE) Gerald Everett, (CB) Kayvon Webster and (RB) Malcolm Brown.
(On why they cancelled practice today)
"I thought it was a physical game yesterday, we got some stuff cleaned up from the tape yesterday and then we also got them in here for a lift and then I thought it was important for us as a coaching staff to not feel like you wanted to rush through the game plan. Then tomorrow, we'll have a couple walk-thrus to kind of get caught up to speed to kind of make up for, really what would be two days of preparation in a normal week."
(On DT Aaron Donald's performance)
"I think he did some good things. I think he's getting more and more comfortable just getting back into the rhythm of a normal game. That's the first time he's had live action in a year. So, I think the standards that he has for himself and that we have for him – we know that there's a couple things that he can do better, but I think he will only get better and better as he progresses into just getting that experience and his rep count up.
(On if he expected much more than Donald did on Sunday)
"I thought he did some good things as the game progressed. He made some plays, affected some of the schemes that they were running. But, he did some really – you could see his get off and some of the things that make Aaron rare did show up. Like anything else, it's being able to get back into a rhythm, for him I think will be important. I think we'll see him get more and more comfortable as the season progresses."
(On if he's concerned about Donald with the short turnaround)
"I don't think so just because he came out of the game, he felt good today when he talked with (Director Sports Medicine/Performance) Reggie (Scott) and (Head of Strength and Conditioning) Ted (Rath) everything came away good. So, I think you just want to be mindful of the short turnaround, especially with those guys that are hurting or might be kind of day-to-day right now. But with him feeling good, I think we're on good track for him to be ready to go on Thursday."
(On the cornerback rotation and the availability of CB Troy Hill)
"Those are things that we were discussing with the defensive staff earlier this morning and exactly how we kind of package some different things will be predicated on Kayvon's availability and then how we utilize (CB) Troy (Hill) as well. We're anticipating him being ready to go, talking about Troy and we're hopeful that Kayvon will be too and then how that shakes out at the corner positon will be figured out as the week progresses."
(On what they identified as the problem with the run defense)
"I think really, credit to Washington. I think they did a nice job with some perimeter schemes, some gap and trap type stuff and I thought as the game settled down, the defense kind of settled into the game and did a much better job in the second half. There was a couple big plays in that first half and then obviously that 61-yard draw that they hit was a big play for them. But, as the game progressed, I thought the guys settled in. But again, credit to Washington, I thought they did a nice job with some of the things that they were running schematically and they made those plays."
(On if he would have attacked CB Kevin Peterson coming in for CB Trumaine Johnson if he was the opposing play caller)
"Well, I think you want to be mindful of going against the personnel and some of the matchups that you're able to get with guys going out and with Trumaine being one of our best corners, one of our best defensive players, certainly whoever comes in and not necessarily exclusive to Kevin, but whoever would come in the game, that might be something that you would think about as a point of attack for sure."
(On the penalty call when the ball was spotted on his own two-yard line)
"Yeah, what it was, was it was a double after. So it was a double penalty after a change of possession. The way that it works were there was a penalty on each team, so then there was a spot foul where the ball went where the ball was received on the two-yard line. So if that was caught in the end zone it would have been placed as a touchback. It's kind of a rule that had some little nuances to it, but they kept calling it a double after. When you look at the rulebook, it's really a double penalty after a change of possession is what it was."
(On if it was interpreted correctly by the officials)
"Yeah, it was correctly interpreted by them."
(On if he was hoping that they weren't going to get the call right)
"Absolutely, yeah. When we end up on the two-yard line instead of moving it a little bit further ahead, no question about it. But, that's when you realize there are a lot of little nuances and specific things that can come up and it was something that they did get right based on the way they saw that play out."
(On why he felt the need to say that he has to be better after the game)
"Well, I think anytime that you look at yourself specifically with some of the plays that you're calling offensively – I think I didn't ever feel like I allowed our players to get into a rhythm. You look at we had nine plays in the first quarter and then the first play we end up turning it over in the second quarter, so you have 10 plays. And I thought then I let those circumstances affect the way that you kind of go about your normal rhythm as opposed to kind of just staying one play at a time, like you talk about, trying to keep your run-pass balance knowing that you still have a whole game to get back in it. I just thought there were some uncharacteristic decisions and maybe some indecisiveness on my part where – we always talk about letting our approach and our preparation lead to good performance and the process over results always. I thought, regardless of the way that some things played out, when you go into a game you always envision kind of how you want to be able to try to put your players in good spots and I didn't necessarily follow through with that plan based on the way things played out. I think there are times when you have to do that, but I thought there was a handful of situations where I didn't need to do that yesterday and I did and it made it tougher on our players than it should have been."
(On how easy or difficult it is for him to be self-critical)
"Well, I think if you ask your players to be, then it's very important for you to be yourself. We always talk about coachability and certainly, if I'm not being coachable, or being critical of myself when I'm not doing the things that I need to do to try to be helpful and trying to achieve wins and putting the players in good spots, then, that's something that you have to be aware of and you can't be afraid to admit that."
(On if WR Sammy Watkins only got two targets because the Redskins took him out of the game or if it was planned)
"Well, it was a couple different things where, he might have been a primary, but the coverage dictated something else. Then, we had 49 offensive snaps too, so when you do want to try to get some runs off, (RB) Todd (Gurley) got going as the game progressed, so you wanted to be able to maintain a run-pass balance. When things got within one possession, you didn't feel like you had to reach and you could kind of just take the ball down the field. So, it was a product of a couple different things, but I think when you don't have that many shots at it, you want to try to still have some balance and some of the coverages that dictate the ball going elsewhere. That kind of is how that results in him not getting as many targets as you'd like."
(On how much better he thinks his defense can be with Donald in football-shape)
"Well, I think we can get better as a whole. Obviously, Aaron adds to that. I know that the standards that we have, that they have for themselves, that wasn't up to par. Again, I'll give credit to Washington though, I thought they did a nicer job. But, our defense, I expect them to be able to look at themselves critically. We will look at ourselves as a team critically in terms of some of the things that we can clean up. That's where I think it's important to understand is, that was on all three phases. That was a team loss yesterday. Everyone wants to maybe point out some of the things with the defense, but there were plenty of opportunities offensively and some of the things special teams that we can all look at ourselves and say, 'What can I do to be a part of the solution?' and maybe change the outcome of that game."
(On the team's issue with game penalties and if he thinks penalties will resolve themselves as players becoming more comfortable with scheme)
"Yeah, you know, I think you'd like to think that as guys become more comfortable, they kind of understand the way that certain things are being called and how we can correct that from a coaching stand point – first and foremost. But the thing that's always going to be important is the poise in some of the crunch time situations. That's where when it gets down to the wire, whether it's third down or some of the things where those self-inflicted wounds are things that we have to be able to avoid. It starts with me and then we've got to do better of emphasizing it and then the players get it and then we have try to avoid those at all cost."
(On if he may have sleep in his office this week)
"I don't know about that. It depends on how well the rest of this game plan goes tonight. But, I'll be able to tell you tomorrow."
(On if he's ever slept in his office)
"I have. I have in Washington. I haven't here yet. I didn't have a nice spread out couch like I did in Washington, so it was a little bit easier to sleep there. But, that might be something that you have to consider dependent upon how the rest of the night goes."
(On how big of a challenge the short turnaround is for a Thursday night game)
"It's a big challenge. Whether you're a head coach or any coach. Any time that you condense a week that you're normally accustomed to having a handful of days more and you get the same amount of work in, it definitely does pose some challenges. But, it's also important for us to be aware of that so that you don't put too much on your players – figure out what they're comfortable with. But also, what are some things that attack the offensive or defensive scheme and some of the things that we'll do special teams wise. It's a balance that we have to do a good job of as coaches and try to help our players so that Thursday is as seamless as possible, on a short week, knowing all the factors that are involved."
(On how difficult the short turnaround is for the players)
"Yeah, no it is tougher. It is a lot tougher. I think the big thing too is, is that these guys know how to take care of their bodies. The thing that you do feel fortunate is at least this is Week 3, not Week 13 where you're having to do that. So, from that standpoint, it does make it a little bit easier only knowing that you have really two full games of that pounding on their bodies. But It is a tough challenge, but it's something that everybody in this league has to do and for us it's this week."
(On if it makes it tougher only having two games of film on San Francisco under 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan)
"Yeah, I think it does. I think it does make it a little bit more difficult just because like you mentioned you don't have the amount information you're typically accustomed to when you get ready for a normal opponent. But, it was a very similar type of deal for getting ready for Washington defensively last week. Those are things that we have to be ready to adjust to. I think when you look at their offense we've got some people that are familiar with some of the things that Kyle (Shanahan) has had a lot of success with over the course of his career and then I think (49ers Defensive Coordinator) Robert Saleh has done an excellent job these first couple weeks of putting their defense in a lot of good situations."