Head Coach Sean McVay – Press Conference – September 4, 2017**
(On DT Aaron Donald not being here)
"It's like what it's been this whole offseason – guys are continuing to work. It was a great day today focusing on our game plans offensively, defensively and special teams for the Colts. That's where our mindset and mentality is and that's where we're at."
(On if Donald has been ruled out for the Colts' game)
"No. He is not ruled out, but right now he's not here. Guys are ready to go and we're getting a plan in place and the preparation goes on. Fortunately, we've got a bunch of guys that we feel confident in that are ready to step up. Like we said, our message continues to remain the same, if he's here, great, we'll accept him back with open arms, but in the meantime we've got to get ready to play a football game and we know the Colts are getting ready as well."
(On if he is still optimistic about the situation)
"Yeah, I'm optimistic that we're going to continue to work to find a solution. That being said, if we're not able to, the game goes on Sunday at one o'clock, there's going to be a kickoff and it's going to be a great opportunity for us to come together as a team and see if we can come away with a W against a great opponent."
(On if there is a hard deadline for Donald to have to show up)
"I wouldn't say that, I would just say that we're installing our game plans. Tomorrow will be the players day off and then we'll come back on Wednesday just like it would be a normal in season Wednesday. Today was a bonus day, so we'll have our first and second down emphasis and a couple situational things and then our week will go on as such. But, right now we're focused on the Colts and the players that are here."
(On if QB Andrew Luck being ruled out changes his game plan)
"I think Andrew is a great player, but we have a lot of respect for (QB) Scott Tolzien and the other quarterbacks. I know that (Head) Coach (Chuck) Pagano will have his team ready to go. Our mindset and mentality is that we're going against a great opponent and we've got to be ready to go. So, it doesn't change anything for us. We know we've got to have a great week or preparation and looking forward to seeing how Sunday goes."
(On if he is optimistic that Donald will be here on Wednesday)
"I would say this, we're continuing to work toward that solution – if we're not able to come to one, we've got a lot of guys that we have confidence in, in that locker room. Knowing that Sunday at one o'clock that ball is going to be kicked off and we've got to be ready to go. We'd love to have '99' (Aaron Donald) be a part of it, but if not, I have a lot of confidence in the defensive line and our defense as a whole that they'll be ready to go and they'll have a great week of preparation."
(On if missing practices this week is even more difficult because the game plan is starting to be implemented)
"Yeah, I think anytime you get closer to the game there's a level of urgency that's raised, like you guys have heard me say. Especially when you start to get game plan specific, like we've done where now this really represents that first time that we've truly game planned an opponent, gone through where we've seen a feel for our weekly rhythm, but haven't done quite as specific of a plan as we're going to have focused on the Colts offense, defensive and special teams. So, there's a very important part of that and that preparation, our approach is an important part of what we want to be able to do to put us in a position to have a good performance."
(On if he senses that the players are doing a good job of separating business and disappointment)
"It is because you've got a lot of guys in that locker room that have a lot of respect and admiration for Aaron as a friend, as a teammate and they understand the business elements to this. They'd love to have him there, but in the meantime, I think they've done a great job of remaining focused on what they can control and that's what they're doing when they're in this building. If he's not ready to go, then it's going to ask for a handful of guys to be ready to step up and I think (defensive line) Coach (Bill) Johnson and (defensive coordinator) Coach Wade (Phillips) have done a great job of building some depth at that D-line spot. We've had an opportunity to evaluate some guys that if Aaron was here, otherwise we wouldn't have had a chance to do, so I know those guys are excited. At the same time, if Aaron comes back, everybody will be ready to welcome him back with open arms."
(On if there is a date that Donald has to arrive in order to play)
"It's hard to say and I think until we come to a solution, then that's when I think you have a chance to really put a specific plan in place. Out of respect for Aaron and the team, our mindset right now is – if we have to go play a football game, guys are ready to go and Aaron hasn't been here as a part of the preparation. So, right now that's the way that we're approaching this, if he's here then it's a bonus and that's something that we'll have to come to figure out when he does get here if that's the case."
(On if he is still confident that the other defensive players who got extended time off during camp will be ready to go against the Colts)
"Yeah. We're very confident that they're ready to go. They were all full participants in practice today and I think when you look at the guys that haven't had a chance, the (LB) Mark Barron's the (OLB) Robert Quinn's the (CB) Kayvon Webster's, they're in good shape. Last week, I think if they had a chance, they would've been ready to go. But, I know that these are guys that have played a lot of football and I think it'll provide a great opportunity this week to get into that weekly flow, that rhythm if you will and then hopefully Sunday at one o'clock they're ready to roll."
(On how different this week feels)
"It feels different. There's an excitement. There's a level of urgency that's raised in the entire building and this is what everything is built towards, is really the regular season. Our guys have done a great job of utilizing the offseason program, training camp to put ourselves in a position to be ready to go on Sunday. But, we know that we're still focused on taking it one day at a time and hopefully that will lead to us peaking at one o'clock on Sunday."
(On adding QB Brandon Allen)
"He was a guy that some of our coaches are familiar with. (Quarterbacks) Coach (Greg) Olson being in Jacksonville and then you really look at (general manager) Les (Snead) and his staff evaluated Brandon and he's a guy that's put some good stuff on tape. I think when you're able to add to that room, a third player that can kind of be in the situation where, we've got two guys we have a great deal of confidence in, in Jared (Goff) and Sean (Mannion). Adding Brandon, we'll be able to develop him and see how he does. But, I don't know Brandon at all, just seen some of the stuff he's put on tape, but he's a guy that his tape has merited the claim and I think we feel good about that."
(On the game planning process as a head coach)
"I think it's been a great process so far. Really, in a lot of ways because of some of the coaches that you have on the staff, very similar to the offensive coordinator approach where you got a lot of confidence in our defense and special teams and being heavily involved in the offense, you certainly want to know what's going on big picture perspective. But, at the same time, (defensive coordinator) Coach Wade (Phillips) has done it at a high level for a long time and (special teams coordinator) John (Fassel) certainly has as well. You want to continue to let those guys go about their business in a way that is going to allow them to continue to do the things they've done because of the success they've had. While also having an understanding so you can communicate with the players and have an idea of what's going on just with the whole team in general."
(On the game planning process with Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur)
"It's been great, really it's a process where it's a collective deal with our offensive staff. We put together the game plan and each guy kind of has an area of expertise, if you will, that he helps contribute to the final plan that we put together. It's been great so far, really feel fortunate to have a great offensive coaching staff that you can heavily lean on. Matt certainly has done a great job in his role as well."
(On if he has decided on his team captains)
"I think it's a big deal that you let the players vote for it. We've got a lot of guys that I think are capable captains that represent a lot of things that you guys hear us talk about – in terms of what we want our team, what do we want our players to embody. But, we'll let the players vote on that. We'll do that this week and I think there's a great honor in being voted by your teammates as a captain. And that's something that we'll do this week."
(On if it's a complicated situation with Donald, who was a captain last year, not being around)
"I think the situation is complicated in a lot of ways. But I think there's a been a lot of guys that…while I have a lot of respect for what Aaron represents as a leader, I haven't had a chance to be around him as much as some of these other guys. So, I think the team will do a good job of picking guys that they feel like represent who they want to be their captains and to lead us."
(On how TE Derek Carrier looked today)
"Yeah, he looked good. Derek's a guy that I'm familiar with from being with him in Washington, offers some position flex where I think like he can play the 'Y' and the 'F' spot. He can play in line, he can play in the backfield at some of those move spots that you see us utilize – some of the tight ends. I think when you add him to the mix with (TE) Tyler (Higbee) and with (TE) Gerald's (Everett) emergence, you feel good about those three, especially knowing how important and how valuable (TE) Temarrick (Hemingway) was to us. So we feel very fortunate to be able to add a player like Derek."
(On if there is a chance that Carrier will play this week)
"He's going to play. He's going to be ready to go. He'll be active, he'll play and he'll see snaps for sure."
(On if Carrier playing is a result of him being familiar with his system and verbiage)
"I think it certainly helps. I think when you look what you're trying to do at the tight end position – a guy that's familiar with the verbiage. They're still using a lot of the same verbiage in Washington that we're using here. So, I think it's going to be an easy transition. Not taking anything away from it, but I think his experience being familiar with the verbiage, while there's a couple little nuances, for the most part he's a really smart contentious guy that's always done a nice job of picking things up pretty quickly. And it seemed like he did that today. There's a couple things that we're doing differently that I know (Tight Ends Coach) Shane (Waldron) will spend some extra time with him, but confident that Derek will be up to speed and he'll be ready to go on Sunday."