Rams Head Coach Sean McVay – Rookie Minicamp – May 13, 2017**
(On the last day of rookie minicamp)
"Finishing up today, we feel like things went really well, kind of got out of it what we wanted to accomplish and that was getting a chance to look at the players that we know we're going to have on our roster and seeing if we can find some guys. We're going to sit down as a staff and with (General Manager) Les (Snead) and his staff as well after this and talk about the weekend and figure out if there's any changes that are going to be made as far as how to put together our 90-man roster. It was a very good weekend for us and we feel good about it."
(On if any players stood out to him during rookie minicamp)
"Yeah. I think when you look at it, we did a lot more 7-on-7 than sometimes you're accustomed to because we just were a little bit limited with our numbers on O-line and D-line. (WR) Cooper (Kupp) was a guy that consistently showed up. He got a lot of touches and I think it was predicated on the routes that he was running. The quarterbacks did a good job finding him. So, he got a lot of touches. But like we mentioned yesterday, I thought (WR) Josh (Reynolds) showed really well. (TE) Gerald (Everett) had his moments where he did some really good things. Even (FB) Sam Rogers, he catches a couple balls coming out of the backfield and showed his versatility and athleticism, why you like him at Virginia Tech. It was good. (S John) Johnson moved around really well. He's a smooth safety, got great natural ball skills when you watch him in just the individual drills. So those guys that are our skill players that we took, we feel good about them. We're a little bit limited in being able to evaluate some of those D-linemen and stuff like that, but I know (Defensive Line) Coach (Bill) Johnson felt good about them as well."
(On if he wants to use John Johnson at both safety positions)
"You know I think (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Wade) Phillips asks those guys to be versatile. Certainly, some guys have the strength of being able to play in the middle of the field or as a deep half safety, but John's a guy that can do both. He's got good range. He's smart with his exit angles, good ball skills, like we mentioned. He's a guy that's played nickel before, so I think when you have a safety that can play both underneath, kind of as a box defender and then as a middle safety or half-field, quarter safety, gives you more flexibility and that was one of the things that we liked about John."
(On if he feels the offensive players could play right away based on what he's seen this weekend)
"Yeah. I think the idea is that we're expecting some of these guys to contribute and they certainly have to earn it and we know that we're always looking to create competition at all spots. Whoever we think is the best player to give us the best chance to have success is who's going to play. I think what you see from some of those players at the receiver, at the tight end position, you're encouraged and you're hoping that it'll project when we get out here with all the veterans and you really see where things are ramped up a little bit." (On how he sees FB Sam Rogers fitting in considering the evolution of the fullback position in the NFL over the last 10-20 years and if he thinks there's a place for fullback position in modern offenses)
"I think you are seeing a little bit, it's not used quite as much as it has in the past. I think it's more of a credit to some of these tight ends, they have the ability to run some of your two-back runs and kind of those H-back type guys that are a little bit more multiple in the pass game. I think the more players that you can have and the more personnel groupings that you can create, the better advantage you'll have offensively. If Sam's a guy that we feel like when we put '21' or '22' personnel out on the field gives us an advantage, then he'll be that guy. Zach Laskey's also a fullback for us as well. So, I think being able to use that position is predicated on if the player gives you that advantage and kind of what you're going against defensively that week."**
(On if fullbacks also need to be receivers now)
"Ideally, you would like those guys to have some subtleties and some nuances to their game where they can catch the football out of the backfield, fit people up in space and have that functional athleticism that I think you see Zach (Laskey) and Sam (Rodgers) both have, based on their success with the ball in their hands in college. So, we're hoping to see that moving forward and it'll be interesting once the OTAs get started to see how he does going against the defensive players."
(On working his entire life towards being a head coach and how it feels to be out there on the field commanding the team in that role for the Rams)
"Well, it was a great weekend for us. I think really the first opportunity to be able to do that was at that veteran voluntary minicamp. That's what you love about coaching and that's what you also appreciate about having great people around you. Being able to do that, the players are so willing to work so hard and it was the same with this group this weekend. So, anytime that you're able to get outside and be able to watch guys compete and try to help them just be better and improve is something that we always love as coaches and I'm certainly in that same boat."**
(On what he has to do now to get the rookies integrated into what the veterans have been doing this offseason)
"That's where you have a little bit more time with these rookies so they'll be part of our meetings that we're going to have starting up next week, representing the third week of 'Phase 2.' But then those position coaches will have additional time allocated to be able to get them up to speed, kind of teach them the offense, the defense, our systems, where you're really creating a foundation. Kind of like we talked about yesterday, you're really just out here putting a couple plays in and you just want to see their athleticism. Now what we get a chance to do is teach it from a foundational level, really be thorough with that so when you add concepts, add schemes on top of each other, they make sense and there's a reason why and they start to understand that. And that's where I think the true learning and the understanding of what we're trying to get done in our systems takes place."
(On what TE Cory Harkey's role is)
"Cory Harkey, you're around Cory Harkey, he's a great leader and he's a very good football player that has some versatility. I know he's been an excellent player on special teams. When you have the ability to play that fullback position, that tight end where you're both in-line and kind of in that wing position and what you bring from a leadership (standpoint) and just some of the things that he does for (Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel) 'Bones' on special teams, he brings a lot of valuable things to our team. We're looking to find the best guys and those decisions will be made at a later date."
(On if WR Tavon Austin's injury changes the roles for the other wide receivers during the offseason program)
"It doesn't, because you're still operating under the impression that you're going to have Tavon (Austin). You wish he wish he was going to be able to take place in some of these workouts. But, I think we've got a plan in place to be able to make sure that he's not going to lose anything from a mental approach. Then because it is an upper-body thing, you can still do a lot of the things in your lower half – stay in shape, run the routes. So, it won't change because we're still operating with having Tavon in mind and it's all geared towards making sure that we're the best team that we can be on September 10. It's that one day at a time approach and that's what we're doing. It's going to be specific to each player, but Tavon's injury won't affect what we do with those other guys."
*(On when Austin's injury was sustained)*
"I'm not really totally sure. Either way, he sustained it and we got it fixed and now we're moving forward. It's something that you'd love him to be a part of it, but I think we feel good about the plan that we've got in place for him – where it's something that we'll just work through it, as opposed to letting it be something that really affects our ability to move forward as an offense with Tavon."
(On if Austin will continue being the primary punt returner)
"I think that's something you will have to ask (John Fassel) 'Bones'. I think when you look at it, he's done a great job with that. Certainly it's going to be something that moving forward every single day, we're going to figure that out. Anytime that you've got a guy like him that can create with the ball in his hands, you want to be able to create those opportunities. But, I know there's other players in place that can do that as well. Bones is doing a good job of kind of being able to keep that open where you've got some guys in those spots and that will be determined at a later date."
(On the differences in the route tree for WRs Josh Reynolds and Cooper Kupp than it was in college)
"It's going to be a little bit different, just because at Texas A&M they're a little bit more spread out. He's (Josh Reynolds) pretty much lined up outside of the numbers, and he's kind of running straight-stem routes. Cooper (Kupp) was kind of moving all around the formation throughout the course of his career. I think we're going to ask them to do things a little bit differently. But, what you can appreciate about both of those guys is they did a good job of being able to translate some of our verbiage, understand some of the little routes that we were putting in this week. You could see they're both smart, conscientious players. It was good to see them move around this weekend."
(On potential punt returners currently on roster)
"I think anytime that you're looking at those guys that touch the ball and then if there's somebody in the secondary. I think you mentioned it with Tavon and (WR) Pharoh (Cooper) and then depending upon what we do with some of these college free agents, whether it's guys that have done it in their past, they might add themselves into the mix, but right now you feel good about those guys."
(On which returning offensive linemen are getting work at the center position)
"Like we had mentioned, we're cross-training guys – where those guys that are playing guard also will have the ability to play at the center position. Right now, the guys that are taking the majority of the reps at center are John Sullivan and (Demetrius) Rhaney, and then we'll bring (Jake) Eldrenkamp in and he'll get a chance to compete at the center spot as well. I think just because you've got to have the season in mind when you've got seven, maybe eight linemen up (on game day), if something did happen to one of those centers, typically it's going to be guard, unless you're going to have one of those guys that's your sixth or seventh linemen be exclusively a center. It's important for those guards to be able to have some flexibility and be able to snap that football if some of those emergency situations dictate that."