Rams Head Coach Sean McVay– Training Camp Press Conference – July 31, 2017* *
(On players that took the day off)
"Going into training camp, (Director/Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie Scott and (Head Strength Conditioning Coach) Ted Rath, our strength and conditioning coach and then obviously our head athletic trainer, they did a great job setting up the plan where, we had targeted some guys just being mindful of their workload. Ultimately, what's important for these guys is getting them at their optimum health by September 10th when we open the season. So, there's a handful of guys that we want to be careful with and some of those guys, mostly it's just exclusive to some of the veteran players. Especially with going into pads tomorrow, I wanted to be smart. We're kind of in the three-day progression, so this was really our third day and then the fourth day, we'll ramp it back up getting into the pads for the first time tomorrow."
(On what changes when the pads go on)
"Now it's real football. I think a lot of the things that occur especially at the line of scrimmage are definitely different based on just being able to get your hands inside and some of the fits and things that occur. That's how we play the game and that's where really us as coaches get the best evaluation for what type of players that we do have and how they play when we put the pads on and there's a little bit more physicality, while also being smart protecting each other. So, we're looking forward to it and I think the players are as well."
(On informing the players about practicing smart when the pads go on)
"Yeah. We talk about that all the time. Part of being a pro is knowing how to practice smart and be able to practice fast, but also still protecting your teammates and being mindful that we're all on the same team. Certain periods we'll pick and choose where we turn it up a little bit, but our guys have done a nice job of competing without the pads and we expect the same tomorrow when we put them on."
(On what the fine line is for the physicality when practicing in pads)
"I think you want to be mindful of going live. I think it's that 'thud' and being able to fit guys up and things like that and protecting your teammates, but you want to try to keep guys off the ground where, some of those piles and things like that can occur where guys get rolled up on. So, we want to try to avoid that, but still get it as much as a game like atmosphere as we can."
(On him seeing this team for the first time in full pads)
"It will. And we won't do anything that's actually live tomorrow, but in full pads, playing in that. This will be the first time - excited to see how these guys compete."
(On Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips' absence from practice)
"So, (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) had an issue. He's going back to be with his family. Everything is okay with him, but, there was a situation that occurred and needed to be there for his family and he's going to be back tonight. So, everything is okay with him. He was just taking care of a family matter."
(On LB Mark Barron)
"Well, I think he's a guy that I've always had a lot of respect for watching him from afar and then seeing just because he wasn't available on the offseason program. You certainly feel him. When you look at he and Alec (Ogletree) at the inside linebacker positions, definitely have some good speed, very smart player. You can tell the game's important to him. I think in these first three days he's done a great job. We just want to be mindful of being smart with him getting him back on the field, but I think he's an excellent competitor, physical. Obviously, when you're a top 10 pick as a safety I think it demonstrates the athleticism and the physicality to be able to transition seamlessly to that linebacker position and he's going to be extremely important to what we do on the defense moving forward."
(On the young receiving group coming together and adapting to the new offense)
"They are doing good. I think the challenge for us right now, really as a whole offensively is stringing together consecutive days. It's, can you find a way to have a good day and then string another one together. Consistency we all always talk about, is the truest measure of performance and once you are able to do that consistently, that is when you feel like you've got the chance to be pretty good. But we've got a lot of young players, they are eager to learn – I think they have done a nice job. We've got a lot of room to grow and we need to do it fast if we are going to be up to the level that we expect to be by the time the season starts."
(On how he would rate his performance thus far with covering receivers in practice)
"Well, smart exit angles. That is about it. If I know the route beforehand I can run to the spot, so it's very clear why I am a coach."
(On him looking good in the pass rush)
"(Laughs) That's right, forcing the guys to move a little bit. It is just fun to move around out here with the guys and kind of be interactive and try to give them a look to where you are just trying to match and have somebody just running with you, but the guys have fun with it."
(On how much of an emphasis there has been on RB Todd Gurley improving as a pass blocker)
"I think any time as a back it's very important to be great in pass protection, especially when you are dropping back and throwing the football. We will ask different things with him and our backs in general from protection and I think like we talked about a little bit earlier, with putting the pads on you can do a little bit more physicality drills, in terms of some of the one-on-one linebacker, running back pass rush and continue to work those fits. But just with any other back and Todd is no different – we will definitely have pass protection as an emphasis for those guys. Like I have mentioned to you guys, I feel like Todd is a complete back and that is how we feel as a coaching staff."
(On who has stepped up in RB Lance Dunbar's absence)
"Yeah, I think that clearly Todd has done a great job kind of leading that group, but I have been pleasantly surprised with (RB) Malcolm Brown. He's kind of got a quiet confidence about himself, where he just goes about his business, very reliable, knows exactly what to do and how to do it and he is a guy that we can depend on. I think we are looking to find who some of those other guys are that will be able to compliment that room and that is something that is ongoing. That is why you are excited about the competition. You've got guys like (RB) Aaron Green and (RB Justin) Davis – they have shown some flashes. We will continue to monitor that and evaluate that moving forward, but I think that those two guys have really stood out in terms of Todd being the lead dog, being the epitome of what we want it to look like from that leader in that group and I think Malcolm has done a nice job establishing himself as that secondary role."