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TRANSCRIPTS: Rams Head Coach Sean McVay, Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips, RB Todd Gurley II - Media Availability - November 7, 2019

November 08, 2019 12:06AM
TRANSCRIPTS: Rams Head Coach Sean McVay, Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips, RB Todd Gurley II - Media Availability - November 7, 2019

Rams Head Coach Sean McVay
(On if there are any updates on WR Brandin Cooks)
“He’s meeting with the doctors right now. He was traveling out there yesterday and today he has his appointment, so probably in the middle of that right now.”

(On if concussion protocol is in place because Cooks hasn’t had a chance to practice)
“Correct. If this wasn’t something that he hadn’t had another one prior to this year – and just some of the background with just some of the history that he’s had with this – he would be passing all of the things, from my understanding, that you’d typically go about. Because of the nature of this, because we want to really find out what’s going on with this happening twice this year, once last year and then the previous season when he was in New England. I think more than anything, it’s just getting some clarity just because of the number of these that have occurred.”

(On LB Bryce Hager’s status)
“His shoulder, it’s been really up and down. Sometimes it responds the right way. When you deal with some of these nerve things, it’s something that can be really challenging – unpredictable. I think it’s something that he’s doing everything he can. The doctors are doing a great job of trying to just keep him feeling in a good place. It’s one of those deals that it’s kind of been an unpredictable thing. I would say that most likely the direction that we will go will probably to place (Lcool smiley Bryce (Hager) on IR. I want to make sure that we’ve got all the information necessary. I know he’s been frustrated, it’s been hard for him, he’s been battling through trying to get this thing right, and it’s just been really fidgety.”

(On if Hager was able to return and play on special teams against the 49ers)
“He was. That was really a credit to him and his toughness, but he’s pushing through and he was doing some things where it was more of a reflection of his selflessness. He’s probably in a position where…it actually felt good that game. Where It’s like, ‘All right, it’s not bothering me as much. I’m not quite full strength to be able to compete at the inside linebacker spot snap in and snap out, but I feel like I can still contribute on special teams.’ Then it will be good for a couple of days and then, it kind of goes back. That’s where, more than anything, you just need to give it some time to heal. That’s the frustrating thing during the season for him and for us because you’d love to have Bryce.”

(On how he thinks Steelers LB Mark Barron fits into their scheme)
“He’s done a great job, they ask a lot of him. They’re blitzing him. He’s got some responsibilities in coverage, he’s got a great feel. He’s a great player that he was for us the last couple of years. You see the toughness, you see the range, you see the athleticism – all the things that made him a top-tier pick. I love (Steelers Lcool smiley Mark Barron in terms of what he stands for, then, watching the way that he overcame. You talk about a guy fighting through some adversity and where his body was hurting, and to just do whatever he can to get out on the field. Then when he straps up and goes and competes, he takes it to another level. He’s done a good job. It’s going to be a really good challenge. Hopefully, he continues having a good season after this week. I love Mark Barron and I’m always happy to see him doing well.”

On how important it is to match up against the Steelers physicality)
“I think so. That’s what they are. They’re a very tough, physical football team. It starts with the offensive line up front, the defensive line and they do a great job. You can see that’s been a philosophy in terms of how they want to operate, what are the types of bodies that they’re looking for? They’ve been able to have some continuity specifically on the defensive end from a scheme standpoint. (Steelers Head) Coach (Mike) Tomlin’s leadership in that, but then you look at under (Steelers Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Keith) Butler now. They’ve got a very clear-cut mold of what they’re looking for and you can see it show up. When you talk about the typical Pittsburgh Steelers teams when you flip this tape on all three phases, that’s what you’re seeing and it’s a compliment to them.”

(On what are some things he has to be cognizant of when facing a receiver like Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster)
“I think really everything. They do a good job moving him around and he’s not limited in anything that he can do. He’s got great run after the catch, he’s got great aggressive hands, he can separate underneath, he can create the big plays, he can win the 50-50 ball. You see why his production has been what it is in the first couple years. I can remember a couple years ago when we had him out here working out for such a young player just in terms of his age, very mature, strong, powerful. He’s got all those traits. You feel like alright he might not be that burner, but he runs away from everybody. He’s got great game speed and it’s really just a challenge for our defense as a whole to know where he is at all times and make sure that he’s accounted for because as soon as you just slip up a little bit, he makes you pay and makes a big play that ends up changing the narrative of the game.”

(On if Smith-Schuster’s workout with the Rams was a private pre-draft workout)
“It was one of those local day workouts because he had played at ‘SC’ (University of Southern California). He was impressive and just how receptive he was to some of the feedback. I can even remember just watching his situational awareness where he caught a ball on a four-minute situation in a hitch, and could of scored, but he had the presence – like we’ve seen Todd (Gurley II) do in years past of going down because really they were going to be able to run the clock out. Those are the kind of things that you don’t have to talk to him at all. You just watch and you say, ‘This is a smart football player that gets it. He’s an elite competitor and he’s tough.’ He’s tough as hell and it’s a great challenge, looking forward to it.”

(On if he feels this game will set the tone for how the second half of the season will go)
“I think every game does right now. You’ve got eight games left for sure. We’ve played eight and that’s where we’ve got to be. The narrative is written every single week and we talk about that. We’ve got the ability to write our story, and this is chapter nine. We’re guaranteed 16 chapters, but every week continues to get more important as you hopefully take care of your business. Like I’ve said, and you’re not just saying it, what we can control is trying to get a win. Whether we do or whether we don’t means that you’ve got to get ready for the next week with the same focus and concentration. So much is to be determined over these next eight weeks just in this league alone based on teams playing one another, stuff like that. You drive yourself crazy going through all the scenarios because the only we can do is try and find a way to get our sixth win and go 1-0 this week. If we do that, then we continue to be relevant in those conversations that then maybe you talk about when it’s the last game and you actually say, ‘Alright we’re trying to go 1-0’ and that’s what this means if we do that.”

Rams Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(Opening Remarks)
“Pittsburgh – I think the first thing is (DT) Aaron Donald’s really excited about it, so that makes me excited. (He’s) going back home and playing – all of us are excited to play the games, obviously, but I think it’s special for him. He’s done such great things for the city of Pittsburgh overall, his recognition and so forth. Nice to see him be able to go back there. Even though they’re all Steeler fans, there’s a lot of Aaron Donald fans there – and there should be. Looks like we’ll have (Lcool smiley Clay Matthews back this week, so that’ll be important for us defensively. He certainly adds to our defense. (Ccool smiley Jalen Ramsey is more and more comfortable as we’ve gone on. The good thing about Jalen is he is a very smart guy, so he’s been able to pick up the things that we’re doing and kind of thinking ahead on some things. He’s asked us, ‘Hey, what if this happens? Do I do this?’ and we say ‘Yes, of course you do.’ – those kind of things. That’s a real positive, too. Their offense – they’re the Pittsburgh Steelers – they’re going to run the ball, they’re going to be a tough team. The young quarterback’s (Steelers QB Mason Rudolph) come in and played well for them – they’ve won three in a row. Started 0-3 or 1-4, whatever it is and now got back to even and are playing good football. It’ll be a tough game that way too. It’s going to be a tough, physical game – always with Pittsburgh.”

(On how Matthews’ anticipated return impacts the younger players who played during his absence)
“Clay will play. He’s not going to play every play like he did before, so I think that’s part of it. We’ll still rotate people and the other guys have come in and played well. We want to give them some playing time too. He’s certainly a really good player at his position, so we’re glad to have him back.”

(On what Donald has meant to the Rams since Phillips arrived)
“It’s hard to describe how much the Defensive Player of the Year every year is to you. He’s the difference in winning and losing a lot of games. Fortunately for us, he’s been with us and we’ve been winning a lot of those games. He’s just a great, great player and we all know what kind of person he is being around him. He’s a great worker, he’s all the things you want your son to be. I’d rather my son be him than coaching for us, but that’s all right, too (laughs).”

(On if the Steelers still test their opponents physically like they have historically)
“That’s exactly the way the Steelers are and have been for a long time. They’ve played that way for a long time, but then (Steelers Head Coach Mike) Tomlin came in and that kind of philosophy where we’re going to be a tough team we’re going to fight you tooth and nail – offense, defense – you’re going to have a hard time running the ball and you’re going to have a hard time stopping us from the run. They still make plays in the passing game, like they always have, but they’re a real physical team. Its tests you physically.”

(On what Dolphins CB Aqib Talib meant to him and the team)
“(Ccool smiley Aqib (Talib) coming in was a great leader for us. Certainly, helped win a lot of games. I’m indebted to him for winning the Super Bowl or at least being a big part of that in Denver and then basically helping us get to the Super Bowl here. Personally, even more so.

(On how CB Troy Hill has evolved since he has been here)
“(Ccool smiley Troy (Hill) is persistent. He’s got an ability that we like. He’s come in in a lot of situations and played and played well. Now, it’s his time. He’s come in and I think he’ll do a really good job.”

(On if it is a rare in the NFL for a player like Hill to have the position he does)
“I think some guys work their way into it. Other guys step in and they’re expected to play. Some of them come through, high picks. Some are expected to play, some of them come through, some of them don’t. I kind of like the guy that worked his way up too. He’s earned it, he’s earned his chance.”

(On fans getting excited to see Donald during practice go through bag drills and see how fast his feet go and if he has any reaction when he watches Donald move so quickly as a DT)
“I usually look at him and say, ‘Wow.’ He’s got special ability, he’s got great quickness. He’s got, like I said, all the things it takes and he utilizes them. It’s hard to give him any more accolades than the Defensive Player of the Year two years in a row and still playing at a tremendously high level. A lot of players have ability, not all of them have the great, great ability he has, but not a lot of them have the heart he has.”

(On if CB Jalen Ramsey will match up against Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster)
“I don’t know. I’d be surprised to see. We’ll see what happens during the game.”

(On what about Smith-Schuster that has made him effective in his career)
“He’s a big-play receiver. They’re hard to find. You can find consistent receivers or guys that are short-area players that catch a lot of balls. This guy catches a short ball and makes the long play, or a long ball makes a long play. He’s a big-play guy. Those kind of guys are game changers at any time.”

(On his sense of where the team is at midseason)
“We’re about 5-3 right now (laughs). We’ve played well the last few games as a team, certainly defensively. Everybody was worried about, and I was too, we’re all worried about scoring defense and so forth. That was a big topic three weeks ago, but it’s not anymore. Hopefully we’ll keep it that way.”

Rams RB Todd Gurley II
(On if he enjoyed the bye week)
“Yes – great bye week.”

(On if he stayed in the area for the bye week)
“Yeah I stayed in town. I had to work on the bye week but was still around.”

(On what he means about working during the bye week)
“I’m always working.”

(On attending ComplexCon last week)
“It was a good time. I went there doing something with Microsoft. Got a chance to see (former Rcool smiley Marshawn (Lynch). It was pretty cool – looked better on Instagram, though.”

(On if the bye week came at a good time for him)
“Yeah – it was perfect timing for a bye, being halfway through the season or whatever. Feeling good, just a good feeling just getting a couple days off. Get away and come back.”

(On if he’s ever seen DT Aaron Donald’s footwork in drills)
“Yeah, I’ve seen it. He’s a freak, everyone knows that. There’s not much to say on the behalf of him. It just tells you what type of athlete he really is.”

(On if he can imagine being a 280lbs. guy going through drills like Donald)
“I was close in college, 230, 240 (lbs.).”

(On what he thinks about the rest of the wide receiver crew with WR Brandin Cooks out)
“They’ve always did a great job. Even when we played Seattle and (WR Brandin) Cooks went down, (WR) Josh (Reynolds) stepped up, just like he did last year. Josh had a good game last week. Obviously it was the (WR) Cooper Kupp show, but Josh always comes in and does his thing. He’s just a tall, lanky dude that can run and he’s going to catch the ball when the opportunity presents itself.”

(On how he feels about the state of the running game is going into the second half of the season)
“Honestly, we’ll just have to see during the game. We’ll have to go out there and just run the ball effectively and let the rest take care of itself.”

(On if he feels like the team is full strength and how he feels about the run game going into the second half)
“Honestly, we’ll just have to see during the game. We just have to go out there and just run the ball effectively and let the rest take care of itself.”

(On what it’s going to be like going up against his former teammate Steelers LB Mark Barron)
“Definitely looking forward to it. I’m pretty sure he’s looking forward to it. He’s going to be ready, he’s going to bring it. I’ve got to be ready for my boy. He’s definitely going to be ready though, for sure.”

(On how he feels like him, RB Malcolm Brown and RB Darrell Henderson Jr. complement each other)
“We all just do a good job with just being able to communicate with each other. Providing each other with information that one another knows when we’re on the field, might get tips and tells. We just all stay ready. Me, (RB John Kelly) ‘J.K.’, (Rcool smiley Darrell (Henderson Jr.) and (RB Malcolm) ‘Malc’ (Brown). You never know what can happen, anything can happen, any man can go down any snap, so just got to kind of be ready to be able to go in and do whatever coach tells you to do.”

(On being 8-0 last year and if there is a different mood or mindset of the team now)
“I don’t even know what I did two weeks ago, so I can’t even tell you about last year. We had a bye week, just looking forward to playing Pittsburgh in Heinz Field, honestly. I haven’t really been worried about this year compared to last year or all the unnecessary stuff. Just trying to focus on today, get ready for Friday - red zone period and get ready.”

(On the atmosphere of Heinz Field and if he looks forward to playing there for the first time)
“I grew up a Ravens fan, so I never liked the Steelers. I’m looking forward to it, it’s like one of those places like Green Bay, Dallas, Chicago, Pittsburgh – those are like the main teams to start the NFL. To be able to go up there and play against a good team, you’ve got great players in (Steelers Rcool smiley James Conner and (Steelers WR) JuJu (Smith-Schuster), (Steelers Lcool smiley Mark (Barron), (Steelers Lcool smiley Bud Dupree. (Steelers S) Minkah (Fitzpatrick) has been balling out ever since he got traded to them. (Steelers Ccool smiley Joe Haden has been in this league for a long time. I’m looking forward to going up there and playing against a hard-nosed defense. That’s always been their philosophy to be all about the ball and all about defense. Should be a fun game.”


  TRANSCRIPTS: Rams Head Coach Sean McVay, Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips, RB Todd Gurley II - Media Availability - November 7, 2019

Shaky161November 08, 2019 12:06AM