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Los Angeles Rams Transcripts November 20, 2020 Head Coach Sean McVay, Offensive Coordinator Kevin O'Connell, and DL Aaron Donald Head Coach Sean McVay

November 21, 2020 07:20AM
Los Angeles Rams Transcripts
November 20, 2020
Head Coach Sean McVay, Offensive Coordinator Kevin O'Connell, and DL Aaron Donald
Head Coach Sean McVay

(On if everyone practiced today)
"Everybody except for (OL) Brian Allen. He's had some swelling in his knee and his status is up in the air for the game."

(On if TE Brycen Hopkins was out there today)
"Yeah, he was out there."

(On what challenges Buccaneers DL Ndamukong Suh presents for the Rams offense)
"It's a great challenge. (DL) Ndamukong (Suh) is playing at a really high level, he did a great job for us and was instrumental in winning the conference and getting to a Super Bowl, big part of our defensive success that year. He's picked up where he left off here and in Detroit and done a great job the last two years in Tampa. He made his presence felt when we played him last year and he's definitely been an impact player for them at the inside spot – just how stout he is versus the run, the physicality in the rush and being able to bull and still having the athleticism to go around people if necessary. He's an impact player. Obviously (OLB Jason) Pierre-Paul and (OLcool smiley Shaq Barrett have been outstanding. I've just been really impressed with their front as a whole. They've got two of the fastest linebackers on the second level. It's why they're arguably one of the better defenses in this league, playing really well in both phases, defending the run and the pass."

(On CB Darious Williams' consistency and if he noticed that in practice in previous years)
"Oh yeah. I mean, he in a good way, he was locking our guys down, going back to the '18 season, where he was on scout team. You'd almost have to tell him, 'Hey, take it easy, man. You're going to shake our confidence going into this game.' So, you've seen his athleticism, you've seen his ability to match up and as soon as he started getting the opportunities that he's definitely deserving of, the game's not too big for him. He's got all the skills and characteristics you're looking for. I love his mental makeup and you just see the athleticism. You talk about it in the team meeting today, all four of his picks have been huge parts of three wins that we've had this year."

(On how Williams has gone under the radar for so long)
"I think just some of the situations maybe going into college. It's a good question. You get into a situation where you're around some good people and you really see him flourish and (Cornerbacks) Coach (Aubrey) Pleasant's done an excellent job with him, developing a relationship and watching him continue to grow. I can even remember just going back a year, talking to (Ccool smiley Darious (Williams), just the comfort in being able to have some continuity at a place where you're able just feel comfortable coming into the building every single day, getting familiar with dealing with your coaches, having a routine for how you go through individual drills and then being able to kind of just learn the game. I think Aubrey is such a great teacher of the game and he's so conscientious being able to utilize these techniques and apply his athleticism, just that he's naturally God-given with and then being able to see. You look at that play that he made picking it off against (Seahawks Qcool smiley Russell (Wilson), his second interception – he's totally being able to play concept recognition. He feels the speed out, he understands how that's married with the quarterback’s drop and he's able to jump in and make a great athletic play there."

(On if Offensive Coordinator Kevin O'Connell often refers to Buccaneers QB Tom Brady)
"He talks about his experience in New England, which you can't deny there's great football, there's a lot of great knowledge that he was able to gain from there – how you do things and that's both from the coaches and the players. We've definitely talked a lot about his experiences and kind of whether it's Tom or just how they operated, and I think all of your experiences shape your perspective. That's been a big part of, I think why he's such a sharp guy, is he's been exposed to a lot of different things, but great things where you're able to learn and see it the right way and clearly New England, they're doing it at a higher level than anybody else over the last handful of years."

(On having a coordinator that is coaching against a guy that he played with is amazing)
"I think it's great. I think that there's coaches that are older that have been doing it at a high level for a long time, there's young coaches that have accelerated their opportunities based on really working hard, being conscientious and being in the right time in the right place. I think that's what it is with (Offensive Coordinator) Kevin (O'Connell). I never ever set out or thought like, 'Hey, just because I was so blessed to be in this role as a young coach that you want to surround yourself with young coaches.' That definitely wasn't it. I think the only benefit is, is you get a chance to be exposed to great coaches period and maybe then you feel comfortable being able to have some of these guys in a leadership role because you are fortunate and blessed for people to take a chance on you if you thought it was merited. Kevin, he's a great offensive coordinator. He's done a great job for us and I feel very fortunate to work with him and I'm learning from him every day."

(On K Austin MacGinnis' progress in practice, specifically the height of the ball coming off his foot and his kickoff hangtime)
"He's done really well with that. You can see guys are excited. He's had two good practices now and definitely been positive. There's nothing quite like getting into those real games. But with what he can control, he's done a really nice job these last couple of days. We've been very pleased with (K) Austin (MacGinnis)."

(On the possibility of having two kickers on the active roster)
“You can do that because the nice thing is because (K Austin MacGinnis) he's on our practice squad, you have two opportunities to be able to bring him up with the situation and it doesn't affect your 53 (man roster). So, that could easily be something that we would do. Then if you feel like that's your guy moving forward, then maybe you decide, ‘Okay, do we need to create a spot?’ But because we've been able to stay fairly healthy and then put some of those other guys on IR, it's not like we're really reaching to feel like, ‘Oh man, we have to get this guy up or I have to get this guy down.’ Because you can only have those 48 on game day anyways. If that's a direction that we go, it doesn't hinder us at all.”

(On whether he’s waiting until later to decide on a kicker)
“I mean, (MacGinnis) has done a great job controlling what he can, but (K) Matt (gay) is going to get an opportunity to come in here Saturday, compete, and we're going to make the best decision for the Rams. I think that we're fortunate and I have the luxury of with our operation with (LS) Jake (McQuaide) and (P) Johnny (Hekker) being so steady and so consistent with the holder and the snapper. I don't want to minimize the importance of it, but it's not something that you feel like, ‘All right, he couldn't handle on a short notice.’ The kickoff thing is a big part of it as well. So, we'll take all those things into consideration. One of those two guys will kick for us on Monday, but definitely nothing is set in stone and we're going to be open-minded when Matt comes in here.”

(On whether he’s happy about this being the last East Coast trip of the season)
“I'm not complaining that we're going to be able to not have to jump on a plane. The thing that I would say is a big deal to me is, just waiting around all day Monday. That's the stuff that you don't want. I don't mind the East Coast trips when you travel and then you get up play and then you come back home. It's the waiting around all day. But we're going to handle that the right way. I trust that our players will find our rhythm and we’ve got to be peaking at the right time at 8:15 p.m. on the East Coast and 5:15 p.m. in our head. To answer your question, yeah, I'm not going to be sad about missing these four hour flights.”

(On the defense being consistent this season)
“I think it's just that. You guys have heard us talk about it. Consistency is the truest measurement of performance. I think that confidence and momentum is a really powerful thing if you build on it in the right way. That's what our guys have done. I think they're getting more and more comfortable with the intent of what we're trying to get done. They're getting more comfortable playing with one another, working off one another. Understanding that team defense is about rushing, coverage, all 11 being on the same page. It's really been a cool thing to watch with our coaches and players working in unison. I think they've gotten better each week progressively. One of the things I was talking about with a couple of those guys that my favorite part about last week's game was how well they settled in. They stayed neutral after the first drive, had some things that were uncharacteristic, but clearly it was just a result of our communication. They settled in and then they played outstanding from that point on. When they're playing like that, you can really ride them and really be able to say when you've got a defense playing so well, let's make sure that we don't turn it over and the offense takes care of the football and we play smart and it's not Rams beating Rams and we're going to have a chance to win a lot of games.”

Offensive Coordinator Kevin O'Connell

(On if there have been any changes to drilling red zone in practice after identifying a want to score more points)
"It's always good to have an identity, not only in the red zone, but all over the field, run game – pass game, situationally, just your identity of your offense. That's always something you want to maintain and be strong about because it's the point of emphasis throughout the whole preparation for the season in training camp all the way through the season. Then you get into the week in, week out, game-specific defenses that you're going to play and you really try to tailor those strengths of your offense, of your unit to try to finish drives against the different variations of coverages and defenses that you're going to see. We just all continue to strive to finish every drive. Every time we go out on the field, we have so much confidence in our group that we expect to move the ball and we want to go down and score points. I think our guys, outside of being a really efficient offense, I think the one area is just continuing to try to score points and be aggressive, but also understand we've got a great defense playing really well, our special teams doing some really good things and we're really playing complementary football as well. So, it's a balance of all that. We're always trying to improve and scoring points down in the red zone is a huge part of it.”

(On his evaluation of QB Jared Goff’s game against Seattle)
“I thought he was efficient. I thought he handled some third-downs really, really well. We obviously had a couple opportunities there in the second half. I think about that one to (TE) Tyler (Higbee) down the sideline late in the fourth quarter there. But overall, just made some big-time plays to keep drives going. Guys made some plays, some tight-window type throws, some beat man-to-man coverage and (Qcool smiley Jared (Goff) was able to find some completions. We had a third-and-long conversion, which we've had some success on this year, to kind of really springboard some drives. All-in-all, I thought he protected the football and we're continuing to strive for that pocket ball-security when things start to break down either in our drop back or play-pass or whatever it is. We don't want to put the ball on the ground and possibly turn that thing over like we did. So, we're always managing that. But at the same time, I thought he did a good job across the whole game plan really having a laser focus on what we needed to get done. We handled some pressures really well getting to some things that we wanted to get to. Overall, I think he ran the show with a lot of authority and scheme to build off of.”

(On any favorite memories playing alongside QB Tom Brady)
“From day one, you become a teammate of maybe one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the position. At that point, they were just coming off of an incredibly successful year, they didn't win the Super Bowl, they lost to the Giants that year in 2007. You show up there and among all the other great players that were there at that time to be around him in the quarterback room and be around him through the offseasons and in to training camp was really something special for me. So many countless things that I've learned, obviously not only being around him for that year plus, but just watching him play over the years. Whenever our teams have played, getting a chance to catch up with him. He's an unbelievable person, great leader, unbelievable quarterback. He really is a really special guy.”

(On anything he specifically learned from Brady)
“There's so many little things. I mean, it could be something as little as just nuances of coverages, how he can tell one coverage versus the other, that maybe opens up your eyes to a whole different avenue of viewing coverage and trying to decipher what the defense is trying to do. Maybe it's a footwork thing trying to make sure some of the aspects of playing with proper balance and pocket presence and being able to play from a quieted lower half in the pocket. I think he's one of the best ever do it. Although he might not be a super mobile guy, he'd probably be the first one to tell you that he probably is as elite as anybody within the pocket in his understanding of moving within the pocket to still maintain a progression, full-field progressions and being able to play quarterback at such a high level. There are so many things that you can take away from somebody that plays at that kind of level, it’s kind of hard to mention, but those are just a couple of those things that kind of just come to my mind.”

(On if he mentions Brady when teaching QB Jared Goff)
“I think the visual of clips of guys, not only him, but other guys. In your offseason studies you come across guys doing things at a high level and different aspects of playing the position at a high level. I think visually being able to show some guys sometimes exactly what you're talking about is. The best way when it's them, when it’s actually (Qcool smiley Jared (Goff), (Qcool smiley John (Wolford) or (Qcool smiley Bryce (Perkins) doing something, either from practice or in the games. But the next best thing can be watching their peers do somethings and either learn from those or learn to try to emulate certain things that have worked for guys. So, it's definitely something that you do use as a tool, just like many other things we have.”

(On what was it like coming in as a young rookie and playing with Brady)
“Well, I think anytime you're a young guy with that type of learning environment. I chose to use it as an opportunity to be seen and not heard. Listen to everything, be a sponge, not only around Tom, but around (Former Patriots Qcool smiley Matt Castle, (Patriots Offensive Coordinator) Josh McDaniels at the time coaching me and (Patriots Head) Coach (Bill) Belichick, obviously from an overall team standpoint. The opportunities to learn at that point in my career as a young rookie, it was constant. I tried to just absorb everything I could. I really reflect on that time and think back to maybe some things that I could have done differently, but I also reflect back on that time and it really created a big-time part of who I am from a football identity standpoint.”

(On if he thought Brady would be playing this long)
“I think it's such a credit to – people talk a lot about how he's playing at this point in his career. He's played for so long, but I don't think people talk enough about the work that it takes to constantly stay prepared to play at such a high level. Not only is it well documented the types of things he does physically for himself in the offseasons, during the seasons, to maintain throughout the grind of a full season, but just the overall attention to detail to which he plays the position. Being on top of his fundamentals, technique and always just working to get better and better. I think so many quarterbacks and so many players across a lot of positions have really taken a lot out of just watching him, either as a teammate or from afar as an opponent. Just the type of respect you have for him and how he's been able to do it so long and now with the new team – you just can't say enough.”

(On what it does for the offense to see adjustments be successful in person)
“I think the positive is you feel like the guys are equipped to handle different situations that may come – pressures, coverages, situations in the game – you try to cover all those things. As things come up, that's part of our job as coaches to make sure we're continuously putting these guys in good situations. Sometimes that is in the evaluation process of how we play in a game, figuring out steps moving forward to better that process for our players and to make sure they're, like I said, as equipped as possible to handle whatever may come up.”
DL Aaron Donald

(On what it’s like preparing for Buccaneers QB Tom Brady)
“He's a seasoned quarterback that’s been playing a long time. He knows the game; he knows how to control of the game. So, you’ve got to be smart when you're playing against a good quarterback like that. Stick to the game plan and do what you need to do to try to find ways to affect him to the point where he can’t have success.”

(On playing against Brady in a game)
“Ball is out quick. He's not going to let you really get a clean hit on him. If you allow him to have some certain opportunities to get the ball out. We definitely got to do our jobs as far as when the ball is coming out, getting our hands up, trying to affect the play any way we can to try and make him uncomfortable, so he can stick to their game plan.”

(On Brady’s ability to diagnose defensive fronts)
“Well, he understands football – he sees things, he knows things. We’ve just got to stick to our game plan and not try to show too much, disguise things how we are supposed to. We’ll be fine from there.”

(On having DL A’Shawn Robinson back on the field)
“It was good. He's out there excited, pumped up, playing physical. Definitely like the energy he brought, the way he was playing. So, he's fitting in the group well. He’s playing well. Now he can continue to get that much better the more comfortable he gets with the defense and getting himself back into football shape and everything. I definitely like what I'm seeing from him so far. So, I'm happy he’s with us.”

(On if Robinson brought some extra juice)
“He got some juice for him. He's excited. He plays physical, so, that's our mindset, definitely in our group, the D-line group. So, having to add him to the piece of the piece of the puzzle, that's going to just make us that much better.”

(On how good this defense is compared to years prior)
“I think we are playing good as a defense, just because we play consistent. It isn’t one week, do good, the other week, fall off. I think it's been consistent these last few weeks from a dominant standpoint. I think we've got a lot of guys, from upfront, to the middle, to the guys back there playing like star players. At any time, anybody can make that big play. Any game can be a game, so any player can take over on this defense. It isn’t just one, two, three guys, it's all 11. So, having a group like this, a tight group that can feed off each other, that’s playing good with each other and is playing consistent and dominating. This is definitely one of the best defenses that have been a part of.”

(On if it’s one of the best or the best defense he’s been a part of)
“Let's finish the season and see. Right now, we're doing some great things, some things that from a consistent basis that I don't think I've been involved in. So, we just got to keep working, keep getting better and keep dominating.”

(On describing CB Darious Williams)
“He’s electric. He’s a playmaker. His ball skills are amazing. The thing is, prior years before this, he (CB Darious Williams) was doing these same things at camp, he just wasn't starting yet, didn't get his opportunity. He got a starting job and gets to share it with the world now. So, these are the things that we've been seeing since, since camp, since practice, him making plays like that, his ball skills and everything. So, for him to translate that to the game and finally get to show the world what he's about. That's definitely a plus for us. The excitement he brings, the consistent play he brings, the dominance he brings, as far as locking guys down. You can see what he can do when the ball is in the air, he can take it from you. So, there's definitely a plus. I know he’ll continue to get better. So, that's scary for the opponent for sure.”

(On what two cornerbacks holding down both boundaries do for him as a pass rusher)
“They're going to give us a lot of opportunities, because it’s going to make the quarterback hold the ball that much longer. We’ve just have to do our job upfront, to win our one-on-one’s, or find ways to get free and dominate. I think guys have been doing it, it's not just myself. You have (OLB Leonard) Floyd whose been playing great, (DL Michael) Brockers has been playing great. So, we have guys all around the D-line who have been playing great and capitalizing off the secondary and how they've been locking things down.”

(On if he has a preference between the secondary being in man or zone)
“No, because I'm confident, if we are in man, I know they can be able to lock guys down. There's certain situations and zones that they're able to do certain things. We have a game plan we stick to. I think, consistently, week in and week out we've been playing well and feeding off each other.”

(On what parts of the new schemes fit what the defense does and what has it freed up for them to do better)
“Well, we are able to do so many different looks, give so many different looks. It isn’t always the same look that the offense is getting from us. So, it kind of messes with their eyes and they're not allowed to just focus on one guy at a time. If they do, being aggressive at times, it gives guys opportunities to dominate and make plays in the backfield and I think we've been doing that. So, having an opportunity to be a part of this defense with the guys we have on this defense has definitely been fun.”

(On the Rams moving from having an offensive identity to a defensive one)
"We are just playing ball. No matter what it is, we trust our offense, we know they’re going do what they do. But our mindset every week is, we go out there and dominate. If we don't allow somebody to score any points, we can win the game, so that's just our mindset. That's the way we go about it. That's the way we go out there when it's time to play on the grass and I think it's been showing."

(On the process of adjusting at halftime in locker room)
"Well, you've got adjustments you go through. You huddle up as a defense. The head guy talks and explains the different schemes that we need to do. If we're doing something good or if we doing something bad, we need to fix it, adjust it from there. Then you meet with your position coach and he'll give you feedback of what he's seeing out there - if it's good, we are fine, if it's certain things you need to clean up, he coaches up from there."

(On Defensive Line Coach Eric Henderson being an effective communicator and if he is able to get the guys fired up)
"100 percent."

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