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Los Angeles Rams Transcripts - Head Coach Sean McVay, Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris, Offensive Coordinator Kevin O'Connell, DL Aaron Donald, QB Matthew Stafford - November 24, 2021

November 25, 2021 04:54AM
Los Angeles Rams Transcripts - Head Coach Sean McVay, Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris, Offensive Coordinator Kevin O'Connell, DL Aaron Donald, QB Matthew Stafford - November 24, 2021

Head Coach Sean McVay, Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris, Offensive Coordinator Kevin O'Connell, DL Aaron Donald, QB Matthew Stafford
Head Coach Sean McVay
(Opening Statement)
“Okay guys, from an injury perspective (OLcool smiley Leonard Floyd is not feeling good today. He's sick. It's non-COVID related, so that's a positive. So, (I) sent him home, wanting to make sure that he just is feeling better. But don't expect that to affect his game status. He's making all the right progress. It has nothing to do with the concussion or anything of that nature. So as long as he's feeling healthy and back to normal, everything should be good to go. We're going to be smart with (CB Dont’e Deayon) Double D on his thigh and then (OL Andrew) Whitworth will have a veteran rest day. Everybody else is good.”

(On if Floyd being sick will affect his progression in the steps he needs to take in the concussion protocol process)
“It shouldn't. No. He's kind of checked all the boxes. It's really just some of the semantics of going through practice and coming out where you're saying, ‘Okay, I'm physically performing. I'm still remaining asymptomatic and all those things.’ But it's a separate deal is what I just wanted to make sure I was clear with you guys about.”

(On if he expects Floyd and Deayon will be back to receive clearance later this week)
“Yes. Yeah.”

(On Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ toe)
“It might've been painful for him, but he looked pretty mobile, pretty special against the Vikings last week. So, I don't put much merit into that. He's a great player and he sure looks every bit as good as he always has.”

(On if he’s approaching this road game like all of the others considering it can be hard to win in Green Bay)
“Well, you try to be consistent with your process and your preparation, but you do know what a great challenge it is. They've got a great quarterback and he does an outstanding job. They've got great players around them. They're really great in all three phases of their team. They're well coached. And so that's why they've been at the upper echelon and kind of really the standard for the NFC the last couple of years. So, we’ve got to play a really good, clean football game, got to play the best of our ability. And that's exactly what we're going to do.”

(On how WR Odell Beckham Jr. is doing)
“He's doing really well. The one thing is he's very smart. (The) game comes naturally to him. I think we're just working through. Like you said, it's the early parts of the week. We'll be able to get some good, full speed reps today and this afternoon, and figure out exactly how we kind of tighten up the plan, and what it looks like to maximize his skill sets. But he's going to be ready to go and we expect to see a lot of him.”

(On how QB Matthew Stafford’s familiarity with the Packers will help considering how much he has played them)
“Well, I think that's probably a better question for him, but I think you kind of just answered it. He's familiar with the venue. He knows their personnel. They have had some continuity even though their defensive structure and system is different with (Packers Defensive Coordinator) Joe (Barry) running the defense. They still have great players, and he knows these guys. And so, I think there's a comfort in just, okay, these are familiar settings. But I think he also realizes what a special venue it is, how difficult it is to go there and to compete to try to be able to get a win. But I know he's excited about that. I know he loves playing there, but those things, as far as the specifics, I think he'd probably be better equipped to answer that one.”

(On how DL Aaron Donald was and/or wasn’t impacted by his rib injury in playoff game against the Packers last season)
“When you think about what he was really persevering and pushing through, it just epitomizes what a stud he is and how much he wanted to be out there with his teammates. Again, I think that's probably a question better for (DL) Aaron (Donald). But the suddenness, the twitch, the explosion, all the things that make him special - there were some limitations in that. And then obviously the snap count was limited. But you give them their credit. They did a great job. They’re one of the best offenses in the league. They're coming off a great performance last week. They played really well all throughout the course of last year. And so, it's going to be a great challenge. We need to see Aaron playing like we know Aaron is capable of to be at our best. But I love Aaron Donald and I think we all saw how important it was to him, just with the way that he went about giving himself an opportunity to go compete in that game. And that's one of the things that makes him special.”

(On if he can attribute the amount of dropped balls to concentration and if that’s something they can focus on this week)
“Yeah, I think so. I mean, you talk about doing the little things the right way. We always talk about being fundamentally sound - and for those skill players, when you're throwing and catching the football, it's looking it in. You always hear (Wide Receivers) Coach (Eric) Yarber talk about catching the ball with your eyes, making sure that your hand placement is in the appropriate spots. In a lot of instances, a lot of those drops were reflections of guys trying to run before they secured the catch. And these are all plays that those guys that did drop the football have consistently made, and I believe they will consistently make moving forward, but sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise if it's handled the right way, which I know our guys will do where an extra emphasis on not taking anything for granted, great ball security framing that ball, looking at all the way in through the catch, alright, and then being able to do what you do after the catch.”

(On what he recalls after the emotion Donald showed after the loss against the Packers in the playoffs last season and what he thinks the emotions were indicative of)
“How important it is to him. I think there was probably a combination of things. But you talk about a great player that if Aaron Donald didn't play another snap right now, he's a Hall of Fame player. I don't think anybody would debate that. He is all about the right stuff. He wants to win. He wants to do everything for this team to try to help his teammates, to be able to achieve success collectively. And I think there was a lot of emotions because of how important it is where that represents the finality of the chase to try to go be a world champion. But then it also represented him working through some stuff. And I think it was a combination of probably the frustration, not being able to be at his best because of the injury that he sustained against Seattle the prior week. And so anytime that it's important to you, you can really see that. And I think you guys know from covering him, this guy checks all the boxes about what's right about a great player with the way he handles himself, what kind of teammate, what kind of leader he is, how consistently he approaches the things that nobody else sees but we see with his weekly, his daily, his hourly rhythm. And so, guys like Aaron Donald are why you want to work so hard as a coach to try to help do what you can within the framework of your control to help them achieve those goals that he wants to have. And that's what I think that was reflective of.”

(On how the troubleshooting process has been for onboarding the quarterback)
“What I would say is, I think a lot of it is a reflection of what's the foundational philosophy that the defense wants to operate with? And we've played a couple of those defensive structures that anytime you have success, right, it's a copycat league. These are principles that have been in alignment, it just ends up being a little bit more emphasized, now more so. Because you look at it with (Broncos Head) Coach Fangio all the success that he's had with that philosophy. Then (Chargers Head Coach) Brandon (Staley) comes from that school. We had a lot of success defensively. You see that bridge out to the Chargers. Now Joe (Barry) goes and he becomes the (Packers) defensive coordinator. You're seeing similar things from the Bears. So, I think you see an uptick of the philosophy and that kind of approach. No different than offensively, ‘Let's marry the run and the pass with the wide zone, the keepers and the play action game.’ And so, those things are really more of what I think is a reflection of it. And then certain things you have teams that make auto checks based on what we're presenting if you're in those empty sets, if you're in some of those known passing downs. So, as you know, there's a lot of layers to it. But we've always tried to make sure that we have all purpose plays that have answers. Now there's certain ones that are designed to attack and try to manipulate some of these coverage contours, but dependent upon the different types of split safety. Are you talking to the safety's half field players? What are they doing inside? Are they playing quarters types of structures? What's the leverage underneath? There's so many intricacies to it and a lot of the situational times that it comes up is reflective of what we're really trying to do. But I think what it really boils down to is efficiency each and every single play, making sure that as a quarterback, we're exhausting progressions, making sure that we're able to distribute the field that gives us answers based on the rolodex of coverages that a Green Bay or that we can present or whoever that we're playing. And you are seeing an uptick in some of those split safety looks. But I think you see some other really good defenses that don't necessarily do that. You look at New Orleans - I'm thinking of right now has been really successful defensively. They'll play some shell, but they're not afraid to screw in a safety down in there and being a little bit more matchy. So, I think it's more of a product of some of just the overarching philosophies of the defensive coordinator and how they want to operate defensively.”

(On if he is seeing an increase of rotations out of the shell and if that correlates what they are doing with play action right now)
“I would say in a lot of instances, if the picture changes and the quarterback puts his back to the defense, it's definitely a different thing. And I think a lot of the best defenses, they make the quarterback decide post snap. That's one of those things where I think every defensive coordinator would say is, ‘Hey, what's one of the goals? Let's affect and influence the quarterback.’ Well, one of the ways that you can do that is by making him make all of his decisions post-snap. Sometimes teams do that. Sometimes they don't. But you're seeing a lot of these good defenses and that does make it a little bit more difficult where, hey, I'm taking a snap pre-snap. It looks like it's one coverage. Then when I come and flip back around, it's a totally different structure. That being said, a lot of those play actions are kind of pure progression types of plays anyways. So, you're feeling and seeing voids as opposed to where when you're running some of the drop back stuff, you do have a lot of coverage reads and how quickly can you get through getting five eligibles out and different things like that. So, you always ask those good deep dive questions, but I don't know if that really answers it. But I think it's more of a product of, alright, what's the landscape of the league? And you see things go in cycles, no different than a few years ago, you see the zone read come into prevalence where the Dolphins, when Tony Sparano was the head coach and (Rcool smiley Ronnie Brown is running the wild cat. Then you saw that. Team's defenses started to adjust, so things like this kind of go in cycles and that's what makes it fun. And that's where you always have to stay up to speed with what's going on.”

(On if he is still comfortable with the ability of QB Matthew Stafford to move the pocket around on some of the action plays)

(On if it is accurate to say that LB De’Vondre Campbell is thriving)
“He's done a great job. From playing him our first year when he was in Atlanta to then him being in Arizona last year, I think he's one of the more underrated players in this league. He's got great length. He's a great blitzer. He's got sideline-to-sideline range. He can cover. I think Joe's done an outstanding job about being able to activate him in a variety of ways that accentuates his skillsets. I think he's one of the more underrated signings this year. You look at the impact and the influence he's had on their defense. Joe and (Packers Inside Linebackers Coach) Kirk Olivadotti have done a great job with him. He's a great player and there's no doubt about it. He shows up all over that film.”

(On if this week’s game is the ultimate matchup considering they both have established quarterbacks and him and Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur being friends)
“Yeah. I mean it is. But I think in a lot of instances, you have to be able to trust the tape. We're very familiar with one another, no different than Joe is familiar with us and we are with him. But it's still about execution, making sure that we try to put our guys in good positions. But, I look at it as a blessing. I'm going to go try to do the best that we can to compete to the best of our ability against a great football team. One of my best friends happens to be the head coach. Joe Barry, who's a defensive coordinator, is a really close friend. So those guys mean a lot, but it doesn't mean that we're not going to try to go give it our best shot. We know what a great challenge it is, but I think when you talk about the perspective that it gives you - even when you go back to when we were playing them in the playoffs - pretty special. And you don’t take for granted how lucky we are to be able to coach in this league, work with the players and the people that make this what it is, and we make it what's special.”

(On the mood of the players leading up to Packers matchup)
“They’re good. We're a resilient group. I think the bye came at a good time for us. You, obviously, didn't want to go into a bye off of a performance, that didn't play like we're capable of, but you do give the 49ers credit. But our guys know, and I think you asked the question a couple of days ago, this league every single week there's one of those things that a lot of times where different things are occurring. And so, you’ve got to be resilient. You’ve got to be mentally tough and we’ve got to be where our feet are planted. Let's just see if we can get better today, do everything in our power to compete to the best of our ability, and let the chips fall where they may. And that's the mindset that we have and I think you have to have mentally tough people. You can't let what happened previously affect your ability to move forward. Otherwise, this legal will eat you up. That's the type of guys that we have, and that's why you love coming to work with them, and we're excited about the next opportunity that we do have.”

Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris
(On what happened to the defense against the 49ers to allow several drives)
“To make it really simple and short, they played (a) more physical game than us - from an offensive standpoint and a defense standpoint. They were able to maintain those drives by playing old-school, torture-ball-type mentality - three yards and a cloud of dust. If you get enough runs, and enough opportunities, and you play more physical and able to attack our edges, and to be able to get some more productive runs and to keep drives going to make sure you keep manageable third downs in order for us to not to get to those situations - we can unleash some of our specific pressures. They did a great job, great game plan. They were the more physical team that night and they did an excellent job in order to get us off track. We didn't play complimentary ball as a team. But just from a selfish standpoint from us, we can be more physical. We can set terms differently and do some different things that way.”

(On how he would correct that)
“You got to come out and play a little bit more physical. Some of the stuff would be complimentary ball. Some of this stuff is winning on the third-down opportunities that you do have. We’d lost in some third downs that were critical there, a couple of tight window thrills. Some of those throws I can think about right now going between (S) Taylor (Rapp) and (S Jordan) Fuller (inaudible). That last one at the end of the big down – fourth-and-five – we were able to make a few plays there and a couple of big, long third downs. But for the most part, they kept it in third-and-manageables. When you (are) thinking about two – I'm thinking about two weeks now – those plays were huge that they made when they made them a third down because those opportunities to get off the grass when the team is having some success, running the ball, getting three yards. If you get three yards twice, it’s a third-down-and-medium on which is a tough window to win. And you got to try to win those windows.”

(On how you produce “make-a-difference” plays and how do you re-establish that consistent identity)
“There is no doubt about that. (It) sort of goes down to (at) the end of the day you talk about takeaways - the only stat that I care about. It's the biggest one. We win that battle, we're 7-0. When we lose that battle, we're not so good. Those are our three losses. When you limit our opportunities to do those things, you limit our opportunities to make those plays that make a difference in the game. That's why I think those things are so important to us. But what you have to do is you got to go out there and play complimentary ball. We got to score points on offense. We’ve got to find a way to get turnovers on defense. We've got to make plays on special teams. And if we can make those things (happen) – you put people in uncomfortable spaces in order to put themselves at harm’s way. We got to do a better job than that. The 49ers - two weeks ago at this point, before the bye - they did a wonderful job of moving the ball. They did a wonderful job of running the football and they did a great job of maintaining third down. And that's a recipe for disaster for us and for really just about anybody in the National Football League. That was an old school game. We used to refer to it as ‘torture ball’ back in the day when you got a line up and put neck rolls on and tackle some people and then try to win third down and get off. We used to play a lot of those games back in Tampa. We had a lot of those skilled type players like we have here. Those games are tough ones. Got to win those ones.”

(On how CB Jalen Ramsey’s ability to be a joker-esque player forced the ball to the linebackers, what his analysis of that was and what’s on tape)
“When you’ve got those kind of guys, you could put them at tailback. They switch positions and he's able to dot the I and do some of those types of things that takes away (Ccool smiley Jalen (Ramsey) off of that player. You’ve got to stand up other places. Some of our other ‘joker’ guys (have) got to stand up. You need (Lcool smiley Ernest (Jones) to step up and be a defender. He didn't need to stop him from the football. Do some of those types of things. They would do some things with (49ers TE George) Kittle. But you can move them around. You can do some other things going with Jalen and you can call some match-tight defenses and go line up on them straight up and play them. You got to get to those situations also to be able to do those things. We just got to do a better job being more physical on the early downs - the ‘rundowns’ we call them - get them to some ‘get back on track’ downs, which they don't think they had all night. And then you’ve got to get those guys in longer third downs, so you can have more success on third down and able to get off the field and not able to give our opportunity for our offense to get going and get more rhythm and do some of those things and some of that nature. If you're really rolling, you get a big time play from your special teams somewhere else. And we lift each other up somehow - whether it be the defense, the offense, or the special teams, however you want to do it from a team standpoint.”

(On the impact of missing DL Sebastian Joseph-Day)
“It's always tough to lose those guys, but that's the nature of the beast and our game. You don't want to sit here and talk about what (DL) Sebastian (Joseph-Day) could do, just because whatever you say is an excuse and you refuse to make those things. (DL) Greg Gaines has done a wonderful job being in there, doing some great things for us. I don't want to take away from the credit from what the 49ers did to us by limiting it just to (DL) Sebastian (Joseph-Day), and what he would bring to us, and some of the things he would do. Those guys did a great job. It was a marvelous game plan. It was well executed. They did a wonderful job there. We got to do a better job as a coaching staff, as players, as everybody across the board as a team – in order to win those types of games and make those games more physical, make those games better, get those games to the track, the pace that we want in order to dictate those terms. But you do certainly miss Sebastian. That goes without being said. But you don't want to talk about who you're missing - not in this league - because ‘next-man-up’ mentality.”

(On if he looks to create more fumbles when talking about takeaways and is a delicate balance)
“When you talk about takeaways, you talk about the opportunity to get it off the uncharacteristic way. Interceptions are kind of like easier to talk about. They’re easier to see. You know who you should have and you can see the missed opps. They're clear. They're not always as clear when you're talking about trying to take it off of a running back or trying to take it off a guy with the ball in his hand. You don't let it get in the way of your tackling because you’re always talking about the second man in or you’re always talking about the chase-tackle situations. You're talking about when you're playing the guys like San Fran and fighting for extra yards, that ball becomes vulnerable - when you talk about the ball plan and how you want to go after it. And definitely, when it really comes to life, when you talk about taking the ball off somebody it’s always the quarterback. That's when you get them in those third-down-and-long situations, when you can absolutely get at them, as far as the sack fumble. And that's the easiest guy to get the ball off when you're talking about the field. You never let it get in the way of tackling. You never let it get in the way of those things. You never let that become an issue because there's always a mentality and the thought process in how you attack the football.”

(On how he plans to attack the pass rush this week against a guy like Packers QB Aaron Rodgers)
“You’ve got to earn the right to rush the passer. They’ve got a guy in the backfield number 28 (Packers RB AJ Dillion). You don't know if (Packers Qcool smiley Aaron (Rodgers) is coming back or not, but you’ve got to be prepared to deal with him and you’ve got to stop the run to get to the point to be able to rush the passer. You're talking about one of the or if not the best guys that comes to reading defenses and knowing where the ball should go. It’s not always about sacking him. Most of the time it's about getting him off the spot, getting him out of rhythm, not allowing the ball to go where it's supposed to go. Hopefully, you can confuse him a few times. And if so, that gives you more opportunity to get to him. If you can play a little bit (of) man coverage and match some people, you'd get him to hold it a little bit or throw it into bad areas and get the ball back off of him. He presents one of the greatest challenges in our game. There's guys in this league that can do that to you. We were fortunate enough to get a win versus (Buccaneers Qcool smiley Tom Brady, very similar characteristics. We got a guy like that in our building. These guys present great challenges playing against these guys every single year in the National Football League.”
(On how he as a coordinator and the defense as a whole collectively look to extrapolate offenses’ tendencies and try to scheme around those situations while also trying to look at the big picture)
“For one, you’ve got to force those guys to get negative plays so you can take some more shots and do some different things. We took a couple shots there. One time it was unfortunate. We got a penalty with a face mask. We had a couple of tackles for losses that were negated by that. We had a couple of tackles for losses that they were able to pick up on a second and a long and get it back into a third down and manageable. You’ve got to stop those things. When you have your opportunities, you’ve got to make them. You can't let the miss opportunities - whether it be an interception or whether it be just getting to a third-down-and-long - get in the way. You’ve got to find ways to make those things happen. So how do you make those things happen? You've got to find a way to create negative plays on first downs, what I call ‘rundowns.’ And you’ve got to find a way to take advantage of those past downs or get back on track - like you're talking about from the offensive standpoint - and get those guys to those third-and-longs. When you only have – I believe it was two, I can't remember off the top of my head right now – third-and-longs, I believe we won one (and) lost one. Those situations you got to take advantage of to get off the grass.”

(On what is it like as a defensive coordinator to endure an 18-play scoring drive)
“You’re not actually counting over there (laughs). So, when it's going on and they’re driving the ball and you make a play and you look up and you go, ‘Man, that was four yards. Okay.’ And you make another play and you look up, ‘Okay, that was another three yards. Okay.’ Third down is short. You try to get a stop and it's like bang-bang play. Ah! Alright, next snap. Then actually, you get all the way down to the redzone and you get there. You make it to a big-time third down in the redzone and you take away the first look and (49ers QB Jimmy) Garoppolo makes a good play. He looks back across the field, hits a back shoulder of Kittle and he's like, ‘Ah, let's get to the sideline.’ They're free of justice, reset, and get ready to play again. And then you go out and you get an unfortunate play on the offense. And next thing you know it’s 14-0. You go out there and you're able to get a stop. They get another long drive. You come back at the halftime, you're a little behind the eight ball. You have to make some pretty good plays and keep us in the game and hopefully we can get a score and get back in that thing. It just didn't happen that night. (Head Coach) Sean (McVay) says it best. The best team in that four-hour or that three-hour timeframe is going to win the game. They were the best team that night. You want to make the plays. We talked about it since we've known each other, ‘make-a-difference’ plays, and we were not able to make any ‘make-a-difference’ plays.”

(On how OLB Von Miller played and what he expects to see out of him moving forward)
“It was really interesting talking to (OLcool smiley Von (Miller) because he had a different perspective than probably everybody else. He said, ‘I don't like losing, but I had a lot of fun.’ And I said, ‘Good. That's a nice step forward for you.’ Getting him in a full week of practice, getting him the opportunity to come in and be more involved with his teammates and be more involved and get involved what we want to get going and hopefully being able to show him how we want to play and dictate some terms this week is what I'm most looking forward to. I'm excited to be with him. He brings a lot of energy to us, a lot of juice. The guy, he's going to do nothing but help us. And I hope it's this week.”

Offensive Coordinator Kevin O'Connell
(On what he would like to see from QB Matthew Stafford coming out of the bye week)
“Yeah, to get a chance to look at the entire totality of the 10 games coming out of the bye, there's a lot of really good stuff in there and then there are some things just overall - how we've started certain games and him understanding just to continue to play each play as its own. He does such a good job of being consistent, but also making some big time throws and plays. And like he's done throughout his whole career, just picking his spots to really understand when to maybe push the limits on a decision and trust his ability to make some tight window throws versus, checking the ball down, throwing completions, getting drives off to good starts, all those things to allow the consistency of our offense to grab hold, and then all the traits and all the things we want to do off offensively from an attacking mindset. We’ve got to get off to better starts on early downs and be efficient. I think we can kind of as a group, coaches included, we can all get into a rhythm early and figure out how we want to attack opponents.”

(On what changes now that WR Robert Woods is not available as a target)
“We're going to be feeling (WR Robert Woods) ‘Woody’s’ loss. He means so much to us as a leader, but also just all the different roles that he was able to do for us. It's a collective group to kind of fill some of those responsibilities, while also understanding how we need to maybe adjust and adapt to what our offense may look like now, compared to when you had a player like Robert Woods. But we feel really good about the guys as a group collectively, top to bottom there. And it's just about continuing to really hone in on what they do well now. Maybe it is different. Maybe it is adjustments. Maybe it is figuring out what's the best for us moving forward.”

(On how the addition of WR Odell Beckham Jr. at this point in the season prompts him to incorporate him into the offense)
“Yeah, what we like to do as coaches is pull from our menu of things that we've been doing since mid-July as an offense, but he obviously wasn't here for the progression of what we've become. So, it would be foolish to try to say, ‘Hey, learn it all.’ What we're trying to do (is), really hone in on what we're going to ask him to do, and then let's try to get as many reps - mental and on the field leading up to these games - as possible to make him feel comfortable, but then also (Qcool smiley Matthew (Stafford) feel comfortable with him. And then he can provide some feedback on maybe we can carve it down a little more for him to help be that much more detailed in what he's doing.”

(On whose responsibility it is to decide and design Beckham Jr.’s role and fit into the offense)
“It's a big picture between (Head Coach) Sean (McVay), myself and the other coaches of figuring out schematically how we want to use him based upon the things he does well, which are a lot of different things. And then once we have that focus that we can narrow in on, it's Eric Yarber our Receivers Coach. (Offensive Assistant) Chris O’Hara does a great job of assisting him, and then myself, (Head Coach) Sean, and really Matthew as well, making sure all angles of it - from a standpoint of being supportive of him - and giving him clarity on exactly what we want to transpire and, then having it set in a way where it's things he does well and he's comfortable doing. And then if there are things that maybe are a new for him, we spend a little more time on that or give him an extra rep, whatever it may be.”

(On how the team approaches trying to protect the ball better)
“It's really something where, scheming things you're constantly looking at it from a risk-reward perspective of trying to get out in front of potential problems. That's really our job as coaches. You like some of the things you can attack coverages with and write it up on a chalkboard, we always say. But then there's the real element of having to block the guys up front. There's the element of being able to see things real time from an NFL pocket, understanding how the spacing's going to work out maybe when there's a defense trying to inhibit our guys, free runs through zones, whatever it may be. Maybe it's beating man coverage, how are they playing man coverage to where these throws will be a little bit tighter? We may have to hold the ball in the pocket a little bit longer and you're balancing that to understand, “Okay, this is worth it.” The emphasis needs to be there. How can we try to maybe help the edges, help the protection, speed up this concept? Whatever it is, you're constantly (weighing) checks and balances to be able to say, “This is exactly how we want to do it and we understand the risk there?” And then that's why we have so much faith in Matthew of understanding situationally in a game down in distance, how the games going, the rhythm of the game, where he can pick his spots - like we talked about earlier - to really either be ultra-aggressive or understand time clock, feeling the pocket, and get into his outlets or quick element throws. And we try to build it in a way where there's a constant give and take. You also don't want to talk out of both sides of your mouth, and you want your guys to be aggressive and understand that we want to dictate as much as possible as an offense. So, it's a lot that goes into it. The one thing is never overreact over one play here or there based upon an outcome, if your process is right when we are coaching technique, fundamentals, and ball security the right way - we got the right guys, which I think we do, - over the course of the season, (then) we expect things to go our way.”

(On what specifically a QB needs to know about the stadium he plays in, since Stafford has played In Lambeau about 10 times)
“That's a good question. And I think a place like that, he knows the environment. He knows the crowd noise. He knows where the play clocks are. He knows what the surface is like for footing. He knows a lot more than some of us who have only been there once or twice in different times a year. Obviously, we did go there for a playoff game last year, so we got the feel of that colder environment, what that can do to the playing surface, what that does to the field, the ball, pitching and catching, all those things. But we'll rely on his experience level of all the different times he's been there and had success there. And maybe some other times he's learned from some of those experiences how he wants to go about it moving forward. But I think it's a bonus. I think it's a plus. But make no mistake about it, really tough team to go play on the road in their home environment, a really good football team in all three phases. So not just Matthew, but we really want to rely on a lot of our guys’ experience as well.”

(On what the process of integrating Beckham Jr. into the Rams Offense has been like)
“Leading up to our last game, it was more so that we found out pretty late in the week. When we got him you're excited, but then obviously in a pretty tight timeline we lose ‘Woody’. Then we’ve got to make adjustments to make sure we can maximize what he was able to go do in that game, and I thought he did a really, really great job from a standpoint of it is not as simple as just putting on a Rams uniform and running out there and playing. There's a lot of work that he put in leading up to that game and it's continued both on his own and now that we have a real clear plan for him - with our staff - and kind of building. The good thing is, obviously, we had the extra day Monday and then leading into truly now our normal game week schedule, he can - in phases of the game plan - really learn what his job is and the details on that and the running pass game and he can build on it by the day. And I think that's huge with how we game plan, how we put the process of a plan together. It's a process for us as coaches and then how we deliver that message with as much detail as we can to let our guys then go practice it, correct anything we need to correct, and then feel good about taking it to Lambeau this Sunday. So, it's a good question, but it's a lot that goes into it. It is a daily process that leads into the weekly process.”

(On if he was able to see anything from last week’s Vikings versus Packers game that inspired his gameplan)
“Yeah, the Vikings did a great job, obviously, generating some plays there. The one thing I will say is they had a couple turnovers that one was overturned and another one was flipped by a roughing the passer penalty in the red zone. They had another chance at another ball down the field a couple of times, so very opportunistic defense. They play really, really hard. They're a problem upfront with not only their personnel (DT) Kenny Clark, and those edge players, and the rest of those guys up front do a really good job. Obviously, the linebackers have been a bright spot for them - being able to do different things, how they play their coverages. And then on the back end two really good safeties, and then they have corners that they feel strongly playing in one-on-one situations. So, you're going to attack some things. You're going to look at how they play coverages, but know they're going to be really well coached and they're going to be opportunistic. So, we’ve got to be great with our decision making, great with our pitch and catch location, guys finishing plays, tough catches - we expect them to be contested catches. But it's what our guys do well, and we'll get right back to it. And it's just a matter of meeting that challenge on the road, whatever the environment is but playing our best football when it's required.”

DL Aaron Donald
(On what was going through his head last season during the Divisional Round as the Packers ended their season)
“That was last year. I don't really want to talk about last year. It's a brand-new year. The mindset this week is the go out there and dominate, find a way to help us win this game. Get back on track. So that was last year, I'm more focused on this year though.”

(On what the emotion he displayed during that loss means)
“I just care. That is what it comes down to, just caring.”

(On if losses like that one motivates him)
“A lot of things motivate me, but you could say that, yes.”

(On what losses like that one mean to him)
“Well, I just want to win. So, I'm going to do everything I can this week to help my team win.”

(On how much his rib injury he played through in that game affected him)
“I don't want to keep talking about last year, but I'm healthy this year. I'm a hundred percent healthy. No injuries, no aches, no pains. I'm coming off of a bye, feeling good. So, we (are) ready to go. I'm ready to go.”

(On what the possibilities hold with him and OLB Von Miller rushing next to each other)
“Well, we didn't get too many rushes two weeks ago. But the rushes we did have and how we played off each other was great. So, something definitely the build off (of). First off, we got to stop the run (in order to) have those opportunities to get after the quarterback. So, I think once we get those opportunities, we’ll have a lot of fun. So, I am excited about that and the talent he has and the knowledge he has for the game. The things we are going to be able to do playing off each other is going to be great for us.”

(On what it is like having Miller next to him on the line more, now that he has fully practiced and played in a game)
“It's great because again you are building that chemistry, learning how each other rushes, how to play off each other. The more comfortable you are doing that, the more success you can have.”

(On if he was surprised Miller still had his spin move in his arsenal)
“I knew he had it (laughter).”

(On what he thinks his display of emotion means to his teammates)
“Yeah because it's all about winning. It’s what we are all playing for the ultimate goal. We talk about, I’ve been talking about it, is to be a world champion. That's what I'm chasing. That's what we (are) chasing. And until we accomplish that, I'm trying to find a way to get back to a Super Bowl and have the opportunity to win one. So that is what is going to make me satisfied, when I accomplished that. So I got that mindset, everybody here got that mindset. So, we got a bunch of guys like that, on a team like this. They know what it is about.”

(On if the fact that Packers QB Aaron Rogers is dealing with a toe issue motivates him to try to get after him)
“I'm always eager to get after any quarterback but watching him on film he doesn’t look like he has a toe injury. So, I don't really believe it. He (is) playing good football.”

(On how he assesses the sentiment that the San Francisco 49ers played more physical than the Rams last game)
“They played better than us that day. We lost. We (aren’t) play good enough. We didn't get the job done and they got the win.”

(On how important this game is as a test for how far this team can go)
“I think this is a big game. I feel like you got to go into this game thinking like this is a playoff game. So I would think this is an important week for us. We are playing for something. So, we got out there and make it happen.”

(On where he feels the defense is as far as establishing a cohesive identity)
“Yeah, I think we do things good, but I think that we got to play more consistent. That's what it comes down to in this league, you got to be consistent. You can't have a dominant week one week and then give up a bunch of points or a bunch of rushing yards other weeks. So, it's all about playing more consistent. So we (aren’t) there yet, but got a lot more football. And like I said, we're coming off of bye week, everybody healthy, everybody fresh and everybody ready to go.”

(On how he sees OLB Leonard Floyd internalizes his mistakes)
“You got to ask (OLB Leonard Floyd) Flo that. But anytime you got a guy that's a productive guy and he feels like he did something wrong, but he’s focused on trying to find ways to improve. That's what you want to see. And that's the verge of guys trying to be great. So, I love to hear things like that. I love playing with Flo. He's a special talent and he helps us win games and he makes a lot of plays for us so to hear that, that is just the mindset he has, that is great.”

(On if the crowd and weather at Lambeau also makes it feel like a playoff game)
“Well, what you mean the cold weather, (laughs)? I don't mind it, it's football. So, you want to play with a crowd, you feed off a crowd no matter if it's away or home. So, like I said, it's a big stage against a good team, another NFC team. And like I said, we (are) playing for something. So, it's going to be a dog fight.”

QB Matthew Stafford
(On what his best memory of playing at Lambeau Field is)
“I love playing there. It's probably one of my favorite places to play in the NFL. Obviously (I’ve) gotten to do it a bunch of times. I can't think of one right now, to be honest with you, but (I) played some fun snow games. I love playing in the snow there. That's what you dream about as a kid is getting to play the Packers at Lambeau Field in the snow. (I) don't think it's going to snow this week, but it'll be nice and chilly, which is always fun.”

(On if he and his family had developed a Thanksgiving routine since he’s played on Thanksgiving day the past 12 years of his career)
“I loved playing on Thanksgiving – for the tradition, for the game, for all of that. But at the same time, it was really nice because we went Thursday to Thursday one time. We played Thanksgiving then the next Thursday, which was tough. All the other times I think I was back at my house at 5:00/5:30, something like that. Being able to have a normal Thanksgiving meal, watching football with your family – almost felt like a fan there for a little bit. (I) had a bunch of family in town. We’d get back to the house and have food and dinner and all that kind of stuff. It was a lot of fun having the next couple of days off, you could eat leftovers and do all the fun stuff.”

(On what tomorrow is going to be like for him)
“Way different for me than normal, but just like the rest of the NFL deals with. We’ll figure out our schedule, go from there and I'll be able to spend a little bit of time with the family, which is great. We’re used to this in the NFL, you play on Christmas, you travel on Christmas, you play on Thanksgiving, travel on (Thanksgiving), whatever it is, just show up and go to work.”

(On how was immersing himself in the Rams offense, findings solutions for the ebbs and flows and how does that process evolve)
“It is crazy how the league's gone in cycles. When I first came to the league, it was a ‘Tampa Two- and Three-Fire Zone.’ Then it became ‘Seattle Three.’ Then it became a little bit of what a lot of teams are doing now. It's just cycles through coaching trees that ended up getting jobs and then those guys ended up implementing what they know. But we are seeing ‘Shell.’ A lot of a bunch of teams are playing it. I'm feeling good about stopping the run with who they have in the box and being able to keep the passes in front of them. It’s a week-to-week thing. Everybody plays it a bit different. You have to find ways to attack it, but at the same time, just stay patient and take what the defense gives you and understand that, ‘Hey, if I have to throw it to the running back on a checkdown and he gets 15, it's the same as hitting a wide receiver for a gain of 15.’ It all counts. However we can get it, we'll take it. I'm just trying to do everything I can to play at a high level and get us in the endzone.”

(On if getting this far into the season, does it almost become a part of the evolution to sometimes pull back on some things that maybe he hadn’t done as much and then see how they work in there such as some of the play action stuff)
“Again, I think it all starts with matchups each week. That's the best way I can put it. Sometimes it's matchups up front, sometimes it's matchups on the back end. How do we feel like we can attack at the same time? Being cognizant of who's blocking who and who's against who on certain routes. We’re always trying to find different ways to call plays and run plays that maybe look like something we'd done in the past or it looked like something we're doing that week in another play. I think (Head Coach) Sean (McVay) does an outstanding job of trying to manipulate defense and put our guys in best position to succeed, which he's done at a high level for a long, long time.”

(On if he has any takeaways from the bye week)
“Yeah. I think when you look at it, as a team when we win the turnover battle, I think we're 7-0. When we lose it, we're 0-3. It doesn't mean you can't win a game when you lose the turnover battle, but (we) want to do a better job of just in every single game, in every single play, every single situation, trying to make the correct decision. Certain plays are going to happen. Like I'm going to throw the ball to (TE Tyler) Higbee a bunch of times and then that'll probably never happen again. I think about the one to (WR) Cooper (Kupp) in New York, those kind of things you live with, but just the poor decisions on a couple of those that I wish I could have back. Absolutely. And if I can do a better job of holding onto it, I know our defense does a great job of getting the ball out. (If) we win the turnover battle, it's going to put us in a better position to win the game. From a personal standpoint, that's the thing that I'm focused on the most.”

(On what he thinks Packers Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry and his defense’s top quality is)
“I think they've got a great scheme. But at the same time, they've got a bunch of really good players. They play really hard up front, do a great job of stopping the run while playing Shell defense. Guys on the outside, at the corner spots and at the safety spots are really big-time playmakers. I think they have 12 or 13 picks on the year, they're doing a great job of turning it over. They do a great job of that rush and coverage marriage that everybody wants to talk about, they do a nice job of playing aggressive on the back end, knowing that their guys do a great job of getting home into disrupts in the pocket. It’s a little bit everything for those guys.”

(On how he makes sure WR Odell Beckham Jr. knows what he’s supposed to do in the huddle)
“Well, I've been really impressed by what he's been able to grasp thus far. I think it is really difficult to come in mid-season, especially in an offense like this where you're not just lining up outside the numbers every time and running straight stem, either goes, come backs, all that kind of stuff. We're moving around as much as anybody in the league, our offense, it's kind of predicated on that. So, I've been really impressed with his ability to do that, kind of grasp it. But at the same time, there might be certain plays that have certain reminders to him that I'm given to him and he's right on board with them. Nine times out of 10, he breaks the huddle with a whole bunch of confidence, knowing what he's about to do, which is awesome for me as a quarterback to be able to just kind of do my job, but at the same time, it's impressive what he's been able to do.”

(On what it was like having Beckham Jr. step in and ask to get a couple of catches during warmups when he first arrived at the Rams)
“I think it was great. I hadn't had a whole lot of reps with him. I thought he did an outstanding job in the game when I threw him the ball. He did a great job of making catches. So, it was great. I thought (Head Coach) Sean (McVay) and (Wide Receiver Coach Eric Yarber) ‘Yarbs’ did a great job of kind of giving him a tight menu of stuff. We have a bunch of really smart guys around him that can help communicate what he needs to do on certain plays. Talking about two weeks ago when you're showing up on a Thursday afternoon or whatever it was, and then trying to play in the game on Sunday. It was pretty impressive.”

(On what his favorite Thanksgiving dishes are)
“Oh man. Sweet potato casserole. Turkey and ham, I guess. Mashed potatoes, all the normal stuff. Nothing crazy. Pecan pie, probably. Those are some of the top ones.”

(On if he has to eat a little less considering the game is on Sunday and not Thursday)
“Yeah, definitely going have to take it easy which is tough to do, but you know, small sacrifices you have to make.”

(On if he has a recollection of the first time playing in Green Bay when he threw around 60 passes)
“Yeah, I remember missing the first two and just being upset just because I wanted to play in Lambeau Field. Such a cool place to play. But yeah, I remember 2011 like it was yesterday. That was a crazy game. Everybody knows the (former Packers Qcool smiley Matt Flynn game, right? Matt Flynn went for 480 (yards) and six (touchdowns) against us, I think. We had a good game too. It was a fun down to the wire game. Thought we won it on a seam ball to (former Lions TE) Tony Scheffler and the Tampa two, and then they came back and scored. And then I threw a pick on a sail route to (former Lions WR) Nate Burleson, I believe, but it was a great. It was fun game. Honestly, to tell you the truth, pregame warming up in that game, it was really cold, really windy, ball was kind of blowing all over the place trying to throw it. And it was like, we wanted to play no huddle play at the line of scrimmage and throw it a bunch. And it was like, went back in waiting for the two minutes and being like, we may just have to run it a bunch today. We're not sure. And then kind of died down and we just got hot. So, it was fun.”

(On if it’s weird getting ready for a cold game when it’s in the 70s in LA)
“I guess. It's the first time doing it. I've had a lot of experience playing in that kind of weather. Both in Green Bay, Chicago, Minnesota was outdoors for a while. Just show up and play the game. The ball's going to be snapped, let's go play and just play like it’s normal until the elements tell you that you can't.”

(On how his family is feeling about not playing on Thanksgiving like he usually does)
“Probably more so for my wife, my kids were probably a little too young to know that they were on the field on Thanksgiving and stuff in Detroit. They didn't know what's going on. I hope they're excited that I'm going to be home. I think they will be. Kelly (Stafford) the same, but we did have a lot of time together, even on those Thanksgiving games as I was talking about it a little bit earlier, being able to be done early, and always home game, always the early game, had plenty of time after that. So, it's going to be different, but we'll just figure it out as we go.”


  Los Angeles Rams Transcripts - Head Coach Sean McVay, Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris, Offensive Coordinator Kevin O'Connell, DL Aaron Donald, QB Matthew Stafford - November 24, 2021

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