McVay, LaFleur … 11/17 … transcripts

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    Head Coach Sean McVay – – November 17, 2017

    (Opening Remarks)
    “From an injury standpoint, the only player that will be listed as out is (RB) Malcolm Brown. (TE) Derek Carrier and (CB) Troy Hill will be questionable. Everybody else was full participation today, so got those guys back like we expected. We’ll be in good shape.”

    (On if he has taken a conservative approach in practice because it’s late in the season)
    “It is and a lot of it is predicated on just how we come out of games and a lot of it is you’re taking the advice of (Director/Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie Scott and (Head of Strength and Conditioning) Ted Rath because up to this point they’ve done such a great job demonstrating – we’ve been able to stay healthy. I think our team is maturing where we can get some stuff out of the above the neck emphasis where you take a little bit off their bodies, that’s what we did this week. We still feel like we got some good work in and what we feel like is most important is making sure it’s a volume and intensity balance with the practice week. Then, making sure that Sunday guys are as fresh as possible. Depending upon how we come out of this game, that will be how we will approach practice next week and moving forward as the season progresses.”

    (On if he will talk to his team about Vikings QB Case Keenum)
    “Case is a great competitor and that’s definitely something – anytime that you go against an opposing team you definitely talk about the quarterback and the strengths and different things that they bring to the table and certainly Case has done a lot of great things to help get the team to 7-2 and help them play so productive on offense. I think you see him – they’re creating a lot of explosive plays both in the pocket, he’s making plays off-schedule and he’s got an ability to create in their boot and their play-action game. I think (Vikings Offensive Coordinator) Coach (Pat) Shurmur sets it up very nicely, but Case has executed it well, they’re protecting him. I want to say that they’ve gone the last four weeks without giving up a sack, so they’re doing a lot of great things offensively. But, certainly anytime that you play an opposing team, you talk about the quarterback, but especially Case and how well he’s done this year – that’s been a big point of emphasis this week. I know guys are excited to go against a great player like him.”

    (On what he’s done to try and simulate crowd noise)
    “We’ve tried to make it as loud as possible out here. I think we’ve gotten a couple noise complaints, fortunately we were able to be able to get something out of it. I don’t think you can ever truly mimic exactly what that’s going to be like. It’s a great atmosphere, it’s going to be a very challenging environment, especially for us offensively, but one that hopefully we’ll be able to handle with poise and concentration.”

    (On the way that he has handled holding players out of practices through training camp and during the season will affect the way he does things going forward)
    “It’s interesting because what, I think, was interesting just when you get involved in the job and you’re setting up training camp and offseason programs – spending more time with Reggie and Ted you kind of get an understanding from just a sports science perspective on what’s the best way to set up practices in a manner where you don’t ever really want to go three days of high volume in a row. It’s kind of that curve and you want to try to have things level out. So that’s something that has immediately has been affected as far as how we do that. I think the veteran players when you specifically talk about the guys like the (T Andrew) Whitworths, the (C John) Sullivans, the (OLB) Connor Barwins – those guys are the mature football players that it enables us to get some of the younger guys those reps. And then they’re still able to play at a high level knowing how important the walk-thru and the mental emphasis is and then getting them through the week as far as just knowing, ‘How do I get to it with the physical reps that I need, but also making sure that my body is fresh?’ So, I think each player takes on a different – it would be a different answer based on the individual player. But as far as how we set up training camps and practices, that’s definitely affected and altered by just the more that you know about, ‘How can we help the players be at their best on gameday?’ I think that’s why you saw us take the approach that we did, especially even with some of the preseason games with some of those players like the (LB) Mark Barrons and the (OLB) Robert Quinns and things like that.”

    (On what makes him, Reggie Scott and Ted Rath such a great group)
    “It’s a good question and I think it starts out where when you get in this role, (Rams General Manager) Les (Snead) and I had a bunch of great discussions. Even before I was offered the job, when you’re sitting down with Les and (Chief Operating Officer/Executive Vice President of Football Operations and) Kevin Demoff and (Senior Assistant) Tony Pastoors – one of the people that they talked about and everybody spoke so highly of him was Reggie Scott. When you have a special person like that in the building who is rare at what he does, now you can enable him to be able to kind of take a little bit more of an ownership in helping hire the strength coach, the nutritionist, so that now there’s an ownership in that. Those guys are lock step and I think that’s helped them develop and create a rapport where they’re really on the same page. That combination of your athletic training staff and your strength staff just when you look around the league and your nutritionist, all those things go hand-in-hand. I think you want to allocate the right resources and from a budget standpoint, (Owner/Chairman) Mr. (Stan) Kroenke is great about being able to provide us everything that we need. But if you have all these things allocated, but they’re disjointed in terms of the messaging that they’re giving the players, I think the communication we talk about, isn’t where we want it. Those guys all being on the same page, giving that consistent messaging and helping the players kind of follow the same plan within the framework of each of those three things I think has been very helpful and beneficial. Really, it goes back to having Reggie in place and being able to utilize a special person like that to then go find a Ted Rath and a (Rams Nutrition Assistant) Joey Blake and it’s worked out very well for us so far.”

    (On what he does to try and emulate the noise that the team will face in Minnesota)
    “It is, and it’s hard. You try to put the speakers as close as to where the offense is as possible and you crank the speakers up. I’ve been around places where you crank up just the noise as far as the fake noise and that’s so annoying. Let’s go with some music and at least the players enjoy that a little bit more, too, so makes it more tolerable. I don’t think you can every truly mimic a situation like we’re getting ready to go into against a great home crowd, a great team and we know it’s going to be a highly energized stadium because of the way that they’re playing.”

    (On if there will be a premium on running the ball this week)
    “There’s always a premium on that. I think the biggest thing is making sure we stay manageable, because when you have your run-pass balance, that’s when we’re our most efficient offensively. We want to continue to do that, but why they’re such a great defense is they get you off schedule, they get you into the second-and-longs, third-and-longs. They tee off on you and it ends up being a really long, tough day for you. So, great challenge, they’re one of the best in the league for a reason – it shows up on the tape – well led by (Vikings Head Coach) Coach (Mike) Zimmer. Guys will be excited, but we’ve got to be ready to go if we’re going to give ourselves a chance.”

    (On why WR Mike Thomas hasn’t been activated for the last couple of games and an update on OLB Ejuan Price)
    “I think first of all, when you talk about Mike Thomas, Mike is still a guy that we feel very positive, encouraged about because he did so many good things in the offseason. It’s a blessing because when he gets back, you’ve got so many guys that are up from an active standpoint just with the receiver position that, those guys are doing a good job. Then you talk into how do the special teams roles play into it? He is a guy that might potentially be active this week. Mike is a guy that I think has a very bright future with this team, both as a receiver – he’s valuable on special teams. So, we still feel very good about Mike. I just think it’s kind of worked out where, when you’ve got a (WR) Josh Reynolds, you look at (WR) Tavon Austin being able to do some different things. You add (WR) Robert (Woods) and (WR) Sammy (Watkins). Now you’ve got (WR) Cooper Kupp and then you still have to take into account the DB, the D-line situation and how do you get to that 46? That’s really just how it’s kind of worked out. It’s the same thing for (OLB) Ejuan (Price), where you get him active last week. He’s done a good job in practice – very encouraged, but we’ve stayed fairly healthy, so there really hasn’t been a lot of opportunities. With (OLB) Robert (Quinn) missing, then that’s where it ends up opening the chance for Ejuan to be able to play. But with Robert expecting to go, then that might effect Ejuan, but those are two guys that – young players, but I think have a very bright future with our organization.”

    ***

    Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur –– November 17, 2017

    (On how he feels the offense did this week handling the noise and how big of an opposite environment will the Vikings environment be)
    “I think you try to do the best job you can to if you were out at practice, we were cranking that music pretty heavily. So, really just trying to make it a little bit harder than the game for our players, because if they can operate in the toughest of conditions then you have confidence that they’ll be able to go out there on Sunday and get it done as well. But, that communication is going to pivotal to our success on Sunday.”

    (On if he thinks the team is used to traveling and playing in opponent’s environments)
    “I think it’s the mindset of we’re only concerned about the guys in our locker room. I think it’s always a great challenge when you go out on the road, so we’re looking forward to that challenge this weekend.”

    (On if there’s anything in particular he would like to see QB Jared Goff do in terms of taking the next step in his development)
    “First and foremost, this is a pretty darn good defense. This might be the toughest defense; I know we’ve played Jacksonville at their place which was a grind, but again when you look at them they’re top in almost every statistical category. They’re really good on all three levels. When you look at their D-line, obviously the guy that stands out the most is (DE) Everson Griffen. What does he have? 10 sacks and didn’t even play last week. Their linebackers are as fast as any linebackers in league and they’re playmakers. And then, they’ve got playmakers on the backend too and they’ve got a lot experience playing with each other. Up to this point I feel like it could be our toughest test.”

    (On if negotiating is something he would like to see Goff improve on)
    “Yeah. Kind of like when you look at is last week, it was good for us to battle through some adversity and luckily our defense played really well in that first half that kind of kept us in the game. We were able to stick to the game plan. It’s always good to see your offense fight through a little bit of adversity then come back out in the second half and have some success. But, you’re always looking for a complete clean game from the quarterback and so if he could do that this weekend, I think it’d be another great big step.”

    (On if he was surprised by the production of WR Robert Woods and his speed in particular)
    “Not surprised. I’ll tell you what, though. He’s faster than I gave him credit for even when we were going through the scouting process. His speed has really shown up these last couple weeks and just looking forward to him continuing to make some great some plays for us. Because, he’s been pivotal in both the run and pass and I think a lot of it starts with just his mentally and how he prepares every day. He’s a pro’s pro. I’ve said it a bunch of times about a lot of our guys. I think we have a lot of high character guys that give great effort, so I’m excited to see the success he’s had here with us.”

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