TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay, Co-OC Aaron Kromer, QB Jared Goff December 5 press conference – Turf Show Times


Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(Opening remarks)

”From a health standpoint, (RB) Malcolm Brown, he had that procedure done. Fortunately, did not have to open him up. But, they did reset that clavicle, but it’s probably going to be something that’s about an eight-10-week recovery. Haven’t finalized it, but more than likely, we’ll put him on IR (injured reserve). It’s a big loss for our football team, he means a lot to us in a variety of different ways. The toughness that he kind of personifies as a running back for us, but also what he does for special teams. So, we have a lot of confidence in (RB) Justin (Davis) and (RB) John (Kelly) to step up and they’ll be needed too and they’ll be needed to do it in a hurry. But other than that, we’re in good shape and we’re moving forward.”

(On if he has any sense of which running back will be the first guy on the field as a backup running back)

”Yeah, I think it’ll probably be predicated on situation and, really, how the week of practice goes. These are two young guys that we do have a lot of confidence in that have definitely shown positive signs when they’ve had their opportunities really, particularly, in the preseason and some of these practices that we’ve had. Both those guys – (Running Backs Coach) Skip (Peete) does an excellent job getting those guys ready to go. Sometimes, you never know when your number is going to be called and they’ll be asked to contribute in a big way this week.”

(On how it impacts RB Todd Gurley II from coming on and off the field)

”Yeah, it really doesn’t affect in a lot of ways. I think Skip does an excellent job kind of rotating those guys through. We got Malcolm involved the last handful of weeks. As far as changing anything with (RB) Todd’s (Gurley II) rhythm, he’s kind of a feel player where, he knows when he needs a blow. Last week, I think he got his good conditioning in, having to play as many snaps as he did. It really won’t change much as far as that approach is concerned. It’s just more along the lines of getting those two guys ready to roll and if they have to play, then they’ll be ready.”

(On if he can break down what Davis does well and what Kelly does well)

”Yeah, I think Justin’s done an excellent job just continuing to progress, really, since he first got here. I think everybody saw, even back to the first time he got some carries in the preseason a couple years ago, the explosiveness when he puts his foot in the ground, you feel his acceleration, his ability to create the big plays. I think he’s got a good feel on the wide zones. He’s getting more and more and more comfortable with our protection schemes. I think he catches the ball well out of the backfield. So, think he’s really developed himself into a complete back that does a lot of different things really well. I thought before he ended up getting injured in the preseason, he played outstanding and he’s getting better and contributing for (Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel) ‘Bones’. As far as for John Kelly – downhill, physical runner, but definitely has the speed to be able to get to the second and third levels and make those big plays. Think you saw the way that he was able to run, and get a lot of touches in the preseason – why we felt so strongly about him coming out of (University of) Tennessee. He’s continued to get better and better. He’s conscientious in the meeting rooms. So, both those guys are developing players that have a great skillset that when the ball is in their hands, good things can happen. Then, they’ve also shown a growth and a maturity as far as competing without the ball that I think they see a great representation of what it looks like to do it right from Todd and Malcolm every day.”

(On how much the rainy weather in Los Angeles helps prepare for the cold weather in Chicago)

”As similar as you can try to create those atmospheres you’re going to be playing in, the better off that you are. We’re playing outdoors. It might rain, it might not. But, we know that it’s going to be a little bit colder than what we’re accustomed to. Fortunately, we’ve had some experiences like that playing in Denver earlier this year. If you look at the weather forecast, which you never know this far out if it’s accurate or not, but it sounds like it’s going to be pretty similar to kind of what that climate was and kind of the situation that we’ll be playing in. But whatever it is, we’ve got to adjust, adapt and we’re not going to allow that to be an excuse for why things do or don’t work out for us.”

(On his assessment of QB Jared Goff’s performance against the Lions)

”I think he continued to do a good job of just making plays and really, in a lot of instances, he was getting us to some premier run looks at the end of the game and doing what he could to control it. He got a good completion, really, after the turnover – good completion to (WR) Robert Woods for eight yards. Then, we had two consecutive runs where Todd was able to punch it in from about 13 (yards) out. I thought just his ability, he’s getting to some of that stuff on his own based on the looks that he’s seeing. Then, credit to Detroit (Lions). I thought they did a nice job with some different things they did on the back end. I thought that was a great pick by (Lions CB Quandre) Diggs that he ended up making when they were in a quarters replaced type deal. We ran one of our play-action shots down the field and then they ended up making a play. But, they’re a tough defense. They’ve done some good stuff when you just look at the way that they’ve played offenses. Certainly, I think our standard, we expect to play a little bit better and it starts with me. There were some situations I put our players in that weren’t very good and that’s just being honest about it. But then I think, the level of detail that all of our players expect to have, not specific to just the quarterback, but really, receivers, offensive line, running backs – everybody knows that we expect to play better than that and this week provides a great opportunity for us to respond the right way.”

(On what challenges Goff faces up against the Bears’ defense)

”Yeah, this is an excellent defense. You see why they’re one of the top units in the league. They’re leading the league in takeaways and they truly are takeaways. They’re forcing those interceptions, fumbles. They can get home with the four-man rush. They do a great job on the back end playing tight coverage and (Bears Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Vic) Fangio mixes up his coverage contours and then picks and chooses his spots to be able to activate some pressures and different personnel groupings. I think when you look at their front, (Bears DT Akiem) Hicks is doing an excellent job. Obviously, (Bears LB) Khalil Mack is an outstanding player and they do move him around a little bit. He’s moved around where he’s sometimes on the left, sometimes on the right. (Bears LB) Leonard Floyd is a player that’s gotten a lot better. Really, you just look at a couple years ago when I was in Washington, we played them. You can just feel his growth and maturation. (Bears LB) Aaron Lynch is always a guy that’s made a lot of plays. Then, when you look at their second level you feel their speed. You see why (Bears LB) Roquan Smith is a top-10 pick – got a great feel in coverage, he can blitz and finish. (Bears LB Danny) Trevathan’s been doing it for a long time. Then on the back end, I think you see all those ball skills where guys are making picks. You talk about, I want to say it’s 21 interceptions they have as a defense. (Bears DB) Kyle Fuller has six on his own. He’s got great instincts, he can play with great vision on the quarterback and he plays with great technique. (Bears DB Prince) Amukamara is a guy that you’ve always seen, just going back to when I was in Washington when he was in the division with the (New York) Giants. He’s a very good, physical player. (Bears DB) Bryce Callahan has gotten better at the nickel spot. Then, when you look at (Bears DB) Eddie Jackson, the instincts, the range. He makes a lot of different plays and (Bears DB Adrian) Amos (Jr.) is a guy that’s been doing it for a long time, too. So, great scheme. Coach Fangio does an excellent job, (Bears Defensive Backs) Coach (Ed) Donatell on the back end. We’ve got to be ready to go. This is one of the best defenses in the league and you see it show up on the tape.”

(On what makes Bears LB Khalil Mack and X-factor for him as a play-caller)

”When you look at a lot of these defensive linemen, I think one of the things that separates him from a lot of the guys is, he’s playing almost every snap. A lot of these guys are kind of just in-and-out, situational pass rushers. He plays with great urgency and juice every single play. He’s playing the run. He’s got an unbelievable ability to kind of have a hesitation get-off and then come underneath. Then, before you know it, it’s a double swipe, he’s up the field. He’s got an array of different ways that he can beat you and you feel the length when he long-arms people. But, he can really bend and turn an edge. Then, when he gets close to the quarterback, I mean he is violently attacking that football. That really goes for all of their defensive linemen and their linebackers and secondary players. So, he’s an excellent player, but I think it’s that combination that you see of when the talent matches up with just the intrinsic motivation to compete hard every snap. And when you’re playing almost every snap, he’s got to be accounted for and you’ve got to know where he is because they do a nice job moving him around as well.”

(On how difficult it is to tell where Mack will line up because of how much Chicago moves him around)

”It does make it difficult, but they’ve got good players, too. We’ve got to be aware of where Leonard Floyd is, Hicks inside. They do a bunch of things that give you issues. That’s really kind of been the theme for a lot of these teams that have those really good rushers. You want to try to find creative ways to get good matchups for them, or what they deem is a favorable matchup from a defensive standpoint, and how they can dictate some different things – whether it be protection-wise or getting him at the point of attack in some of the different things in the early down-and-distances. So, very similar to kind of what we had seen from some other teams that have some premier players coming off that edge. We’ve got to do a good job, but fortunately for us, whole lot of respect for them, but we do have a lot of confidence in both (T) Andrew (Whitworth) and (T) Rob (Havenstein) and their ability to compete as well.”

(On the stat of when the Rams win, Goff gets sacked one out of 11 pass plays compared to one out of every 31 pass plays when the Rams lose and if the stat matters)

”That is somebody searching for a stat right there (laughs). Yeah, I think it’s all relative. To say that I think that’s going to be the big difference, I would probably say no. But, you always want to keep the quarterback clean. A lot of that’s predicated on how much you’re throwing it. You look at the Denver (Broncos) game earlier this year, we were able to run the football efficiently and kind of find ways to sustain drives through that process and we didn’t have to throw it too many times. But, I bet you he got hit more in that game than he did others and we’re attempting less passes. So, I think it’s all predicated on the individual play. You hear us talk about it all the time, each play is its own individual entity. But, the goal is always to keep the quarterback clean – from an offensive line, or tight end, running back, however we’re protecting up front. Then, there’s also an element where receivers have a contribution of separating in the timing and rhythm of the play and the quarterback’s got to play within the timing and rhythm of the play as well.”

(On how he is feeling and if he will have his voice back by Sunday)

”I feel outstanding. Don’t let the voice fool you. I feel great. There’s no excuses coming from me. So, we’re ready to go. And I’ve got enough hair gel, alright, for me and (USC Offensive Coordinator) Kliff Kingsbury (laughs).”

Run Game Coordinator/Co-OC Aaron Kromer

(On his assessment of QB Jared Goff’s performance against the Lions and what he might need to do to get back on track against the Bears)

“I think he did a good job of making plays when he had to make them. Obviously, there’s a couple throws he might want to take back. I just heard (Head Coach) Sean (McVay) allude to the fact that they were playing replacement quarters (coverage), where he left one out there. But hey, it’s a tough position where those split-second decisions are made every game. His ability to stay cool and collected when stuff doesn’t go perfectly throughout the game has such a positive effect on the rest of our offense and the rest of our team. Even if he’s not completing a 100 percent of his passes and he has some bumps along the road. His even-keel demeanor really just helps us as a team and then other guys step up, just like (RB) Todd (Gurley II) did this past week. We had the production when the production was needed in that second half of the game.”

(On when planning to play against a team with a player like Bears OLB Khalil Mack on the other side, how does that impact the passing game)

“The biggest thing with (Bears OLB Khalil) Mack is he’s so impressive on all three downs. He’s not just a pass rusher – he’s a impressive point of attack player when you’re running at him, he’s a hard worker with a high motor when you’re running away from him and then when you get in those known passing situations, he’s able to have some one-on-one wins around the edge and then he does a great job of using their pick stunts when they’re going to move guys around. We’ll have a variety of ways to make sure we’re aware of him and then most importantly, our great tackles with (LT Andrew Whitworth) ‘Whit’ and (RT) Rob (Havenstein) will do a great job and play at a high level against him and compete snap-to-whistle every play.”

(On the Bears’ secondary having 21 interceptions and if that’s a product of pressure up front or are they doing well on their own as defensive backs)

“I think it’s a combination. I think it’s such a well-coached defense with (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Vic) Fangio and they’re very fundamentally sound. Then you combined that with good players up front that are consistently applying pressure on the quarterback and then those pressure throws that end up in the hands of those DBs, (Bears CB Kyle) Fuller with six (interceptions) – I think they have 21 overall. They’ve just a great job with their ball skills in the secondary and linebackers, even their D-lineman have a couple, where they’ve been able to make the most out of those opportunities when the ball is in the air. It’s something definitely to be aware of. Like anything else, especially this time of year, those turnovers are crucial in terms of wins and losses and they’re the best in the league at it so far. It’s our goal to make sure we’re protecting the ball and making sure that’s the most important thing going into this game.”

QB Jared Goff

(On what kind of challenges Bears LB Khalil Mack presents)

”He’s a great player. Obviously, been great for a long time. Great player in this league. We avoided him Week 1 and now we’ve got to face him in whatever week we’re in now – can’t even keep track of it. It’ll be fun. I’m excited to get the chance to compete against him. He’s a great player and it’ll be a good challenge for us, but we’re ready.”

(On if he would’ve rather played against him in Week 1 or Week 14)

”Either way. We’re going to face him one way or the other.”

(On if Mack if a player that you have to be aware of on every play and wherever he lines up)

”Yeah. You definitely have a plan for it. When a guy like that can affect the game, you have to be conscious of it through the week and have a plan for it. Yeah, be aware of where he is, but still play your game and focus on what you need to do.”

(On how much of a luxury it is to have players like T Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein protecting him on the edge)

”Huge, huge. Quarterback’s best friend, having guys like that and being able to trust them. Both sides – when (T) Rob (Havenstein) is to my right I can see everything in front of me and move around and (T Andrew Whitworth) ‘Whit,’ just trusting him on my back side when I can’t see it. All that is a really huge advantage.”

(On why he spent time with Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky last offseason and what they did together)

”We have the same agent, so we were training down in Newport (Calif.) together and just both needed a place to stay. Know each other and are friends, so just kind of stayed in the house together for about a month or so.”

(On not being much older than Trubisky)

”We’re the same age or same class – high school.”

(On if Trubisky picked his brain during that time together)

”Not really. We were really just hanging out as friends and spending – had about a month living in the same place and trained together. If he had any questions, I’m sure I could answer. I can’t remember anything in particular, but if he had any questions, I gave him whatever I had. But, I can’t really think of anything in particular.”

(On what it feels like to have a running back like Todd Gurley II who can get the offense going when other things aren’t working)

”It’s huge. It’s happened a lot of times this year, but in particular, you look at Denver and last week when we really weren’t getting anything done through the air and needed that spark and needed him in a bad way. He came through. He came through last week and did his thing, as he usually does. I’ve said it a handful of times, I’m very thankful to have him next to me and be able to play alongside him for hopefully a long time.”

(On if he was able to identify why things we’re working out as planned on offense after watching the tape)

”Yeah, many reasons. Many reasons and something that I’ll look to improve on and continue to try to keep taking care of the ball. That’s something that I really looked at myself at and need to do a better job of that, get better and move on.”

(On how he gets better at taking care of the ball)

”Just be more conscious of it, I think. At times, stuff may slip up through the season. You may get, I don’t know if lazy is the right word, but you just kind of forget about some things. Just making sure you’re conscious of it and thinking of it at all times. Just getting stuff at practice, working on it and just always thinking about it.”

(On how he is preparing to go against a defense with 21 interceptions this season)

”I don’t do anything differently. Just continue to try to take care of the ball. Try to throw it to our guys (laughs). Just take care of the ball and do my best and be conscious of that I think. You’ve got to know that they are good when the ball is in the air, but I’m not going to do anything differently.”

(On how important it is to secure a bye during the playoffs)

“It’s always big. I think that’s what you always go for, you obviously want to win as many games as you can, but if you do it, will lead to those types of rewards and the first one we’ve done is win the division. Hopefully we can win a few more now or however many it takes to get the first-round bye and hopefully work towards the first seed.”

(On it being cold in Chicago in December)

“It’s cold today though too, here.”

(On what his takeaway was from Denver to prepare for the Chicago game in the cold weather and if he’ll wear gloves)

“I’m still going through that, I don’t know. Probably decide on gameday. Most times I can feel what I want to do out there and feel the conditions. There’s been times where we’ve played in the cold where I haven’t done it – in Tennessee and Seattle last year, and then there’s times that I will do it. Just depends on really the game and the feel.”

(On his reaction to losing Malcolm Brown and on John Kelly and Justin Davis stepping in and what he can do to help them feel comfortable and not get overwhelmed)

“Losing (RB) Malcolm (Brown), for however long that will be, is definitely tough. He’s been a guy that’s stepped in and done such a great job and really been a guy that I’ve been able to rely on and have just as much trust in him as I do in (RB) Todd (Gurley II), as far as protections and being in the right place at all times and just how smart he is and how good he is as a player with the ball in his hands and everything in between. We’re going to miss him. But, those two guys, getting them a chance to step up and do their thing. And, what can I do? If they have any questions, answer them and be there for them and during the game if I need to remind them about something just based on they haven’t been in there in a long time, that’s my job.”

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