• Joey Jarzynka

Rams GM Les Snead and HC Sean McVay Quotes 4/21/20

COURTESY OF LOS ANGELES RAMS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT


(On what he learned this Spring during the evaluation process that might change or impact how he approaches the draft this year)


McVay: “I think what’s been really good is the dialogue, especially between (Rams General Manager) Les (Snead) and myself and really our groups as far as looking back on the three years of experience that we’ve had. The good things, maybe some things that we would say, maybe we would handle differently and that’s what it’s always about is self-evaluating, being able to learn from our mistakes, continue to try to replicate some of the things that have enabled us to have a certain level of success. I think it’s about recommitting every single year to evaluating your own roster, what are some of the needs? What do we feel like based on the flow of the league and trying to be competitive within your own division, the types of players that we want to onboard and the types of people that we want in our building? We’re hopeful that our people and our way of doing things will create our edge. We’re excited about attacking this draft process and fulfilling some of those needs to try to complete our roster to be a competitive group in 2020 in a very tough division.”


(On if any players other than OL Brian Allen or anyone in the organization has tested positive for COVID-19)


McVay: “No, not that I know of. When we spoke last time, out of respect for the privacy of (OL) Brian (Allen) and where that was at, at that time and that’s why I didn’t want to reveal any specific names. When he had decided to speak about it openly, then you at least felt comfortable to acknowledge who it was. I was really pleased and proud of the way that Brian communicated immediately. I think (Senior Director of Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie Scott’s guidance and leadership through that process, as you’re trying to navigate through it and handle it in all the right ways, was instrumental in us taking those steps with some urgency and now our facilities are opened back up. There hasn’t been anybody else that’s been exposed to that, to my knowledge.”


(On what went into the decision to trade WR Brandin Cooks)


Snead: “Many variables go into any time you trade someone, but probably to keep it simple is – a lot of teams did contact us about (WR) Brandin (Cooks) throughout this, I guess you’d call, offseason, whenever the new league year started, even before a little bit. We were committed to keeping Brandin because of what he did for our offense. I think in that time where we, I’d call it, naturally played hard to get because we weren’t actively trying to move him. When a few teams did come with a chance to get a second-round pick, that’s probably when we sat down and (Rams Head Coach) Sean (McVay) and I discussed, ‘Hey, what could be best moving forward?’ That pick being very valuable. Us with the emergence of (WR) Josh Reynolds and (WR) Robert Woods and (WR) Cooper Kupp, especially Josh Reynolds coming. We’ve got a deep receiver room, I think that helped and then getting another pick in the top 60, very valuable. I think those two variables – getting a second-round pick, having Josh Reynolds to go with two other very accomplished players allowed us to do that.”


(On how he sees WR Josh Reynolds fitting in and if it will be Cooks’ role or seeing interchangeable parts with his three starting receivers)


McVay: “In a lot of ways, it’s a big vote of confidence to what we feel like Josh is capable of, of continuing to ascend to. He’s stepped in and been a starter and he’s got the ability to play really our X or Z, he can play in the slot. I think, really, we just feel like he’s a capable starting receiver if you’re getting into some of those three receiver sets. I think it’s also a reflection of the confidence that we have, really in our skill group as a whole. You can activate five different skilled players at any time, it doesn’t necessarily always have to be three receivers. You look at the emergence of (TE) Tyler Higbee, we’ve talked a lot about the confidence that we have in (TE) Gerald Everett, we’ve got to get (RB) Darrell Henderson going. We’ve got some skilled players that we’re excited about doing a better job of developing and seeing these guys have success. When you take a look at that unit as a whole and the entirety of what they represent, those are where you feel comfortable to make those decisions and there are some capable guys that we might be able to add in there in the next couple of days.”


(On how they see the possibilities for drafting a wide receiver given how many there are in this draft)


Snead: “Again, it’s obviously been well stated, this is a very deep receiver draft. With that being said, usually when a draft is considered deep in a position, it’s probably a lot of those players are gone in the first 32 (picks). That’s usually what deep means, right? There’s a lot of quality players. The one thing about the wide receiver position in college football, there’s a lot of teams throwing the football, there’s a lot of wide receivers on the field, so it’s imperative for us, our scouting staff working with our coaching staff to maybe get beyond some of the household names that make this draft deep ,that are probably going to go in the top-32 and find some of those players that have a skill set that can fit in to Sean’s offense and help us continue gaining yards, getting first-downs and scoring touchdowns.”


McVay: “I think a lot of the same. Really, for us, I think our coaching staff, Les and his group have done a great job collaborating to find players that we see value in. It doesn’t exclusively have to be that receiver position. It’s players that have an opportunity to make plays when the ball is in their hands and ultimately, it’s about scoring points. There’s a lot of different playmakers that come from different position groups in this draft and that’s something that we’ll see how things play themselves out. We’ve got a nice opportunity to be patient on Thursday and then Friday will be an exciting chance for us to get four picks off the board, but you guys know Les Snead. He’s a wheeler and dealer, you never know.”


(On how the logistics are looking and if everything has gone smoothly on his end and if he has any concerns about the communication for this weekend)


Snead: “It’s been very smooth. I think the experts we have helping us or assisting us get through this on our IT team, our video team, I give that group all the credit. Sean’s probably a little more adapt at some of this than I am, but I do know this have relied on some smart people and have not had a glitch at all and definitely am not anticipating any glitches. I do know this, if like anything, you have a phone, so if the screens go out or as (Senior Director of Communications) Artis (Twyman) just did with myself, I don’t know if you all knew this, but I was struggling to get into this Zoom conference, so guess what Artis did? He gave me a call on the old cell phone and it all worked out.”


(On what the NFL draft setup will be like at their homes)


McVay: “This is the command center, that you can see here. It looks like I can set off a spaceship at this thing. Les and I have the same setup. They even got a camera in my office that they’ll film during the draft to make sure that Les and I aren’t at the same location. This is something that’s going to be different for sure.”


(On what has been the biggest challenge has been having to go virtual since the NFL Combine and not being able to bring players to the facility)


McVay: “That’s really been the biggest challenge. I think in a lot of ways, the best part about this is, we’ve probably been more efficient, more detailed, just being able to operate on a cleaner schedule because it does take out – when you’re only just remotely working – you don’t have some of the other distractions that do inevitably come up. So, certainly not minimizing all the stuff that’s going on way bigger than football, but it has probably been the smoothest process. Les and I were able to talk this morning. We’ve been able to connect with the personnel and coaching staff and really have some clarity that you probably haven’t had in previous years because of the limited distractions that you have outside of ‘Hey, let’s focus on getting ready for this draft,’ and then our virtual offseason program with the players will start next Monday (April 27, 2020). So, that’s where there’s been positives. The negatives are where you don’t have that interpersonal interaction, that when you can bring the Top 30’s in. One of the things that I thought was instrumental in our first year that Les has done in previous years, we went around and actually got a chance to workout some guys. We worked out (WR) Cooper Kupp, we worked out (TE) Gerald Everett, some other guys that we were considering. Those are really beneficial things to get that up close and feel, most importantly for the human being, but then also some of the physical things that you’re looking for. That’s where you get a little bit minimized, but it’s sometimes does create clarity because we’re asking them to play football. The Zoom meetings or the FaceTimes have enabled you to have some interaction with the players, where you can still get a feel for their personality and how they’re wired.”


(On if the Rams are in the market for a backup quarterback through the draft that the team can develop or if they are satisfied with QB John Wolford in that role)


McVay: “Yeah, I think, you’re always looking to upgrade that position, but John Wolford is a guy that we’re very excited about. We feel like he is more than capable of continuing to ascend and develop. I think his skill set and just the way that he’s wired above the neck are great traits and things that we look for from that quarterback position. I think what’s just as important is the rapport that he has with (QB) Jared (Goff) because it starts with Jared and then making sure that there’s a good comfortable relationship with whoever that person is as the backup. You never know exactly how this thing sorts itself out, but if you said, ‘We’re going into a season and John Wolford is your backup, and God forbid something happen to Jared, do you think he can come in operate and have you function as an offense?’ The answer is absolutely.”


(On if McVay can give a visual tour to media on the call of his at-home command center)


McVay: “I can give you a quick view as long as it’s got the screensaver that doesn’t have our board. So really, that’s where our boards will be on those monitors – offensive board, defensive board and then the draft tracker, and the other one. That’s really what that entails, so it’s as close to a simulation as what we would have if we were sitting in our draft room at the office. I can’t say enough about (Rams Manager, Information Technology) Jeff Graves and Dan Dmytrisin (Director, Video) on what a job they’ve done of making this as smooth as a process with IT and the video.”


(On if the draft board is behind the screensavers of McVay’s command center monitors)


McVay: “Don’t ask me to show that, now we’re getting carried away (laughs).”


(On concern of hackers during the 2020 NFL Draft)


McVay: “I’m not too worried about that. If they’re worried about hacking us, these things never go exactly according to plan. So, the board is a demonstration of where we have it, but it doesn’t always work out that way, which is why the planning and contingency planning is vital.” Snead: “…You see, I’ve got this little thin notebook.” Media Member: “It’s the little red book?”


McVay: “His (Les Snead) penmanship is pretty impressive, too. He’s sent some notes. It’s impressive.”


Snead: “Yeah, I think it says ‘2019 Draft area scout draft meeting, coaches meetings.’”


McVay: “You see the problem is, Les doesn’t know what year it is, but other than that we’re in good shape (laughs).”


(On Snead’s quarantine beard)


Snead: “I don’t know if this is a beard, this is just probably laziness of not shaving. Then when I got the text from (Rams Senior Director, Communications) Artis (Twyman) this morning, I was slightly embarrassed that I was coming back on a Zoom call, with kind of my fisherman look. I do plan to clean up before the draft. The dress code is the pros of this quarantine.”


McVay: “Like a true PR director too, look at Artis (Twyman). He looks like he is getting ready to film a shot on Good Morning America or something. He’s got the office setup. I just got my mom’s blinds as an interior designer (laughs).”


(On if there's any concern regarding computer glitches while selecting draft picks)


McVay: “I think there's enough time in between picks. The NFL has done a great job of communicating and understanding and some flexibility if some of those things do arise. If you were telling me we're operating on a real play clock, like 40 seconds or 25 in a really game, I'd say maybe I'd feel a little bit differently, but we have a little bit more time in between those selections and I think the NFL has done a nice job of kind of getting ahead of some of those things that could come up.”


(On how the League's practice draft went and if doing that affected the way they'll approach the draft)


Snead: “I think it went well. I think it served what a – if you want to call it a practice session is for. To get everyone on the same page, to get used to how it was going to play out, especially from a technical standpoint. I don't think it will change a lot of how you're going to strategize in the draft. I think if we do make a trade, as Sean mentioned earlier, that's definitely a possibility. I do think at that point, it'll probably be a little different than just on the phone, just walking through it. Maybe we'll be a little more careful to make sure all parties are onboard and in the know, so we can execute a trade without a glitch. I do think like Sean said, I do think the league will be well aware if two teams are trying to make a trade. I do think Jeff Graves showed me, I think there's an emergency line that you can eventually call in and go, ‘Mayday, mayday. We're trying to make a trade but technology is down.’ Don't quote me on that, but I do believe that is the case. I did tell Jeff, that I'm glad Jeff is going to be here. An IT person can be in your home, so that will be a great sidekick.”


(On why there's been a delay in Leonard Floyd being introduced and how important it is to find a potential successor for LT Andrew Whitworth in the 2020 NFL Draft)


Snead: “We've agreed to terms with (OLB) Leonard (Floyd) and (DL) A'Shawn (Robinson) based on language in your contract on when the players can get physicals and things like that is really the nuances of why you can't officially announce. That is, again, a little bit of the adversity during these quarantined times with the physicals. On the OL, I think we have been trying to strategically attack the offensive line position over the last few years and with one main goal to accomplish, is get as many young players that can grow together as possible. When you step into a draft, and say, ‘you have to find your next left tackle.’ It doesn't matter where you're picking, that may be hard to do. I think just like in drafts past, if there's a potential player that can maybe have a shot to replace ‘Big Whit’ (T Andrew Whitworth) in time – now as Sean may say, ‘I don't know if Whit's ever going to retire.’ He may be 50 and we're still talking about replacing ‘Big Whit.’ We've done it with (OL) Joe Noteboom, we've drafted (OL) Bobby Evans, we can do it again this year. Goal would be, draft someone who can be versatile, not only a left tackle, but as many players that can play left tackle as possible is always good.”


(On what would have to happen for the Rams to trade into the first round)


Snead: “I think simply put, there's a football player where we really like the human being and we really like the skillset and we think that player and person can be a benefit, can help us continue contending, continue our winning ways that we've established over the past few years.”


(On if trading up to the first round is a possibility)


Snead: “There's definitely been, since we've been here, we've proven that we'll go get a player and we'll also move back to acquire, let's call it, more picks in the draft, which ultimately means more players. So that's the benefit, you either give up a player on the back end to go get one, or maybe you gain one or two more that you weren't expecting if you trade back. We'll try to navigate that as the draft comes to us, because when you're picking 52 (overall), 57 (overall), there is an element that you have to allow the draft to come to you a little bit.”


(On if they expect this year's draft to be more unpredictable in terms of where players are taken)


Snead: “No, I think all drafts are unpredictable. I think the way, let's call it your profession (media), covers the draft – we all could name maybe the 15-20 (or so) players that we feel like might be first rounders, I don't know if we could get the order right, so that's even unpredictable in itself. Except, maybe you can get the names right. I do think once you get late 20s, into the second, third round, you can study a lot of mocks and those players go anywhere from second to fifth (round). The draft's always unpredictable in that nature. What I like to say is, ‘Everything up to this point is speculation. But no one has seen each 32 team's draft boards and what they feel and who they feel can help them.’ Then when that team decides to take a player that becomes his IPO, his initial public offering, everything else is speculation up until that point.”


(On if Snead tends to get more calls when the Rams do not have a first round pick to move into the round or does he tend to make more of the calls to see what's out there)


Snead: “I think you try to make calls to get a feel for who may be willing to move. In all honesty, when you're at 52 (overall), I bet teams that are trying to move out of late first would rather not come back that far, and usually the ammo it takes to move up, could be a little unrealistic or maybe less rational unless you're just wanting to come away with one player.

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