Rams' HC Sean McVay Quotes 8.2.20
COURTESY OF LOS ANGELES RAMS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
(On how it feels going into this training camp) "It feels a lot different. First of all, I think everybody's excited to be able to get the opportunity to get started, so there's a lot of excitement. I know our players and coaches are kind of just chomping at the bit to even get our players in here at any capacity where we can meet with them in person, we can do walk-thrus and then the other stuff is just restricted to strength and conditioning on the field and then in the weight room with our guys. Anything is better than nothing. We're certainly excited about it. It will be newer challenges, things that we've never navigated through, but I am very confident with the plan that we have in place. I can't say enough about the amount of work that's gone on behind the scenes with (Vice President, Sports Medicine & Performance) Reggie Scott. So many people have been instrumental in just developing our IDER (Infectious Disease Emergency Response) plans and getting everything organized in a manner that's going to allow us to get this thing going and really, tomorrow represents the start of it. We've had some Zoom meetings and different things like that, and they've extended physicals over about what feels like two months. We are just glad to get that process through and get started, even if it is in an acclimation period."
(On if this will be his most challenging training camp)
"I don't know that I would say that. I think it's challenging in terms of just things that we've never navigated through before. We're going to have a lot of time before September 13th comes around to get a lot of good, competitive work against one another. If anything, the monotony of not going against the same scheme that we've had the last handful of years will serve us well and then some of the perimeters around which we can just practice in general will allow us to really stress guys above the neck in the early phases of training camp and then really for us, August 15th will represent the first opportunity for us to kind of practice in a setting where you can go defense versus offense in that third day of the ramp-up phase. We will think about it and I think I would probably be better equipped to answer the question once we actually get into it but I know that the logistics, schedule and all of the things like that, there's been some challenges there. I don't even want to say challenges, but it's been different, but we feel really good about our plan."
(On the running back corps)
"It's something we are very excited about. I remember a couple of years ago studying (RB) Darrell (Henderson Jr.) coming from Memphis, a versatile back. His production speaks for itself at Memphis and then when he did get some opportunities, I think you saw the flashes of why we feel some confident in him. It's a lot of the same with (RB) Cam (Akers), very excited to get those guys in the building. (RB) Malcolm Brown is a guy that I think's going to do a great job of setting the tone for that room, in terms of being a pro's pro. He's done everything we've asked. I think he's done an excellent job kind of in a back-up role to (former Rams RB) Todd (Gurley II) over the last couple of years and I've mentioned it a handful of times, we've got a new running back coach this year in Thomas Brown who's a star. I've learned a lot from him and we're really just excited to see how that room expresses itself as we really get into it, but very confident some young players, that they'll do their thing, and they'll get plenty of opportunities to do that."
(On setting the roster and preparing players for Week 1 without the preseason)
“The thing that's tough about this is that with a lot of those guys, I think of (WR) Nsimba Webster for us last year who did a great job of truly earning a spot the way he competed in those preseason games. So, I think it's on us to not allow that to be an excuse. We've got to really develop all of our roster – from one through 80 when we ended up cutting it down to that. Create competitive situations and scenarios when basically the schedule allows. We'll have a couple of scrimmages over at SoFi (Stadium). I think with some of those guys that would typically be playing a lot of the reps in preseason games, we'll look in to maybe tackling and playing some full-speed football. We still want to be mindful of the guys we're really counting on to be core starters on September 13 against the (Dallas) Cowboys. But, I think that the way the schedule sets itself up – it's not going to be an excuse. We want to make sure we create as many of competitive opportunities as possible once we're able to get going and evaluate the entirety of the roster. Especially, because you can have 69 guys when they’ve expanded practice squad. Really looking at it in its entirety will be something that will be a fluid situation. We'll do a good job of making sure we handle it the right way.”
(On any skepticism towards playing football in 2020)
"I feel a lot better now having a little bit more knowledge and understanding of it – it's really about the risk mitigation. Keeping our ecosystem clear on that front. I think there is a level of responsibility that coaches, players and everybody in our building will have outside of the ecosystem to make sure there is a consideration. It's not just about what you're doing here (at the facility) - it's about understanding how important the ramifications can be if you make bad decisions outside of that with who you're exposed to. It's about educating our guys on how they can risk-mitigate - wearing masks, social distancing when appropriate, washing your hands. But, with the testing being every day, especially with the first couple of weeks, I think you can really establish a good ecosystem and identify possible people that if they do test positive – let's get them out of there. Let's allow them to recover and return whenever is appropriate based on the parameters that the league has set. So, we're still going to play football. I think there is a better understanding of how we apply those risk-mitigation practices. I made the comment about social distancing – we're not going to do that on the field, but in those meeting settings when you can do that and you’re wearing your masks, those are the times we’re going to do that. I think it is a fine balance of making sure you're not speaking out of both sides of your mouth, so we can educate our guys, but not make them afraid to go compete and play football. I think that comes from the trust that the ecosystem is right, so that they can feel comfortable to do that.”
(On if he is anticipating putting anyone on the PUP list and how he is planning to avoid adding players to the PUP list)
"I think the first thing, I am not anticipating putting anybody on the PUP list. Then the next thing is, really with the way we have to operate it kind of takes care of itself. We have August third through the seventh for those first five days, we will be off, and then we will finish it up on the ninth, 10th, and 11th. Then we will actually give our guys off on the 12th as well. So, you’re talking about the 13th is really the first opportunity, and that's when that ‘Ramp-Up’ phase starts. We’ll be limited in a phase two type of setting, where they still can’t go against one another. So for us, August 17th is really going to represent the first true practice where guys are going against one another outside of a walk-thru setting. Then we’ll do a great job with (Vice President, Sports Medicine & Performance) Reggie (Scott) and his group, and (Head Strength Coach) Justin Lovett, and our strength staff of making sure we get the right physical assessment so we’re not pushing guys too early. But in a lot of instances, the things that have been agreed upon, kind of take care of themselves with on-boarding guys in a smart manner."
(On how Vice President, Sports Medicine & Performance Reggie Scott is being resourceful to Justin Lovett who is in his first season as an NFL head strength & conditioning coach)
"Justin has had a lot of experience. You know, he's been in the league before. He's been a head strength coach, and then we’ve got some great coaches that will be working alongside him that have experience with us in (Assistant, Strength & Conditioning Conditioning) Fernando (Noriega) and (Assistant Director, Strength & Conditioning) Dustin Woods. But Reggie Scott, his leadership has really been instrumental on a lot of this stuff. I mean, I rely on him so heavily and I've really been impressed with Justin (Lovett). I think he’s got a great plan, and really it’s been a great collaboration. I think whether it's his first year or not, it's all about everybody working in unison and I feel really good about where we are at – really as a performance staff as a whole because it all kind of goes together, with strength and conditioning, and then Reggie and his group. And their ability to collaborate has been special and I think it is going to be one of our edges."
(On RB Cam Akers skillset and how he fits the system, and the difficulty of playing right away with the unusual offseason)
"Well, I think he's a guy that, just the demeanor and the way that he has handled himself in these virtual settings, it definitely doesn't seem like it's going to be too big for him. He is very smart. I've been really impressed with his ability to give us some feedback. When we ask him questions, he’s on the screws with all those answers. Then, really in terms of what he can do, I mean there's not anything he can’t do, that's why we liked him so much. I mean the versatility, the overall athleticism, the toughness, he can really run any scheme, he can take a handoff from the off-set gun or if he's in the dot. So, that's what you just liked about him, was the body of work and the versatility, the ability to create plays on his own. We will have a good opportunity in these early phases to get these guys trained above the neck, so that when we can start competing physically, they are going to get a lot more reps, even though it's not in a full-speed setting that they normally would. So, I think in a lot of instances, if we do it the right way and we allocate the appropriate amount of time for meetings and walk-thrus and different things like that – I think it will give rookies, actually, a better opportunity to not be as stressed and overwhelmed mentally when the full speed reps start, just based on that eight-day acclimation period that I keep on referring to."
(On contract updated for CB Jalen Ramsey, WR Cooper Kupp, or S John Johnson III) "Nothing on that front. Obviously, those guys are instrumental parts of what we want to do. I'm just making sure I know what the heck I'm doing next after this right now, negotiating through the days. August 3rd can't come soon enough, especially through these physicals where we can at least get some sense of normalcy with the schedule. Those guys are important, but there is no updates on that front."
(On if he was confident Ramsey was going to report to camp)
"Yeah, you (ESPN Reporter Lindsey Thiry) asked him earlier in the offseason, he said he wasn't going to hold out and I believed him. We've had great communication and dialogue. He is here and I know he’s just ready to play some football."
(On how he feels about the outside edge rush position)
“I am very excited about a guy in (OLB) Leonard Floyd, who has had a lot of rush production in this league. He has got some experience in the system. (OLB) Samson Ebukam is a guy who has also had success when given his opportunities, when you are just talking about our guys coming off the edges. We have got some young players in (OLB Jachai) Polite and (OLB) Obo (Okoronkwo), who have great rush ability. I think it is going to be exciting just to see how they continue to mature and how they handle things. Not only in just the rush, but as they develop as players, playing in both phases – the run and the pass. Excited about that I think it is something that is going to be a big thing that we are going to be looking at very closely as we get close to that September 13th date. But, those guys have done a nice job in what we can control in the off season settings.”
(On how Hard Knocks experience has been so far)
“It has been good, I got a couple robo-cameras following me right now, every move I make in my office, so I have zero privacy. So, time that I would probably allocate at my home office otherwise, to try and get some of that privacy. I can’t say anything without feeling like I am going to get in trouble.”
(On if he knows when to expect OLB Terrell Lewis back)
“I don't. He's (OLB Terrell Lewis) going to follow the protocols. Right now, he's placed on the COVID/IR (Reserve/COVID-19) and we'll anxiously await his return whenever he checks all the boxes on those things.” (On when the first day will be to physically be in front of the 80-man roster) “Tomorrow will represent that first day. We've tried to keep our rookies and our vets on the same schedule, if you will. August 3 can't come soon enough, which I believe that’s tomorrow.”
(On the location of the first team meeting)
“The tent is going to be really instrumental for us because of understanding some of the things I've learned about the air particles and the air flow. That will really serve as an all-encompassing meeting area and team meeting area. The tent is huge. Like (Director of Football Operations) Sophie (Harlan) and (Manager of Facility Operations) Chris Hawes, so many people have people done a great job getting that up and rolling. Today represents the finality of that. That will be where we spend a large portion of our time just as we've learned about the best ways to risk-mitigate. If it's a little hot, it's a lot better than having the potential bad particles swirl in the ‘trailers’ or whatever you want to call the facilities here.”
(On if he anticipates any additional players to opt out of this season)
“I'm not. I think it's been really important that we have that clear, open and honest dialogue with those guys. We're asking the questions and it's something that I've never experienced before as a coach, because we care about these guys. If there's a legitimate safety and health concerns, we're going to do nothing but support these guys. They have a different way that it resonates with them. [OL] Chandler Brewer's situation - you're almost saying when you understand the ramifications and some of the things that his doctors have told him. In knowing about what he's overcome, you are almost relieved that he was able to make that decision, as tough as it was on him, because you want to help protect him. Each of our players have different approaches. Not anticipating that (any additional players will opt out), but it is something that is an ongoing dialogue because it's not exclusive to just the players. A lot of these guys that you've seen opt out, their family and things like that, those are things you would never question. It's about putting your arm around guys. And in a lot of instances, it's about being empathetic and understanding and making sure they know we support them. I also think it's our job to provide them with the right resources and the right information to make an educated decision based on all the medical parameters. In a lot of instances, what's so unique about this is - we're learning on the fly. When you think about just about the amount of time that's typically allocated resource-wise to apply some of the things you know about viruses – we just don't have enough time. So, there's still things we're learning every day and a lot of instances, most of this is trends."
(On how he plans to keep QB Jared Goff healthy and germ free)
"Yeah, I think you want to be really smart about that, but not at the expense that it totally inhibits your ability to operate and go play football. I think what I'm still working through, is that fine line of acknowledging how serious this is. Acknowledging the steps that we need to take to keep that ecosystem, if you will, clean. What can we do to continue risk mitigate, but also allow us to go play football? You know, I don't want guys on the field worrying about social distancing, and the Kinexon red light beeping and stuff like that. We’ve still got to go play football at the end of the day. I think sometimes when you’re going and getting out on the grass that’ll represent a relief from all the other things that (inaudible)…Those are things that I am continuing to work through and figure out the best way to message to the guys day in and day out."
(On how he stresses safety precautions to players given the MLB Miami Marlins’ situation)
"You hate to see it affecting baseball and how quickly it can spread throughout a team if you aren't following those things outside the building (inaudible). One of the things I think is really important for us, is as coaches, are we demonstrating the things that we're asking of our players? And then them understanding the responsibility that we all have outside the framework of our normal scheduled day throughout the course of training camp and really throughout the year. I think guys are chomping at the bit to get back and understand that's going to be part of how we have a successful season, is guys successfully handling themselves in the right way with regards to the risk of mitigation. We've always just talked about handling yourself in a professional manner outside the building for just good decision making and now that's an added part of it as we navigate through this.”
(On if he plans to put added precautions in place for players beyond the practice facility to minimize risk)
"I think what you want to do is you want to make sure you're educating them on how to risk mitigate. With a lot of these restaurants that are open, if you go where there's an outdoor setting, you're far enough away, you're with a group that you know is making smart decisions. You’ve got to allow guys to live, but I think it's our job to really educate them with the information and avoid some of the things that can really lead to the (Miami) Marlins situation. And some of these other things that each sport can serve as a great guideline of, ‘Hey this is how they’re doing it right and then these are some instances that let’s make sure we try not to do it in a way that’s cost some people.’"
(On the use of two fields and making up reps)
"We will definitely do that in the early parts when we walk-thru, where you have two separate fields. It gives a great opportunity for a lot of guys to accumulate reps that they wouldn't otherwise, and it really gives everybody a chance to coach. Some of our younger coaches get a chance to coach on another field, so we will definitely explore that once we get into those competitive situations, but it is something that you still want to be mindful of the balance between the volume and the intensity in their workload. Especially in these early settings where it's not as physically tolling, we'll absolutely have kind of two fields going on at once and whether we implement that approach in practice I think will be determined at a little bit later date but we will definitely explore that for sure."
(On his patience being put to the test because of the limitations this season)
"Yeah, I think you know me well enough to know the answer's probably yes to that. I think that what you want to make sure that you're doing, is that you're patient with the process. I think where I'm impatient is just the opportunity to get a chance to go play real football and practice and compete. So, I've got to be patient. When you're excited to finally get back with your guys and then you're saying, 'Okay, what are the ramifications or the parameters around ways we can even interact with these guys?' Certainly something is better than nothing. I am just excited to see these guys in person and be able to have a meeting and go out and walk-thru. Now, would I like to be able to practice a little bit sooner than mid-August? Yeah, of course but everybody's got to follow these guidelines and I think it's going to be really important for us to do a great job of sequencing the way that we build up, ultimately leading to that September 13th game in SoFi against the Cowboys."