Rams' HC Sean McVay Quotes 8.9.20
COURTESY OF LOS ANGELES RAMS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
"We had a really good first week, guys have done a great job. Since we've spoken last, have placed (DL) A'Shawn Robinson on the NFI (Non-Football Injury List) and really it was a condition that he had. He's doing really well, he's going to be able to partake in meetings, get treatments, be around his teammates and then we'll look forward to being able to get him back at some point this season. When that is – don't know specifically. I think a lot of positives came out of this, we we're able to identify something and most importantly, look out for the players best interest, but he's going to be around and I know that he'll be excited about when he can return to action. But in the meantime, he'll take part in meetings and all those good things. I have (OLB) Terrell Lewis back in the building today. I'm looking forward to him getting back into a routine and a rhythm, and if he stays asymptomatic with the next few days, he will be able to return back to everything football related in three days. So, that's a good thing."
(On any A'Shawn Robinson's timeline to return and if it will be this season)
"No, when you place them on the NFI, you're restricted in terms of the length and longevity that he has to remain off of that. That was what we felt like was the best decision – No. 1 for him and for us. It was a situation where (Vice President, Football and Business Administration) Tony Pastoors and A'Shawn (Robinson's) agent were able to work something out that was, I think, favorable to both parties – both A'Shawn and our club and that's a good thing."
(On the most optimistic return for Robinson)
"I don't want to place any specifics on it, just because we've still have some time to be able to work through that and it was such a recent decision. I think most importantly, he's in a great place. He's looking forward to just getting around the guys and partaking in the meetings and in the above-the-neck information that he can do and then we'll be excited about when he can return to the physical part of it as well."
(On if Lewis is still on the Reserve/ COVID-19 list)
"Basically, the way that this works, and this is something that is a flexible thing as you guys have seen. Some of the protocols have changed, even since the last week. Where we're at with him, is that he's back in the building. If he remains asymptomatic for the next three days with all things that he will be doing, then he'll be able to return back to full action and be in good shape."
(On how he will utilize WR Van Jefferson in his offense)
“He's a really impressive guy. I've really been impressed with his maturity just in the week that we've been around one another in person. He's wired the right way, really like his attention to detail in the meetings. And then when you see the guys ready to go out in their strength and conditioning phase of this part of the training camp acclimation period, you can see all the things that we loved so much about him at Florida even going back to some of the stuff that he did at Ole Miss. He is a guy that's wired to separate, he's got great body control. You can see his football pedigree. A guy that's been around the game his entire life with his dad being a coach and then being a baller as a receiver for a long time in the NFL. He just has a natural feel for how to work edges on people, double people up, got good aggressive hands. So, he's got all those traits and characteristics that you're looking for. As far as what his role will be, I think that's really up to the way he continues to compete throughout training camp. We've got some guys that will be a great example of epitomizing how you handle yourself in that receiver room. When you look at (WR Robert) Woods, (WR Cooper) Kupp and (WR) Josh Reynolds, and guys that have been in this system for the last three years, with them going into their fourth year and I think he's done a great job absorbing the information from them and from (Wide Receiver coach) Coach (Eric) Yarber and from (Assistant Wide Receivers Coach) Zac Robinson.”
(On how he classifies A’Shawn Robinson's injury)
"This is just being precautionary with some things that we discovered. He was able really communicate clearly to us, so it was something that recently came about. It's really not anything that's too concerning, it’s more just really glad that we were able to get a hold of it early on. I've really been pleased with the way that its been handled over the last couple of days. But it was something that kind of surprised us. This wasn't something that we expected, but based on the on-boarding physical process and all that it entailed we were able to come to some conclusions and learn some things that made this decision come about."
(On conducting meetings outside under the big tent)
"Yeah, that's pretty much where everything goes on. A lot of that is due to the things that we've learned as far as risk-mitigation. You know, we've got a lot of space. That tent is huge, as you can see. We're cycling guys in and out. We make sure that we have enough time in between transitional meetings to get the cleaning crew and the sanitation (crew) in there. You can social distance, guys can wear their mask and just the airflow in general. You see this building that we're in, it can be really congested and we want to try and avoid that at all costs. We've fortunately had the luxury of being in a great climate, it's got a nice cool breeze throughout the course of the day. It's really been a great thing for us this last week and couldn't have anticipated it going any better thus far. Our indoor facility is basically non-existent, if that's really what you're asking. But hey, you know what? All we need is our film and a field."
(On how deep the team scouted RB Cam Akers)
"He was the top high school recruit as a quarterback coming out. So, his stats are, when you look at them, it's almost like a 'Madden' stat-line when you see the stuff he was doing in high school. We knew about it. I know our personnel staff did a great job of vetting him and going real deep in terms of the background with (Southeastern Area Scout) Michael Pierce and all of those guys. Then when you really start to study him, it shows up, and then they use him. I mean, there are some trick plays where he's catching a swing pass to his left and flipping his hips and making 50-yard throws down the field. He did some impressive stuff. You never know, we might have a wildcat package coming to a theater near you."
(On the rapport of WR Robert Woods and WR Cooper Kupp)
"I think it's vital. We want to make sure that we're making the defense defend all five eligible (receivers) on every play. We have to be mindful from as a self-scout of getting different guys involved, but understanding that (WR) Robert (Woods) and (WR) Cooper (Kupp) are going to be big parts of our offense. You want to get them their touches. But when you talk about selfless receivers, I've just appreciated working with these guys over the last couple of years so much. I think that's a great reflection of them as human beings, but also (Wide Receivers Coach) Eric Yarber leading that room. I think they also understand, (being) they are such smart football players, that they know if our offense is hitting on all cylinders, they'll find a way to get their touches as well. I think it's been reflected in the last couple of years. They just need to continue to grow together. Watching those two and their communication amongst one another or with (QB) Jared (Goff), it's really impressive. In some instances, it's good as a coach where you can just step back and let them take that autonomy and ownership, because it's certainly earned. I know I've learned a lot from them as well, just listening to the way they approach the game. You just watch them and that's what it looks like to do right."
(On the anticipation level to start the next phase of training camp)
"I think with probably the coaches, we're sitting there and we can do any coaching. (The players) are able to get a bunch of strength and conditioning work. Get their field work. Get out there in the walk-thru and that's really the only time we can get out there on the field with them. So, I think the guys have done a great job. One of the things we've talked about is just being totally present. Being completely present mentally and physically, and that's what they've done. I think that's enabled us to really maximize each day. We've got eight days in this acclimation period, today represents the sixth day. So, we've got three more days in this schedule format, if you will. Then we'll get into the 'Ramp Up' phase. What we've really just had guys focus on is maximizing the moment, capitalize on things we can do today. I've really been pleased that the way our players have handled that, but we're certainly excited about when that time will come to be able to practice and do some of these things in a full speed setting once you get to Day 3 of the 'Ramp Up Phase.’"
(On thoughts about the 'iron sharpens iron' relationship between WRs Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods)
"Yeah. I think you (KABC-TV Reporter Curt Sandoval) just said it. I think it's two guys that are incredible football players, that are incredible people. They have such an appreciation for one another. Their friendship enables them to really push one another in a positive way. I mean they're pushing each other, don't get me wrong, but it's a nice competitiveness, where they are really sharpening one another, as you said. It's a joy to be around those guys. I think it also takes great security on both their parts to be that way. I mean, they're truly secure men in themselves. They're really genuinely happy for one another and especially at that receiver position, where there's only so many touches to go around, sometimes somebody else's success means somebody else isn't getting the most touches and I've never felt anything but real, genuine, happiness for one another. I think their success has been reflective of that, because they've both equally been extremely productive for us and I think that's been a huge part of the success of the Rams’ offense each of the last few years, both those two."
(On if he thought of a contingency plan if he tested positive for COVID-19 or needed to quarantine)
"Well first of all, why would you bring such a scenario up? That sound's awful (laughs). No, it really is. It is absolutely something we've talked about. And you know, the natural kind of trajectory with the offense and the defense, because you have more numbers, where we've really had to be intentional, God forbid, if (Special Teams Coordinator) Coach (John) Bonamego or (Assistant Special Teams Coach) Tory Woodbury ended up getting sick, because you only have two guys allocated to your special teams. So, we've kind of had some guys that are allocated to each phase. You know you look at (Offensive Coordinator) Kevin O'Connell and (Assistant Quarterbacks Coach) Liam Coen, that are working closely with the quarterbacks, making sure those two are never too close to one another. So, it is a very real thing, but I think the most important thing is, for us, to make sure that in the building, out of the building, we're making sure that our actions are in alignment to risk mitigate as much as possible. Certain things come up, but those are scenarios. Now, what are the parameters around if that does come up? What can you do? I think we'll try to make sure that we avoid it, but if it does come up, I would certainly like to stay engaged in any way possible, but I'm not going down that negative route right now. But if we had to get on this Zoom and I'm yelling through an iPhone and somebody is holding it up, you know, maybe that'll happen. We've learned a lot more about technology these last couple months then, I think we would have never learned otherwise. So, I think we'd have to demonstrate some agility. No doubt about it."
(On feedback from the strength and conditioning coaches during the acclimation period) "Our guys have come in great shape. I think, really, (Head Strength Coach) Justin Lovett, (Vice President, Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott), (Director, Sports Science) Tyler (Williams), (Assistant Director, Strength and Conditioning) Dustin Woods, and Nando (Assistant Strength and Conditioning Fernando Noriega), I mean so many of those guys have done a great job. We've really pushed those guys in the weight room. I know guys are good sore right now. So, they've been working, they're getting great work on the field, that are in a lot of instances, some football related drills that are just in the absence of coaches. So, been getting a lot of good, positive feedback, I've really been impressed with the way that our players have handled the above-the-neck information when we've gone out and done walk-thrus. Really, it’s been a really good thing. I think these first five days and today, we're in the middle of our sixth day, it’s been a great start and I want to keep it rolling."
(On if Akers is the emergency QB)
"It's been Cooper Kupp in the past, but watching Cam whip it around and some of the things he can do, I think we'll let those guys duke it out if the worst-case scenario comes up. But he certainly is very capable and he hasn't been shy about telling me he can still spin it either (laughs)."
(On COVID protocols and if they are becoming second nature)
"I think you want to continue to remind them and really, for me too. I mentioned to the players this morning, 'Hey, let's not forget,' because you get into an atmosphere where you get a little bit comfortable, things have gone well and then you tend to say, 'Okay, in situations where we need to make sure our mask is on, we're socially distanced, it kind of just falls by the wayside if you're not mindful of it,' but I think a lot of the normal, daily rhythm things – filling out our questionnaire, daily COVID testing, all that stuff, that has become a little bit more normalized. I think the key message for us, and it's as much for everybody that's involved, it's not just our players, it's myself, it's all of our coaches, our staff, is just continuing to not lose sight. As well as things have gone for us through this point to not lose side of the things that have enabled it to go smoothly with all the things that we've kind of been educated on – the social distancing, wearing the mask, washing your hands, all of that stuff and what that entails. Then when you set out onto the field, as long as everybody's doing everything they can to protect this ecosystem, then you can focus on playing football and you certainly don't want to minimize the seriousness of what this virus is, but I do think as long as you're doing all of the right things to put yourself in a position to be keeping that ecosystem clear, if you will, then guys can go out and play with a quieted mind and focus on being the best football players that they can possibly be and not worry too much about some of the things that can be a distraction if you're not careful and you have to acknowledge that."
(On if there is anything that he could learn from the slow build up to the season and implement into next season)
"We've been able to be a little bit more patient based on the parameters, but then also not having preseason games. That would definitely dictate and determine a different approach if that was the case. It's been really good because I think for the players when you talk about how to onboard them the right way physically and mentally, this has been a great trajectory up to this point, where you can really get a lot of mental reps, you can slow things down. You're not rushing to get the amount of volume that you typically would need to get ready for a first preseason game. I go back to last year for us, that was planning practice against the Raiders or a practice against the Chargers, where you want to be able to do a bunch of different situations and you want to have enough volume to be able to have guys go compete and do well in those settings. I think this has been something that we definitely have enjoyed, but a lot of the times the parameters will dictate our availability or ability really in general to be able to do it this way. I think it's been a really good smooth process and something that we've definitely enjoyed, and I think the players would share the same feelings."
(On the importance of retaining DL Michael Brockers with Robinson on the NFI)
"Thank the Lord. I am so thankful that we got him back in general. In a lot of instances, when you look at it, before we knew we were going to be fortunate enough to get (DL) Michael (Brockers) back, we really liked A'Shawn Robinson but he was kind of the vision before we got Michael back on board that he was going to be able to try to hopefully fill some of those voids left by Brockers. To be able to still have him is huge and it's not just his production on the field either. I think you guys, from being around each of the last couple of years, watching his growth as a leader and the way guys follow him, the way he goes about his business and everything that the day encompasses, he's a real joy to be around and I'm very thankful to have Michael back without a doubt."
(On if Robinson requires a procedure or is in recovery mode)
"He's in recovery mode. It's not going to be anything like that, so that's a good positive thing there."
(On if the team will withhold payment from Robinson)
"No. That's not something that we want to be able to do. We wanted to be able to get something worked out where it was good for him, it was good for us and I think that was what it ended up being. Finding out some of that information, we wanted to make sure – No. 1 the concern is with the player, making sure he feels comfortable about it and I think like I mentioned earlier, it's a great representation of the collaboration between Tony and A'Shawn’s agent to be able to get this worked out and I think A'Shawn feels good about it with all the circumstances as well so we are excited about that."
(On if OL Andrew Whitworth and OL Brian Allen were impacted or restricted in any way from having COVID-19 in the offseason)
"They aren't. They aren't having anything that's holding them back. They're in good shape. (OL Andrew) Whitworth is 38 going on 30. He looks good. This guy's unbelievable. I still can't believe he's playing tackle with all these snaps he's taken. Another one of those guys you feel fortunate to be around."