COURTESY OF LOS ANGELES RAMS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
(On his current contract status) "Well, we haven't had any conversations so far. I'm obviously, incredibly grateful to be here and to be able to play for a great organization. I love it here. I don't want to go anywhere. But, you know, in terms of all the contract stuff, I'm really letting all that stuff be handled by my agent and staying out of it. I'm just really excited to be back playing football. Above everything else going in the world right now, just being able to come in here and be with the guys, work together with these guys towards something great – that's really what I'm excited about. So, everything outside of that, I'm really letting my agent take care of it."
(On whether being active in charitable work has offered a distraction from everything going on in the world)
"In a way. I really haven't spent much time thinking about (the contract status) because, like I said earlier on when I was asked about this stuff, there's a lot bigger issues going on in the world that my family and I feel deserves our attention, deserves our time. For us, it's (the charitable work) not something we're doing because to take our mind off of anything. It's something we're doing it because we feel it's the right thing to do. That's our mindset with that."
(On his regimen in the offseason to prepare for the 2020 season)
"The regimen really consisted of getting kicked off just about every field here in Thousand Oaks - which was fun. I really had to stay on top of things, being able to move around and adjust our schedule. My wife loved that my schedule changed about every single day. But, we made due with it. I made sure to get my workouts in, get the football in that I needed to. Jumped some fences and whatnot. But really, the regimen stayed pretty consistent. I was able to stay consistent at least with the people I was working with and really appreciated that side of things and the flexibility of the people I was working with. I feel great coming into this season. Feel strong, I feel incredibly healthy, just feel that I'm exactly where I want to be. I feel fast. All that stuff, I feel like we've attacked that offseason the right way. I think a lot of guys on the team feel that way as well. We've got the right guys here who are self-motivated and are able to do that." (On WR Van Jefferson) "In terms of (WR) Van (Jefferson), Van was actually in Westlake, here, semi-early. So, I was able to talk with him a little bit. I've been running routes with him a few times and just picked his brain and answer questions he had. I think he's going to be a really great football player. I'm really looking forward to being out on the field and get the pads on to be playing ball with him."
(On his awareness of how the 2021 salary cap could impact a next contract)
"You're definitely aware of it, I mean it's something you definitely hear about. But at the end of the day, I have faith in the Rams organization that they're going to do the things that are needed and best for the team to win. And whatever that is – I have all the faith in the world that they're going to make those decisions in the timing that needs to be to make sure that we can be a successful team. So, with all that other stuff aside, it really doesn't mean anything in terms of what it means as us an organization, us as team. I want to make sure that when we're going out on the field, I know that the organization has put us in the best position to win. I have the respect for the work that they have to do and the balancing act they have. Like I said, I'm just ready to play football and excited to get out there and play ball with my guys."
(On how much will the offense change this season)
"I mean obviously, (former RB) Todd Gurley (II) and (former WR) Brandin (Cooks) are incredible football players, incredible friends and incredible teammates. So, you definitely miss that side of things. On the other side, with the guys we have stepping into those roles, we are very excited about what (WR) Josh (Reynolds) has done and having Van Jefferson come in now. Even our depth from the receiver room, I think is incredible. Love our room and just the way that we attack things. The running back room, as well with (Running Backs) Coach (Thomas) Brown being in here – just seeing the intensity, the level of focus that those guys have and you're just chomping at the bit to get going here. So, we're really excited about that side of things. (Offensive Coordinator) Coach Kevin (O’Connell), what he brings to the offense – just the coaching that we've gotten, even just in these last few days, we haven't really been able to do anything, but just the knowledge that he has and his willingness to share and talk through these things with you – I think he's going to be just an incredible asset and I'm really excited to see how that goes as we get going here."
(On if he thinks the Rams threw the ball less efficiently last season than in 2018)
"I think all that is determined, really, by the games that you have. I mean, looking on paper at statistics can lie to you a little bit, in terms of what happens within a game and understanding – whether you're behind on something, if you get behind early and what that means as an offense and what you're trying to accomplish. Really what you're trying to attack based on the schematics of what you're seeing that week on a defense. If we were going into a game and a defense, for whatever reason, wanted to play dime on every single down, it would probably be something like playing, whether we're playing 12 personnel, 13 personnel, whatever it is, they just want to play dime, we’re probably going to run the ball more. If we're getting teams that want match base, or go nickel and we feel good about how we're able to pass against them, or the runs that we can setup against that defense, then we're going to do what’s best for us as an offense. A lot of that just comes into the schematics of how we want to game plan things and our trust in that coach that he's going to put us in the best position possible. So, all that stuff with passing and just being more efficient and those things, I think we always want to be more efficient. I think there's no doubt in my mind. I think any year that I've been here, I think we'd say, ‘Yeah, let's be more efficient with these pass plays, be more efficient with our quick game, be more efficient in the drop-back and make sure we're getting our play actions going.’ There's a lot that goes into that, but for us, it's always about getting better."
(On what he expects to see from QB Jared Goff going into his 5th season)
"I've said it every single year and I'm going to continue to say it, the growth that he's shown not only as a football player, but as a leader and just his understanding of the offense, it just seems like each year it keeps getting better and better and better. The command out on the field and just being able to make sure everyone is locked in. Truly, he's able to be a coach out there and make sure we're in the best thing possible, giving us the best opportunities to be successful and play. I’m just so excited that we get to continue to play with him this year. I just think it's going to be continuous growth here. We might not have been happy with the efficiency, we weren't ever happy with the efficiencies, it always has to be better, but like I've said before, there's a lot that goes into that. I don't think that the statistics that people will put on (QB) Jared (Goff) aren't always fair, but I think he's going to own it, he's not going to blame anyone, he's going to own it and attack it. I just have so much respect for him and his willingness to take that and just grow with it."
(On what it means to be named to the NFL top 100 list by his peers)
"It's just a really cool thing to be a part of that. I think it means so much more when you're placed there by the people that you play against. The guys that see you week in and week out. I just have a ton of respect for the guys in this league, you're playing against the best in the world. So, I have a ton of respect for each guy that I go up against and to be able to make that list is an incredible honor."
(On the gap between 'above the neck' learning and now being on the field during this unique training camp experience)
"Well, I think it's one thing to be able to see something on paper. I think part of it is people learn different ways. Some people can just see things on a board, see things on paper, and absorb it and understand it and visualize it themselves. Other people need to be able to see it, be able to move through those things, be able to do the movements, be able to execute the blocks, execute the routes that they need to, to really feel like they've processed it. So, there's definitely a gap there in terms of just the way that people learn. And if someone does learn better being on the field, then they're going to have a little bit of a lag as they come out here for the first time being able to see these things. But I think it's helped as, for the vets, the guys that have been out here and that have seen a lot of different looks. Kind of guys that, as you accumulate reps and years in this league, you're able to see things and understand the way the safeties tilt, the way linebackers shift, and understanding and anticipating what you might be getting and be able to anticipate your roles and what you might need to do. That's kind of helped a lot, in terms of being able to visualize this stuff as we go through these virtual meetings. I think it’s really attributed to just how quickly we've been able to assimilate into this training camp. I feel like we’ve kind of hit the ground running. We're clicking on all cylinders. It just seems like as the first-team guys are out there, it will just pick up and just kind of roll."
(On his comfort preparing for the their first game against the Dallas Cowboys and having enough time to get acclimated without a preseason)
"Yeah, well I don't think you have an option to be uncomfortable. You just have to do what you need to do to make sure that when you step on that field on the (September) 13th, that you know exactly what you need to do. You've set yourself up to be successful. You know if there's not enough time, you’ve got to make time. Make time to be comfortable. I think we've got the right guys here that are going to make sure that they attack that thing. That no matter how much time we're given, we know our bodies are going to be right because we did things the right way in the offseason, that we’re going to be able to step out on that field and be able to attack the Cowboys."
(On if it has been easy to adapt to the COVID-19 protocols and on adjusting in a way so the protocols feel like a part of their daily routine)
"Yeah, and I think that's kind of the goal. It definitely took a day or two to adjust to it, just what the new normal is and just kind of embracing the weird of it. Once we've kind of (did) that, you just say, 'Well, this is the way it is'. You just go and you just do it. You adapt. We're making the most of it. I think we’ve got a pretty unique setup and ability being in Southern California, to be able to do some more stuff outside and be able to have that space, but still be able to meet as a team and socially distance ourselves the right way. So, having all that stuff place is definitely, I feel like, an advantage for us. It's definitely different. It's different being in an outside setting, not being in the classroom that you're used to, but we've adapted fairly quickly. It's just part of the normal now."
(On how his friendship with WR Robert Woods has developed and if there is a level of comfort knowing he gets to play with someone of Woods’ caliber that he has an established rhythm with)
"I've got so much respect for Rob. I've, personally, learned more from Rob than I have any receiver. I have been studying receivers since I was in high school. I’ve been studying pros since I was in high school. But being here, being able to play with someone who – in my mind – is one of the best receivers in the league, in terms of his ability to do everything. There's nothing, no position he can't play. He can run the underneath routes, he can get over the top on people. He's just been an incredible asset to have as a friend, as a teammate, so I'm incredibly thankful for him and his willingness to share, too. I think that's something that's grown as we've built trust with each other and this friendship has grown. It's just the willingness to play off each other and be able to ask questions. There's never any feeling of like we need to know more than the other guy. It’s always, we always want to learn. Even if I feel like I've won the route the best that I possibly can, I'm going to ask him, 'How would you have run this? What's another way you can run this route?'. As you do this, as you build this up, it's like, 'Okay, no matter how many looks we get -- whether it's a block we need to get to, whether it's inserting to help spring our running back or it's a route we are running against three carry or different leverages.’ It's like, 'Let's find a way to run this route three, four, five different ways and be successful'. Being able to run these things and bounce them off of Rob, who's just a receiver that I have so much respect for, it really helps make that really easy and just his willingness also to just take advice as well. Him being in the league as long as he has, he's been able to see so much more than I have. His willingness to learn and just to continue to be great at what he does, I think it just speaks to why he can continue to keep growing and keep producing."
(On being kicked off high school fields during the offseason and if being a professional athlete helped their cause)
"Because of where we're at, if we're out there and we get caught and not supposed to be out there, I'm not going to argue. If I jumped the fence, I wasn't supposed to be out there probably. I just feel like as long as I'm not putting anyone in danger, I was going to kind of go with the ‘had to of ask for forgiveness instead of permission,’ but I wasn't going to push the envelope."
(On the number of players that met up informally at the high school fields during the offseason)
"I don't know what the number was. We had a pretty solid group."
(On what makes a good slot receiver and players he tried to emulate coming up)
"Early on, coming up, when I was in high school, I watched a lot of, (San Francisco 49ers Wide Receiver Coach and former NFL wide receiver) Wes Welker was a big one. I really liked watching (Arizona Cardinals WR) Larry ‘Fitz’ (Fitzgerald Jr.). Larry Fitz, you know he plays inside and outside, but Larry Fitz is someone that I thought plays the position very well. They have two very different body types. Two guys that played the game very differently and I think that's the beautiful thing about football and really the slot position and receiver position, generally it's an art form. Wes Welker's going to get open on a stick route a different way than Larry Fitz is. Neither one's wrong. So, being able to grab things from those guys. Understanding leverage, I think, is a big deal. And I think the more you allow yourself to use all these different tools – where if you do have someone that wants to be a little more grabby, wants to be able to body you a little bit more, being able to be like Fitz, be able to play it with your length, but use your body to be able to create separation versus someone like Wes. He didn't want to be touched really. He was able to use his quickness. He would be able to swipe people by. If you're able to do a little bit of both and really keep that tool belt well stocked, I think that's kind of something as slot receiver, I never want to be pigeonholed into just being able to do one thing."