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Rams Transcripts: Build-Up To Week #2

Changes Are In The Making

(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: As the Rams prepare for their week #2 match-up with the Atlanta Falcons this coming Sunday, Sept. 18th, Head Coach Sean McVay has been busy at practice making the many adjustments that he said would after losing their opening day game to the Buffalo Bills.

McVay and his Coaching Staff have been tireless and hard at work to re-assure Rams fans that although living up to winning a “back-to-back” Super Bowl is extremely difficult, he will have his team prepared to play much better than in Game 1.

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In Coach McVay’s playbook, that is an achievable goal, and thus, they will go with the slogan that Aaron Donald coined when he said, “let’s run it back!”

Here is an in-depth read and study of what Coach McVay, Matthew Stafford, and Bobby Wagner had to stay to the media during practice this past Wednesday.

Los Angeles Rams Transcripts – Head Coach Sean McVay, QB Matthew Stafford, LB Bobby Wagner – Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Head Coach Sean McVay

(On how QB Matthew Stafford is feeling after the pressure and hits he received from this past week’s game against the Buffalo Bills)
“He’s feeling good. I think we’re all excited about an opportunity to be able to move forward the right way. There’s a lot of things that we can all do better. We’re interested in eyes forward and looking towards a great challenge against a really good opponent that played excellent in week one.”

(On if physically Matthew Stafford is going to be a full go for this week’s game)
“He’s good, yeah.”

(On the latest injury update with WR Van Jefferson)
“Again, it’s kind of similar to what it’s been. We’re just taking it a week at a time with him.”

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(On his takeaways from last week’s game in regards to DB Jalen Ramsey’s performance after watching the film)
“Yeah, I think no matter how great of a player you are, whether you’re a Jalen, an (DT) Aaron (Donald), a Matthew, all of our great players, (WR) Cooper (Kupp), there’s going to be some instances where…I think what happened in that game was guys were trying to do right and pressing a little bit. Then some things ended up happening where we were a little bit more uncharacteristic in some of those plays. But my confidence in Jalen is unwavering. He’s a great competitor. One of my favorite things about it is that he had great accountability, ‘Hey, I can make some of these plays better, can’t try to be able to press a little bit.’ They made some good plays. But have the utmost confidence and faith in Jalen and I know he’s looking forward to being able to play his kind of game this week.”

(On what surprises him the most about the Atlanta Falcons offense)
“I think the versatility. I think (Atlanta Falcons Head Coach) Arthur (Smith) did a great job. He and (Atlanta Falcons Offensive Coordinator) Dave (Ragone) being able to mix it up, present multiple looks, get a lot of different guys involved, different ways of being able to run the football, presenting different personnel groups. So you can see it. What I think is a great sign of a great coach is adjusting to the personnel and whatever those guys do best with the players you’re playing with. I thought that really was illustrated throughout the preseason and in week one. That’s why it’s going to be such a great challenge because they’re using their players great. They’re using really everybody that they have up on the offensive side from an active-roster perspective. There’s a lot of stuff to deal with.”

(On Falcons QB Marcus Mariota and how they are using him differently in regards to the offense)
“Yeah, I think when you talk about it, he can certainly play quarterback from the pocket, be able to read and progress, but they’re also taking advantage of his athleticism. Whether that’s him being activated as a runner, some of the RPOs, the boot game, some of the play actions. So his ability to be able to put pressure on you, with some of the on-schedule, but also off-schedule, whether it’s beating you with his arm or his legs. He’s a guy that I thought played really well last week. I thought he played really well throughout the preseason. A guy that I have tremendous respect for.”

(On Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson and how he impacts our defensive planning)
“It just makes it the more things that you can present to a defense. When you can get into 21 looks, but then you can present 11 looks or 12 personnel looks because of those joker type of pieces. I think (Defensive Coordinator) Raheem (Morris) said it best to the defense earlier. When you look at Patterson, this guy’s always been a great playmaker. Now he’s become a good running back that can do all the things that made him a high pick as a receiver. So he’s dynamic, he’s tough with the ball in his hands, he competes without the ball. I think he’s done a great job and they’ve done a really good job of being able to develop him.”

(On how he evaluates Matthew Stafford’s performance last game)
“I think you’ve heard me say over and over, and it is the truth, each play has its own separate story and they’re all separate entities. So a couple of them got away. A couple of them (we) were not able to really see the coverage based on how the rush dispersed. But again, similar to a lot of our players, guys are trying to make a play and then it’s really just playing within ourselves. I think a lot of it is, ‘Hey, let’s make sure that we as coaches are doing a good job of trying to provide that clarity, put our guys in the right spots.’ But I think those are things that inevitably do occur when you’re playing that quarterback position. Some of those where you get a tip and a guy’s making a great play. Then some of them where we just miss a little bit, or sometimes we might not have seen, based on how the rush dispersed, where we’re throwing a ball to the flat. That’s where some of those tough things can occur. We always learn from it, coaches and players alike, but all three of those were a little bit different story.”

(On if he talked to RB Cam Akers after mentioning that he wants him to play with more urgency)
“One a hundred percent, yeah. We always talk about communication. Here’s my thing, I think because I’m naturally such a positive guy, if I say anything that can be taken, I don’t want to say out of context, but can be taken in a direction where I’m challenging somebody, it’s a result of my confidence in him and the expectations we have and what we need him to be, which isn’t anything more than what he’s capable of for us to reach some of the levels that I’m hopeful that we can do. So I love Cam. I want him to be able to be a guy that we’re heavily able to lean on, both him and Darrell. That’s what it’s got to be able to be. So I think that was pretty much what it is, but I’m always going to communicate with our guys. I’ve never been somebody that believes in messaging the team through the media. I was just kind of answering a question honestly, and I think it got a little bit more play than maybe what I had anticipated. But bottom line is this, this is a guy I have a lot of confidence in. I know he’s going to respond the right way. We’ve absolutely had conversations where it’s because of the belief that I have, why I’m pushing him. Where guys should be worried is if I’m not believing, if I stop coaching, or don’t think you’re capable of it, that’s when I would be concerned about it. But he’s a guy that (has) always responded the right way. He’s a mentally tough kid and he’s going to make some plays for us. I do believe that.”

(On his history with Dave Ragone and his thoughts on him as a coach and person)
“Outstanding. Dave and I go back a long ways. He’s been a guy that… really close friend, great human being. Obviously, he was a great player too. Yeah, he was a baller at Louisville. But he’s got a great capacity for the game, really knows all 22, great ability to be able to connect with his players. I think whether it be the quarterback, he knows every position on the field, but his ability to connect, really build and develop relationships, communicate, all the things that I think make a good coach. Dave does those things. He’s one of my good friends and (I) love Dave Ragone, love his kids and his wife, Marju. They mean a lot to me.”

(On how he gets Allen Robinson more involved next game)
“I think being able to have some more intentionality about that. Being able to call some plays where he’s the primary. Whatever I say is going to be an excuse, but it wasn’t good enough on my part in terms of the types of things that we were getting off to allow our players to be able to get into a rhythm. You credit Buffalo, they did a great job. But I think it’s just having a more specific approach to things that accentuate his skillset, similar to what I was answering earlier about what I think Arthur’s done a great job with his players offensively. That’s what I’ve got to do a better job of. Allen is certainly somebody that needs to be more involved and get more opportunities.”

(On Cam Akers and how he came into film this week)
“Oh, he’s been great. He always responds and whether it’s Cam, I mean these are the kind of conversations where you’re challenging guys in a lot of instances to reach their highest potential. We do it in a demanding, but never a demeaning way. That’s something that I believe in. So I love the way that he’s responded. I like the way that he went through the first walk through of the week. I liked his focus and concentration in the meetings and expect that to translate to practice. Let’s just take it a day at a time. But I have true confidence that he and Darrell are both going to do a very good job for us. I’m excited about that coming to life this week.”

(On how Allen Robinson came into this week)
“Oh, he was amazing. He’s such a special guy. I think the first thing you do is you acknowledge like, ‘Hey man, I appreciate your patience and your understanding, and this is where we’ve got to do a better job and I’ve got to do a better job.’ But he didn’t have one…there was no flinch. There was no hesitation. I think he’s the epitome of a pros pro. But I think for us to be the best version of ourselves, as far as our offense is concerned, him only getting that one target, you can look at it as a couple but it’s really that one. You got to get him more involved.”

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(On if he thinks the team is grumpy or anxious heading into this week’s game after last week’s loss)
“I think excited about the response no doubt about it. I think as a competitor, I mean sometimes, until you get punched in the face, you really find out about people. That’s what I love is the opportunity to respond, that’s what makes this game so great. Whether we had won it or whether we had lost it, you got to be able to move forward. So sometimes those humbling experiences as you guys have heard me say, they can be when you got the right people, they can be blessings in disguise. That’s the only way that I know how to look at it. We’re going to worry about the things that we can control. That’s great effort, every single thing that we do to put ourselves in a position to play as good as we possibly can, make good decisions on Sunday. That’s where we’re at and I think we got the right kind of guys to respond the way that we want.”

(On OG Tremayne Anchrum Jr. stepping in to start at guard)
“I think what I saw from him throughout training camp was really encouraging. I saw position flex versatility. I see a guy that it’s important enough to him where you’ve seen that improvement occur over those last few years, as you mentioned. I thought he played really well in the preseason. You got some real, tangible game evidence, not exclusive to just when we’re practicing against the Bengals or practicing against one another. He played outstanding at guard and in the tackle position in the preseason. I think he’s earned the right. I have true confidence in him, but you don’t ever really know until they get out there. But based on this guy’s body of work, his demeanor, his disposition, the way that he handles himself, by no means do I think it’s going to be anything but a great opportunity and that he’s going to maximize and capitalize on it.”

Quarterback Matthew Stafford

(On how his arm feels after Week 1 against Buffalo)
“I feel good. I feel great. Obviously had a couple extra days off, nothing hurt, so I feel pretty good.”

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(On what he has seen from the Falcons on film)
“They do a really nice job of keeping everything in front of them. They played really well last week, honestly, and got two really good, high-quality corners. Some young guys in the post and the safety position are playing at a high level, obviously a disruptive defensive line. They do a really nice job. Their coordinator has been a coordinator for a while and is a really smart guy. They’re well coached and do a nice job.”

(On if he expects the Falcons to blitz a lot and what adjustments they need to make)
“Obviously you see what they did last week, you look at what they’ve done in years past, you’ve got to go out there and play your roles. Whatever they’re going to do, they’re going to do. We’re going to be ready for all of it, react, and go play football as best we can. I definitely can see them mixing it up like they always do.”

(On if he felt has was as accurate against the Bills as he normally is and what he attributes that to)
“Definitely two or three I wish I had back, there’s no question about that. I think I just got to do a better job of seeing it and hitting it. A couple of those maybe trying to do a little too much. Others, sometimes you lose vision on guys, whatever it is. Everything I’m saying is something that’s in the past and doesn’t matter anymore, to be honest with you. I just keep trust in my preparation and knowing that if I do what I’m supposed to do, preparation wise, I can go out there and play at a high level and whatever happens, happens.”

(On what it was like going back to his high school and having his number retired)
“It was really cool. I hadn’t been back there in a long time and the place has changed. The facilities, like everywhere around there is just, it’s unbelievable. (Highland Park Head) Coach (Randy) Allen has done an unbelievable job at building just such a great legacy there. I’m happy to be a part of it now. It was a really great turnout. I was surprised by a lot of the teammates that I played with showing up and at the same time a bunch of fans in the stands too. It was a cool deal.”

(On what it is like trying to keep the defense on their toes and getting everyone involved in the offense)
“When we’re at our best on offense, we’re getting everybody involved. We’re making the defense defend every player on our team, every blade of grass on the field. We can do a better job of that. I can do a better job of distributing the football to those guys, getting those guys touches early on in games and helping them feel in the rhythm of the game. I’ve never played receiver, but I imagine the more you catch the ball, the sooner you catch it in the game, the better you feel about it and you kind of go from there. As a quarterback, I feel like I can do a way better job of making those guys feel involved in the game as fast as they can and then we go out there and just play the rest of the game.”

(On if he ever focuses on a single receiver and thinks, ‘I need to get him the ball and get him involved’)
“You try to play the game as true as you possibly can. There’s certain plays that are, ‘Hey, I’ve got option one and option two and they’re equal. And maybe one guy’s either got a better matchup or hasn’t been involved or just try to get one to an easier throw.’ Yeah, there’s no question. That probably happens, to be honest with you, a little bit more in practice than in a game where your guys running around in practice, ‘Like I get this guy ball, it’s an even look, let me just get him into the flow.’ I’m always trying to keep those receipts in my head of who’s got the ball and all that kind of stuff, trying to keep everybody involved. I think we just play better when everybody’s getting touches and that’s my responsibility.”

(On the offensive line positions moving around a bit and how long it takes for them to get on the same page)
“I’ve played quite a few games last year with Coleman at center so I feel really comfortable with that. (I) haven’t played a whole bunch with whoever’s going to be in there (OG) Tremayne (Anchrum) at right guard. (He) did a great job in the preseason. I think it’s probably a better question for those guys, as far as being able to talk it out. But I know today, Wednesday practice, early down kind of stuff, they did a really nice job of stepping up, understanding the game plan, going out there, playing physical, doing a good job.”

(On how excited he is to get back after a ten day break period from last week’s game)
“Yeah, definitely. Anytime you lose, I wish the game was the next day, you know? Go out there and play and get that taste out of your mouth. It’s part of it. It’s part of understanding what it’s like to play in the NFL, being a pro and all that kind of stuff. But definitely excited to have this week of preparation, not skipping ahead at all. Enjoying the Wednesday, the Thursday, the Friday process of it, go out there and let it go on Sunday.”

(On if he is feeling good about the game this week)
“I am.”

Linebacker Bobby Wagner

(On the team coming back to work and how the first walkthrough went)
“I think we’re eager to get back out there. Obviously the first game didn’t go the way that we wanted. I think a lot of the stuff they did was good, but a lot of stuff we could have cleaned up and did a lot better. We are excited to get out there and have an opportunity to show why we feel very confident about this team.”

(On how the team gets better defensively on third down scenarios)
“I think we just play stickier coverage. We just got to do our job and some of them, you just got to make plays. I think that’s really all it is. A lot of it was getting those third and short, so doing a better job on the first and second down to get us out of those ranges. It really just comes down to players making plays, and we will.”

(On what he has seen from Falcons QB Marcus Mariota on film)
“They run an interesting style of offense. They have pretty much every running style in each of their personnels. You’ve got to be conscious of the personnels because you’ve got receivers that do really, really well at running back. You’ve got guys moving all across the board. I the biggest thing is paying attention to that read option, RPOs (run pass option), and things of that nature that they are going to bring. Everybody being conscious and focused of that because if you pay too much attention to the run, that’s when they throw the ball and too much attention to the pass is when the run sneaks into you. Just got to be locked in on your job, make sure you take care of your assignment each and every play. It’s going to be a game that we got to be really disciplined.”

(On why he wore a pad with Kobe Bryant on it during the Week 1 game)
“He’s somebody that has inspired me. I think he was one of the first players that I’ve watched from start to finish. He was somebody that I looked up to growing up. Obviously, his untimely death hit the world and I felt like with me coming back to LA, I think it was a way to honor somebody that’s done a lot in my life that he probably didn’t even know.”

(On if he read Kobe Bryant’s book Mamba Mentality)
“I did. I think I read a little bit of it. I didn’t get through it, but definitely when he passed, I read it. A lot of his children’s books and The Wizenard Series and all that stuff.”

(On if he had a chance to meet Kobe Bryant before he passed away)
“I actually did. I got a chance to meet him thanks to my good friend (former Seahawks DB Richard) Sherm(an). We got a chance to have a conversation, which was a pretty surreal moment for me.”

(On his takeaway after talking with someone who he idolized growing up)
“The contents of the conversation was kind of centered around business. I’ve heard a lot of stories about how he was on the court was exactly how he was in the in the meeting rooms and stuff like that. When we were sitting there, he was really on every single detail when it came to business. I was really impressed that somebody that spent so many years in one profession was able to transition and be kind of equally feared in the business world because of how smart and how in tune he was. He’s definitely somebody that I was like, ‘Man, I want to aspire to be like that.’”

(On if he was able to watch Seattle play on Monday Night Football)
“Of course. I think me and 19 million other people.”

(On if he was surprised by the reception that Broncos QB Russell Wilson got returning to Seattle and if he anticipates a similar reaction when he returns to Seattle)
“I think at the end of the day, fans understand that you have your moment and then they move on. I think they viewed him as an opposing quarterback, so the reception that he got was what any quarterback that’s an opposing quarterback will get, so that’s how I looked at. As far as my reception, I’m not sure. That’s not until end of December, so they could be feeling a different type of way by then.”

(On the reaction he had watching the end of the Seahawks-Broncos game and if he talked to anyone around the NFL about it)
“I think it’s just kind of like everybody, in my opinion. The whole world had the same reaction. I think they didn’t expect the game to go that way. I think everybody kind of expected, you have a guy like Russell (Wilson) to have the ball in his hand towards the end of the game and give him an opportunity to make a play. When it didn’t happen, you were kind of just like wondering why. But at the end of the day, I thought about it for a couple seconds and remembered I’m a Ram and it doesn’t affect me, so it is what it is.”

(On how the defense approaches going up against a tall wide receiver group in the Atlanta Falcons)
“They’re pretty tall, but we do pushups. Maybe combat it that way.”

(On how he would evaluate his individual performance in Week 1)
“Obviously I think I could have done better. I think we could have done better collectively. I think it’s the first game. It’s one that I don’t think anybody was extremely pleased with how they performed, especially we didn’t get win. Just like everybody, I’m excited to get back out there and make the adjustments that I feel we will make and have a better outing.”

(On if he thinks it will take a few games to get everyone going because the Rams didn’t play any starters in the preseason)
“I think it just kind of depends, to be honest. I think sometimes those games are needed. It’s like a Catch-22. I feel like if you have players out there and somebody gets hurt, everybody’s like, ‘They shouldn’t be out there.’ And if they have a bad game the first game, then it’s like, ‘They should be out there’. You really can’t win. If we’re out there and something happens, unfortunately, then people tend to be like, ‘Why are you playing players in a game that doesn’t mean anything’. Then when there’s a little bit rust or whatever in the first game, then you’re like, ‘Well maybe you could’ve knocked it out in the preseason.’ I think everything…hindsight is 20/20, I don’t think this would be a conversation if we came out and played a great game. Nobody would be talking about it. At the end of the day, we’re professionals. The game didn’t go the way that we wanted it to go, and so as professionals, we look at that game and we move on. The testament of a team is how you respond, so I plan on us responding.”

(On if the ability of the Falcons to do a lot with the run game changes anything for him)
“To an extent. Like I said, normally when a team gets to like 22-personnel or 13-personnel, bigger bodies, you’re thinking run game, but they can come up in 22-personnel and then give you (a) 11-personnel look. You can’t really pay attention to the personnel. Normally that’s what you watch during the course of a week, you look at the different personnel and you see how they use them. You’re looking at the personnel and see what formations they like to get into those. That’s kind of how I’m looking at it. I don’t think it’s necessarily going to change because if it’s a 22-personnel, but 11-personnel look, I’ll pretty much be in the same area that I would normally be in. It kind of just depends on the formation, it depends on the route or run fit.”

(On if that speeds up the post-snap decision making process for him and others on the defense)
“You definitely have to be very conscious of the personnel because you have a guy that’s a receiver that can be a running back. You’ve got to see what are they using him in this formation, is he a receiver or is he a running back? Then you have also have a guy who’s really good at tight end, but can be a receiver, so you’ve got to see, are they using them as a tight end or are you using him as a receiver? Those are the kind of like the quick things that you have to pay attention to and figure out how they’re using him. Again, it goes back to what’s the final formation and make your read off that.”

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