November 30, 2021 [From The Editor’s Desk]: In our efforts to keep all of our Rams fans up-to-date on how the team does after each game from Head Coach Sean McVay’s perspective, we are glad to bring you the full transcripts from his Monday Game Recapping session.
Although the Rams, now (7-4), lost to the Packers by a score of (36-28), they remain in strong contention for playoffs with a good final stretch of adding more wins to their record. The addition of Von Miller and Odell Beckham, Jr. has provided the team with two top athletes in their respective positions and they are acclimating very well to their new team.
Take a good and in-depth read on what Coach McVay had to say in his review of the game. The Rams will host the AFC’s South, Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) this Sunday at So-Fi Stadium. Kick-off is set for 1:05 pm. Tickets are still available by clicking here.
Rams Head Coach Sean McVay, Monday, November 29, 2021
*(On what he liked about WR Odell Beckham Jr.’s performance on Sunday and what he’s like to build on as he continues to work with him)... “He did a nice job. I continue to say it but for him to be able to play as many snaps and do as many different things as he is on such a short amount of time that we’ve been together – I think it’s a real credit to his football acumen and how smart he is. Clearly (he) made the big play on the double move, the long touchdown, had a couple of other catches. To his credit, I think there’s a lot of things that he would be able to tell you that we can kind of build on and improve upon, whether it’s detail understanding. But he’s really smart, very coachable, very receptive to some of these things, and we just want to continue to just get him, implemented, take advantage of the skill set, and the great traits that he has, and see how he can continue to help our offense. And we’ve just got to be more efficient overall, but (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) did some really good things yesterday.”
*(On if he is still starting the 21-day clock this week on LB Justin Hollins’ return from pec injury)… “It does. Yeah. It looks like it’s the case and that’s a positive. He’s been around. He’s feeling good. And so, there is a good chance that we’ll start that 21-day clock this week.”
*(On how WR Cooper Kupp has been inspirational for this team)… “He’s been great. Just look at the last catch that he made – the will to compete, the resilience, the toughness that he displayed being able to carry guys on his back and continue to just churn out extra yards. He’s been so steady, so consistent, so reliable. (I) love what (WR) Cooper Kupp has brought to this team from a leadership, from a production, just the way that he is in the building day in and day out. And if we’ve got him continuing to play like that, good things happen and (I) love Cooper Kupp. He’s done a great job.”
*(On how he would rate Packers RB A.J. Dillon)… “I think he’s an ascending player in this league. Clearly, (Packers RB) Aaron Jones is establishing himself as one of the better running backs in this league. Coming off the injury, I still thought he was able to do some really nice things, but (Packers RB A.J.) Dillon is a big, strong, physical back. I think they do a nice job utilizing his skill set. You can see he’s a rhythm runner. The more carries he gets, he gets into a rhythm. He had some good downhill runs. I thought our guys did a pretty nice job. I think that’s an excellent offense, but I got a lot of respect for his skill set and I think he’s only going to continue to get better. So, nothing but good things on my end for about AJ Dillon.”
*(On how he foresees OLB Von Miller getting worked in more and more into the plan, considering he got into a groove against the Packers)… “I think you just said it. I think number one is you get pass rushers into a rhythm by being able to play with leads and make teams one dimensional, similar to what we had to be earlier on in that game, than what we want it to be. And so, I thought he did a great job defending the run. I think he’s really been good against the run the last couple weeks. Done a nice job of being able to work in alignment and in unison with the other guys, and some of the rush plans, and some of the different movements. And so, similar to what you said I agree. I thought (OLB) Von (Miller) did a nice job. I love his demeanor. (I) really liked the look in his eyes. I think he’s excited about just continuing to improve. I know we haven’t gotten the results that we wanted, but I think you can learn a lot more about people in the midst of some of the adversity that we’re facing. And this has only furthered my appreciation for Von watching the way that he’s handled the last couple weeks. And then he’s obviously played really well.”
*(On if there are any concerns about Miller’s ankle or if he has any physical concerns at all)… “No, not to my knowledge. I didn’t see any restrictions. He looked like his normal self yesterday and (I) think like anything else – kind of similar to what we’ve talked about on different players – I don’t know if you’re ever really a hundred percent. But I don’t think that’s restricting his ability to play at a really high level, and be able to transition, put that foot in the ground, lean on some of these big guys up front, and you can see the short space quickness is on display still as well.”
*(On what may be preventing them offensively to lean into the things they have a lot of experience in doing prior in terms of establishing rhythm and timing such as play action and some of the pocket movement)… “It’s definitely all good points that you’re bringing up. That stuff definitely is something that we talk about as a coaching staff. I think when you look at a lot of those things, it’s not an excuse, but we’ve gotten really thinned out with some of the depth of our roster at different positions as well, not exclusive to receivers, but losing a (TE) Johnny Mundt was a really big loss. Now, you got confidence in (TE) Kendall Blanton and (TE) Brycen Hopkins if need be, but those are all very merited points and definitely things that we’ve talked about as a coaching staff. I think it’s really figuring out our identity that we came into this year with, is not going to be able to be that same identity just based on some of the changes that we’ve had. What does that look like in terms of balancing and still being able to do some of the things that (QB) Matthew (Stafford) and our offensive players have done at a really high level while not leaving us susceptible to some of the bad things that have resulted over the last couple of weeks, whether it be timing some of the turnovers. There’s a lot of different things, all of which you’ve kind of alluded to. And so, the challenge for us – and a good challenge – is figuring out a way to maximize our player skillsets and be able to try to establish an identity of what exactly we want to look like. I don’t think it has to be one thing, or this or that, or only that, but maybe a little bit of a mixture is something that we’re talking about.”
*On how comfortable he is in establishing and continuing to troubleshoot, even if it means that things look a little bit different down the stretch, when continuing the variance with QB Matthew Stafford in a problem-solving way)… “Oh, very. I think that’s what you have to do. I think a lot of it is a result of number one, your players, and then number two, the defensive structure that you’re going against and if those things are in alignment with what you feel like is the best way to efficiently move the football and score points. And so, all of those things play a factor. I don’t necessarily worry about the comfort level with Matthew because, like you mentioned, he has experience in a lot of different phases of offensive football, whether it’s play action, keepers, the screens, the drop backs, the different ways that you can do that. But I think us finding that balance in the different personnel groupings or however we want to try to marry all that together and try to be more efficient and like I mentioned, kind of establish some form of an identity. That’s something that we’re working through right now. That identity starts first and foremost with your players. And you guys saw, we got (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) a couple of weeks ago and he’s playing every single snap yesterday, almost. (WR) Van Jefferson is transitioning, learning some new things. And so, there’s a lot of moving parts – all of which will just sound like an excuse coming from me. It’s not. It’s something that we’ve just got to get figured out.”
*(On any injuries coming out of Sunday’s game)… “We came out pretty good. Odell, – I was asked about his back – he got his back checked out. He’s good on that front. He did get a posterior hip pointer where we’ll be able to treat and pad that. He’ll be able to progress as tolerated throughout the week. (I) don’t expect that to affect his game status. (WR) Ben Skowronek was inactive for the game because he had some back spasms that kind of made it hard for him to be able to move around. And then in the game, the only guy that maybe will be limited in practice this week will be (RB) Darrell Henderson (Jr.). He got a little bit of a quad strain. We’ll monitor him throughout the course of the week and see what that looks like, but I wouldn’t expect him to practice on Wednesday and I’ll have some more updates for you then.”
*(On if the loss of WR Robert Woods makes defensive coordinators focus on WR Cooper Kupp or scheme to use other receivers)… “I think you see a lot of those specific pass coverages kind of similar to what Green Bay was doing where they kind of add an east and west double on (WR) Cooper (Kupp) on the first couple of third downs. He has gotten a lot of attention. There’s definitely less attention drawn to him when you have a player of (WR) Robert Woods caliber out there, but you have to alter and adjust the way that you operate. I think that’d be a better question for the defensive coordinators, but in the early downs, I think they’re saying, ‘Hey, how do we want to stop them?’ And you’ve always got to talk about Kupp and Woods. Now you’re figuring out, ‘Okay, well, what does it look like as (WR) Van (Jefferson) is starting to assert himself? How does (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) play into the mix? How can we get (TE Tyler) Higbee going a little bit more?’ But those two guys have been staples. If there’s anything that’s become apparent, I think to all of us, you realize how rare Robert and Cooper are to be able to do the different amounts of jobs. Because in a lot of instances, we’ve been a very regulated personnel grouping in 11 a lot of the last couple of years, but we’re running plays that teams run out of 12 and sometimes 13 personnel because of that versatility that Robert and Cooper have. That’s what makes them so rare and so unique. And so, you don’t ever fill that void like I’ve mentioned, but I guess in layman’s terms, it does allow you to pay a little bit more attention to Cooper, so guys will be asked to step up. But our whole offensive operation is affected by the loss of Robert Woods because of not only what he means to you in the pass downs, but also in the rundowns when he could do a lot of different things, whether the ball is in his hands or the ball wasn’t in his hands. And that’s ball in his hands from receiving it or from running it.”
*(On what went into the thinking of using RB Sony Michel in the kickoff return)… “He had expressed some interest in doing it. We don’t have a lot of guys that are experienced in that role. He is a tough, physical, downhill runner that’s fearless to be able to hit it up in there. I think that takes some courageousness and some guts with the types of collisions. I think there was some positives and definitely some things that we can learn from, but what I do trust is he’s such a conscientious guy. He’s going to be able to learn from the things that he can do better. And I did think he was able to level off some of those returns nicely, but that’s what went into that.”
*(On what impresses him about WR Van Jefferson considering the things he’s picked up from WR Odell Beckham Jr. and Kupp)… “I just think the maturity, the ability to make plays down the field. I thought that was a big time play for him that really got some momentum that was much needed at that point in the game. Not only to be able to make the play, but then to be able to stay on his feet and finish, and then go for the ‘Lambeau Leap’ where he got rejected. I think he’s just continuing to improve his overall game. His ability to be able to play really all different spots, offensively, shows a big picture understanding. I think the consistency snap-in and snap-out are the things that we’re going to continue to stress with him. But I’m a huge Van Jefferson fan and think he’s making a lot of plays that he can really draw on that continue to build his confidence. And then also, it enables you to be able to coach him on some of those things that we can tighten up the details on that I know he’s going to be able to do. And he’s conscientious about it. He takes coaching the right way. He’s a great kid and love working with Van.”
*(On what he’s seen in the chemistry between Jefferson and Kupp that’s impressed him)…
“I think Van’s just so interested. He’s always asking great questions, wanting to learn about the craft of the position. Even just growing up, – I can only imagine – you could see the game make sense to him from his dad being a great receiver coach, but also a great player in the league for such a long period of time. So, those two really have a good rapport established. Talk about a game of inches, if his shoe size wasn’t so big, it probably would have been a touchdown pass from Cooper to Van.”
*(On what he does when his team is within a losing streak like the current one to make sure guys don’t get too down or try to do too much)… “The truth is always on the film. You look at that, you say, ‘Hey, how can we avoid some of these spots? How can this be fixed?’ You can draw on some previous experiences. And then it’s about being able to instill confidence throughout the week with the process and the preparation – whether it’s part of the plan, the way that the guys are practicing, the clarity that we can provide, the detail that the players can provide when these things are coming to life. But it’s really looking at the film, making an honest evaluation on the accountability that exists amongst everybody that’s involved -that’s coaches and players alike. Then you keep it moving and that’s no different than what we try to do after we win a game. To say that this hasn’t been a challenging and (for) the amount of time that’s (been) put in and not getting the results that you want – we got a lot of guys you care about, and you want to just continue to fight your way out of this rut. We’re going to go right back to our process. We’re going to look inwardly. And I know it’s kind of the same things that I’ve been saying, but that’s what we’ll do. And we’ve got the right kind of guys to be able to fight out of this thing the right way.”
*(On what he is seeing from QB Matthew Stafford in terms of his ability to play through injury)… “I’m seeing a really tough competitor. I think that’s been one of the great traits that he’s possessed for a long period of time. You just watch the amount of hits and some of the things that he’s bounced back from quickly, whether it be with us or even over the course of his career with the (Detroit) Lions, or even going back to Georgia. So, I just see a resilient, tough competitor that continues to compete, continues to battle. His teammates believe in him, his coaches believe in him. That’s what I’m seeing from him.”
*(On if he feels like he is consistently getting enough from some of his players that are in ‘under the radar’ positions or roles, as far as the team build goes)… “Defensively, our defensive coaches have done a really good job of being able to utilize a variety of players with the different personnel groupings that we’re activating. So, I have been pleased with that. I think the opportunities have been a little bit more limited offensively with how we’ve operated. I also think if I have to be honest with myself, that’s why you’re a little bit susceptible when some of these injuries occurred. Now you’re saying, ‘Okay, how do we want to adjust or adapt?’ And that’s part of our job. I’m always going to do what I think is best for our football team. And I don’t think I can fully answer that question all offensively, just because a lot of guys haven’t gotten opportunities based on the nature of what we’ve been in personnel grouping wise. But whether that be this week or at some point, that narrative might change if we feel like that’s what’s best. Overall, these are all things that are definitely a part of the thinking, the thought process, it starts with ‘How are you building it around certain players? What do you feel like the identity that you want to establish on each side of the ball is that gives you the best chance to operate with that philosophical approach, but most importantly your players?’ All those things being said, defensively we’ve used a lot more bodies than what we have all offensively. And I think you have to be honest with yourself about making sure that we’ve got some depth at different positions or we’re giving guys an opportunity to compete, so that you can present a little bit more to guys and you’ll give them a chance to show what they can do.”
*(On if he still feels ball security and winning the turnover battle is the main issue currently)… “Well, I think there are a lot of reasons why you didn’t come out on top, but I think that certainly is one of them. I do think it’s important too. What I’m not interested in is if a turnover occurs for our guys to think, ‘Oh, we can’t win the game now.’ That that is an occupational hazard. It’s a great play by (Packers LB) Rashan Gary, forces the ball out. There are things that occur that sometimes you can’t avoid. I don’t ever want guys to not go out there and compete and play free. I want guys to play not fearing failure but attacking success. With that being said, you do want to be smart. We want to have a premium on decision making and taking care of the football. And so, we didn’t do that well enough yesterday. We lost the turnover battle. They had three takeaways, we had one and that was a big part of the outcome, but it certainly wasn’t exclusively why we didn’t win that game.”
*(On if not fearing failure but attacking success is something he has brought up recently)... “Absolutely. I think the most important thing is we want guys to be able to cut it loose, go play free, still focus on great execution, great concentration within the framework of your role, the detail that’s required for those six seconds or however long the play ends up being. And that is absolutely something that we talk about.”–RAMS–