(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: As the NFL moves into the next pre-season phase for all teams, it’s time for the preparations to accelerate, just a bit in proportion to the run-up of the official July launch of Training Camps for all teams. Prior to that start, the Rams can always be counted on to provide its media corps with press availabilities based on the timely decisions of its Director of Communications.
And thus, we bring you the latest Transcript from Head Coach, Sean McVay, that was issued yesterday, 6/13, after his afternoon press conference that took place at the team’s training facility on the campus of Cal Lutheran University located in Thousand Oaks, CA.
Rams Transcripts – Head Coach Sean McVay – 6/13
[Coach Sean McVay]
(On players that weren’t out at practice today)…“So, (OT) AJ (Arcuri) was out there today. (OT Alaric) ‘AJ’ Jackson and (DT) Aaron Donald both have excused absences. They’re handling family stuff, (we’ll) keep that in house, but it was something that they had communicated well ahead of time. That’s one of those deals where when you talk to them, felt like that was the priority and they’ll be ready to roll, and they’ll be taking care of themselves over the break and then they’ll be ready to roll when we report to Irvine on July 25th. (WR) Ben (Skowronek) is just working through some foot stuff and then (OT) Rob (Havenstein) also kind of had a veteran rest day. That’s why you didn’t see Rob Havenstein out there either.”
(On what he’s hoping to achieve in the next two days)…“I think just continue to build on a lot of the foundations that have been set up to this point. We’ll continue to add a couple things here and there situationally, but what you want to really see is just good, crisp execution, good communication on both sides. Thought the energy was on point and I think today was very similar to what the majority of the OTAs have been. There’s been good energy, there’s been good communication, there’s been good competition, and that’s what we’re hunting up. You’re getting a chance to evaluate a lot of guys. It’s been a good start and then we’re really looking forward to being able to get to camp. You get through that acclimation period and then you’re able to put the pads on and start to get more realistic simulations of what some of these 11-on-11 settings will be. We’ll get an opportunity to be able to practice against both the Raiders and the Broncos, which will represent four great competitive ops for us. And so, just kind of looking towards that, but we want to be right here, be present, be able to finish up today and tomorrow, and then after tomorrow afternoon, we’ll give those guys off and then we’ll report to UC Irvine on July 25th with our players.”
(On adding Wide Receivers Tyler Johnson and Demarcus Robinson to the roster and the thought process behind that)…“Really, there’s been some things where, to be able to get through practice, and then both those guys are NFL receivers that have game experience. Tyler came in a couple weeks ago. Can’t say enough about the job that he’s done, but also (Wide Receivers Coach) Eric Yarber, (Pass Game Specialist) Jake Peetz and (Offensive Assistant) KJ Black getting him up to speed quickly. He’s a guy that you can see is getting more comfortable. The game makes sense to him, has good aggressive hands, nice ability to be able to work edges. And then you look at Demarcus, a guy that’s had a lot of production. Played in Kansas City, then he did a great job having almost 500 (receiving yards) in Baltimore last year. (He’s) a guy that can do a lot of different things. And so, both of those guys have played in games and to be able to get some of that depth…we haven’t had (WR) Cooper (Kupp) out practicing in these competitive settings, so when we get back to camp, he’ll be ready to go. There’s been some days that we’ve limited (WR) Van’s (Jefferson) workload and then (WR) Ben (Skowronek) hasn’t been out here, so that kind of was a big catalyst for why we ended up doing it. But those guys are going to really push, and I like what I’ve seen from them so far.”
(On if he has any concerns about his receiver group going into the season)…“I think I feel better about it. It’ll be good to be able to get Cooper back rolling. I think guys have all taken steps in the right direction. I think Van’s had a really good offseason. I think (WR) Tutu Atwell has been outstanding. He’s been a real bright spot, very comfortable. You can see just the comfort in playing a lot of snaps last year, gaining some confidence and then being able to move around. That’ll be really valuable. I love what I’ve seen from (WR) Puka Nacua. (WR) Lance McCutcheon has shown really well and then the guys Tyler and Demarcus made some plays out here today. He was kind of getting help getting lined up by the coaches, but I do feel good about that. I’ve seen really good bright spots from a lot of the skill positions in general offensively. Got to continue to be able to figure out, alright, what’s going to be our best five combination up front. It’ll be good to be able to get some of these guys out there with (OL) Joe Noteboom, you get AJ back from his absence that he’ll have this week and get (OL) Warren McClendon where he’s kind of missed some time here and there. Just being smart with just a little knee issue. But I’m really excited about working with this team. You can see there’s been just tangible evidence of improvement every single day. Let’s continue to be in the moment. Let’s enjoy it. And these guys are fun to coach and feel the same way on the defensive side of the ball. A lot of young guys that are out there playing on teams as well. So, as we know, (it) has been well documented, there’ll be a lot of youth, but there’s still some really great veteran leadership here to be able to demonstrate and model the way. And I think that’s the most powerful thing you can do.”
(On DB Tre Tomlinson being on the sidelines)…“He got a hamstring a couple weeks ago and so really just want to be smart with how we get him back into his workload and his rhythm and routine. And so, he’ll be out tomorrow as well just working on the side with those guys, but don’t anticipate it to affect his ability to hit the ground running once training camp starts up.”
(On how important it is for Tutu Atwell to be able to do multiple things within the offense and special teams)…“It’s very important because the more you can do…you just never know. And if last year taught us anything, you got to be ready for contingency plans. He’s a guy that’s going to have a role for us and his ability to be able to move around and make sure that we don’t have to have certain guys play every single snap. But his ability to be able to play ‘F,’ to be able to play ‘Z,’ to be able to play ‘X,’ the different skills that he possesses. I think he’s a nice compliment to some of the other guys that we have and so I’m really pleased with what he’s done. He’s a super smart guy. He’s got a really high capacity as a learner. You could see good, aggressive hands and obviously, he can run and do all those types of things, but he’s becoming a more complete player. Looking forward to seeing what that looks like when the pads come on. But I’ve been really proud of Tutu, happy for his development. Also, I do want to make sure I congratulate the Nuggets. I mean, awesome job by (Rams Owner/Chairman) Stan (Kroenke) and (Nuggets President) Josh (Kroenke). Their leadership, also with (Nuggets Head) Coach Malone and (Nuggets General Manager) Calvin (Booth)… I’ve been a big fan of those guys, been following them, (Nikola) Jokić, (Jamal) Murray, (Michael) Porter (Jr.), all those guys, (Aaron) Gordon…I mean, you talk about a complete team and watching the way that those guys played gutsy defense down the stretch to be able to close it out and then their guys shining as bright as they needed to. To go 16-4 in the playoffs, it was fun to watch them, and it was pretty cool because I remember being there a couple years ago when they lost to the Suns, being in the locker room with them afterwards and just watching the way that they just kind of stayed to the course. The patience and leadership by the Kroenkes, it was awesome to be able to see. And what else can you say? I mean, it’s really impressive when you look at Stanley Cup, Super Bowl, winning an NBA title now and then being a part of a team in Arsenal that finished second in the Premier League Champions League qualification. Pretty damn good owners right there, so happy for those guys.”
(On the importance of building good habits with a really young roster)…“It’s huge and it’s not exclusive to players. It’s for coaches too because you get competitive and you get caught up in those moments and whatever happened the previous snap, you got to be able to move on, reset yourself, stay nice and neutral. And so, a lot of these things that go on out here are to be able to simulate game-like situations, to be able to build those right habits. You want to be able to create good stress, because that’s where the great growth can occur. But in a lot of instances, that communication, that dialogue, that poise that we’re asking these guys to demonstrate is not exclusive to players, it’s coaches alike and that’s where it gets fun, and you want to just continue to build those habits. And I think being able to do some of the things that we’ve been able to do, you can at least set the foundations a little bit earlier than what we’ve been able to, even going back to 2018 because I think we got a lot of film to be able to coach off of. And especially in some of these full speed settings within the parameters of OTAs, has been really good for us.”
(On the rookies that have stood out to him in terms of their professionalism and readiness)…“I think overall I’ve been really pleased with the class in general. I think when you look on the offensive side of the ball, (WR) Puka Nacua is a guy that’s definitely stood out. I’ve been really pleased with (OG) Steve Avila. He’s obviously incredibly talented and gifted but been able to move him from left to right. I think he’s picking things up quickly. Another guy like a (OC) Mike McAllister has played a lot of snaps up front and he’s done a really nice job on the offensive line being able to move around. I think (DL) Kobie Turner on the defensive side of the ball, he’s done an amazing job. I’ve really been impressed with just his professionalism. He shines. His relentless effort to the football and then being able to just understand the nuances of what we’re asking of him. Those are some guys that have really stood out from that rookie class.”
(On if he’s motivated by the narrative that the Rams won’t compete this year)…“I think you’re aware of it. I think you want to be motivated by being in the moment and being as good as we possibly can be. And I know this, there’s a lot of things that we can learn from when you draw on experiences. (You) can never replicate those things but I think there’s a lot of instances when we talk about being inside out and then let’s model the way and make sure we’re doing that. We got to go play the games and so there’s a lot of narratives that are written. There’s a lot of narratives that were written before last season that maybe thought we were going to be better. That didn’t work out the way that it did, and so whether that matters or not, it doesn’t really matter to me. What matters is how we go about our business every single day. I don’t think you want to be naïve to the fact that our players, coaches, people see that. That’s part of what makes this game great, but we’re motivated by the fact that, hey, let’s go try to help each other reach and realize our highest potential. Let’s be steady in the midst of adversity, let’s handle it the right way. And then when we do end up having some good stuff happen, let’s stay humble and keep moving forward with the right values and principles that guide us. So, in a lot of instances it’s about making sure that you’re enjoying it but continuing to compete the best of your ability with that mental and physical toughness that we want, and I think you’ll see that on display this year.”
(On what he sees from Mr. Kroenke behind the scenes that makes him a successful owner)…“I think I see a consistent presence whether we win or lose that is there to be supportive understanding and wants to do everything he can. You talk about that consistency being the truest measurement of performance. He’s been so consistent and steady. I’m so grateful for his understanding, but his willingness to be able to support us through our successes, but also continue to instill that belief even when we’ve had some decisions, or I’ve had some decisions or things that I know I could do better for him. And so, I think it’s really powerful when you don’t want to let people down, because of the relationships that were built, because of the trust that he puts in us and that he’s put in me, and those relationships mean a lot. That’s what you don’t see, a guy that is so steady. And behind the scenes, I think he’s the most supportive in the moments that you need it the most and that to me is a real display of leadership. And I felt that really from their family in general, both from Stan, from (President of the Denver Nuggets) Josh (Kroenke), all the Kroenke family and it’s been something that I really appreciate, especially as you accumulate more experience, and you realize how special and how blessed I am to be able to work for those guys.”
(On OLB Byron Young)…“He’s doing a good job. We’re throwing a lot at him. I think (Outside Linebackers Coach) Joe Coniglio has done an outstanding job in general, really with a lot of those rookies. Whether it’s Byron, (LB) Ochaun (Mathis), you look at (LB) Nick (Hampton), three rookie draft picks from the outside linebacker spot. But Byron, incredible athleticism. He looks like he’s chiseled out of granite out here (laugh). But he plays with a relentless motor. He’s conscientious, he’s coachable as hell. And I think he’s really going to only continue to get better. I like what I’ve seen, really from all three of those young guys. I mentioned Kobie as a bright spot on the interior parts of the line, but I think all of those guys have done a great job. And Joe Coniglio coaching the outside backers, what a stud he is. What a great job he’s done. Along with (Defensive Line Coach/ Run Game Coordinator) Eric Henderson and (Assistant Defensive Line Coach) AC Carter with those guys on the inside.”
(On if Byron Young and OLB Michael Hoecht will be the starting OLB’s, or if there is more competition)…“Oh no, there’s a lot of competition. When you really look at it, there’s competition. Every spot is going to be earned on this team. Nothing is going to be given. We’ve got a lot of things, even just going through personnel with the coaches yesterday. You’re excited because there’s so many spots where in a lot of instances, you guys could probably pencil in, like what does the 53 really look like at this point in most of the previous handful of seasons? As of right now, there is a lot of spots that are up for grabs. It’s going to be a really competitive camp. It’s going to be a great opportunity for us to continue to evaluate it, and so everything’s going to be earned, nothing will be given and that’s the best part about it.”