(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: The NFL’s Week #11 “Game-day” is just around the corner but there is more to talk about per the always informative transcripts that have been issued after today’s practice at Cal Lutheran. Let’s see what Coach McVay has to say about the pivotal “head-to-head” divisional match-up with the Seattle Seahawks and Head Coach Pete Carroll on Sunday. Sit back and relax with your favorite beverage, snack, or meal and read up on what’s in store for the game from Coach McVay’s all-important perspective.
Rams Transcripts – Head Coach Sean McVay – Fri. 11/17/23
[Head Coach Sean McVay]
(Opening remarks)…“Okay guys, everybody will be full. The only guy that’ll be limited will be (DB) Cobie Durant. (We’ll) see how he’s feeling with his stinger that he sustained going back to the Green Bay game and he’ll be questionable for the game. Everybody else should be good to go and the ‘DNPs’ (did not participate) will just be veteran rest days.”
(On if he feels this is the healthiest the team has been since the beginning of the season)…“Yes, no question. Yeah, it is and that’s a good thing because a lot of these guys that we’re getting back, when you watch and especially when you have a chance to really be able to digest the first nine weeks of the season, it’s good to be able to get a lot of these players back feeling good, (LB) Ernest Jones, (NT) Bobby Brown, (OL) Rob Havenstein, (QB) Matthew Stafford. I think it’s really been good for some guys that have played a really physical presence to have a week to get refreshed and rejuvenated, like (WR) Puka Nacua. I think another week for (WR) Cooper (Kupp) and just some of those different types of things. There’s a lot of guys that stand out that you’re feeling like, hey, they’re feeling good and we’ll certainly be excited when we get (RB) Kyren (Williams) back after this week as well. It is probably as healthy as we’ve been since the start of the season without a doubt.
(On how QB Matthew Stafford has looked throwing the ball this week)…“He’s looked really good. He’d be better equipped to tell you. Like I had said earlier, I haven’t really noticed anything. He’s throwing it like the really special talented player that we know. He’s had a great energy. He’s led great throughout the course of the week and looking forward to finishing this week off the right way. Let’s let that lead into a good performance for our group on Sunday.”
(On if Stafford will wear a brace on Sunday)…“I think so, something like that. There are ways that you can adjust it that don’t necessarily… the answer is yes. I think how much it restricts or anything like that, that would be something that he’d be able to tell you, but I certainly haven’t noticed and it’s got some flexibility. It’s not quite like a firm brace that restricts as much as you would think, but I would think so, yes.”
(On the function of the brace)…“I think it’s just to be able to stabilize it so that it doesn’t move past certain thresholds because of what that ulnar collateral ligament is responsible for doing. ‘UCL’ there (laughter).”
(On how he thinks they need to continue to build for the remainder of the season)…“I think you look at it in the nine games… I could give you such a long answer about where I think there’s been a really good amount of positive things and there are reasons. The challenging thing is it’s not exclusive to one thing to where I know we’re capable of playing at a consistently higher level, whether that’s our overall execution, whether that’s schematic driven, whether that’s playing with some guys that we haven’t really been able to… or that we are playing with because we’re missing guys from injury. What I draw confidence from is real tangible evidence of good quality football. Then it’s how consistently can we put that together? Then what does that look like on a week-to-week basis for our players? Then how our best is reflected in terms of defending the opponent or attacking the opponent. I think that the answer is you always want to be able to have a foundation that you can really be able to build on, but this league is ever evolving, whether you’re talking about it from an offensive standpoint and what defenses are doing and what’s the best way to try to be able to attack that. Then on the flip side, how offenses have to attack the landscape of the league, but there is an element of an individual case-by-case given the opponent and the personnel matchups and things of that nature as well.”
(On if he feels the team morale is strong and what he attributes it to)…“Yeah, I do feel that. I think there’s an appreciation. I think there’s a perspective and I think this is a group that wants to continue to take steps, but they truly are present. They know that this is a blessing to be able to do this game. We’re not pleased with where we’re at and that’s not a reflection of those guys being pleased with that. But I think they are genuinely understanding of we can play better and what that’s looked like. And there’s been enough examples in those first nine games and then some of those margins for error of recognizing those opportunities to play together to be able to finish it, those are the things that we talk about. But I just think it’s a real tribute to the players first and foremost. It’s about them. It’s about their consistent approach. I love the leadership of this group. I think those guys, whether it’s the (DT) Aarons (Donald), (LB) Ernest Jones, (DB) Jordan Fuller, you look at (QB) Matthew (Stafford), (WR) Cooper (Kupp), (OL) Rob Havenstein, (TE) (Tyler) Higbee. The guys that were voted Captain, (WR) Ben Skowronek, but then in addition to this good amount of guys that are enjoying, continuing to learn how to really appreciate, let’s play at a high level. And you’re watching their maturation and they’re gaining confidence as they’re gaining experience, but they want to be able to achieve some different things and they know the only way to do that is to be able to continue to go to work and let’s enjoy that, but let’s have the right amount of urgency. I really have been pleased with the coaches too because there’s a lot of ways that you can allow some of the different things that haven’t gone the way that we want to affect that consistent approach and I haven’t seen that at all and I’ve been really appreciative of that because it is a different dichotomy compared to what last year was and you know that very well also.”
(On if there’s a sense of security with having QB Carson Wentz as Stafford’s backup)…“Yeah, there is. He’s done a really good job. I think his immediate ability to be able to grasp a lot of different things has been really impressive. He’s got a body of work and a resume that kind of speaks for itself. But I think the work that he and (Pass Game Coordinator) Zac Robinson have put in… I think you got to give a ton of credit to Zac and to Carson for being able to get him up to speed as quickly as possible. He’s done a great job giving our defense a bunch of different great looks this week, simulating (Seahawks QB) Geno Smith. He did a great job earlier in the week when we were waiting to get Matthew back out on the field of executing some different things that we want to do this week and that have been kind of foundational parts and we’re really glad to be able to have him and so the answer is yes.”
(On if TE Hunter Long will be on the 48-man roster for Sunday)…“We’re still working through those things right now, but it’s good to be able to have him back. He’s had a unique journey where some of it is just out of his control in regard to the way that some of these soft tissue injuries have ended up not allowing him to be able to be available and go compete the way that…he did a great job throughout the off-season program. But (Tight Ends Coach) Nick Caley does a great job with that group. It’s been great to be able to have Hunter Long back. Whether he’s a part of that or not, I don’t know that quite yet but I do know that we expect him to be a contributor at some point this season and glad to have him in our building.”
(On the plan if Durant isn’t available for Sunday)…“I think it’ll be a combination of some different things. You got (Derion) ‘DK’ (Kendrick), you got (DB) Duke Shelley, (DB) Tre Tomlinson is a guy. We’ve seen some of our safeties play at a really high level and so based on some different personnels and some different situations, that’ll kind of be how it’ll unfold for you.”
(On if there’s extra excitement and motivation playing against Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll)…“Yeah, he has. The consistency, a lot of the core principles and values that they operate with are things that I believe to be true too. That authentic enthusiasm and consistency that he brings and the way that he really pours into his players and his coaches and the way that that shows up, the way that they compete in all three phases, it’s really impressive. And I think you want to be consistent week in and week out. But the respect, the admiration that I have for him and for their group is definitely on display and I think as a competitor, that’s what you love. And we know it’s going to be a great challenge and we’re looking forward to it.”
(On if he’s surprised that Carroll is able to maintain so such enthusiasm in his seventies)…“What I’m impressed with is just the consistency over time from him, from guys like (Patriots Head) Coach Belichick, (Steelers Head Coach) Mike Tomlin, (Ravens Head Coach John) Harbaugh, (Chiefs Head) Coach Reid, the guys that have done it and are continuing to do it. That to me is super impressive. And they navigate through the different challenges that present themselves. But there’s a steadiness, there’s a commitment to their core values, but also a flexibility that I think is reflected in how they adjust, whether it be schematically or whether it be connecting with the players with kind of the way that the game is played now. But yes, I’m really impressed and it’s real too. That’s the one thing. The way you watch him run around… And I think that energy, that authentic energy rubs off on those guys and we’re hoping to have a little bit of that ourselves this week.”