(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: The Rams Communications team continues straightforward with its weekly efforts to publish these very important transcripts that feature the remarks of their Head Coach, Assistant Coaches, and “key” players via the questions of the local media outlets that are assigned to cover the team at its practice facility at Cal Lutheran University, in Thousand Oaks.
This edition will again feature Head Coach, Sean McVay, and what he expressed regarding the status of several key players who practiced this week and how they will participate in Monday Night’s Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals on 9/25/23. There’s also much, much more, so as we always recommend, with one of your favorite beverages in hand, pull up to the breakfast table, your office desk, or, one of your favorite easy chairs at home, while you do your reading of what Coach McVay has to say.
[Rams Transcript: Head Coach Sean McVay]
(Opening remarks)…“Okay guys, injury wise the only player that’ll be listed as questionable will be (WR) Puka (Nacua), but it’s similar to last week. He was a participant yesterday, did a really nice job and he’s feeling good and so is the rest of our group.”
(On if he expects Nacua to play on Monday)…“I do.”
(On if he expects Bengals QB Joe Burrow to play)…“Yeah, as of right now, yes. We’ve prepared for that like I mentioned earlier in the week. Whether it’s Joe or whether it’s (Bengals QB Jake) Browning it’s going to be a really great challenge for us. That’s our expectation and we’ll go with that until I hear otherwise.”
(On the reasoning behind traveling back and forth over the next few road games)…“Yeah, there was a lot of dialogue about that. What it boiled down to was let’s keep the players in more consistent elements, their own beds. When you talk to some of the sleep experts and different things like that, we felt like that was what was best. Wanted to be able to get them back. We’ll modify our approach in terms of our weekly rhythm next week, but you know me I’m right here right now. That was a lot of things that we talked about in the offseason. Whatever’s best for the players is always what we’re going to do. That was the thought process. You talk to (VP Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and his group and they do a lot of deep dives and then part of it too is, alright, what are the facilities? Where would we stay? What would that travel look like? That was the thought process there.”
(On if these types of decisions are made before the season starts)…“Oh, yeah. (Director of Football Operations) Sophie (Harlan) and her group do such a good job of the planning, so as soon as the schedule comes out, then you really start to identify, alright, what does it really look like? Whether it’s when we’ve traveled abroad or we’ve stayed in other places, like what we’ve done in Atlanta or we did it in Jacksonville and in previous years, but that was definitely something that we had talked about. That was how we came to the conclusion of let’s come back. Then you got to almost treat it like a combination of a Thursday game in terms of your weekly rhythm in the early parts of it, I would say.”
(On the first time playing Cincinnati since the Super Bowl and how much he addresses that with the younger players who weren’t on that team)…“You don’t talk about that much. What you do talk about is that there is continuity and consistency with some of their coaches that are coordinators or obviously (Bengals Head Coach) Zac (Taylor) was still the head coach, and they still have some players that were a part of that. They still have a lot of players that were a part of that Super Bowl appearance in ‘21. So that’s as far as it gets. Every single year, every game presents new challenges. You look at some of those things, I think you’d be silly not to do that. You know Cincinnati’s going to be rocking. It’s a great atmosphere. They’re a great football team. It’s way too early to get caught up into records and things of that nature. We know how talented they are. We know how well coached they are and so we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
(On if anything stands out to him specifically that was pleasing this week)…“I think it’s their approach. I think the consistency is what I would say is my favorite part about it. I think that ends up being a really true measurement of performance. Obviously we got the result we wanted in week one and we came up short last week like you talked about, but the guys came to work the same way. They’re giving themselves a chance to improve. They’ve got a zest and a love for competing and going through the process the right way. And when you look at last week, I think all those games, and not exclusive to just San Fran, Seattle was the same way. You can learn a lot of things and you can realize, alright, where are those pivot points in the game? And there were a couple plays, some that we can control, some that we can’t control. And how do we really spend our time on figuring out how we eliminate our margin for error on the things that we can control? And then the stuff that we can’t, how do we move forward and not let it affect us? I’ve been really pleased with just their approach and the consistency that I’ve seen and I think we’re getting better and that’s the most important thing I want to see.”
(On what he wants to see from RB Kyren Williams now that he is leading the backfield) …“I want to see him continue to play the way that he’s played. You’ll get an opportunity to see (RB) Ronnie (Rivers) as well. Ronnie’s a guy that we have a lot of confidence in and whether it ends up being (RB) Zach (Evans) or (RB) Royce (Freeman), we’re kind of still continuing to work through that as far as that third back. But I’ve been really pleased with Kyren. Obviously, I thought his contributions in both phases and really when you look at it as a runner, as a protector, and then as a receiver, I thought he really competed at a high level. He’s so conscientious, he’s only going to remember the one play that ends up leading to a tip turnover. But you talk about, alright, what are your fundamentals? And I have all the trust in the world and him being able to learn from it the right way. Like I’ve talked about, when you guys ask me about a lot of our different players, I think the cool thing that I can truly feel is these guys are embodying a lot of the things that we want to see come to life in terms of what we’re looking for in Rams and (I’ve) been really pleased with Kyren.”
(On what he trusts about Ronnie Rivers) …“He did a good job in some of the opportunities that he got last year. I was really pleased with that. I think just the consistent body of work, whether that be through the preseason, in practices, the way he works, his ownership. He and Kyren are similar type players in terms of their build and their versatility, (Running Backs) Ron Gould’s leadership in that room. I just think it’s just continuing to evaluate him and just his overall feel for the game, his competitiveness, and I’ve been pleased with a lot of things he’s done on teams as well.”
(On telling the team that they will be a physical football team during the offseason, what he was trying to communicate at that time and what he sees now)…“I think it’s a style of play, but I think it’s also about the players and you know that. I think we’ve identified a lot of guys that, hey, I see better than I hear. And the way that they play, the way that they compete, the way that they support one another, the way that they continue to strain and strain just a little bit more, that’s powerful. And then when you can continue to show and then reward good examples of what that looks like, then it just becomes, man, if these guys are doing it and some of the guys that have been setting the example are doing it, well this ends up being the standard. That’s what I think the good teams do. I think that’s what we’ve had when we’ve been operating at the levels that we want, but that’s in alignment with what I think the players on this roster are and what we felt like was best and it’s always about those guys and I’ve been really pleased and want to continue to see that growth. I’ve seen it show up in the practices. I saw it show up in training camp in the offseason, and then I think there’s been a lot of really good things that you can look at when you’re just sitting there and you’re watching that silent tape in the first couple weeks that you can really be proud to be associated with it and want to continue to do your part to be able to help them play as well as they can and them playing that hard is something that’s awesome to see.”
(On if it’s easier to see the growth from week to week when you have a younger team)…“I think when you have the right perspective is the best thing and you have guys that have a real open mindset. And so, it’s always about people, but I also think, and you’ve heard me talk about it, I think it’s also about making sure that you don’t lose perspective on the values and principles and what are the things that move you forward the right way? And a lot of the things that you hear me talk about that I’m really pleased with the players, well are you checking the box, whether it be myself or our coaches? That’s what makes it easier to do is because you’re surrounded by the people that do that and I’m a big believer in you become the company you keep. And then when you care about those people and those players and those coaches so much that it’s like, man, I don’t want to let them down more than some of your own selfish goals and ambitions. That leaves your cup a lot fuller.”
(On if he’s stayed in touch with QB Stetson Bennett and when he expects him to rejoin the team)…“I have, yeah and he’s doing really well, which I was really encouraged to be able to hear. I’m not really sure on a timetable with anything and so that’s been the good thing. I got a chance to hear his voice and he sounds really good and that was really cool to hear.”