Los Angeles Rams Notes: 09/08/2016

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Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher – Post-Practice Press Conference – September 8, 2016

(Opening Remarks):

“Good first day. Actually, because of the schedule and the Monday night (game day), we got two solid days in prior to today, which is officially the first gameplan day. You’re typically on a three-day week from a gameplan standpoint. Today’s Thursday, we kind of look at it as a Wednesday. Got a good session tomorrow, start backing down a little bit, Saturday, then travel Sunday. But we’re in good shape health-wise, and guys were eager this morning. We’re starting to settle down in the building and all their focus is on our opponent—that’s a week-to-week deal. There weren’t any speeches about what we’re going to do this year or anything—it was let’s get to the practice, lets get to the walk-thru, lets get to the first meeting, and then just take one thing at a time. If you do that right, then it gives you a chance to win.


(On whether emotions are heighted because it’s the first game of the 2016 season)

“No, no they’re focused on their work. You have to kind of redirect the younger players — we had all of those players who haven’t played in a regular season NFL game stand up in the meeting room today and there were quite a few of them. You have to explain to them how you get there, and you get there just one day at a time as you push through the week.”


(On preparing for the 49ers changes since their last meeting in the final game of the 2015 season)

“We’re watching a lot of stuff right, now, as I imagine they are as well. But that’s part of the intrigue of the first game — people hold things back through camp, through preseason and they have a lot of things that they like that they put in the first game. So yeah, we’re looking at Cleveland’s defense and Philly’s (Philadelphia) offense — that’s what the coaches are here for — to turn over every stone.”


(On expectations of QB Case Keenum)

“We knew (QB) Case (Keenum), we saw what he can do, we saw how he finished the year (2015), we traded for Case — people forget that because of his ability. He’s done a great job this offseason, Preseason games, not exhibition games, preseason games — he’s ready to go.”


(On QB Case Keenum’s emotions going into Week 1 of the 2016 season—whether he has “any jitters” for his first regular season start in the NFL)

“No, not at all his personality is such that, no, he’s fine. He’s going to be different Monday night than he was in Seattle, or when he had his first start with us — no different”


(On QB Case Keenum’s growth since the end of the 2015 season)

“Every week seeing just more and more command of the offense, which is comforting. He’s going to get up there and make the right decision. The position itself is hard to play, but he’s going to give us a chance with checking in and out of run stuff, changing protections, getting the ball down the field, making plays, extending plays with his legs.”


(On linebacker depth chart)

“We like the young guys, the young guys are coming on, both of them. It’s just a matter of time before they’ll see live defensive snaps. In the meantime, as you know, we face a lot of three wide receiver offenses, so it’s two linebackers and five DBs or six DBs. Teams aren’t normally starting with that group. What teams like to do us, is spread us out and get rid of the football. But we’re happy with both the young guys, both (LB) Josh (Forrest) and (LB) Cory (Littleton).


(On the evolution of offensive coordinator Rob Boras)

“Put him in a really difficult position last year, because he hadn’t called plays. But we all thought he did a really great job. He’s had that experience, not only last year, but throughout the offseason program, at camp and preseason games. We put the coaches in stressful situations on purpose on the practice field, and he’s handles them very well.”


(On the effect of the transition from St. Louis to Los Angeles and looking back at the 2015 season opener versus 2016)

“A year ago we were getting ready to play the Seahawks and we had success in that game. We had a productive preseason and we were able to win that game. It’s just a matter of communicating to your players and to the staff for that matter, what the goals are, and where you need to focus your attention. That’s what they’ve done. I had a conversation with one of the assistants, ‘can you imagine what we’ve gone through since we had the first meeting in Manhattan Beach with the players in March and how many times we’ve moved and how many places we’ve gone’, and they’ve just done a great job with it – it’s nice to finally be settled.”


(On conversations with the rookies regarding their first NFL game)

“Those conversations take place throughout the week with them, probably settle them down a little bit. Monday afternoon, in the meetings before kickoff. But they’re going to be excited, and, to me that’s the biggest challenge when you play in the ‘spotlight,’ if you will, of Monday Night Football, to keep everybody calm and relaxed and keep their pose – they adjust real quickly.”


(On the team’s response to the gameplan following the preseason camp)

“They’ve done a great job, I mean we’ve practiced these things, like everybody else has. Like you’ll see tonight (Broncos vs. Panthers), everybody practices things they just don’t use them in the regular season. Now it’s just a matter of carrying over what we’ve practiced in to the game. On a weekly basis there’s new concepts that go in as you gameplan. This is not an unusual process for us to put things in for the first time.”


(On QB Jared Goff’s role moving forward)

“One of the challenges for the younger players this week, as I told all of them this morning, is to prepare yourself to play without getting (practice) reps. They all come in here from college programs where they got all the reps and now they’ve found themselves in the positions, where they don’t get reps. It’s harder to backup than it is to start. That’s the nature of the National Football League. But Jared has good feel for where we’re at. He wants to play, and I want him to play, but we’re not there yet.”


(On the history of the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams rivalry and what it means to him)

“I’ve been on both sides of it. 1991, here (Los Angeles) playing the 49ers, they were than we were at that time. The following year I was on the other side (49ers) playing the Rams, so I’ve seen both sides of it. As I mentioned to them, (49ers) earlier today on the conference call, the 49ers and the Rams are chasing the Cardinals and the Seahawks right now. It’s a great rivalry. We’ll rekindle it from our fans standpoint, but until we get to that point, which we hope personally that it’s very soon. We have some work to do. But both fanbases, I think the older fanbases, understand the rich tradition and the history with respect to both organizations.”


Rams QB Case Keenum – Post-Practice Press Conference – September 8, 2016


(On his first career Week 1 start)

“It’s exciting, it’s Monday Night Football. It’s a divisional opponent. First time for it to be my show starting out and not just taking over like, ‘Oh crap, send out Case now.’ It’s been something we’ve been prepared for for a long time. I’m excited, I really am. The first time putting on a jersey with ‘Los Angeles’ on the front of it. I get to represent our city and our team. It’s going to be great. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”


(On what the difference is being the starter throughout the entire offseason)

“There’s a lot of differences. When I go to talk to receivers now it’s like ‘Hey, this is how we should do this.
This is how I want it, how do you want it?’ Instead of, ‘Let me go ask somebody else and we’ll see how they want it.’ So it’s good. I think communication is good, chemistry is good. We had a good day at practice today, and I’m going to go watch it and look forward to another day tomorrow.”


(On the challenges they face preparing for the 49ers considering their new coaching staff)

“It is different. It’s a different team than the two games we played against them last year. A lot of the same players, but different schemes. So, that does make it a little bit of a challenge – to go back and maybe watch a different coordinators, defense. You don’t look at personnel, but you maybe look at schemes and what they’re trying to do defensively. It’s like any first game, they can throw anything at you. We’re going to trust on our rules and preparation and go out and play.”


(On if he has to do anything to calm his nerves and not get too excited prior to this game)

“I’m going to get excited no matter what. That’s who I am. Honestly, the first time I get hit is a good time to (say) ‘Okay, here we go.’ I’m not planning on getting hit, and my big guys are not planning on me getting hit (laughs). Maybe I’ll just let them slap me or something.”


(On if he understands the magnitude of rekindling the San Francisco-Los Angeles rivalry)

“I don’t know if I do. I’m new to the area. I don’t have the, I don’t know what you call it, the ‘southern state’ pride that a lot of people have. I think I’ll grow into it and learn. For me, I want to represent the city. The other day, we went up and looked at the Hollywood sign, that’s the first time I’ve been there. I haven’t done a lot of stuff around the city. I have to admit, I haven’t been to Roscoe’s yet and had chicken and waffles. I know, it’s terrible of me. I’m going to have to do that. I’m going to have to grow into being a Los Angelino – I had to learn that, too. It’s been fun.”


(On if he has been to Tito’s Tacos or Tommy’s restaurants yet)

“I haven’t. I’ve stayed out here and been in Irvine. We’ve been working a little bit.”


(On if they’ll rely heavily on the run against San Francisco considering the 49ers run defense last season)

“(RB) Todd (Gurley) is obviously a special weapon to have. I know it’s a different day, different team than last year. They do a great job, they’ve got a great front – they’ve got some new guys up there and some guys that are veteran guys, (49ers LB NaVorro) Bowman, (49ers LB Ahmad) Brooks that are game-wreckers, that we call them, and we’ve got to know where they’re at at all times.”


(On if there’s been any discussion on the National Anthem prior to this game)

“No, we haven’t talked about that at all.”


(On what they key was for him to deal with all the questions he receives about QB Jared Goff)

“I’m still batting 1.000 – every interview I’ve ever done, somebody has asked. So congratulations to you (laughs). It is what it is. I compartmentalize it, the interviews and stuff, people are going to ask what they want to ask. He’s the first pick of the draft, obviously some attention there. I’m just coming out and doing my job and my job is to be the quarterback of this team and get the ball in the right people’s hands and convert on third downs and score points. That’s my job. I’m going to come in every day and work on doing that.”


(On if he’s excited about having the potential to change the Rams’ offense overall by elevating play at the quarterback position)

“I think if you look at any team and, and as the quarterback goes, the team goes. That’s why I love playing quarterback. I love having the ball in my hands. I’ve prided myself in working hard and knowing that I’ve put everything I can into it. If it doesn’t work out, it’s something I did, and I can go back and work on it, fix it and do it better next time. That’s my mindset. That’s why I play quarterback, I love the ball in my hands.”


Rams QB Jared Goff – Post-Practice Press Conference – September 8, 2016


(On his thoughts about not being active this week against San Francisco)

“It’s something that we talked about. There’s a multitude of reasons for it. I don’t know if it’s for one thing in particular, but it’s just what they decided to do this week. I’m just going to be patient, wait until my number is called, and continue to get ready out on the field, and continue to practice as hard as I can. When my number is called, be ready.”


(On how difficult it is to know he won’t be taking reps with the starters)

“I’ve never done that, yeah. So, it is different. My whole life, I’ve been the starter. So I’m used to taking those reps. But at the same time, through OTAs and through training camp, I’ve learned to take mental reps and watch (QB) Case (Keenum) and (QB) Sean (Mannion), and see what they do well, and try to replicate that.”


(On how he gets positive reps without starting)

“Just continue to learn and take mental reps. I’ve never done it before, so I am learning how to do that as well. Just trying to try to learn from what they do well, and then learn from their mistakes. Case has been in the league form for a long time now. I just pick his brain and ask him as much as I can, and get to know as much as I can before my number is called, so I can be ready.”


(On how he maintains a positive attitude)

“I know there’s plan in place, and I know this is all a part of it. And there’s a process. You just going to trust the process, and know that it’s all going to work out. Just continue to work hard and just do the best I can every day, and continue to learn. Like I said, just be ready when my number is called, is the best thing I can do.”

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(On if Jeff Fisher has mention that sitting out, not starting, and learning is the best way to develop as a quarterback; similar to what he did with QB Steve McNair in Tennessee)

“I don’t know, not particularly. I have talked to him, back in April when we went on my visit. I kind of had an idea that they were going to take me. He talked about if that was the case, there will be no rushing. Whenever it’s time, it’s time. If it needs to happen early, it happens early. If it needs to happen a little bit later, it happens later. I’m just going to continue to him and to trust the process, and know that they have a really well thought-out plan in place, and I’m still a part of it.”


(On if he can get reps after practice if he’s no getting enough during practice)

“Oh yeah, you can always stay after and grab some receivers to throw or continue to get mental reps during practice.”


(On what he can get from scout team reps)

“There’s a lot of stuff that we’ll do in scout team that is similar to stuff we run. We get out there and go, ‘Okay, this is like this,’ and that way, you can get reps as well. It’s been a good experience.”


(On if it was any disappointing to know he’s not going to dress for a game in his hometown)

“I’ll play in San Francisco more than once, so no, I’ll be okay.”


(On if he’s been in contact with Eagles QB Carson Wentz at all)

“No, I haven’t. We have the same agent, so we talked about it and I’m excited for him, excited to see what he can do.”


49ers Head Coach Chip Kelly– Conference Call – September 8, 2016


(On his expectations for Blaine Gabbert going into the 2016 season)

“I think Blaine’s work ethic is just outstanding. That was very evident when we first got here. The amount of time he puts into the game he obviously has a very good skill set. He’s big, 6-4, 230-plus lbs., can run, got a strong arm. I think he’s worked very hard at the quarterback position. We’re excited to see him finally play in his first game here.”


(On Gabbert’s ability to run)

“I think any coach will tell you that if the quarterback on the other side has the ability to hurt you with his feet. That’s just another dimension to what they can do offensively. We’re not a quarterback-run team by any stretch of the imagination, but he can get out of harm’s way when the rush is coming. Sometimes you may be in man-coverage and your guys have their backs turned down the field, now the quarterbacks running—it just adds another dimension that defenses have to be aware of.”


(On whether or not quarterbacks should be thrown “into the fire” right away in their careers)

“I think it’s all based on the individual player. Not only that play, but what the team that he has around him. Some guys get thrown in, but they don’t have a great offensive line and it becomes a difficult deal. Other times guys will get thrown in and there’s a good, solid defense on the other side, they have a good o-line, and the guy is in a great situation. There is a set way to do it, I think it’s all based on the individual circumstances of that player.”


(On how important 49ers QB Blaine Gabbert’s mobility will help him against NFC West defenses)

“Our sole focus is on the Rams. So, don’t make me sick and make me think about the other teams. We’re concerned with (DE) Robert Quinn, and (DT) Aaron Donald, and (DT Michael) Brockers, and (DE William) Hayes. That’s enough for me to stay up at night, before I have to think about the other two teams in the league (NFC West). It’s as good as a front we’ll face all year long. The pressure that Aaron Donald can generate from the inside; and then you have the push of Brockers and two outstanding defensive ends in Quinn and Hayes. That’s enough to keep you up at night.”


(On what makes DT Aaron Donald and DE Robert Quinn so effective)

“I just think their athleticism, how quick Aaron Donald is off the ball, his ability to disrupt and get into the backfield. He’s so sudden and explosive in his movements that you obviously have got to be very aware of him wherever, and they do line him up, he’s just not on the right side, or just on the left side, they move him around. They’ve taken advantage of where he is. They get into their odd package and sometime he’s the nose (guard). I think his ability, from an athletic standpoint, just how quick and fast he is, to go along with being stout in there. It’s not like he’s just a small guy. So you say ‘hey, we can run the ball on him.’ He can do it all, and that’s why he’s probably one the most productive inside defensive linemen in the league.”


(On the role of 49ers RB Carlos Hyde)

“I think the one thing about Carlos is he’s an every down back. He’s first, second, and third down back. He’s not a guy that you have to get off the field on third down. He’s great in blitz pick-up. He’s also a threat to catch the ball coming out of the backfield. When you defend Carlos, you have defend everything with him. You just don’t have to defend one aspect of the game. I think in a lot of systems, you got a first and second down back, but then your third down back come in, and that’s the guy you worry about. With us, we’re very fortunate with Carlos that’s he’s an every down back for us.”


(On how to defend Rams RB Todd Gurley)

“I think it starts with team tackling. Very rarely are you going to get one person to get him on the ground. We have to do a great job in our leverage of the running back and we have to do a great job in guys running to the football, playing with great effort because he made such an impact as a rookie. He’s difficult to bring down; I think he’s faster than people give him credit for, maybe. But he’s also such a big, physical runner – you’re going to have to get a lot of guys around him and you’re going to have to gang-tackle him.”


(On his impressions of what Rams QB Case Keenum has shown on film)

“I’m really impressed with Case. You can obviously tell he has got a great command of that offense. He knows all the ins-and-outs of it, he does a lot of stuff at the line of scrimmage and when you have someone doing that, you know that he’s got a real good feel for what they’re doing. He can get them out of bad plays and get them into good plays. He’s a very accurate passer, the ball comes out quick. Sometimes it’s difficult to blitz guys like that because you don’t get home in time, the ball is out very fast, he’s got a real quick release. And then he throws a ball that is very accurate so that guys can catch and run – and I think that, sometimes, is an underutilized thing that people don’t really realize in quarterbacks is, does he put it on the front shoulder and not make the receiver turn, therefore he can continue in his stride and continue to get up field and continue to gain yards after the catch and a lot of that has to do with his accuracy.”


(On if he goes back and looks at the Rams-49ers game in Week 17 of the 2015 season to prepare for this game)

“We’ve watched everything. Everything that’s available to us, film-wise, we’ve watched. We’ve watched every game Case has played, we’ve watched everything Jeff (Fisher) has done. We played him when I was in Philadelphia two years ago – we’ve watched that game. We’ve watched every game.”


(On how 49ers DEs Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner’s developments are coming along)

“Impressive – I know the guys very well. I had the opportunity to coach them when I was in college. To continue to see them grow – both big, tall, long, athletic guys that have done a really nice job since we got back here in April with Arik working around and then after drafting DeForest and getting him in here in May for the rest of our OTAs and mini-camp. I’ve been real pleased with both their progress.”


(On being the head coach of the 49ers)

“It’s been a blast. A lot of fun, a great organization and a great group of guys to coach.”


(On if he’s concerned about distractions with QB Colin Kaepernick’s situation over the last few weeks)

“No, I think we addressed it and, really, our players addressed it about a week and a half ago after the Green Bay game here. Colin had a chance to talk to the team and I think our players and Colin have a great understanding of what’s going on. Our concern is the Rams and football. I think a lot of credit goes to all the players on the team, I think our leaders did a great job and I think Colin has done a really good job with the players on our team, explaining his views and why he’s doing what he’s doing. I don’t see it as a distraction at all.”

49ers QB Blaine Gabbert– Conference Call – September 8, 2016


(On challenges faced adjusting to a new offensive scheme in 2016)

“I think the biggest thing early on, you just have to learn it. The more reps you get, in practice, throughout OTAs, all the mini camps, and training camp—the more comfortable you are in the system. Now were just on to mastering it now throughout the (2016) season.”


(On defensive fronts in the NFC West)

“The defenses that we face in our (division) are tremendous, starting with the Rams this week. Their defensive line, their linebackers, their secondary—play at an extremely high level and play really hard and are well coached. It’s going to be a challenge for us, but we’re going to prepare all week and do our best come Monday.”


(On whether there is a difference when preparing for the first game of the 2016 season versus other games— “unique challenge” with the limited game tape)

“It’s definitely different because you don’t have the breakdowns of previous games, so you have to go back to the preseason games with the limited work that the first team defense did get—then go back to last year and do your best to game plan and prepare that way. Being familiar with the Rams, the coaching staff and the defensive staff is still the same, so from that standpoint we’re preparing like its normal.”


(On facing a defensive lineman like DT Aaron Donald and whether there is heightened awareness of him at the line of scrimmage)

“Aaron is a tremendous talent, and is playing at an extremely high-level. You have to be cognizant of where he’s at because he is so talented up front. But at the same time we have to worry about the things that we can control as an offense and execute the plays that are called.”


(On the next step in his development as a quarterback, and where he thinks he needs to improve)

“I think the biggest thing over the last few years is just, kind of, the maturation process any quarterback goes through early on in their career. There’s ups and downs, but the way you have to look at it is, it’s all a learning experiences, and how you can apply those moving forward in to your current season. Right now, just moving forward, I just want to keep consistent improvement week in and week out, day in and day out, come in, master the game plan, for each respective week, and then just go put the work in on the field.”


(On whether he thinks, as a first year starting quarterback, if he should’ve sat out longer and learned, rather than being ‘thrown into the fire’)

“I wouldn’t change a thing. Being 21, coming in to the NFL, I think I started 15 games my rookie year. It was valuable learning for me. Like I said, there were some obstacles, they were some downs too, and we took some bumps along the way. But at the same time, those experiences that I had early on in my career, I’m trying to apply those as I’m getting older, and maturing as a quarterback for this football team. Anything that I can take from those experiences and apply them here, is a benefit for us.”


(On if he used to watch Head Coach Chip Kelly’s games at Oregon)

“Yes. Chip recruited my brother to Oregon, so I was familiar with what they were doing, and they’re always putting up a lot of points. They were always fun to watch. It was funny just thinking back, ‘Oh what if I could play for Chip, or what if I can be in that system? What can we do.’ It’s funny kind of how things panned out, and now I’m here. It’s been a blast to work with him and his staff.”


(On if he ever put himself into Kelly’s system in his mind before he was playing for him)

“Yeah, you always watch – like when Dennis Dixon was (at Oregon), Darron Thomas, all those guys, when I was in college, watching them play in the system. It seemed very fun, a lot of responsibility was on the quarterback to distribute the ball, you’re throwing the ball a lot. They were always a fun team to watch and to watch on tape.”


(On if those concepts from college have come with Kelly to the NFL)

“The concepts evolve over time and plays change and you doctor specific concepts for different coverages. I’m not really too familiar with what they were specifically running there at that point in time, but from our standpoint, it’s been fun to work in his system. He puts a lot on the quarterback’s plate, it’s a challenge coming to work every day, being on top of all your reads and all your checks. It’s been a challenge to work and he’s been fun to work for.”


(On what he saw from 49ers WR Eric Rogers)

“Eric was doing a tremendous job. It was a tough deal to see him go down and get hurt the way he did. But he’s a tremendous player, he’s going to attack his rehab and come back even stronger because he’s doing some great things on the field and I can’t wait to get him back next year.”


Los Angeles Rams Media Release 09/08/2016

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