Los Angeles Rams Notes: 09/21/2016

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Rams

Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher – Post Practice – September 21, 2016

(Opening remarks)

“It was a good today. Today is a significant day in a game plan week because we get a lot in and we did. It was really good that we got some players back. It was good to see ‘Nels’ (WR Nelson Spruce) run around a little bit, the same with ‘Coop’ (WR Pharoh Cooper). We had some guys who were banged up a little bit from the game who were able to practice. We had a few guys limited on the injury report, but that was it. We’re in good shape, so they’ll take advantage of tomorrow’s day off and come in on their own, study, and then we’ll finish up strong Friday morning and be on our way.

 

“A great challenge, a good football team. The more you look at them, the more impressed you are with them – especially up front. We kind of mirror each other, from strengths up front – O-line, D-line, things like that, playmakers. Unfortunately, they’ll be without their running back, but the way they ran the ball against us last year, it really didn’t matter which running back was playing. We have to play good run defense.”

 

(On if traveling three time zones affects the team’s approach)

“Yeah, we addressed it yesterday. We’ll address it each day. Unfortunately, we get in there late, but we’ll let them sleep and let them adjust. That’s the most important thing – is the sleep and adjust and a little bit of exercise on Saturday.”

 

(On if the 4 PM Eastern Time start changed anything for them)

“No. That would be 1:00 our time, right? That one’s a little easier than the 10:00 AM, the central time – noon central, 10:00 our time. It doesn’t really affect it. We have to deal with the elements, as well. It will be 90 degrees, it’s going to be humid, so we have got to address that.”

 

(On if having Spruce and Cooper back opens up the offense)

“Yeah, it gives us a chance to create some other match-ups, different match-ups than we’ve been creating. We’ll see, we’ll have a better idea later in the week.”

 

(On if LB/S Mark Barron has changed since the team first acquired him)

“In our defense, we’ve traditionally had the ‘box’ safety – we’ve had the free safety and sometimes the down safety. We felt like Mark was better suited for that than what they asked him to do there. Although, I thought he played really well in Tampa while he was there. He was surprised about the move. We’ve kind of morphed into more of a down-safety/linebacker position. He can still do the things in space, if you need, but he’s so talented and so instinctive around the line of scrimmage that, just let him play.”

 

(On if the safety position has changed since he played)

“It depends on the system. Tampa, under (Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator) Mike Smith’s system, now the safeties are a little more conventional safeties where they’re playing quarters or halves, playing more in space than the down guys. But they have a designated down guy. It has changed, just because the offenses are just so much more wide open now.”

 

(On the problems Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston can present)

“It’s the vision, the quick release, the accuracy. He’s got big targets, he uses the heights of his targets. He runs the play-action game really well, you can’t find anything there. And then, if he gets a shot or gets a chance, he’ll pull it down and run it. He’s not a Russell Wilson, but he’s not somebody that you don’t worry about pulling the ball down, because he can extend drives with his legs. We didn’t sack him last year as a rookie, and that says a lot. We put a lot of pressure on him, hit him a bunch, but he kept bouncing right back and put the ball down the field. I thought he played really well against us last year.”

 

(On what percentage of players come in on their days off and what they can learn on those days)

“With the Thursday program that we’ve been on now for a year, maybe 100 percent of them. But they’re on their own, they’re going to come in and take care of themselves – massage and stretch and recover. And they usually get together as position groups and just continue to study.”

 

(On if he agrees with offensive coordinator Rob Boras that QB Jared Goff is making big strides, especially in the classroom)

“That’s a collective feeling, we feel good about where he’s at.”

 

(On how he makes sure the team stays united with the defense performing well and the offense having not scored a touchdown)

“It’s very easily put to the team from the standpoint of the defense is going to need the offense at some point. They’re going to need the offense to score points. You just kind of reflect back to Sunday’s game, this was a three-phase win, we won together. Sometimes special teams will have a mishap, most of the time we’re making the big play to help contribute, but it’s not hard with the personalities that you have. I told them this morning, I was running around the building with the move and everything, looking for some things that I hadn’t been able to find yet for my office. I found a box and I showed it to them – it was full of touchdowns. So we watched some touchdowns today. The defense got a kick out of it.”

 

(On keeping things light)

“It has to be fun, this business has to be fun. Tough losses, you have to get them behind you and you have to have fun or you can’t bounce back. As long as they’re doing the work and focused and executing and doing the things we ask them, it’s okay to have some fun here and there.”

 

(On if that particular issue was to take the pressure off and not press so much)

“That’s what it was, yeah. It happened to be against Tampa Bay last year, too.”

 

(On what he thought of the throwback uniforms on Sunday)

“All around the league, at this time of the year, the early games, the home teams elect to wear, during day games, they elect to wear the lighter uniforms because they’re not quite as hot or warm. We had to take advantage of the home opener and the throwbacks. It was a little additional challenge, but it didn’t affect us. The guys loved them, they love that. Hopefully we’ll break them out again sometime.”

 

(On if he liked the way they looked)

“Oh yeah. I like them better than the uniforms that we wore in the Thursday Night against Tampa.”

 

(On the uniforms the team wore against Tampa Bay last year)

“The hard part is you couldn’t tell jersey numbers of your opponent. They’re substituting on and off the field and you couldn’t see the numbers, couldn’t tell who was coming on and off the field. We won’t have any trouble with that.”

Rams Offensive Coordinator Rob Boras – Post-Practice – September 21, 2016

(On his thoughts regarding the offense in Week 2)

“It was a step in the right direction. Obviously, it’s just a step. We need to take bigger strides. The thing we challenged everybody with is making some plays down the field, and I think you saw a combination of (QB) Case (Keenum) and (TE) Lance (Kendricks), and Case and (WR) Kenny (Britt). It’s hard to drive and score points four yards at a time, and the fact that we pushed the ball down the field, I thought was a good thing. Even if it was defensive pass interference, we’re gaining chunks of yards. You see the run-game starting to come. Obviously, that’s a hard defense to run against…personnel, and then also their scheme. But, you see it’s right on the verge. There were a couple ones…(Running back) Todd (Gurley) had 11, 12, (yard runs) that are potential explosives coming up right there. Again, it was a step in the right direction. We know we need to take some bigger strides, but we’re going to focus on the positives.”

 

(On how concerned he is that the offense hasn’t scored a touchdown)

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“Well it’s concerning, that’s our job, so I’d be ignorant to say otherwise. Again, we see it; the guys are going to trust the process that we’re going. Obviously, the more plays that we have, that means converting on third down and, in the first game, eliminating turnovers. The more plays that we have, the more opportunities we’re going to have to score points. This week is a new challenge with Tampa Bay and the guys have accepted it, they recognize that we’ve fallen short. We’re going to see what happens.”

 

(On if the team throwing on running downs early on Sunday was because of how the defense was lining up)

“Obviously you want to start fast. Our opening series, we went down and got points – I understand it was only a field goal and we wanted a touchdown. But after what we had done the week before, starting that game with a field goal was good for us, was good for everybody’s mentality and for them to understand that we can go there and go toe-to-toe with them. Whether it was run or pass, obviously we’re going to try to take advantage of what they have and we’re going to try to break tendencies. But at the end of the day, we’re wanted our quarterback to start fast and we were determined to get the ball to some guys early and that’s what happened. It’s not away from the running game – again, we can start the game with four run eventually, but that was just what we decided to do that game. Again, we finished with points, which is always a good thing on that opening drive.”

 

(On whether he takes the experience of scoring no touchdowns in the opening two weeks personally)

“We all take it personal – players and coaches. We understand that’s our responsibility – that’s why we’re here, that’s why we came back. Today’s Wednesday, that was probably one of the better Wednesday practices I’ve been around. Guys were in full pads, they worked hard, we were in and out – I thought we were efficient in practice. We understand the challenges and we all accept that responsibility and we’re ready to move forward with it.

 

(On not being able to get RB Todd Gurley unleashed yet)

“It’s a combination, right, it’s the ultimate team game, it takes 11 guys to protect the quarterback, it takes 11 guys to be able to run the football. It’s just like anything, when things aren’t going well in business or in football, it’s not always the same guy. It’s one guy has a break down here, one guy might have a break down there. When we’re going to hit on 11 cylinders, which we’ve done in the past and we’re going to continue to do, you’ll see the success that we’re going to have.”

 

(On what QB Case Keenum has to do to take the next step)

“I thought it was a really good step for him. Again, the ability to push the ball down the field, our completion percentage will get higher – there were some that we all saw – probably three or four others that we complete right there and we love our completion percentage. It’s for all of us, not just the quarterback, not just Todd, just for all of us coaches and players, just keep going in that direction and keep working.  Again, I thought it was a very positive step for Case . He started against that team twice, which is a really good defense and he’s got to victories. Again, it’s a team game and we recognize how good our special teams and defense played. That’s why it takes all three phases.”

 

(On the benefits of having WR Nelson Spruce and WR Pharoh Cooper coming back from injury)

“Obviously those are two young guys that were having a bunch of success through training camp and the preseason while they were able to play. It’s just adding two more weapons to the offense. It’s going to take them awhile to get their legs underneath them. But I think those are two guys that both through college and then the limited exposure that we’ve had with them can produce for us. The more weapons you have, now instead of having a four wide receiver rotation, you get maybe some fresher legs and some other guys playing. It’s exciting to see those guys back out there.”

 

(On how to judge whether QB Jared Goff is getting better when he is not playing in games)

“Again, you have to trust your eyes with what you see out here. He’s getting the scout team reps, he’s getting reps with the offense. Again, it’s as much the classroom as it is out here on the field. Again, through your experience of coaching and just being around football, you have to trust what you’re seeing and how fast his feet are moving and his brain is processing information. We all recognize that it isn’t game reps and game speed, but these are still reps against a really good defense that he’s practicing against – you just have to trust it that way.

 

(On whether he’s seeing that progression in Goff)

“Yes. It’s definitely going in the right direction – without a doubt. He’s accepting everything, he’s going the right way. It’s fun to see the maturation process right there.

 

(On the Buccaneers defense under defensive Coordinator Mike Smith)

“Obviously, it’s a new coordinator that hasn’t coordinated for a while.  He was out of football last year, and then the Head Coach of Atlanta. Going back to Baltimore, he was running the defense. Again, it’s very sound. He’s going to put his players in good position. They’re a talented group on defense. I’ve always thought the world of Coach Smith and what he does. The two regular season games, you see it there with what they’ve done and then those four preseason. There is obviously a lot of wrinkles that he still has that he hasn’t shown yet – that’s part of why we just have to believe in what we’re doing – our rules and our process.”

 

(On how important WR Kenny Britt is to stretching the field on offense)

“Kenny’s one of many guys that we’d like to keep stretching the field with Kenny has played really well the first two games. I think Kenny’s game has elevated and it’s just like anything, when your quarterback, whom ever that is, starts to have confidence in a player he’s going to continually look that way. When the quarterback has looked in Kenny’s direction, he’s produced for us and he’s created separation and made even contested catches. That’s why he’s having success right now. Obviously it’s exciting to see the direction that he’s going – just the relationship that he and Case have created or built over these first two games and hopefully it continues to go in that direction.”

 

(On how Britt has elevated his game this year)

“He’s playing fast, he’s being decisive. I think his technique and everything is really good at the top of the route. Ultimately, it’s just competing every play – you see that in practice, as well as what’s happening on either Monday or Sunday nights.

 

(On getting the ball in RB Todd Gurley’s hands)

“Todd’s a special player. Obviously, it’s easy to turn around and hand him the ball – those are easy. But there’s other times we’re trying to get him the ball in space in the pass game. But he’s such a creative playmaker that any time we can get him the ball in space, it’s good things for the Rams. We’re going to take what the defense gives us, but obviously we need to get him as many touches as we can.”

 

Rams QB Case Keenum – Post Practice – September 21, 2016

 

(On the transition from Week 1 and Week 2)

“Obviously, I think we moved the ball a lot better, really, in key situations when we needed to move the ball. We didn’t punch it in, at times, but we flipped the field. We had them starting inside the 20 (-yard line) quite a bit. Obviously, it helps when you have an All-Pro punter, like Johnny (Hekker). But, we gave him a shot to do that. It was some situational stuff we did well, and did enough. That’s the name of the ballgame sometimes.”

 

(On the team’s need to do to score touchdowns)

“Negative plays in the red zone, whether its penalties, negative runs, sacks, those are all really big mistakes that you can’t make. You have to have a really good play to make up for those. We’ve got to get better at that, we got to get better at red zone, explosive plays, and then stringing together those plays. We had some good plays, but we couldn’t string enough together to put a drive in the end zone.”

 

(On how does the Buccaneers head coaching change alter the team’s preparation or game plan)

“They’re the same, but different. They’ve got some of the same players, but have made some additions on defense, secondary wise, a couple of guys up-front. Obviously, a different scheme, so we got our work cut out for us in that aspect. A little bit different than, say, watching the film last year. Personnel, you can watch the film from last year. But really, you got to focus on them this year, because they have a new defensive coordinator with Coach (Mike) Smith there. A little different too, is he hasn’t been a defensive coordinator for a while too. Preparation wise, we got to do a good job.”

 

(On if he bears the burden of the team not scoring a touchdown)

“I wouldn’t say it’s a burden. The burden for me is winning, and if you were to tell me right now that we’re not going to score another touchdown, but we’ll win every game, I’d be ok with that. I like throwing touchdowns, I like touchdowns, I love winning. I think that’s quite a bit more important, but I believe we’ve got to score touchdown to win in this league. They kind of go hand-in-hand, most of the time. Our defense did a great job last week. Moving forward, we really do…we need to execute on third downs, and in the red zone…crucial areas. I think giving guys chances; they’re a couple of passes that I’d like back, where guys are going to have a chance to score. The one to (WR) Kenny (Britt) there, when (Seahawks CB Richard) Sherman is guarding him, I got to give him a chance. He did a great job winning; throwing it off my back foot. But, I got to give him a chance to make that play.”

 

(On what he likes about WR Kenny Britt)

“He’s got a great mindset during the week. He’s working during the week, and it shows up on Sundays. It’s been really cool to see. I’ve been around Kenny now two-and-a-half seasons, kind of. To really see him turn it on, from this offseason, from us throwing during the summertime, to him getting back healthy, to being the dominant player that I know he can be, it’s been fun to watch.”

 

(On if the time he’s spent with WR Kenny Britt in the offseason is starting to pay off for him)

“Yeah, and I hope it continues to grow that way, too. I think that he’s a guy that is one that continues to show up on film, getting open. As a quarterback, you tend to look towards those guys a little bit more. I think we’re gaining chemistry. It’s like I’ve said all along, the more you do this, the more you see, the more I can watch those guys getting out of breaks, and that non-verbal communication, where I see what he’s doing with his body, and I can know this is where the ball needs to go before he gets there.”

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