Rams Head Coach Sean McVay – Media Availability – October 31, 2021
“Overall, I really liked the way we came out from the jump. I thought to be able to come out on the opening drive and score, get a stop and go right back down the field. I did not put us in very good situation on the fourth down, but I still think it’s a play that we can execute, but I think it starts with me there. But then the defense getting the stop, we end up converting that to get to ten nothing, and then it turns into seventeen nothing after Ernest Jones ends up getting the interception. So, I thought it was really good complimentary football. There was a point we were up 38-0, which is really tough thing to do in this league. Obviously, we’d like to be able to finish the game better than what we did. But I thought that was a really great job by Johnny Hekker in that punt situation and then [Ben] Skowronek being able to down it there. So, that’s a real positive. But there are a lot of things that we can build on, and we have a great challenge coming up ahead of us. So, to get to 7-1 is a real credit to our players. Certainly, there is a lot of work to do and a lot of things we need to get done. I was also really pleased – what a great play by Van Jefferson on the long 68-plus-yard between he and Matthew [Stafford]. I thought that was big for us. And then we punched it in a couple plays later.”
How is Van Jefferson?
“He is good. It was just, he kind of just banged it. Kind of like when you get a bit of swelling in your knee, like a bursa sac. So, he’s going to be okay.”
I did not see Robert Rochell. What was his status?
“He was up as an emergency. He was feeling good enough to potentially go in if we did lose a couple bodies. But we kind of had an extra spot. It was like you are kind of given a 48th jersey, and because he felt good enough if he had to, that’s why we had him. He was more on that fringe and we left him up, but we knew he was not going to play unless an emergency situation came up.”
What did you think of Ernest Jones’ performance?
“I thought he did really well. I thought our defense as a whole were really smothering. I know we see those points on the board at the end, but when you look at the guys that are our starters and our first groups, I thought they did a great job really applying pressure. I thought Raheem [Morris] and the coaching staff had an outstanding plan. But I was really please with Ernest [Jones]. I thought he flew around, and I thought he was able to learn from a couple things early on in the game where he could’ve been a little bit more decisive and a little bit better with some of the concept recognition. But once he settled in, you could see this guy is a football player. I was really pleased with Ernest. He just got a game ball, and it was cool for him.”
Did you second guess taking Matthew Stafford out?
“No, no. My patience was a little thin, but I think when you get to those situations and scenarios, usually I think our coaches would all tell you it’s a champagne problem to be in those spots, but that’s usually when I’m the biggest basket case, because it’s how do you really manage it? You can only get 48 guys up on game day. You want to be smart with your starters. You’ve got a lot of guys if you get injured, and then when it gets to a two-session game, you are thinking, all right, let’s close it out, and to the guys’ credit, they did that.”
As a head coach, do you often know the point spread going into a game?
“I would say sometimes I know about it, but — what was it today?”
“Vegas is good.”
Coming out of this stretch with three games against some team that have been struggling, and now Tennessee comes to town as a little bit stronger team.
“They were a really strong team. I know from some of the crossover we’ve had with them. Every game in this league is difficult, and every single week it’s about playing really well in that period of time that you’re allotted, and I think consistently we’ve done a fairly good job of that this year, Gary, which is why we’re 7-1. But this is going to be a great challenge, and when you look at what they have to provide and players, the schemes, it’s going to be a great challenge. I know just from seeing them, haven’t really dove into the preparation, obviously, but watching the prolific players they have both on offense and defense, it’s going to be a great challenge for us, and certainly is something that can’t wait to get started on that, but we’ll enjoy this for a couple of hours.”
Any update on the DeSean Jackson situation?
“I don’t think there’s any updates on that. I know there’s been some dialogue with some teams, but, again, I’ll be able to have some further clarity tomorrow or when we talk.”
Is there anything in the immediacy coming out of this game that you look at your roster and say, ‘we need to upgrade?’
“I think there are always things that you are looking at. As you guys know, you know, we’re always going to look into different avenues and ways that we can potentially improve our roster, whether that’s out there based on the landscape of the rest of the league. It’s something that we’ll kind of put our heads together and figure that out over the next 24 hours.”
You started today with a pretty focused effort. Is it especially gratifying coming off a week by your standards that had some turmoil?
“I think a sharp start is what we always want, and I was pleased with that. I would have liked us to score on that second drive, and that’s where I kick myself because there’s different ways that I think we could have accomplished converting on that first down as opposed to the play that I called right there, but overall, yeah, I was pleased with our team. I thought they did a good job being able to handle it. Everybody makes a big deal about traveling a couple of time zones. We’ve had three games this year where we’ve traveled the day before and kick off at 10:00 a.m. in our players’ heads. With this being a noon kickoff on Central Time, you look at New York and also Indianapolis. I think that’s a real credit to the maturity, the leadership of our team to be able to say business trip, get up, ready to go, and I think they’ve been ready to go in all three of those games from the jump. I think that’s a real credit to our guys, and really pleased with the leadership of this team.”
Coming into the game, was there anything that you had to add or do differently to confuse a young quarterback like Davis Mills?
“I think you always want to try to be able to blur it and make them make post snap decisions and never give him the look he thinks he has pre-snap. and it’s always about how muddy can you make it and how much can you delay that decision-making process based on whatever concept the offense is running? Specifically, the pass game. I thought we did a great job in some of the pressure situations where you are in known pass downs and being able to attack their protections and get the matchups we wanted, and I think that was reflected in a lot of the sack production we had.”
You mentioned Ernest Jones and some of the ability he has and that flexibility. Is that what you were talking about in terms of mixing those looks up because he can lend to that sort of versatility.
“Absolutely. That’s what we’ll try to do every week. Part of that is a reflection of, okay, what are they doing? How do they want to protect with five- and six-man protections and then also everybody is going to have a plan for 99 and how can we utilize that to our advantage, and so the more matchups that we can create, the better off it is going to be for us and those choker type players that you are alluding to. Ernest is certainly one of those guys, and that’s something that we can build on for sure.”