Rams Head Coach Sean McVay – Rams-Saints Media Availability – September 15, 2019

Rams Head Coach Sean McVay – Rams-Saints Media Availability – September 15, 2019

(Opening Remarks)

“Great team win. I thought our defense was outstanding from the jump, I thought our special teams responded in a big way from last week. Offensively, really, was a little bit of a slower start other than when we hit (WR Brandin) Cooks on a big play. Had some good drives towards the end of the first half, but to only come away with three points on those two drives, we have to be better there. But, I loved the way that our group responded in the second half. Made a lot of big plays and ultimately, it’s about getting a win as a team, and we did that. Injury wise, (OL) Austin Blythe has an ankle (injury) – we’ll have more information on him tomorrow. (TE) Tyler Higbee has a chest contusion and he’s being further evaluated as well.”

(On what happened to DT Aaron Donald’s back)

“It just tightened up a little bit. He (DT Aaron Donald) returned and he’s feeling okay.”

(On what happened to Saints QB Drew Brees on the play he injured his hand)

“I’m not sure. I think he (Saints QB Drew Brees) just got his thumb – I hope that he’ll be okay. I’m not exactly sure, but it looked like he just had his right thumb. As a quarterback that’s pretty debilitating.”

(On if the Rams looked to capitalize when Brees was out of the game)

“I thought our defense really was outstanding from the jump. They did a great job all day and then I thought they really applied pressure to (Saints QB Teddy) Bridgewater consistently throughout the day. I think you look at the opportunities, you try to close games out regardless. But, anytime you lose a first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback – a guy that’s the all-time leading passer – there’s definitely some things you feel like, ‘All right, we have to make sure we take advantage of this.’ But, I thought, really, just all day our defense did an outstanding job.”

(On what adjustments QB Jared Goff and the wide receivers made entering the second half)

“I think it’s really just getting in the flow of the game. (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Dennis) Allen and the Saints’ defense did a nice job mixing some things up, and it was really – as much as anything – me, the coaches, us settling in to give clarity to the players. I thought the players did that, I thought, really, the big play that we did make to Brandin, just to get points on the board initially when we didn’t start out great, was big. It was a great catch by Brandin and you could really see, as the game progressed, (QB) Jared (Goff) got more comfortable, made big-time plays. How impressive it was for him to sit in the pocket when we were in the empty and hit (WR) Cooper (Kupp) on the in-breaking route there for the big play. He ends up making a great touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks in the tight-red area. He did a lot of really good things and I thought he continually demonstrated that mental toughness, being unfazed by some things that didn’t always go our way as well.”

(On how impressed he was by WR Cooper Kupp’s 66-yard catch and run)

“Very. He (WR Cooper Kupp) looked awesome and it was incredible. I was as impressed with Cooper as you were watching the guys without the ball and how hard they’re working for their teammate to try and get a block and spring it. The strength – he sure looks good, doesn’t he? He looks healthy to me. Man, it’s really good to be able to have him back. He made some timely catches over the middle versus some of their zone coverage structures. (QB) Jared (Goff) had some things collapse around him and it’s good to have him back. He’s been outstanding.”

(On if Kupp’s moves in the open field are an indication of him being fully healthy)

“I think so. I think, really, even last week he (WR Cooper Kupp) made a bunch of plays, he just didn’t have as many opportunities with some things down the field where you get a chance to have a little bit more space. He’s looked great. It’s impressive just watching the way he attacked his rehab. He’s healthy and I think just getting back on the grass, competing with his teammates – it’s nice to be able to have him back with us.”

(On if he was concerned at halftime about only scoring six points on three trips to the red zone)

“No. That was something that we have to do a better job of. We had the one screen – I’ll be interested to look at that – that was a touchdown to (WR) Robert Woods that ended up getting called back. That really ended up hurting us and then, obviously, the turnover. We’ll look at those and I think there were some things that I could’ve done a much better job of to put our players in better spots. You got to give the Saints credit – they did a nice job tightening up there as well.”

(On how he felt OL Jamil Demby played)

“He (OL Jamil Demby) did a nice job. To be able to lose a player of (OL) Austin Blythe’s caliber, that’s a big loss for us. But he seamlessly stepped in. Until I really go back and look at the tape, but it seemed like he did a nice job just fitting in. I think (C) Brian Allen continues doing a really good job of just making great calls, the communication so that everybody’s confident with what we want to try and get done up front. (QB) Jared (Goff) displayed that poise and it really was a great job by Jamil stepping in and I’m excited to really look closely at it to see how he did snap in and snap out.”

(On the offense finding a rhythm in the second half)

“I think really guys just settled in. A lot of that is the result of probably some poor play calls I had early on and then you kind of settle in, you see okay, what type of defensive structures are they activating that’s maybe a little bit different than what we’d seen. We were able to move the ball like you mentioned those last two drives in the first half, but to only come away with three points was something that we said we’ve got to do a better job of, and I think the second half represented a good job by guys closing out drives and coming away with touchdowns.”

(On how he adjusted to Brees coming out of the game)

“I think you just feel the flow of the game. It was competitive, back-and-forth, it got to 6-6 later on in that game and I think just to be able to say ‘Hey, let’s just play each play as it’s own entity, let’s get a feel for it, let’s execute better offensively, defensively continue to play at a high level,’ because it is a big loss when Drew goes out, but they were playing pretty well when he was in there earlier as well. That’s a great offense, the way that they operate, so much respect for them, and I thought really it was a credit to our defense doing a great job and I hope Drew is okay.”

(On being past this week and not having to hear about non-calls anymore)

“You know what? It really wasn’t an issue for us. This was something that our guys were singularly focused on trying to get to 2-0. We knew we had a great football team coming in here, but what happened last year, we’ve kind of moved past that. It’s a new season, there’s new challenges and we’ll enjoy this one and then got to get ready to see if we can find a way to get to 3-0.”

(On if the opening week was about getting rid of the rust and if he saw an improved team in week two)
“It’s hard to say. I think with the way that you plan and the preseason as it is, you’re usually just kind of getting some continuity because you’re not really running a lot of the things that you would normally run. If you play the guys with what’s the normal standard operating procedure, usually you accumulate about a full game’s snaps. I think the goal for us is let’s just get better every week. Let’s continue to progress as the season goes. I think today represented a step in the right direction and we’ll see if against a tough team in Cleveland on Sunday night we can do that next week.”

(On QB Jared Goff’s fumble in the second quarter)

“It was hard for me to see. I knew it was going to be a tight-contested play. Really, I didn’t get a clean look at it, but our coaches in the box, it sounded like they thought that that’s the direction that it could go.”

(On if splitting reps between RB Todd Gurley II and RB Malcolm Brown new normal for the offense)
“It’s hard to say right now. Through two games, I think they both have done a nice job. As the season continues to progress, I think we’ll really find out. Like we’ve said, each game kind of represents a different approach, but I thought both those guys did a nice job making some timely runs in times we had to have it.”

(On if he got a chance to speak with the officials about the block in the back call)

“I really didn’t because it kind of happened so quick and then you’ve got to really be able to move on and see if you can find a way to just respond from it, but I’m going to be interested to look at that and see what it was, because that was going to be a big play for us that has a chance to potentially shift the momentum sooner than what it did, but we can’t do anything about it except for take it to the next snap.”

(On how important it was for him to get Gurley II into the end zone early in the season)

“Well, I think it was important really for our team. You always want to see your guys produce and be able to be rewarded accordingly. He’s a special player, he’s been outstanding for us and I think he’s going to continue to be more and more important and as important really as he’s always been for us.”