Ram-Ones Fan Podcast

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Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher – Post Practice – November 4, 2016

(On how the bye week has helped the team prepare for Carolina)
“Off hand, I know Kansas City’s schedule. (Head Coach) Andy (Reid) has got a great record. I haven’t paid much attention to it, but the things that we stress are, obviously, the things that are timing related, and then penalties. We worked that this week, we talked about it, we’ve addressed it. We’ll start fast, we’ll be emotional, because we’re back home playing an outstanding opponent.”

(On if the team will do anything different defensively, against QB Cam Newton)
“I think everybody structures their plan a little differently against Carolina. First and foremost, you’ve got to defend the run. Then in passing situations, you have to be intelligent with your rush plan, because he can pull it down and run for first downs. Once they get close, they like to use him as a runner. So, we adjust the game plan accordingly.”

(On what RB Todd Gurley has to do in order to improve)
“It’s not a Gurley thing, I think it’s more of a team thing, and then it’s an opponent issue too, because they’re stopping it, they’re loading up. Like I said, we need to get it going. It’s November, and we need to get it going. What bigger challenge we’re going to have getting the run game going against this defense. This defense is really sound, and solid, especially with (LB) Luke (Kuechly) in there. Luke is telling everybody what’s going to happen before the ball is snapped. You got to give him some different looks. We got to finish, hit some creases, get receivers more involved in the blocking, and the concepts, and the schemes, and try to get Todd and (RB) Benny (Cunningham) creases. Run it in passing situations, and throw it in run situations.”

(On if Gurley needs to make any adjustments to his game)
“No, we grade everybody. You’d like to see him make somebody miss, or break a tackle. He should win against defensive backs, especially corners. But, I’m not, by any means, down on Todd.”

(On if he feels QB Case Keenum is eager to improve on his last performance)
“Case is the same every week. He loves to play, he loves to compete, he loves to prepare, practice. I know he’s a little disappointed in two of the interceptions, and the other two we don’t put on him. The week before, he put together a winning effort at Detroit. He’s excited, I know he’s excited, he’s prepared. He gets here before I get here in the morning, and I get in pretty early.”

(On if he feels as if Carolina’s secondary is an area in which the offense can exploit)
“I think we have a good plan going in to be able to mix and match our offense. Their secondary, even though they’re young, they’re improving weekly, and that’s what happens when you get snaps. They’ve gotten a lot of snaps. It’s not one of those games where you say, ‘Oh, we’re going to go after him, or go after him.’ We have to be sound, and the quarterback has to go through the progressions. Their secondary is not the issue. Like I said, just look at the quarterbacks. You have got a young secondary, look at the quarterbacks they’ve faced over the three or four weeks, that’s quite a challenge.”

(On CB Trumaine Johnson’s status)
“Trumaine was limited today in practice, and he’s listed as questionable, as is (DE) William (Hayes) and (DT Michael Brockers) ‘Brock’ and (RG) Jamon (Brown). I think the only we’ve listed as out is (WR) Nelson (Spruce). Everybody else is limited and questionable.”

Rams Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams – Post-Practice – November 4, 2016

(On the challenge of stopping Panthers QB Cam Newton)
“I’ve had some experience being in that division when he came in as a rookie, playing him twice a year. I have tremendous respect for him. When you guys get a chance, if you haven’t seen him before, up front, in person, he looks better than our defensive ends. He’s got a defensive end’s body, he’s 6-6, 260 (lbs.), can run like a defensive back, running back – a great athlete. A lot of those guys like him play in the NBA and this guy’s playing in the National Football League because he’s tough enough to do it. He brings some different things to the game, and I think (Panthers offensive coordinator) Mike Shula does a great job on what they do, offensively, to fit the skillset of his players, including the quarterback. Mike and I were together at Jacksonville, so I’ve known some things and he was there at Carolina when I was at the Saints. There’s still some familiarity of what they’re doing, conceptually, but each year he’s gotten better. As quarterbacks in our league, the guys that can stay healthy and move on through the league, it’s amazing how smart they get, as far as the feel for the game and they turn into coordinators. They’re giving him a lot of freedom to do a lot of checks and a lot of different things at the line of scrimmage. So we’ve got our work cut out for us. We’ve got to play well, we’ve got to play good.”

(On if the attention that has been paid to Newton this week, with regards to late hits, is worth a conversation with the defense going into this game)
“It really isn’t, with our guys, we play a certain way inside the white lines anyway. They really haven’t even focused anything on it. We’re just going to play football the way we are – and our guys play well, we’ve got some good team speed, we’re going to have to play the run really well there. They’re a really good run team and they take their calculated shots. They’ve got one of the tight ends that’s in this league, that’s one of the best pass-receiving tight ends in our league in Greg Olsen. Dynamically, all put together offensively, they pose some big time problems and we’re going to have to be up for it.”

(On Newton speaking with Commissioner Roger Goodell)
“No, we don’t worry about that, we just play ball. We really don’t, we just play football.”

(On how a healthy RB Jonathan Stewart changes what the Panthers do)
“He’s an extremely hard-nosed runner, but people don’t realize how fast he is. We liken him to, in this division, when (Colts RB) Frank Gore was at his best (with the 49ers). We’ve tried to picture that to some of our players that have played against Frank in Frank’s prime, too, that they’re very similar to how they play – great pad level, can run over you in the A and the B-gaps inside the run, but don’t give on him, don’t think that he can’t outrun you outside. He’s a better pass-receiver year after year after year. Again, he’s one of those all-purpose, versatile running backs that we’ve had some experiences with. Now, can we do the same thing with him?”

(On Carolina’s wide receivers having a size advantage on Los Angeles’ cornerbacks)
“We’ve had some experience with that already this year, we had some experience with the Giants. But, really, when you take a look at Tampa Bay’s receivers, Tampa Bay’s receivers were some of the tallest that we could go against in the league, too. Those are just things; we have some tall receivers here in practice, so we get that picture all the time. So that’s no excuse for us, we just have to play.”

(On who sees the most pressure on the defense when playing against a running quarterback)
“It really has to do with what kind of a call we’re in. You would love to always say it’s defensive line, but it’s not, it could be our safeties, our linebackers and our defensive line. Conceptually, our defensive line will be the first ones there on how we go about making sure we balance the rush and have good rush discipline. But it’s all of us and it really, kind of, depends on whether it’s a man call, zone call, pressure call, all that kind of stuff. You can’t predict what you’re going to be in.”

(On if he senses that the players are antsy coming off the bye week)
“It’s fun to see how much energy they have. I’ve been teasing all week long that it brings me back to my day care, managing young kids and all that kind of stuff when I had young kids growing up. And that’s that there’s a lot of energy, they can’t wait to get on the practice field, they’ve been chippy in the locker room – I’m sure you guys have seen some of the battles and the competitions that have been going on all this week. It’s time to play. Now, I would be worried if it wasn’t this way, it would bother me. But I’m not worried about it because they’re ready to play. They’re real chippy, they just need a way to get this release and, hopefully, they’ve saved enough for Sunday to have the release that we want.”

(On the health of the defense)
“What we do is, in all honestly, we don’t worry a whole lot about that. Because if you’re on an active roster, and we’ve done a good job building our roster and we have a very defined ‘next man up’ philosophy. Our D-line is getting healthier, but all those guys can play – our secondary, our young guys have stepped up and done really well, and our linebackers have done very well. We’ve got a lot of youth in that linebacker crew and you’re going to see a few more of those guys get some more playing time now. The bye week was good for all of them. And health-wise, we’re getting close; but again, whoever Coach Fisher says is active, those are the guys we have on gameday and we’re ready to go, no matter who it is.”
Rams RB Todd Gurley – Post Practice – November 4, 2016

(On how excited the team is to play at home on Sunday after coming off the bye week)
“Pretty excited. It feels like it’s been forever since we played at home. We just have to get rid that losing streak and get a winning game.”

(On how hopeful he is that things will start opening up for him during the second half of the season)
“You just have to stay patient, stick to the plan, keep going out there, and work hard – just hope that things open up and I’m pretty sure they will.”

(On if he thinks he’ll see more action in the pass game on Sunday in hopes of exposing an inexperienced Carolina secondary)
“I think that whatever coach calls out there, he’s going to do a good job of putting us in a good situation. Just going out there and doing my job and trying to make a play after catching the ball. Whatever he calls, I’ll be ready for it.”

(On how he spent his time off during the bye week)
“I went back home to see my family and friends. I had a good time.”

(On whether the bye week came at the right time for him personally)
“It felt like it was the perfect time. I don’t know how many away games we’ve had, probably about five and we went on two away games in a row, went all the way to London, and then came back for the bye week. I felt like it definitely couldn’t have happened at a more perfect time.”

(On what stands out to him when looking at the Panthers defense)
“Obviously looking at the last game, probably one of their best games overall. Great, great, physical front seven. Linebackers are great – they know what you’re going to do before the ball…You just have to play your game and make sure that you’re studying them as good as they’re studying you, and just beat your man, one-on-one.”

Zach Welch
Los Angeles Rams | Communications Intern
Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher – Post Practice – November 1, 2016

(Opening Remarks)
“The players took advantage of the break. We didn’t have any issues. A lot of guys stayed behind. As I said, where else would you go – it was great. We got some guys back, guys who stayed behind, that needed treatment, and we’re close. ‘Tru’ (CB Trumaine Johnson) was on the field today, and ‘Brock’s’ (DT Michael Brockers) close – it was a productive weekend. As you say, they always come at the right time. We got a good start on the plan and we’re playing an outstanding opponent. We have a big week ahead of us. ”

(On whether the players were anxious to get back on the field)
“They are excited about getting back on the field. We got back together yesterday, had some meetings, and jogged around, got loose, got stretched out for today and particularly for tomorrow. They’re excited.”

(On Panthers QB Cam Newton and Head Coach Ron Rivera saying Newton may be subject to illegal hits and what he has seen on tape regarding that)
“Well, first off, what head coach is not going to support his quarterback, number one? Secondly, there are hits – illegal hits – that are missed in every game on a quarterback. We’ve got, probably, a half dozen or so on (QB) Case (Keenum) – and I have my own theory on that. They’re doing the best they can to officiate the game. Cam’s a great player, he’s a physical player. I know he understands the difference between being hit in the pocket as a passer and pulling the ball down and running as a runner, because he does run the football quite a bit, I mean, he’s a big man. When you go into a pile or go into the line of scrimmage on a called run, where the quarterback’s purpose is to run the football, then there’s going to be some contact. But those aren’t the things, I don’t think, Cam was complaining about – I think he overreacted to the low hit from (Cardinals DE) Calais (Campbell), which, I’ve heard different things, should have been called, should not have been called. Not that Calais did it on purpose, you just can’t have people on the knees of any quarterback, for that matter. Calais found himself unblocked, stumbled and went in, so I can see Cam’s frustration on that. Across the league, it happens all the time. The league’s priority, from a safety standpoint, starts at the quarterback position. I’ve done a lot of work, through the (competition) committee over the years, protecting the quarterback – there’s going to be things that just aren’t called. At the same time, there are hits on quarterbacks that are legal that are called fouls. The league’s doing the best they can to protect them.”

(On if he’s concerned being the next team to play Carolina after all the attention being paid to this issue)
“I’m not concerned about it, because there’s no rule changes, and our players understand the rules – as do their players understand the rules. So I’m not concerned about it at all. I’m more concerned about him extending plays with his legs and making plays with his arm. He was an MVP for a lot of reasons last year.”

(On what concerns him the most about getting the team back in rhythm after the bye week)
“There are statistics associated with the week off, penalties tend to increase a little bit after a week off. You have a tendency over the years, at times, to start a little slower. But I don’t anticipate that with our guys, they’ve played hard, they know how to practice. I’m kind of excited to get back on the field, it seems like we’ve been out of the Coliseum forever right now.”

(On how QB Jared Goff came out today with his extra work over the bye)
“He was good. He’s good and he benefitted from it, no doubt. We’ll continue to give him the same reps we’ve given him the last few weeks, work him in with the 1s during the preparation week.”

(On if he is happy with the offensive line’s performance)
“I think anytime we’re allowing pressure on the quarterback – although we’ve played some good defenses – and not run the football, all attention goes there. But we’re just going to get better up front. You look around the league, there are some teams that are really hurting up front on the offensive line, from a health standpoint, and we’re in good shape. We’re just going to get better.”

(On what he did to relax over the bye week)
“I worked.”

(On if he senses if the opportunity to win the division is still present)
“Yeah, we do. Obviously, that’s our goal, as is the rest of the teams in the division. But, this thing just becomes one at a time now, it really does. November is an important month to make a move if you’re going to have a chance to plan in January, but you can’t look ahead. You can’t look ahead to December. You just got to focus on each opponent. We got a challenge. This is a good football team. It’s hard to look at the tape and see that they only won two games, but it’s a good football team. We get a sense for watching them match-up against Arizona, because we know Arizona very well, and it’s a dominating game. It was a great effort by them, and a much needed win for them.”

(On if he sees any similar tendencies with Carolina that he also sees within NFC West opponents)
“Yeah, they’re built to run the football and they play outstanding defense and their really talented front seven. They’re hard to run the football against they don’t give up a lot of big plays and they can collapse the pocket. You get behind there, and they make it hard on you. Our focus and our goal going into this week is we’re going to have to play the best run defense we’ve played all year, just because of the way they’re built, and the way they commit to it. That puts a lot of pressure on your secondary, but we’re going to have to commit there.”

(On how has LB Alec Ogletree’s role developed since the start of the season)
“This is his first year as our starting ‘Mike’ and he’s taken it by the horns, and he’s running with it. He’s running the show. He’s the guy in the room right now. He came out with his football pants on today. This thing is important to him, and it’s also important to him that everybody does everything right. From a leadership standpoint and an ability standpoint, I think he’s off to a great start.”

(On the health status of CB Trumaine Johnson and DT Michael Brockers)
“They were out today, so they’re coming on. Probably will be a game-time decision. We’ll have an injury report for you at the end of the week.”

(On if he dressed up for Halloween)
“You know, I did not, actually. I’m probably wearing the same thing tonight that I wore last night (laughter). I missed it unfortunately. We extended an invitation to the players’ and staff’s kids, and we made the rookies sit out in that lounge out there and hand out candy. It was kind of cute last night.”
Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher – Press Conference – October 24, 2016

(Opening Remarks)
“I’m not going to answer any questions with regard to how much sleep I’ve had. But, let’s get to the game. Disappointing, we had a chance to win. You go up by ten, and you have to make some plays and extend the lead – we didn’t. We gave up the obvious interception return for a touchdown. We battled and we just ran out of time, ran out of plays. Just one of those games, you know, if you look back the last two weeks since we left, at Detroit, offense puts up a lot of points, and defense can’t get the job done. Then, I really think yesterday, the defense played well, and played winning football, from start to finish. Offensively, we just couldn’t get the ball in the end zone. You look at a 17-10 game, and you turn the ball over four times on offense, something’s going well for you, and that was the defensive effort and the special team effort, but we just couldn’t overcome the turnovers.

“Here’s where we are. I have not changed my mindset whatsoever with respect to (QB) Case (Keenum) and (QB) Jared (Goff). As I mentioned last night, Jared’s going to get some reps, which is a byproduct of the bye week. We’re moving forward. We have to get some guys back, which we will. We have a chance to be extremely healthy, if you compare the roster after this bye week to the start of the regular season, so that’s encouraging. We’re going to work hard over the next couple of days, as staff – looking at what’s been good and what’s not, where we need to improve. I think realistically, when the guys come back after the bye week, we’ll have a couple of good days of work and then we’ll get ready for the Panthers.”

(On if there is anything QB Jared Goff can do in the next couple of weeks to show that he’s ready to start)
“Like I said, he’s going to get reps. I don’t feel like (QB) Case (Keenum) needs the reps Wednesday and early next week. So, Jared will get those reps, which is good.”

(On why this isn’t an ideal time to make a change at the quarterback position)
“It’s just what I said yesterday, and what Case has done, we won three-straight games with him. Yes, I understand we’ve lost three-straight, but the quarterback position, in my opinion, is not the reason why we lost the football games, nor was it yesterday. At first glance, if you look – oh, he threw four interceptions. You look at the actual plays, and as you guys know, interceptions – you can place blame wherever you want. (QB) Jared (Goff) is going to be our starter (in the future), but we’re going to continue with Case. Looking forward to a good couple weeks of preparation for Carolina.”

(On the play of the wide receivers and if they’re playing up to their capabilities)
“We’re getting more production out them, which is good. Brian (Quick) is making plays, Kenny (Britt) is making plays, but when you playing close games, you got to do everything exactly right, and we didn’t do that at the wide receiver position; nor did we do that at the offensive line position, or the running back position, for that matter. You have to deflect, or be realistic from that standpoint, when you’re looking at the quarterback position. Because if an offensive lineman gets beat on the snap, and the quarterback gets hit and he’s hurried on the throw, if the throw is incomplete, it’s not the quarterback’s fault, it’s the offensive lineman’s fault. That’s just an example. We just have to get better as a team.”

(On WR Kenny Britt running the wrong route that he referenced in his postgame press conference yesterday)
“It was a deep ball that he didn’t expect – he didn’t expect he was going to be (the) primary (receiver). It was not an interception, it was a potential touchdown. Those are the little things, when you lose a game like we did, little things become big things. And that’s what we do as coaches, we address the little things. You have to do the right things all the time.”

(On if he sees potential for personnel changes at receiver or on the offensive line during the bye week)
“No, we’re going to work some of the younger guys in there. We’ve got a healthy ‘Coop’ (WR Pharoh Cooper) as well as ‘Nels’ (WR Nelson Spruce), so they’re going to get a lot of reps, so we’ll see. (WR) Michael’s (Thomas) doing a good job out there on special teams and (WR) Bradley’s (Marquez) an outstanding special teams player. We just have to get more production out of the whole group.”

(On what the reasons are for sight-checks breaking down at the line of scrimmage)
“Understand the whole play – you have the play clock running down, you’ve got defenses that are stemming and moving and then you have a quarterback that turns out and makes a signal, and at the receiver position, you also have to recognize what’s going on, so you might miss it. It’s just one of those things that happened. Unfortunately, it happened at the wrong time. I was proud of the drive to that point, I thought the guys handled themselves really well. We got down there, we got in the plus-territory, got in position to tie the game up. Our expectation was to tie the game up, because time was running down, then we’re going to go into overtime and find a way to win it in overtime.”

(On how he treats the bye week in terms of getting from a losing streak)
“The losses are behind us, we’ll look forward to the Carolina challenge. Everybody has different needs and I think that’s the most important thing, is you address the needs. We have guys that need to rest, we have guys that need some work. At the same time, we do walk-thrus as we move through it, they need to understand some of the areas we need to improve upon. Again, offensively, given the rankings, which are subjective, our third-down stuff has really improved and I’m pleased with that and I’m pleased with where we are defensively – especially as we look at the possibility of getting some guys back. This week is about resting, it’s about recovering – which we say all the time – it’s also about getting away and coming back recharged, that’s probably the most important thing.”

(On if the fast start in the game was a correlation to being in London for the entire week)
“It’s a good football team we played, a good defense, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. It’s just what things that happened in the game. There were opportunities there, there were penalties that I disagree with that were drive-changing, drive-interrupting. But if I had to do it all over again, I’d do the same thing because they were prepared, they were fresh and they were ready to play.”

Zach Welch
Los Angeles Rams | Communications Intern