*Transcriptions from Wednesday's practice: *
Head Coach Ben McAdoo
Opening Statement:Great opportunity to face the red-hot Rams. They're 4-0 away from LA this season and they're 5-2 coming off a bye. They have the NFC's top-scoring offense, eight different starters from the unit we saw last year in London. They're balanced – 30-plus rushes per ball game. (Todd) Gurley is a complete back. He has size. He has speed. He has power and vision. (Jared) Goff is gaining confidence heading into his 15th NFL start. He has a variety of playmakers he can distribute the ball to in (Tavon) Austin, (Sammy) Watkins, (Robert) Woods and (Cooper) Kupp. They have two young, athletic tight ends – (Tyler) Higbee and (Gerald) Everett and a rebuilt offensive line with three new starters.
Defensively, their transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 under Wade Phillips. They have an aggressive, attacking style and they have a lot of speed in all three levels of the defense. They returned 7 of 11 starters from last season and their front is highly disruptive with (Aaron) Donald, (Michael) Brockers and (Robert) Quinn. (Alec) Ogletree and (Mark) Barron are fast, instinctive players and they rarely come off the field. Their secondary is very good in man coverage and they have three strong corners. (Trumaine) Johnson, (Kayvon) Webster and (Nickell) Robey-Coleman. (Lamarcus) Joyner and (John) Johnson are also versatile playmaking safeties for them on the back end.
Special teams – facing their special teams unit is always a challenge. They're very creative. (Johnny) Hekker can throw like a quarterback. (Greg) Zuerlein is among the league-leading scorers and they have three returners that can all put a lump in your throat in the return game. With that, we'll open it up.
Q: How do you explain your comments about CB Janoris Jenkins on Monday compared to what actually ended up happening?
A: Until I had all the information, I was going to err on the high side of trusting the player, protecting the player.
Q: How can you say it was an excused absence if you hadn't spoken to him?
A: Just like I said.
Q: Do you regret trusting the player in that situation?
A: No. Until I had all the information, I'm going to play the high side of trusting the player.
Q: What do you make of having to suspend two guys in a three-week span?
A: That's not something that going into the season I'd ever thought I'd have to do. But the decision was made and it had to be done.
Q: Why do you think it's getting to this point?
A: We like to handle all of our discipline in-house as much as possible and I felt that in these two cases it wasn't possible.
Q: What was CB Janoris Jenkins' reason for not showing up and not calling?
A: We're going to leave the personal conversations personal.
Q: Is that why he was suspended?
A: I'm going to leave our personal conversations personal.
Q: How is this reflective of the head coach with the suspension issues?
A: Well, I mean, it's my responsibility to take action and when you have discipline that needs to be taken care of, you have to handle it. If you don't handle it, that's a poor reflection. I think for the best of the program, the decision had to be made.
Q: Do you think this hurts your credibility at all that you didn't tell the truth on Monday?
A: Again, until I have all the facts, I need to protect the players.
Q: You said CB Eli Apple and RB Paul Perkins were excused on Monday. Had you heard from them at that point?
A: I had had communication with Paul and Eli at that point, yes.
Q: Were those travel-related issues?
A: Travel related for Eli and Perkins. Yes.
Q: What was CB Janoris Jenkins reason for not being here Monday?
A: I'm going to leave the personal conversations personal.
Q: Are travel-related issues an excuse?
A: The players had five days off. I communicated to the players in our team meeting today – I didn't have to give them five days off. I chose to give the players five days off because I felt we needed to get away from it. That's important at this time of year at the midpoint and the bye week. With that, I expected all the players to be here ready to go Monday morning. No excuses.
Q: Is it safe to say that the players will be punished, even those who called you?
A: We'll handle all of those in-house unless we can't.
Q: If there are no excuses, why were CB Eli Apple and RB Paul Perkins not suspended?
A: There was communication prior to the fact.
Q: A lot of these guys are in the defensive back room. Is there a common thread there and is there something going on in that room that concerns you?
Q: What would you say about the perception that you're losing the locker room?
A: I'm not concerned about perception. I'm concerned about reality. To turn your cheek to something that needs to be handled for disciplinary reasons because you're worried about perception isn't a smart thing to do. So I'm not concerned about perception.
Q: Do you sense that the guys are still playing for each other and that they're showing enough that they care about playing for the guys around them?
A: Yeah. I mean, all you had to do was watch our practice today. We had a spirited practice. Guys were flying around. We got better out here today and, you know, when Janoris gets back, we'll welcome him back with open arms. There'll be no grudges and he's one of us. He's one of our teammates.
Q: How much do you view players not being here for practice on Monday and not communicating to you at all a lack of respect towards you personally?
A: I don't take it personal.
Q: Isn't it more of a perception about the fact that players are behaving this way rather than the fact that you punished them?
A: You can't take things personally in this business. You have to take them on a case-by-case basis.
Q: Is this a one week suspension for CB Janoris Jenkins?
A: It's indefinite.
Q: What would be your argument for why you haven't lost the defensive back room?
A: Just watching practice today. We had a good day of practice. We got better here at practice today and that's what I base it on.
Q: You don't feel that these incidents are bleeding into other areas of the roster?
A: I don't even understand that question. What do you mean?
Q: Do you feel that what CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie did and what CB Janoris Jenkins did as far as not showing up and not respecting your rules…
A: Isolated incidents.
Q: Do you think some of this is a product of losing?
A: I feel that when things aren't going the way you want them to from a record standpoint, things get blown out of proportion at times. But, again, we're getting ready to play a ball game this week. Let's talk about the ball game.
Q: You said that when a team faces adversity a man learns about himself. Have you learned some things about your team in the past few weeks that disturb you?
A: Yeah, I don't think we blink. I don't think we flinch. We show up. We had a good practice today and that's encouraging.
Q: You suspended your top cornerback and I'm sure that's not an easy decision. What does that do to the rest of the guys in the locker room heading into the game without a primary player?
A: It provides opportunity to the other players in the locker room and we have to go in with the players that we have.
Q: Did you have to talk to your entire team about this?
A: I addressed it with the team this morning.
Q: Would you like to share your message?
A: Pretty much what I told you. The standards are the standards. The win-loss record doesn't change it. Your feelings don't change it. Travel plans don't change it. The standards are the standards and they're going to stay high and we're going to hold each other accountable.
Q: Do you regret not punishing some players for incidents last year or early this year the way that you're now punishing these guys?
Quarterback Eli Manning
Q: What do you see from the Rams defensively?
A: They're a talented team. They got a good front seven, got a lot of speed. Their corners play well. They do a good job of getting to the quarterback, good job stopping the run. So, we got to be sound up front, know our assignments. They got some good players and we have to win on time in our receivers. But, play a good bit of man and it still give you some opportunities to make some plays.
Q: As one of the leaders, what's your reaction to some of the stuff that has gone on this year in terms of discipline?
A: I mean, it happens, you know. We got to handle our business. We got to make sure we're doing things right and I think everybody knows the reasoning for why they're occurring and we got to, obviously, go about our business and then when guys come back, you don't think about it and you keep going.
Q: Have you seen this many guys getting disciplined this often in the past?
A: I don't think we think much about it. Hey, we got to play a game. We got to go. Guys understand there's rules. You have to follow them and we have to handle our business.
Q: Do you understand the reasoning for why this is happening and what do you think is the reason?
A: There's been two of them. Both of them had their reasons. I'm sure coach (Ben McAdoo) talked to you about those things and, hey, our job is to play the game. Go out there. Be here for practice. Be here for everything we're supposed to be doing and go out there and compete.
Q: A couple of your former teammates have said it's up to you guys to play for each other. Do you sense that that's been missing this year?
A: No. I think guys are competing and guys are playing their tails off. We've lost some close games. We've lost some. We've had some things not go our way, so we're just trying to figure out how we're going to be able to hang in there, keep games close and win some tight football games. Guys are playing for each other. Guys are doing everything they've been asked to do and we just have to do a little bit better.
Q: Coming off the bye week, are you able to start fresh offensively?
A: I think it's just a time to, hey, get a little rest, understand the circumstances we're going through, but understand what we have, be excited about our opportunities to go out there and compete every week and excited about just figuring out what guys do well, how can we put them in a position to do the things they do well so we can be successful as a team and as an offense.
Q: How disappointing is it for you that two of the veteran guys got suspended?
A: Hey, you know, still it's about the team. It's about everybody coming together. The guys that are here this week. We got a lot of guys who are paid to play and we're going to go out there and go play and go find a way to get a win.
Q: What do you say about the perception that it's a lack of respect towards Ben McAdoo?
A: No. I don't think that's the case. I don't think it's a deal on purpose trying to break rules or trying to do anything. I think it's just some unfortunate events.
Q: Do you think this is happening because of the record?
A: I don't think so. I think it's just been a couple cases of stuff gone wrong and you're put in a position that you have to discipline them.
Q: When you say "stuff gone wrong" what do you mean? It's significant enough that guys have been suspended.
A: Well, you have to ask the guys or coach (Ben) McAdoo or ask the guys what exactly went wrong. I don't know the full story of everything.
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
*Q: What was your reaction to the Janoris Jenkins suspension? *
A: I couldn't believe it because I know what kind of guy Jackrabbit is. He's a guy that comes in here every day and he competes with the best. He shows all of us in the locker room what a real competitor is. So not knowing the situation, I really don't know, to be honest.
Q: Have you ever seen anything like this?
A: Nah, never. I think the people that got suspended got to take ownership to it. They got to own what they do. There is consequences to everything you do. Whether you feel like you're right or wrong, there are certain ways to handle things and if you do it the wrong way, you got to pay for it.
Q: The perception is it is a lack of respect towards Ben (McAdoo).
A: Nah, you can't say that. If that was the case, it would be haywire, a lot of chaos. I think guys show up to work every day with the same energy, with the same mindset of coming out here and competing. So it's definitely not disrespect.
Q: Is it just a coincidence that it was two defensive backs?
A: Definitely, definitely. You can't pinpoint who it's falling upon. I just think it's been that type of year. All you can do is keep going out and just try to finish it the right way.
*Q: How much does the frustration of being 1-6 play into this? *
A: Very. You've been losing, you get guys suspended, you're not always at your best when you're on the field. That's very frustrating, especially when you know what you're capable of doing.
*Q: Do you think the losing has contributed to this stuff? *
A: Nah, nah man. At the end of the day, we come here every day with the same mindset. Like I said, losing makes you that much more hungry to win. At the end of the day, this is a profession and we want to win but we just got to find a way.
Q: When you came back did you address your teammates?
A: Of course.
Q: What did you say?
A: I apologized, but for the most part I just thanked them for not allowing a situation that really got out of control that really shouldn't have even got like that not affect all of this and still go out there and play. I told them I was sorry and I'm glad to be back and all of them accepted that.
Q: Have you heard from Janoris yet?
A: Yeah, that's my partner. I talk to him, but it ain't going to be about football. It's just off the field. As long as you're good and you hit him with a text, he'll hit you back. He said I'm good, you leave it at that.
*Q: He didn't address the team though yet? *
A: No. I'm quite sure throughout the week he'll reach out to us because at the end of the day, we know what he means to us on that field and to lose him is a big blow. But I know he'll text the group just like I did before the game and during the week and say y'all go out there and do what you're supposed to do.
Q: What was the message from coach today?
A: Just that everybody has to be held to a standard. At the end of the day, we're professionals and we got to act like it.
Q: Did Janoris explain what happened?
A: Nah, I didn't talk to him about it.
*Q: Does he seem upset at all? *
A: Nah, nah, nah. He is in good spirits from what I can tell.
*Q: How are you guys going to consistently win games with the way you're currently comprised? *
A: I can't answer that, man. All I can tell is we just got to go out there and keep fighting. I think every man has to play with a little more something. Get above the X's and O's and find a way.
Q: Will you step in for Janoris now?
A: Nah, I don't know. That ain't my decision. I'm just out there grinding every day. You say do this, I'm going to go do it. If you say sit down, I'm going to sit down. It is what it is.
Safety Landon Collins
Q: How are the Rams?
A: Fast. Fast and explosive. They definitely rely on (Todd) Gurley and it's big. It's big. We got to stop him. We stop him, we got a chance.
Q: When guys are getting suspended for breaking team rules, does that make you frustrated with teammates that they are putting you in a position to answer these questions?
A: No. Stuff happens. I don't look at it as that. There's two different things that happened with the two suspensions that happened this year. Like I said, things happen within the organization that you have to just face and coach (Ben McAdoo) just has to keep his foot down. If he's going to keep his foot down and be stern, you have to just follow the rules.
Q: You had no issue with the suspension?
A: I wish (Janoris Jenkins) was here. We need him. We need every guy that we have on this team, but I mean, that's coach. Coach (Ben McAdoo) makes the rules and we have to abide by them.
Q: You've been on a lot of winning teams. What's the challenge of avoiding that this team becomes non-competitive and how important is that to the guys in this locker room?
A: We're going to be still competitive. I'll speak for the defensive side. We're going to be definitely competitive because we're all trying to eat out there. We're all still trying to be gritty even if it's individual in bringing what we need to bring to the field. We're still trying to do that and just be a great team overall.
Q: If you were on the outside looking in and saw that a team at 1-6 that had two players suspended within two weeks of each other, you might look over and ask what's going on with them.
A: That's all you can ask is what's going on. Something wild is going on or some guys would assume people just have a lack of respect for coach (Ben McAdoo). It's not that. It's just bad luck right now, I would say.
Q: So, coach Ben McAdoo hasn't lost you guys as a team?
A: No. Not at all. Not at all. I mean, like I said, those two guys – suspensions happen. It's two different things, but no. We have not lost respect for him. We continue growing with him and trying to be a great team and stay together because our back is against the wall right now. We can't fight against each other. If we fight against each other, things are definitely going to go bad.
Q: Are you disappointed in CB Janoris Jenkins?
A: Am I disappointed in Janoris? Disappointed in him for what?
Q: For not following the rules and now being suspended for a week.
A: I mean, everybody doesn't know the true story. So, we don't know what happened. I can't be disappointed in him. I want him here, but at the same time stuff happens.
Q: You say everyone doesn't know the true story.
A: Everybody doesn't know what's going on. I don't know what's going on. DRC (Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie) doesn't know what's going on. We don't know what truly happened and why he got suspended.
Q: Coach Ben McAdoo didn't explain it?
Q: Tight ends have scored eight touchdowns on you guys this year and I'm sure there have been a variety of ways they've gotten into the end zone.
A: No. There haven't been a variety of different ways. It's been the same formation. The first six times have been the same formation. We had to adjust to it. We finally adjusted to it the last – I think the only one that was a long pass was the one San Diego got. Other than that, I feel most of them were in the endzone, the red zone area and it's been the same formation.
Q: Are teams catching you in zone coverage?
A: Those games it was zone. Yeah. The ones they caught us in.
Q: No other team has given up eight touchdowns to tight ends in NFL history.
A: I never knew.
Q: Was the fact that it kept happening one of those things that you guys knew you had to figure it out?
A: Yeah. We just had to figure it out. I mean, you can only get attacked at what you do best and they attacked our zone coverage we like to do in the red zone and they figured out a way to beat it and now we figured out a way to stop it. So, you got to learn. You learn, then you figure it out, then you keep it moving from there.
Q: How did the bye week help you guys from a health standpoint?
A: Gave us a lot of rest. Gave us a lot of time off. Just to get away from the game. Getting away from the game kind of just eased our mind and eased our bodies. Took time off and just coming back and just going full speed from that point on.
Q: Is there anything special during bye week that guys do treatment wise when they're banged up?
A: Most of the time I know in the NFL, they stay here. They're constantly getting treatment everyday – two or three times a day. It depends on how bad the injury was. They kind of stay here and just continue to get treatment, try to get healthy, get back on the field as fast as possible.
Cornerback Eli Apple
Q: You had some travel issues?
A: Yeah, a little something like that, but I'm back now.
*Q: You missed Monday's work, is that correct? *
Q: Was that weather related? Did the flight get cancelled?
A: Yeah, a little flight stuff.
Q: Did you get here after practice at some point?
*Q: Did you make sure you called in to alert them about that? *
*Q: Did you get disciplined for missing a day of work? *
A: Something like that.
Q: What would you say to the perception that the defensive backs have tuned (Ben) McAdoo out?
A: That's not true at all. It's just unfortunate situations at a time. Just like with the weather or something like that, but it's about getting everybody on the same page.
Q: Why do you think this late in the season everybody is not on the same page?
A: I don't think it's necessarily that. It's just throughout the season, stuff like this happens. Sometimes guys aren't here, sometimes you got to discipline them. That's just a part of being a part of a team.
*Q: I can't remember a time where two guys were suspended for violating team rules in the same season. Is there something else going on? *
A: Nah, there's nothing going on. Everything that happens in house we just try to handle it that way, so it's been a crazy season like that.
*Q: Why do you think you guys haven't tuned him out if this stuff keeps on happening? *
A: We just go week by week. We're out here on the field. We're still doing our job and that's a part of doing your job, just trying to get out here and play to the best of your ability, you know what I mean?
Q: How do you stop (Todd) Gurley and (Jared) Goff?
A: Well, with Gurley, you got to make sure you set the edge, that's always the first thing. He gets out to the edge really well. With Goff, it's about getting pressure in his face and making plays on the ball.
Q: Do you think that your teammates still give a damn?
A: Nah, I think we do. I think we go out there and we're giving it our all. We have fun at practice and we are just trying to get better each day. Whoever is out there, we're just trying to work and get better.
*Q: Do you think there are issues with the defensive coaches then? *
A: There's no issues. We just try to go out each day and get better.
*Q: Ben McAdoo still has the respect of everybody? *
A: He's got my respect. He's got everybody's respect. We are just trying to win games.
Q: Why do you think this is happening then?
A: As a player, I'm just going to go hard every day and give it my all.
Q: How do you respond to the perception that the locker room is fractured?
A: I'm gonna respond just by saying we're going to give it our all each day and just go out there and play our best.
Q: Have you spoke to Janoris?
A: I have not. He's suspended.
*Q: So you can't talk to him? *
A: Nah, I'm just focused on everybody in here now.
Q: When did you get back here?
A: I'm bad with the days. I'm just focused on each day, try to go hard.
Q: Yesterday was Tuesday so you came back yesterday?
A: I'm back now.