*Transcriptions from Friday's practice *
Head Coach Ben McAdoo
Q: It looks like you're going to be pretty short-handed again this week. How much does that surprise you coming off of a bye week?
A: No. We'll have 46. We'll have 46 available.
Q: Doesn't give you many options, though.
A: As of right now, yes.
Q: How much does not having Justin Pugh hurt the offensive line?
A: Again, Bobby (Hart) had a good week of practice. He had a productive day yesterday in pads. Expect him to play his best game as a pro this week.
Q: What's going on with LB Jonathan Casillas?
A: He's out this week and we'll take a look at him again next week. It feels like he's making progress. He was out practicing this week in a limited role.
Q: Was he able to do contact stuff?
A: We'll progress to that next week.
Q: Where do things stand with CB Donte Deayon?
A: He tweaked his ankle yesterday. We'll take a look at him today inside and then tomorrow will be a big day for him.
Q: What will you do if CB Donte Deayon can't play?
A: If he can't play, somebody else will play.
Q: Will you use any of your safeties as options?
A: We cross-train some of our safeties inside. So, that's certainly an option, yes. It's not ideal, but it's an option.
Q: You talked about flushing the first half, but how frustrating is it to come off the bye week without so many key guys?
A: You just said it. We flushed the first half. We're going to play with the players who are available. We can't control who's not available for the game.
Q: Did your wide receivers pick up on the offense over the bye week and are they acclimating to QB Eli Manning and the offense?
A: We completed the ball at a high percentage this week in practice. That was encouraging to see. Monday was a good day for us to get out here and get some work. It's always good to get extra work during the bye week. You look at some wrinkles during the bye. Look at yourself. But, it's good to get that extra week, especially when you have some new guys and not necessarily the new guys but guys need to develop chemistry with the quarterback.
Q: What constitutes a good practice in your eyes?
A: Physical, heavy handed, good tempo, you win the turnover battle in all three phases, catch the ball cleanly, it doesn't hit the ground often. On the defensive periods, they catch the ball cleanly, they don't drop it on interception opportunities. The offense catches the ball cleanly, they don't put it on the ground. Zero pre-snap penalties, offense, defense and special teams. When it's the team that you're playing with in the game is up, tempo is a big part of it, too.
Q: When you have a good week of practice, going into the game you expect it to translate, right?
Q: Why do you think good practice hasn't translated to the games?
A: That's what we're trying to figure out.
Q: In the past, have you experienced that when you practice well you play well?
A: Sometimes. Not always. It gives you a chance to have a chance, though.
Q: Did the bye week give you a chance to put in different things on offense to fit the players you now have at wide receiver?
A: Again, you don't reinvent the wheel over the bye week. It gives you a chance to get players who are playing in the game healthy. It gives them a chance to get away from things mentally. And look at some wrinkles. But more so, what you do is you flush the things that aren't going well and you have to make a decision on what things you can fix that can be easy fixes and are you using players the right way.
Q: How much does this Rams team resemble the team you saw last season?
A: Defense, they wreak havoc all over the field, they always have as far as I can remember. They play good defense, they have speed at all three levels. Their defensive line is tremendous, their front seven – they have five of seven of those guys who were first-rounders. Their linebackers can run, they're really instinctive after the football. [Lamarcus] Joyner's a hard hitting safety, he was last year. They played him in a different role, their configuration is different on defense, but they're loaded there. Offensively, they're a little bit different. They still use some short passing game stuff, but it's more off of the [former NFL head coaches] Jon Gruden and Mike Shanahan families. So, they'll match up a little bit. [New Orleans Saints Head Coach] Sean Payton in there, as well, they'll match up their spacing concepts with their downfield stuff and they'll try to make them look the same. A lot of window dressing in the run game to try to give [running back Todd] Gurley a crease. So, they're a little bit different that way, on the offensive side of the ball. But Gurley has been a good player for them, you can't have him wreck the game.
Q: When you look at the Rams offensive line, do you notice the difference tackle Andrew Whitworth has made?
A: Whitworth, yeah, he's a good player. He's done it for a long time, has a lot of experience under his belt and he's coming off of the bye week, so I'm sure that'll help.
*Q: How much of a difference has Jared Goff made in that offense? *
A: Yeah, I think this is his 15th start coming up. Obviously, it's still not a full season under his belt, but you see him learning, you see the confidence that he's gaining. He understands the system, he understands how to work through progressions, he's a natural pocket passer.
*Q: Over the bye, did you examine your schedule from when you leave the practice field on Saturday to Sunday on game day? Was there anything you could tweak there? *
A: Yeah, I went back and looked at was there anything we could do after our Thursday practice from our Friday into Saturday and Sunday, yeah, absolutely. Took a look at some different things when we're traveling west. Is there anything we can do, but our experience on our quasi west coast trip was pretty good. Took a look at our team hotel and when we get there, is there anything we can do. Maybe get them to bed a little earlier or changing up the routine, but we felt right now the best thing to do is trust our plans. We've won a lot of football games doing it, so we're going to stick with it.
Q: You said that they practiced better this year than last year. How so?
A: Yeah, I feel that we are a better practice team this year than we were last year. The tempo has been consistently better.
Q: What did you think of Curtis Grant on defense? If Calvin (Munson) comes back, do you still have enough faith in him to be your middle linebacker?
A: Yeah, we're going to take a look at it and give guys opportunities to play in the game. We are a little thin there at the linebacker spot, so guys will have opportunities to play in a variety of different roles. It depends on the packages and personnel on the field.
Wide Receivers Coach Adam Henry
Q: How much different has it been since the last time we talked to you in regards to injuries?
A: It's been different. Learning curves. Different things as far as the system of the offense, the details, things of that nature. But, the guys are doing well. They're adjusting well.
Q: Have you had to scale back some?
A: No. The offense is the offense. Certain things you can do and try to take advantage of due to personnel situations, but pretty much we see something, we scheme for it and then we go after it.
Q: How much do you have to concentrate more on basics with the guys now than you did before?
A: Just overall everything because you can't leave it up for granted because the guys have been here during the course of the beginning of the year, you know, in training camp. So, you make sure you cover everything. Any little thing, you just make sure you have it.
Q: What does getting WR Sterling Shepard back mean to this group?
A: It's huge because he gives us leadership. He gives us a presence in the room. He's good making plays. He's done that before, so having a guy like that – he brings energy. Brings a big smile and just out here in practice and having fun.
Q: What do you think about the potential of him playing outside more and how that transition goes for him?
A: It goes well. He's been doing it periodically anyway because sometimes he was stuck outside on third down depending on what we were doing. So, he's getting more comfortable there and to use him inside and outside is not a problem. Not at all.
Q: With veteran WR Brandon Marshall and WR Odell Beckham out for the year, WR Sterling Shepard has taken on a bigger role in leadership. Do you think you've seen him take a bigger role over the past two weeks even with the injury?
A: Yes, I have. In the meeting rooms, he's always there. Doesn't matter what happens with, you know, for his rehab or what he was doing. He was always in the meetings making sure the guys are on their stuff and he's enforcing, so today we had some rules that were kind of broken. So, he was making sure guys were getting themselves together.
Q: Is it true that the wide receiver room's system of discipline kind of went away when Beckham, Marshall and Harris were put on IR, but then it quickly started to come back?
A: Just transitioning. Just because the expectations are the expectations in the room. Just because certain guys go down, it's a next man up mentality, so it's all hands on deck. And so, just because you're younger doesn't give you any leeway. That's just what it is, your job is to be a professional and learn the situation of football and the material and do as needed.
Q: Did you give the younger receivers a week to get ready for the discipline system during the transition?
A: No, no. Not at all.
Q: Are Beckham and Marshall in the meeting room at all, or are they just focusing on rehabbing?
A: Rehab because their schedule is totally different than ours.
Q: When you say rules, do you mean just in the receiver room?
A: Yes, there's always rules, but then there's rules. So, there are certain things – you get called out or something by another coach. You get publicly disgraced in the group [laughs].
Q: Shepard is the one giving out the fines in the receiver room?
Q: What do say to Beckham, given his situation?
A: Just as you go each and every day, it gets better. It doesn't make it easier, but you have to embrace the grind and just another step in your stage of life and your progression of life. So, everything happens for a reason, but you don't know why. Not to say if you can take that day back, but it is what it is, you have to go through it.
Q: How do you think Beckham is going to come back?
A: Stronger. Better.
*Q: Landon (Collins) said the other day that Odell (Beckham) came in here and brightened the room and provided energy. How does he help the team in that way even though he is injured? *
A: Just when he's around. He's always smiling and he's actually better than I really thought he would be a couple weeks ago. I was just like wow and as the progression, he's sending me things, text messaging me things like quotes and things like that. So he's done a great job mentally in preparation for this. So it's another challenge for him and he sees it as a challenge. He's a competitor, so he's going to make sure he does everything he needs to do.
*Q: What was that day like for you losing one receiver after another? *
A: I told the younger guys this has never happened in a gazillion years. So the players are like, wow, because I don't really respond to a lot of things like outbursts. So one time as they were going down, Roger (Lewis) turned to me and asked who was in the game and I was like, 'You.' There's nobody else in there. So that's the big joke in the room, like, 'Really, there's nobody else.' But it's just one of those things that really never happens, but it happened so you just have to move forward.
Q: How do you think Evan Engram has done with the adjustment of moving outside?
A: He's adjusting well. He's got a lot of room to grow. He works hard out here, so I know that. He puts in the time, he puts in the work. So I see a good progression with him.
Q: Have you coached him at all?
A: He's still with coach Gilbride.
*Q: Do you guys cross-train at all though? *
A: Not at all.
Defensive End Jason Pierre-Paul
Q: What's hard about bringing Todd Gurley down?
A: Everybody knows he's a very good running back, but, you know, you have to keep your composure, set the edge and that should take care of it.
Q: What's so different about the Rams' offense this year?
A: Look at film – they're doing a great job of executing their plays right and getting up to the ball very fast. They catch teams slipping. That's what makes their offense. They have a very good offense and they got number 30 (Todd Gurley) back there, number 11 (Tavon Austin). All together – the stuff they do. They can't trick your eyes. You got to do your assignments pretty well and that's what we're going to do Sunday.
Q: How much does Jared Goff contribute to that?
A: He's developing, man. He's developing – young quarterback. When you look on film though, he's doing all the right things. So, we played them last year. Last year was last year. This is a whole other year.
Q: How do you think DE Avery Moss has done stepping in due to injuries?
A: He's played pretty well. For a rookie, he's doing a great job. He's got a lot on his plate like all of us do. He's got a lot on his plate. He's just got to do his assignments. Don't try to do anybody else's job and he'll be fine.
Q: Talk about the attitude and the mindset of the team coming off the bye week.
A: We're starting over fresh. We got these games to play. We're going to take it one at a time and start from there. We're in November and we know what happens in November. Good teams fall off and bad teams come up. So, we'll see.
Q: Is it frustrating coming off of a bye week and still having a lot of guys injured?
A: It's not frustrating. It's not frustrating. It's football. Football is football, you know. You can't always count on a guy that's going to be there. It's a team sport. I feel like with the players that we got here, we're capable of getting the job done. Even with 13 (Odell Beckham Jr.) out and B. Marshall, (Kerry) Wynn, you know, all those guys. Even on the defensive part of the ball, too, but at the same time, it's football. So, we got to do our job. We're all professional athletes. That's what we get paid for. We come to work and we got to do our jobs.
Q: Do you have any idea why good practices don't translate on Sunday's?
A: I don't know. I just feel like the main concept now – whatever happens now is just, you got to finish. For me, it's more than just football. I got people that look up to me. Everybody has a role model they look up to, but I know I have my son that looks up to me. My family – my family name is on my back and it's just more than football. Almost lost it, but I'm here. Like I said, I can only play for me and I know the team is going to do a great job of sticking together. Like I said, it's football. We got to move the next man up and that's basically it. So, the next guy has to do better. This is an opportunity. For me to get to this spot where I am today, somebody had to fall off, right? You know what I mean? So, hopefully the guys pick it up. Do what we got to do.