Press Conference 10-27-20 Coaching Staff

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Defensive Backs Coach Gerald Alexander

(LB Jerome Baker has mentioned how QB Tua Tagavailoa is inquisitive and has gone into defensive meetings to ask questions. Has he talked to you at all about the types of defensive coverages he might see at this level? Have you guys had any conversations?) – “I might be low on Tua’s totem pole in regards to defensive information. I have not had the pleasure of having a conversation with him about defense.”

(I want to ask you about a guy that’s probably high on the totem pole for you on S Bobby McCain. We’ve heard from both Head Coach Brian Flores and Defensive Coordinator Josh Boyer the past couple of days about the relationships and the way he nurtures those and how it helps him communicate both in the locker room and on the football field. I want to get your perspective on what Bobby means in terms of bringing guys together and galvanizing that group and that core in your DBs room?) – “I think Bobby has accepted the responsibility of what we want out of the free safety position in being a primary communicator. What allows him to do so is his understanding of the defense and his understanding of not just his 1/11th but everybody, and getting guys where they need to be, in positions to make plays. He’s done a great job of that. Those are things that aren’t reflected on the stat sheet, but it is a very important piece for us to be able to operate defensively. That’s a huge emphasis that he takes pride in, and he does a really good job for us.”

(You got a guy in CB Xavien Howard who has had four interceptions in four consecutive games. What does his impact on the field for this team do?) – “I think anybody on our defense or anybody that has a knack for getting turnovers – that’s our job as a defense is to get the ball back for our offense or possibly even score ourselves. What he does – and not just from getting a turnover, but there are various games where the guy hasn’t had a ball caught on him. Just the fact that he’s back there and doing a great job and when they do try to test him, he’s coming down with the ball, it makes us very opportunistic and obviously feeds our defense in order for other guys to possibly get turnovers as well.”

(I have a CB Nik Needham question. What does Nik need to focus on to make sure he’s at his best? What maybe happens when he’s not at his best? He’s obviously been pretty good recently?) – “I think for that position, the nickel position, again it’s different than playing the perimeter corner, like Nik has experience dating back to last season. For him to continue to develop, there are going to be multiple things we’re going to be asking him to do. We’re going to ask him to play man coverage, we’re going to ask him to play zones, we’re going to ask him to pressure, and a lot of it really has to do with playing with great discipline because there’s a lot of space when you go inside and understanding where your leverage is, especially in man coverage. You’re a little bit closer to your help that’s in the middle of the field that’s present than you are when you’re on the perimeter. Now when you have offenses like the Rams, who present a lot of pre-snap movement, that’s going to test your eye discipline and making sure that your alignment and your eyes are in the correct place for you to be able to execute your assignment.”

(If we can go back to CB Xavien Howard for just a second. Given the role that he’s on with interceptions and given his ball skills, do you sometimes wonder why quarterbacks are still testing him the way they are?) – “I think quarterbacks just naturally go through their progression. They don’t necessarily look at maybe people. If they want to throw him the ball and he comes down with the ball, great for the Miami Dolphins. I think at some point, they are going to look at certain matchups. Especially if we’re in some type of man coverage, they may or may not want to go away from him, or if some just want to see if that’s the matchup that they like. They may like the receiver on ‘X,’ and we’ll see who wins the matchup. If he continues to come down with the ball, I think people are going to second-guess their decision.”

(One last QB Tua Tagovailoa question. As you’ve watched practice the last three months, what has your impression been of him as a player? What has stood out to you as a defensive back perspective?) – “I think there is a reason he was drafted in the first round. He has great skill. I’m pretty sure from the offensive perspective, he’s been developing since he got here. I’m looking forward to what he’s going to do for us; but that doesn’t necessarily chance what our focus is as a secondary. Our job is to get the ball back for our offense.”

(I wanted to ask you about all the screen plays that the Rams use. What’s the key to playing a team that plays east to west and throws the ball laterally as much as they do?) – “I would say setting great edges and maximum effort to the football. You can never assume that one guy is going to have a guy on the ground. They do have a lot of really good players and skill guys who can catch and run, whether it be from the receiver positon to the tight end position. They do a really good job in regards to that; but guys who are setting the edge have to set the edge, especially on the perimeter, and not let the ball get down on the sideline. Then all of the other individuals have to run relentlessly to the football. Even if you are the backside corner or the furthest guy away, you have to run with the intension that everybody in front of you may miss the tackle. You saw a great picture of that in the Seattle game not too long ago.”

(Since CB Byron Jones came back from injury, the numbers have kind of – you guys have become a more effective unit. What does it mean to have both him and CB Xavien Howard patrolling the sidelines and what does that force offenses to do?) – “Byron is obviously an experienced player. I’m not sure about the numbers, but I know when Byron’s in there, obviously the level of communication increases because of his experience. It really helps us all out as a secondary. Having him, and having ‘X’ (Xavien Howard) and having experienced guys at the perimeter positon allows us to eventually just play good defense. Guys are covering guys, and they have the skills to be able to do so, and we’re talking about different things that may present themselves offensively that we’ve prepared for, and we’re communicating things pre-snap, getting everybody on the same page. It’s not just Bobby McCain. It’s also the corners as well. It allows us, for that snap, to play good football.”

(The Rams receiver, Cooper Kupp, is a fun guy to watch. What do you notice and what are some thing your defensive backs have to be specifically aware about when it comes to Kupp?) – “I’ve known about Cooper Kupp for a very long time. Being a grad assistant at Washington, he lit us up in the stadium as a sophomore. I coached against him at Montana State when he was at Eastern Washington. He’s a very skilled player. He’s strong. He does a really good job, especially in the run game, of effort of cutting off defensive ends. He’s a reliable target for (Jared) Goff on third downs and moving the chains, and they like to scheme up some things with him on play-action on shots. He’s a guy we have to be aware of and where he is, especially on ‘got to have it’ situations because he seems to be the guy that they trust the most to be able to come down with a catch.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Outside Linebackers Coach Austin Clark

(Just a quick thing for you. As you’ve watched practice over the last three months, when you’ve seen QB Tua Tagovailoa, you’ve thought what in terms of how he looks? Is he impressive, etc.?) – “Yeah, I think he’s a heck of a player and I’m fired up to see him Sunday.”

(I’ve asked a lot of guys throughout the course of the season about their pass-rushing game and they’ve referenced your name a lot as far as someone who has helped them come along. So I’m curious, when you’re teaching different guys, how much does your approach change with different players? Are there basic principles you start with and kind of evolve based off their skillset? Is it uniform to each guy? How do you approach the teaching aspect of pass rushing with different players?) – “I definitely would say you obviously have some core principles like anything else in terms of your get-off, your stance, your alignment; all those basic things that get you going; but then, yeah, I think it’s kind of like you have your tool box. Everybody’s got different tools and you never know one, which one you need to use in certain situations, and then there’s going to be some guys that just don’t have those tools or they’re better at something else. I think if you take Emmanuel Ogbah versus, say, a (Andrew) Van Ginkel; they’ve got two different kinds of tools and then you throw a (Kyle) Van Noy in there who’s a savvy guy that’s played so much ball that he’s gone against a bunch of different guys different times. So I think you’ve got your core principles, but then it is specific and I think the guys have done a great job so far this year.”

(You just mentioned DE Emmanuel Ogbah. I wanted to ask about him and just really what he’s brought specifically these past three or four games. It seems like he’s really kind of taken off in the edge role. We all remember specifically this past game where he had that I think it was like 28-yard sack, but just what his presence brings there on the edge.) – “I think it brings some versatility and he’s really bought into the concept of setting the edge and playing the run and then getting after the passer and rushing the quarterback. I think that’s the thing that’s most impressive about him and then I think he’s finally getting into a groove for himself throughout the game. The guy studies a lot of tape. He loves football and he’s done a heck of a job so far.”

(I just wanted to ask you, how do you think DE Shaq Lawson has played?) – “I think Shaq (Lawson) – with missing the one game, I think that was tough on him. I thought (against) Seattle, he really brought us some great stuff. He’s getting better each week and excited about him this week.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Linebackers Coach Anthony Campanile

(When you’ve watched practice the last few months and you’ve seen QB Tua Tagovailoa just from your linebacker perspective, what have you seen? What sort of observations have stood out to you and has he approached you at all with any questions to try to understand things from a linebacker perspective – things he’ll face defensively?) – “I think just great leadership qualities. (He’s a) very good athlete (and) a guy that guys enjoy playing with. I’m seeing a lot of great qualities to be honest with you, just standing back and observing and he’s always a very inquisitive guy and really a great kid. (He) has a great way about him. I think everybody in the building feels that way.”

(I’ve got a little date coming up and I need some help. I need to know what to make for dinner for this date I got coming up. I need a nice bottle of wine and I need a nice little quick recipe, if you can give me something for this date I got coming up.) – “This is tough. You start off with a nice little Caprese salad. That’ll be nice. That’ll break the ice a little bit. Do that. A little mozzarella, tomato, basil. You’ll be good with that. Get a little balsamic glaze, too. I think that’ll be a good starter. That’s a nice little starting dish. You can go a lot of ways with that. That’s a tough question, but I – I’m more of a Chianti guy – but as far as the dish, I mean, you can’t go wrong. Look, anything with red sauce, you can’t go wrong. I’ve said that before. I think that’s the key to having a great night.”

(Hard to follow up that question. My wife actually recently put me onto the balsamic glaze. That’s some good stuff, so I can corroborate that. I wanted to ask you about LB Jerome Baker. He sent a tweet out last night that said “It’ll be all right in the end. If things are not all right, it’s not the end.” I’m just curious if you’ve gotten more of Jerome Baker’s philosophical side – kind of the way he motivates through his words or just about Jerome Baker and his personality that way.) – “No, the only thing I would say about ‘Bake’ (Jerome Baker) is he’s a great person. Really a great guy to be around. (He) has a great energy. The players on our team love him. I think he’s a really good teammate and he’ll do anything that you ask of him – not just as a player but as a man, as a person. He’s one of the people I enjoy being around every day, to be honest with you. I’m pretty fortunate that way. My room is filled with guys like that and that’s really a great thing when you can come to work and you feel like you’re going to be around people who are going to make you better, create a great energy and have a great spirit about them. So just on every level, to be honest with you, he really, like I said, has a great way and is a really, really good teammate and a great guy to coach.”

(You needed LB Sam Eguavoen obviously for 49 snaps last week. You’ve been sort of a fresh set of eyes on him this year. Your evaluation of him of what he does well would be what?) – “I think Sam (Eguavoen) – I want to say I said this earlier in the season when we were all speaking, I think he’s really got a very multiple skillset. He can play off the ball, in the box, physical in the run game, has some pass-rush ability. He does a very good job in terms of coverage because he can run and he has some good change of direction, but he’s another guy that brings great energy. I think when you watch him from afar just as a fan, that’s one of the things that he radiates. He’s really a guy that plays with great emotion, great energy. He has a lot of pride in who he is, where he’s from. He’s just got a lot of great qualities and really another great dude, a great guy to be around every day. He will do anything that we ask of him. I love coaching that guy.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Defensive Line Coach Marion Hobby 

(From your defensive line, perspective what have you seen from QB Tua Tagovailoa in practice over the last couple of months? Any observations you’ve made and has he asked you any questions about things defensive linemen might do that he might see in the game? Have you had any sort of conversation like that with him?) – “No, I haven’t had any conversations with Tua. Coming out of camp, he was on the other side of the ball, so I was really trying to make sure them guys stayed away from him more than anything. (laughter)”

(Yesterday DE Shaq Lawson talked to us about how maybe DE Emmanuel Ogbah’s production can help open things up for him. I’m curious just to ask your opinion how that works as far as one pass rusher having success and how that might kind of implement another player having more success down the line?) – “We always say if you’re any good as a defensive end or a defensive lineman, if you’re getting double-teamed, that’s a credit; but you can’t double-team everybody. So I think it’s a situation that most of the time, you’re talking in the world of bookends. Those guys really have to play well together. Pressure from one side equals pressure from the other. Just over the history of football, the number of bookends that played together definitely complement each other as well.”

(I wanted to ask about DT Raekwon Davis. I know he’s battling the shoulder injury now, but how did he play when he had that opportunity to sort of step up and fill that elevated role?) – “I thought he came in the game and he had some good energy. He was excited. He started the first game of the year, if I’m correct – the Patriots. This was his second opportunity being the starter. Just over time, he’s getting more comfortable and becoming more consistent; but I thought he did a good job.”

(I wanted to ask your perspective on Rams OL Andrew Whitworth and just how a vet like him has had such a long career and how the preparation goes into preparing for him and the rest of the offensive line on Sunday?) – “I’ll tell you what, he’s been a great player his whole career, even through his college days playing against him – he was at LSU, I was at Ole Miss; so I’ve watched his career all through college and into the pros. He’s a pro. He’s a savvy vet. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. You can tell he game plans for each opponent. He has a plan. I’ll tell you what, he is one of the best players in this league and has been for a long time.”

(You brought up DT Benito Jones of course from the practice squad last week. He had eight defensive snaps. How did he play in those and what’s his skillset? What does he do well?) – “I’ll tell you one thing he’s brought, you can tell he comes from a good program coming out of Ole Miss. I think Coach (Freddie) Roach and Coach (Mike) McIntyre and those guys on defense over there did a great job with him. He understands the position inside. He’s done multiple things coming out of that package – different alignments and stuff. You’ve got to like Benito (Jones). His work habits are really good. He’s not tall – you don’t like to say ‘not very tall’ – but I’ll tell you what, he’s got good twitch, he’s got good power and he understands the position.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Defensive Coordinator Josh Boyer

(LB Jerome Baker has mentioned that QB Tua Tagovailoa has asked defensive players questions about coverages and different sorts of things over the last few months. Has he done that with you at all? Has he either called you aside to talk about defensive looks or has he gone into any of your meetings with your defensive players?) – “I think it’s with like all young players – not exclusive to Tua (Tagovailoa) – there’s a lot of guys on the other side of the ball that are always asking you, ‘hey, what are you guys trying to do on this?’ or ‘what are your opinions or thoughts on this?’ And I think that’s a good healthy thing, and hopefully our defensive players do the same to (Offensive Coordinator) Chan (Gailey) and the offensive coaching staff, asking them ways that they’re going to get attacked. So yeah, those conversations happen from time to time.”

(There was a sequence in the Rams game last night where they were going tempo and then they slowed it down all the way I think inside the 10-yard line and then five seconds left on the play clock, they ran to the line, ran the play, scored a touchdown. How cognizant are you of that kind of tempo and timing for the Rams offense, that they could play with against you guys next week?) – “I would say Coach McVay (Rams Head Coach Sean McVay) does a tremendous job using tempo, and they use it in numerous different ways. It doesn’t always show up; you don’t know exactly when it’s coming. You have to be ready for it on every snap. They’ve got a good skill group. They’ve got a good offensive line and they mesh well together as a group and a unit, and they’re really, really good at changing it up on you and not just with the tempo of the pace that they’re doing. It’s the same thing – they change the cadence, so they get a lot of guys on hard counts. They do a very, very good job. They put a lot of pressure on the defense, and we’re going to have to do a great job this week of our communication to make sure that the calls are in, guys know what we’re doing, getting lined up quickly and being ready to go and handling if the ball is snapped quick; or if they come out, survey what we’re in, change their call and go. There’s a lot of multiples this week. Coach McVay does a tremendous job with that, has for years, and he puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”

(I wanted to ask you about pre-snap motion. The Patriots obviously used it to great success in the opener. The Rams use it in different ways, but they still use a ton of it. How confident are you that you guys have a better handle on pre-snap motion than you did in the opener?) – “I would say each week is unique to what the offense is trying to do, so hopefully we’ll go out there and we’ll work, we’ll prepare for the things that we’ve seen; and some things that are unseen, we’ll prepare and try to be ready for that as best as we can on Sunday.”

(Yesterday I had a chance to talk to Head Coach Brian Flores about the way S Bobby McCain nurtures relationships and how important it is to him. I just wanted to get your take on what you’ve seen as far as the way Bobby McCain kind of interacts with his teammates and the way he cultivates those relationships.) – “I would say Bobby (McCain) number one is a great communicator, and he has a unique ability to get along with all types of personalities, which in turn helps him on the field handle multiple communications with different individuals. Bobby has been everything that you could want in a communicator. He really quarterbacks our defense, and he continues to work hard at that and he’s a really diligent worker, and that’s just part of his game and part of what we’ve really benefited from Bobby being able to one, nurture those relationships and two, be able to handle communications to numerous individuals.”

(How much do you work on letting the other team score?) – “(laughter) It’s a situation – it’s only come up once in my career. It’s not a situation that you really want to be in from a defensive perspective. Sometimes – I mean obviously it’s a last resort to give you a chance to win the game. It’s not really something that you want to find yourself in, but there are situations that call for the percentages and best odds to give your team a chance to win the game, which ultimately is what we’re all trying to do.”

(I wanted to ask about the injuries that you guys are facing right now at the linebacker unit with LB Kyle Van Noy, LB Andrew Van Ginkel, LB Kamu Grugier-Hill. How do you compensate for that? I know you’re probably hoping to get a lot of them back, but how do you compensate for that and can you talk a little bit about LB Sam Eguavoen and how he performed last time – I believe it was 49 snaps?) – “The thing that we ask all of our guys to do, whether they’re slated to play a lot or they’re slated to back up, is we ask all of our guys to prepare to play a 60-minute football game and to play every snap. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a starter or you’re not. You could be a play away from playing a lot, and I think it was really a credit to Sam (Eguavoen) who again – like I said about a lot of our guys – he comes in and puts in a great day’s work. He prepares. He prepares to play at multiple spots, and then when his number was called, he made the most of his opportunities, brought some energy to the field. I thought he did a good job for us, helped us; but we ask really all of our players whether they’re slated as, ‘hey, you’re going to be in this group, this group, this group’ or ‘you’re a backup in all these groups’ – all of them need to prepare like they’re going to play a 60-minute game, and that’s the way we kind of approach it.”

(I’d like you to play a pretend game for just a second with me. If Rams QB Jared Goff were a left-handed quarterback, how would that change your week?) – “That’s a good question. I’ve been so used to seeing Jared Goff as a right-handed quarterback and that’s where all my focus, time and energy has been. I haven’t really thought if he was left-handed. (laughter) I would say right-handed, left-handed; you’re looking for the same things. You’re looking for what teams do offensively. You’re looking if they have tendencies, the way that they try to attack defenses. You’re going to look at targets, areas where they throw on the field. There’s a lot of things that go into just scouting a particular team. Each week we go into – ‘has this receiver ever thrown a ball?’ ‘Did he throw the ball in college?’ There’s a lot of digging that goes into scouting, so right-handed, left-handed – I’m not so sure how much of that matters. It’s more what plays are they trying to do and how do they execute it and how are they trying to attack you.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Special Teams Coordinator Danny Crossman

(The last time we talked and met, we asked you about WR Jakeem Grant. I just wanted to re-loop to that now that’s it’s been a couple of weeks since that performance. What do you think a really electric – I mean it was his best returning game of the season. What can that do for him moving forward these last 10 games?) – “I think any time you have success, it builds confidence. As we all know, confidence is a strange thing; but most importantly, confidence comes from production and playing well. Hopefully that gives him, and really the whole group, a little bit more confidence going forward.”

(I was watching the Monday night game last night and it seems that the Rams P Johnny Hekker has a different way of holding the ball. A watermelon, I think that’s what they called it on the telecast. Can you give me some more insight into that? What is it about the specific way you hold it and punt it and the way it bounces that gives an advantage?) – “I think the biggest thing, as you said, is when the ball hits, when you hit that lateral ball, it’s more inclined to bounce laterally as opposed to bouncing forward. Most of the time you see guys hitting the ball end over end or from a spiral, where it’s coming down with the nose first. He’s trying to hit that ball on the belly to get more of a lateral bounce, even if it does hit on one of the tips. Johnny is a heck of a player. He’s been a great player in this league for a long time. He really does a great job.  I think you hit the nail on the head, he really did a great job of controlling field position for them last evening.”

(Do you try to catch that as soon as the punt is coming? How do you defend against a punter who really has a really good knack of flipping the field?) – “I think every one of those kicks is different. When you talk about flipping the field, you’re getting a different type of ball as opposed to what we refer as plus-50 balls. I think anytime you have the ball on the ground, you’re at the mercy. Any time you can field the ball cleanly, it’s going to help you.”

(I wanted to ask about S Kavon Frazier and what he’s meant to the special teams units being a guy that plays on all four of the coverage and kick units?) – “He’s done a really nice job. He was a good pick up for us. He has good experience and has a lot of position flexibility, and has really been a good addition for us. He’s one of those guys that’s really settling in on those four phase core players for us. Those guys need to play well, and we need to keep playing better and better as the season progresses.”

(WR Mack Hollins, can you speak on the attitude he brings to the room, knowing his reps offensively are limited, but he’s playing a pretty big role at that gunner spot.) – “He’s doing a good job really on each of the phases. Another guys that plays on all four (core teams) for us. I think the biggest thing is Mack has a great personality. His upbeat personality really transcends and really brings a lot of guys along, when you look at him in the locker room, in the meeting room, out on the practice field. He’s really got a great demeanor and his approach of how he works, and I think that has a lasting impact on a lot of the younger guys.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey

(I’m sure you’re going to get a ton of QB Tua Tagovailoa questions so I wanted to get one in first about the previous quarterback, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Obviously you guys are as close as you can be. A, what are your emotions now knowing the news that you’ve had to help deliver and B, how is “Fitz” handling it?) – “You’d need to talk to ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick) to talk about that to get that answered. He’s the best one to do that and yeah, I’m close with ‘Fitz,’ but guess what? I like Tua. I like Tua a lot and I think he’s got a great future, so I’m excited for him. We do what’s best for the football team all the time. That’s what we try to do, so that’s where we are with this thing right now.”

(So everyone knows that the starting quarterback gets the vast majority of the reps in practice with the first team. Was there a point before he was named starter that QB Tua Tagovailoa cut into that number or got more reps than normal as the backup? And when was that?) – “No. We gave him the same number of reps most every week.”

(What are some of the benefits of having RPO – run/pass options – available as an option as a play, and how does that align with QB Tua Tagovailoa’s strengths, the quick passing game elements?) – “Well, he did a decent amount of that in college. There’s different types of RPOs. There’s pre-snap RPOs, there’s post-snap RPOs. We use some of both but mostly pre-snap RPOs is what we have done. What I remember him doing in college is he was good at reading and seeing that and as time goes on, we can adjust and maybe use a few more of those to fit into what he has done in the past.”

(Obviously coaching QB Ryan Fitzpatrick again was a big reason why you joined the team here. If the organization decided that maybe trading away Ryan Fitzpatrick was a move they wanted to make at the trade deadline how would you kind of take that in and how do you think you would probably respond to that?) – “I can’t speculate on that. I have no idea. I like him. I love having him here. I’d hate to see him go, but somebody would step in. That’s the way this business is. We do what we think is best for the football team in every decision whether it’s who’s here, who’s not here, who’s playing, who’s not playing, who’s backing up, who’s a practice squad guy, who’s not a practice squad guy. You make the decisions you feel like are best for the football team all the time. That’s what we do.”

(I wanted to ask you about the left-handed side of things. When you go to a left-handed quarterback, which as you know is very rare these days in the NFL, what changes for you as an offensive coordinator and what changes have you noticed perhaps for a defense trying to contain a lefty at quarterback?) – “I would think that if somebody – the No. 1 thing that I would think about is if somebody is trying to make a right-handed quarterback scramble, they would want him to scramble to the left. They’d probably have to change that thought process to make a left-handed quarterback scramble to his right. That would be one of the first things that I would think about. For us, we practice things both left and right, so it doesn’t change a lot for us. If we’ve had a bootleg that’s been to the right for ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick), then it’s been on Tua (Tagovailoa)’s wristband every week that he runs it to the left. We practiced it all both ways, so nothing really changes for us.”

(I wanted to ask you about QB Tua Tagovailoa’s Tuesday meetings. They’re with Head Coach Brian Flores, is what he said, but I don’t know if you’re also involved in that. When you do have meetings with Tua and go over film, what are those conversations like and what are you watching? Are you watching games of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick playing? Or Tua in practice?) – “Most of the time you’re watching the team we’re playing that week. We’re talking about how we’re going to defeat them. Right now, we’re only talking about the Rams. That’s all we’re talking about. We’re not talking about anything else. We’re trying to get ready to defeat them and defeat what they do and take advantage of our personnel against them and see how we match up. Those are the things that we’re working on and that’s all that we work on.”

(On that topic of the Rams, we saw DT Aaron Donald on TV last night doing what he does every single week. What’s the best way to get that guy blocked and how does he kind of adjust your offensive game plan?) – “Somebody made a statement that a lot of people want to know where a safety is or where a linebacker is. You want to know where (Donald) is. Is he lining up on the left or the right? Is he lining up on the tackle or on the guard? You want to know where he is and you want to scheme some things to help out whoever’s got him. At the same time, you can’t change everything that you’re doing. You’ve got to depend on our good players playing well against him too. We’ve got to depend on that a little bit.”

(I know coaches try to anticipate every possible situation. I’m wondering over the course of your career, how much time have you spent on not scoring when the other team is trying to let you score, and how much that has even been on your radar?) – “We’ve talked about it. It’s not like it’s something that you consider on a daily basis; but we’ve talked about it. We try to educate our players into the situation that’s at hand. At the same time, you can negate that if you want to and just take a knee.”

(How do you think QB Tua Tagovailoa will do?) – “I think he’ll play great. That’s what you anticipate. You anticipate him going out there and seeing the defense, and knowing where to throw the football and making good throws and making good decisions in the run game, as far as getting us where we’re supposed to get blocking-wise. I expect him to play excellent; but that’s the way I feel about every week going into every game. You think you’re going to play great. You’re disappointed when you don’t score every time.”