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Rams Coach Jeff Fisher, players talk about loss to Saints

Posted Aug 9, 2014

Saints won 26-24 on Friday night

Rams Coach Jeff Fisher opening statement:
“I hope that when you get in preseason games that there’s enough things that take place there that you can learn from and learn lessons and teach from and we got our share today, I’ll tell you that was something. We set out to play a lot of people. The plan was to basically play about 15 to 18 snaps with our starters and that’s about what we got in. We left the offense in just a little bit more because the defense…we weren’t getting off the field. We gave up a couple big drives. Anyway, guys played a little bit longer, but then I called time out, made some subs on offense. So, there were some good things. I’m sure we’ll look at the tape and there’s some things we’re going to work on. We’ve got to tackle better on defense, now granted we stayed fairly basic on defense, we still expect to get off blocks and make plays. So we’ve got to improve tackling and we’ve got to address the penalties, like we always do in the first preseason game, and go through the different situations and the scenarios. A little frustrating that guys battled back and we had the ball first-and-10 on the 4-yard line after that last punt, and then they enforced the holding penalty on the punt. Then we ended up just backing ourselves up and then the false start with 2:03 left and then of course the end, but a lot of good things to learn on. A lot of good lessons in the two-minute offense and two-minute defense. We’ll get some guys back this week. As I told you guys, we deliberately held some people out. We’ll get some people back this week, not that (QB) Sam (Bradford) was held out for medical reasons, but he’s going to play. The only injury of significance tonight was (TE) Mason Brodine and we lost Mason for the season. It’s very unfortunate. We switched Mason over to tight end early in the offseason and did just a tremendous job, working him under the offense. He had a chance to help us and be a swing player for us. It was really a perfect scenario for him, so we lost him to a fractured ankle he’ll have surgery on Tuesday, will be lost for the season.”
 
On QB Shaun Hill:
“Shaun was 5-for-7, made good throws and good reads, got the ball out. We had some communication issues on the one hit, with (OL) Greg (Robinson), but other than that I thought he did a nice job. He has a good feel for what we’re doing, really good feel. Gets us in and out of plays and things like that. He did a nice job on the line of scrimmage in the run game for us, so I thought he did well.”
 
On DE Michael Sam:
“Mike played hard. I didn’t watch him individually, but I saw him on the hurry and the great effort outside the pocket. I saw him involved in a couple other plays. He slanted down, made a play in the run game that stood out, but we’ll watch the tape see how he did. I know he was tired and it seemed like (defensive line) Coach (Mike) Waffle was pleased with his performance.”
 
On OL Greg Robinson’s switch between LG and LT:
“Again, without seeing the tape it’s really hard for me to comment specifically. But, it looked live like he was doing okay. He was making adjustments in the run game. When he got to tackle, it didn’t look like he had any issues in protection, but again I have to look and see who he was going against.”  
 
On if he liked what he saw out of Hill’s performance:
“Yes, we did. Shaun was in complete control. With a bunch of great experience as a backup quarterback that can win games for you, so I thought he did a nice job. We got some runs out and we got some runs called back because of penalties, but we got some explosive runs out of just all the backs. All the backs made some big runs for us. Tre (Mason), of course, had a nice run called back. Shows what we got there, we’re pleased with that position.
 
On what the call was on spike at the end of the game:
“Intentional grounding. If the ball, if the snap from center hits the ground and then you pick it up and spike it, it’s internally grounding. I didn’t see it hit the ground, I saw him mishandle it, but I didn’t see it hit the ground. But it’s correct. It’s the right call, kind of unusual with four seconds left in a preseason game to see that, and then you got a 10-second run off.”
 
On DE Mason Brodine injury:
“We lost him for the year with a fractured ankle, Mason Brodine. Other than that we came through it fine. But I feel bad for Mason because Mason’s worked hard over the last couple years – was active at Oakland and then was on the practice squad all last year. It’s just a very unfortunate part of this game. But he’ll heal up. He’ll be in good hands with Dr. (Matt) Matava. He’ll heal up”
 
On not being afraid to show a fake punt in the preseason:
“No, it’s not the first time I’ve faked a punt in the preseason and it won’t be the last time either. That’s part of what we do and at that point…we knew it was going to be there, felt like we could execute it. But we needed some more offensive snaps, trying to get people looks and look at receivers and things like that and we were just running out of time and just wanted to steal another possession.”
 
On the missed tackles tonight:
“We had some missed tackles we have to look at. We didn’t scheme much on defense, but we’ll look at it. That’s usually what happens the first preseason games – they miss tackles, you miss tackles, you have penalties, you have issues in different situations, and you correct them.”
 
On Sam’s number of special teams appearances tonight:
“He had several snaps on kick return. He was out there deep, now they may have been touchbacks, but he was out there. I’ve said this, Michael is a defensive end, okay. He plays defensive end with his hand down. There’s a lot of talk about Mike being a ‘tweener,’ maybe a stand up pass-rushing linebacker type thing, he’s not done that. It’s rare to find a defensive end playing special teams in the National Football League. They don’t do it. It’s the linebackers that do it, that all the other position groups do it. We have one that’s unique on our team right now in Eugene Sims that plays right guard on our punt team and he’s done it since he got here and he’s done very, very well, other guys don’t. If Michael can find a way into the core group of special teams, in which we’re going to give him every opportunity to do so, that’s going to help his opportunity to make this team, but again there’s not a lot of defensive ends that play on special teams.”
 
QB Shaun Hil on how tough it is not having a game plan:
“That part is difficult. It really is, but they’re not gameplanning us either, so it’s just kind of how it is in the first preseason game. You just go out and read and react a little bit. You go back to your base rules on everything, which is kind of how you try to play it.”
 
On if it is tough to gauge where he is:
“No, I don’t think so. Everything we do is on film, and every time it’s on film it’s evaluated. That’s the way it is in this league.”
 
On if he’s feeling comfortable on the field:
“At times, yeah, but it’s the first preseason game so there’s still some learning for me and some comfort in the offense that needs to come. But, that’s what the preseason is for and I’m very glad that they still have four preseason games. I know there’s been a lot of talk about pushing them back to two, but for young guys or any new guy to the team, having four preseason games is great just to get that experience.”
 
On the offense clicking:
“Like I said, the two tree-and-outs we’d like to have back. Flip the field there at worst-case scenario and give our defense a little break. Other than that, yeah, guys made some great plays out there. The drives that we did get going, we capped off with touchdowns instead of threes so that helped.”
 
On if anything stood about what they need to work on offensively going forward:
“Yeah, there’s a lot of things. I had a one-on-one throw with ‘Quickie’ (WR Brian Quick) on the left side. I’d like to have that one back. It was close but just playing with him a little bit more will help get some of that timing down. I’m sure there’s going to be some footwork things, some fundamental things, some habits that I need to break in this new system, so, yeah, there’s going to be take from it, that’s for sure.”
 
Safety T.J. McDonald on how to judge his performance without a set game plan:
“A lot of it is just first of all your grasp of the defense you’re playing and just being able to create. It’s a good way to get into a routine being in the preseason, just how you get ready for game time, how you can breakdown the feel, the film, how you attack the meeting rooms, how you take it from the practice fields to the field on game day. So it’s just getting that routine, getting comfortable playing on game day and getting ready.”
 
On his leadership role amongst the young secondary group:
“We’ve got a young group with a lot of young guys, like (S) Maurice (Alexander) and (CB) E.J. Gaines, (CB) Marcus Roberson, all the younger guys that are getting in there, getting reps. You always want guys to go out there and give it their best.  We’re going to do whatever we can on the sidelines to help them get there. I know I was in their shoes a year ago and things are flying around so fast your first preseason game. Anything we can do to help will do it.”
 
On what was his biggest advice for the younger members of the secondary:
“The biggest thing was just, this first preseason game, things are going to happen. You might mess up, you might bust a coverage or whatever it is, but at the end of the day you’ve got to play hard, you’ve got to give one hundred percent and go run and hit. As a defender, once you put that on tape and you can fix all the mental things through time. Making sure that you’re just getting out there and getting a feel for the speed of the game. Running, hitting and trying to put yourselves in great positions to make plays.”
 
OL Greg Robinson on if the speed of the game was difficult for him to adjust to:
“It was a good comparison to practice because we’ve been trying to pick it up a little bit. The speed of the game was a little different, but not too much.”
 
On his first NFL game:
“It was a great feeling and I really just missed being in front of a crowd and playing. SoS it was something good to get back at. I really was looking forward to it, and even though it was a preseason game, we have to still hold ourselves accountable.”
 
On if adrenaline and nerves affected his play:
“I had a little nerves at the beginning, but once that first snap went off, it kind of slowed down for me.”
 
CB E.J. Gaines on if he had a successful performance in his first NFL game:
“Yeah, it went real well for me, just trying to get back into the feel of things. Actually playing an actual game. It’s been awhile.”
 
On what it meant to play in his first NFL preseason game and start:
“It was crazy, kind of surreal, like a dream come true. I’ve been thinking about this moment since I was really young. So coming in and being able to start my first preseason game, it felt good.”
 
(On playing with a chip on his shoulder)
“Definitely, I always play with a chip on my shoulder. I think that’s what really makes me a good player – expecting to be kind of underrated. The draft is behind me though, like I said, so I’m just trying to concentrate on making this team, try to make some plays, and hopefully prove that I can play at this level.”
 
DE Michael Sam on what it was like to finally get on the field in an NFL game:
“It was awesome. I had a good time. I made some good plays and it was a good learning experience.”
 
On if he tried to block out the notion of making history tonight:
“I was focusing on the guy in front of me.”
 
On if the impact of playing in his first NFL game set in:
“It did. During the national anthem I was like, ‘Wow, this is the big stage.’”
 
On his thoughts about the support from Rams fans while on the field:
“I wasn’t really paying attention.”
 
On receiving guidance from veteran DE Chris Long:
“He was giving me some pointers, some techniques against the tackle I was going against. It was good advice.”
 
On his most memorable moment in the game:
“I could have gotten two sacks. On one, I thought it was a screen, and it wasn’t, so I was upset.”
 
On what he takes away from his first NFL preseason game:
“That I can play in this league—that’s the most important thing. I was kind of nervous. I got the nerves out today. It was a very good learning experience and I can play in this league.”
 
On the importance of getting the nerves out after the first game:
“It was good. It feels good. I know that tonight, we’ll watch the tape tomorrow and we’ll look at the positives and the negatives.”
 
On the difference between practice speed and game speed:
“It’s the pros. In practice, I go up against pros, and tonight I went against pros, so it was the same.”
 
On if he felt like a lot of people in St. Louis are in his corner, given the fan reaction:
“I didn’t really hear the crowd. When I’m in game mode, I’m in game mode, but if the crowd was yelling for me, that’s cool.”
 
On if he had butterflies during pregame:
“I did. Like I said, I got those butterflies out early, and next game will be more focused and more relaxed.”
 
On if he was able to get into a similar pregame routine this week:
“I did sleep well. Like I said, it’s just early on in a preseason game, you’ve got to find your routine and what works. I’m still trying to find my new routine, but I’m trying to still keep some stuff from college.”
 
On if he was surprised to get playing time so early in the game:
“No, I knew I was going to play a little earlier in the first quarter.”
 
On his thoughts regarding his tackle in the backfield:
“I make plays. That’s what you’re supposed to do.”
 
On if he’s made a concerted effort to improve against the run:
“No, our coach teaches us to play in our blue box. The guy overreached me and came inside. I saw the running back and tried to make a play, and I did.”
 
On if he thought this was a successful debut:
“You know, the hardest critic is going to be myself. I could have done a little bit better, but I’m not mad about it. I know I could have done a bit better.”
 
On if he should have done something different when chasing the quarterback near the sideline:
“I should have dove at his legs earlier. On the other one, I thought it was a screen. I think he thought it was a screen, too, and then he was like, ‘Oh crap, I’m throwing this away.’”
 
On realizing his dream of becoming an NFL player:
“As a child, I never thought I’d be here. After I took my first snap, it was amazing. It was a dream come true.
 

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