Rams Head Coach Sean McVay – Rams-Saints Media Availability – September 15, 2019
"Great team win. I thought our defense was outstanding from the jump, I thought our special teams responded in a big way from last week. Offensively, really, was a little bit of a slower start other than when we hit (WR Brandin) Cooks on a big play. Had some good drives towards the end of the first half, but to only come away with three points on those two drives, we have to be better there. But, I loved the way that our group responded in the second half. Made a lot of big plays and ultimately, it's about getting a win as a team, and we did that. Injury wise, (OL) Austin Blythe has an ankle (injury) – we'll have more information on him tomorrow. (TE) Tyler Higbee has a chest contusion and he's being further evaluated as well."
(On what happened to DT Aaron Donald's back)
"It just tightened up a little bit. He (DT Aaron Donald) returned and he's feeling okay."
(On what happened to Saints QB Drew Brees on the play he injured his hand)
"I'm not sure. I think he (Saints QB Drew Brees) just got his thumb – I hope that he'll be okay. I'm not exactly sure, but it looked like he just had his right thumb. As a quarterback that's pretty debilitating."
(On if the Rams looked to capitalize when Brees was out of the game)
"I thought our defense really was outstanding from the jump. They did a great job all day and then I thought they really applied pressure to (Saints QB Teddy) Bridgewater consistently throughout the day. I think you look at the opportunities, you try to close games out regardless. But, anytime you lose a first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback – a guy that's the all-time leading passer – there's definitely some things you feel like, 'All right, we have to make sure we take advantage of this.' But, I thought, really, just all day our defense did an outstanding job."
(On what adjustments QB Jared Goff and the wide receivers made entering the second half)
"I think it's really just getting in the flow of the game. (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Dennis) Allen and the Saints' defense did a nice job mixing some things up, and it was really – as much as anything – me, the coaches, us settling in to give clarity to the players. I thought the players did that, I thought, really, the big play that we did make to Brandin, just to get points on the board initially when we didn't start out great, was big. It was a great catch by Brandin and you could really see, as the game progressed, (QB) Jared (Goff) got more comfortable, made big-time plays. How impressive it was for him to sit in the pocket when we were in the empty and hit (WR) Cooper (Kupp) on the in-breaking route there for the big play. He ends up making a great touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks in the tight-red area. He did a lot of really good things and I thought he continually demonstrated that mental toughness, being unfazed by some things that didn't always go our way as well."
(On how impressed he was by WR Cooper Kupp's 66-yard catch and run)
"Very. He (WR Cooper Kupp) looked awesome and it was incredible. I was as impressed with Cooper as you were watching the guys without the ball and how hard they're working for their teammate to try and get a block and spring it. The strength – he sure looks good, doesn't he? He looks healthy to me. Man, it's really good to be able to have him back. He made some timely catches over the middle versus some of their zone coverage structures. (QB) Jared (Goff) had some things collapse around him and it's good to have him back. He's been outstanding."
(On if Kupp's moves in the open field are an indication of him being fully healthy)
"I think so. I think, really, even last week he (WR Cooper Kupp) made a bunch of plays, he just didn't have as many opportunities with some things down the field where you get a chance to have a little bit more space. He's looked great. It's impressive just watching the way he attacked his rehab. He's healthy and I think just getting back on the grass, competing with his teammates – it's nice to be able to have him back with us."
(On if he was concerned at halftime about only scoring six points on three trips to the red zone)
"No. That was something that we have to do a better job of. We had the one screen – I'll be interested to look at that – that was a touchdown to (WR) Robert Woods that ended up getting called back. That really ended up hurting us and then, obviously, the turnover. We'll look at those and I think there were some things that I could've done a much better job of to put our players in better spots. You got to give the Saints credit – they did a nice job tightening up there as well."
(On how he felt OL Jamil Demby played)
"He (OL Jamil Demby) did a nice job. To be able to lose a player of (OL) Austin Blythe's caliber, that's a big loss for us. But he seamlessly stepped in. Until I really go back and look at the tape, but it seemed like he did a nice job just fitting in. I think (C) Brian Allen continues doing a really good job of just making great calls, the communication so that everybody's confident with what we want to try and get done up front. (QB) Jared (Goff) displayed that poise and it really was a great job by Jamil stepping in and I'm excited to really look closely at it to see how he did snap in and snap out."
(On the offense finding a rhythm in the second half)
"I think really guys just settled in. A lot of that is the result of probably some poor play calls I had early on and then you kind of settle in, you see okay, what type of defensive structures are they activating that's maybe a little bit different than what we'd seen. We were able to move the ball like you mentioned those last two drives in the first half, but to only come away with three points was something that we said we've got to do a better job of, and I think the second half represented a good job by guys closing out drives and coming away with touchdowns."
(On how he adjusted to Brees coming out of the game)
"I think you just feel the flow of the game. It was competitive, back-and-forth, it got to 6-6 later on in that game and I think just to be able to say 'Hey, let's just play each play as it's own entity, let's get a feel for it, let's execute better offensively, defensively continue to play at a high level,' because it is a big loss when Drew goes out, but they were playing pretty well when he was in there earlier as well. That's a great offense, the way that they operate, so much respect for them, and I thought really it was a credit to our defense doing a great job and I hope Drew is okay."
(On being past this week and not having to hear about non-calls anymore)
"You know what? It really wasn't an issue for us. This was something that our guys were singularly focused on trying to get to 2-0. We knew we had a great football team coming in here, but what happened last year, we've kind of moved past that. It's a new season, there's new challenges and we'll enjoy this one and then got to get ready to see if we can find a way to get to 3-0."
(On if the opening week was about getting rid of the rust and if he saw an improved team in week two)
"It's hard to say. I think with the way that you plan and the preseason as it is, you're usually just kind of getting some continuity because you're not really running a lot of the things that you would normally run. If you play the guys with what's the normal standard operating procedure, usually you accumulate about a full game's snaps. I think the goal for us is let's just get better every week. Let's continue to progress as the season goes. I think today represented a step in the right direction and we'll see if against a tough team in Cleveland on Sunday night we can do that next week."
(On QB Jared Goff's fumble in the second quarter)
"It was hard for me to see. I knew it was going to be a tight-contested play. Really, I didn't get a clean look at it, but our coaches in the box, it sounded like they thought that that's the direction that it could go."
(On if splitting reps between RB Todd Gurley II and RB Malcolm Brown new normal for the offense)
"It's hard to say right now. Through two games, I think they both have done a nice job. As the season continues to progress, I think we'll really find out. Like we've said, each game kind of represents a different approach, but I thought both those guys did a nice job making some timely runs in times we had to have it."
(On if he got a chance to speak with the officials about the block in the back call)
"I really didn't because it kind of happened so quick and then you've got to really be able to move on and see if you can find a way to just respond from it, but I'm going to be interested to look at that and see what it was, because that was going to be a big play for us that has a chance to potentially shift the momentum sooner than what it did, but we can't do anything about it except for take it to the next snap."
(On how important it was for him to get Gurley II into the end zone early in the season)
"Well, I think it was important really for our team. You always want to see your guys produce and be able to be rewarded accordingly. He's a special player, he's been outstanding for us and I think he's going to continue to be more and more important and as important really as he's always been for us."
Rams QB Jared Goff – Rams-Saints Postgame Quotes – September 15, 2019
(On what adjustments were made in the second half that allowed the Rams to score more points)
"A bunch of adjustments. I think we were kind of shooting ourselves in the foot there for a while. We had the good touchdown to (WR) Robert (Woods) that got called back. Unfortunately, I haven't seen it yet, but we thought it was a good play. That would have change the narrative in the first half, but It's ok. I think anytime you win 27-9, you're happy about it."
(On what he thinks went on after the first half and how did they find their rhythm)
"It sometimes takes time. Again, I think we scored six (points) in the first half and were able to come away with a 27-9 win, and you're happy about it no matter what. I think every game is different and this game took us a little while to find it. Frankly, I don't think it really matters. We win, we win. If we find it early, you'd obviously love that, but anyway it happens, we are happy with it."
(On what he was thinking when he seen WR Cooper Kupp breaking down field)
"I was shocked. I thought, he's showing off some speed now, he looks good. He's a great player. Broke that guy off pretty good in the open field and was able to make a play. I'm bummed he didn't get the touchdown and I had to steal it from him, but it was a good play, really good play."
(On being in the red zone three times in the first half and coming away with six points and if ever questions the situation the team is in)
"No. I think we've been in a lot of situations now with (Head Coach) Sean (McVay) and this offense as a whole – whether it's good or bad, indifferent, it's all good learning and good to just push through and move forward. Obviously, we want to come away with touchdowns in the red zone, that's something that is a priority for us. We did at the end of the game, we were able to flip the switch towards the end of the game and make it happen."
(On when OL Austin Blythe went down and OL Jamil Demby came in on how he thought they did)
"(OL Jamil) Demby did a good job. He stepped in their really good. I think he had one play he'd like to have back, other than that, he did a great job. He may have to be in there for a little bit longer, hopefully we can get (OL) Austin (Blythe) back at some point, pretty soon. He's going to do a great job, I'm excited for it."
(On if the play to Kupp before the half loosened up things)
"I think anytime you're able to hit those balls down the field, it definitely gives you that confidence booster moving forward. Me and him are so much on the same page. At this point, we think intuitively with each other. What's the word? Telepathy (laughs). I don't know If it's quite that far, but we are on the same page right now as well as the other receivers."
(On how the defense did against the Saints)
"Hell of a day, hell of a day for them. I know (QB) Drew (Brees) was out. Even so, the way they did their thing and put pressure on the quarterback and made plays in the backend, tackled well. When they do that, it makes our job easy. It's really exciting for them moving forward."
(On what he was seeing or hearing when he fumbled the ball)
"I wasn't hearing anything or seeing anything. I though it was a fumble. I was hoping they would call it incomplete, but out of my hands I thought it was a fumble. We might have got away with one."
(On the long pass to Cooks and why doesn't he do it more often)
"Yeah, we should huh? Those are fun. It was a good play, something we talked about throughout the week, just taking a shot early. We were able to catch one of their guys flatfooted and (WR) Brandin (Cooks) did the rest. Just laid one out there for him and he made a good play."
(On if the play to Cooks was drawn-up or did he wing it)
"Not quite that loosely. There is a lot of practice that goes into where we want to hit that ball and where we want to throw it. I think we got that matchup we wanted and was able to take advantage of it."
(On if he's ever had the same connections in college as he does with the Rams receivers)
"Absolutely. I think at every level you kind of have that. I'm lucky to have that with about three or four guys right now and it's a special thing. I think furthermore on (WR) Cooper (Kupp), we do give him a lot of freedom with his routes. Being able to be on the same page when he does have that freedom is huge."
(On what went through his mind when he heard QB Drew Brees was out)
"Honestly, I didn't know until (QB) Teddy (Bridgewater) came in the game. I'm thinking about him and I told him I'm hoping for the best and I am. I'm hoping that he comes back. He's a great player for the league, the face of the league and somebody that we need in the league. I'm hoping for the best for him."
(On what it means to start the season 2-0 heading to Cleveland)
"It's been great. I think anytime you can win a game on the road like we talked about last week and then, have a tough opponent like the Saints come in here and put a complete game together and get a win, it's awesome. I feel good, got a good opponent in Cleveland new week, at Cleveland going to be another tough one but we will show up ready to play."
Rams T Andrew Whitworth – Rams-Saints Postgame Quotes – September 15, 2019
(On going to the Superbowl and missing WR Cooper Kupp play)
"No question. (WR) Cooper Kupp is an extremely good football player. His attention to detail and the run game is the most special I've ever seen in a receiver I've ever been around in my lifetime. His attention to detail on that, he wants to come up with concepts of how he's blocking more. What things could be more effective. You don't have very many receivers that are wired that way. Then also have the ability to separate and are special in the passing game as well. He's a very special part of our offense and I couldn't say that we wouldn't be any more happy than we can to see him have success."
(On the Rams being a special team)
"I think just really the week in and week out culture we have that exists here that starts a long time ago. It started from day one that (Head Coach) Sean McVay took over. The message he sent us that it was going to be about being family and communicating with one another and being real with one another. You've got to have alligator skin cause if you're in this locker room we're going to give you a hard time for anything and everything. We're going to find ways to lighten it up and not let guys be serious or take themselves too serious. Most importantly were going to go out every week because of that and just have fun. Everybody shoot your shot, everybody give it what you've got. Take chances. Be aggressive. Wherever the chips fall who cares? We're not scared of anything."
Game action photos from the New Orleans Saints' 2019 week 2 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams