Thursday Practice Transcript - 9/21


Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg

On losing WR/RS David Reed as a kick returner:"It hurts us because he gave us a fine returner. But, we have other guys who will now have an opportunity to show us what they can do. David got off to a great start. He not only got off to a great start in kick return, but he is a force on special teams. He gets down there in kickoff coverage. He was really active as a gunner, and we're going to miss David. But, the way the NFL works is that someone else is going to go in there and get an opportunity to show what they can do."

On whether Reed's positioning is what caused him to get hit:"No, not necessarily. That's not necessarily the case. He got trapped, is what happened. He cleared the front line, and the guy trapped him. He didn't see it coming. He got hit from the side, basically, is what happened."

On whether he thinks the hit on Reed was a cheap shot:"Well, anytime you're on the kickoff cover team, you have to play kickoff coverage. I told the players in the meeting the next day that, when you're in there running, you have to protect yourself. Last weekend was an example of that; we kind of related it to that [boxing] fight this last weekend. You have to play the whole play, and that was an example of where David just took his eyes off the ball for a second and he got trapped. I don't know if it was cheap or not; I don't think it was. That's just the nature of the business. People are trying to block each other. David cleared the front line, the guy took a shot at him, and they hit him."

On if P Sam Koch had a bad day against Tennessee:"I don't think it was a bad day; it was a bad punt, really. Sam got caught in between yardage and he got caught in between techniques. And right after it happened, he was lamenting the fact that he didn't go with the other technique. The good news is that we learned something from it. It was one of those situations where we were talking about it beforehand, where our yard line was for one versus the other, and the wind changed on him. He got caught in between. The important thing is you go hit the best ball, no matter which one it is, go hit it. So, what happens is he's trying to adjust one of his balls, one of the pooch punts he uses, and that didn't work. So, I suspect we won't see that again."

On whether CB/RS Lardarius Webb is going to be overwhelmed by all the positions he's playing:"'Webby' [Lardarius Webb] is in great shape. He did it the first game of the year, and we anticipate using him, however we can use him, throughout the game on defense and on special teams. I don't think that's going to change. And just like all the games, we have a number of guys who do a number of things. So, he's going in the game the same way he did the first game of the season."

On the possibility of having rookie WR LaQuan Williams return punts:"Well, there's… LaQuan has been working every week all the way through the preseason and all the way through training camp, preseason games… (A player passing by interrupts interview.) I'm trying to keep my focus now… And so, LaQuan is one of our returners. Whether he is going to be the returner this weekend, we'll see."

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron

On the running the football, even when the run game struggles, like it did on Sunday vs. Tennessee:"No.1, we always want to be able to run the football. We have a great fullback, we have great running backs. I think our offensive line is still a work in progress. That's something we always want to do. I'm not scared off the running game easily, but at the same time, the objective is to win the game. You really don't want to come out of a game with less than 20 rushes, but you have to find a way to win when you have to do that. We're going to do everything we can to get Ray [Rice] and Ricky [Williams] the ball, and get Vonta [Leach] involved because we could be a very good running team. No doubt in my mind."

On the Rams' run defense:"You know what? They have given up some big plays, but other than that, defensively, they have really been pretty good. At home they play extremely well. They play hard, they fly to the ball, they are active, they play great team defense. I think they have a sound scheme. We have to focus on what we can control first to get, so called, 'back on track.' After two games, I don't know that you are either on track or off track, to be honest with you. But we need to do better – I think we all know that. We all recognize that, especially running the ball, it fits into pass protection, and then we have to continue to watch our passing game evolve."

On how the team will prepare for the Rams' blitzing schemes:"It was kind of like going back to our opening game, talking about what we see every day right out back. That's the unpredictability of our defense that prepares us for a lot of things. I'm sure they'll have a couple wrinkles in. Tennessee actually did the opposite. Tennessee took every blitz and threw them out – didn't blitz. [They] didn't blitz the whole day and basically said, 'Hey, we're going to try to see if you guys can execute and we're going to try to cover you.' We have to be ready for both. Teams are going to blitz, teams are going to cover. Most teams are balancing the two. This team prefers to pressure, and we just have to be heads-up for it."

On the difference between T Mark LeVoir and C Andre Gurode at LG:"Just experience. [Andre Gurode] played a significant amount at center and guard – veteran player, just another guy who is getting more familiar with what we're doing. He hasn't been here very long – about three weeks. Mark [LeVoir] has been here four and some change. The key there is you have your two centers up in the starting lineup, so then we have to factor in our third center into some other things there – just get his veteran experience, quality player and has played a significant amount of guard."

On why QB Joe Flacco could not find open receivers vs. Tennessee:"It was a combination of things. Guys were open and maybe a little pressure slid over here, and we missed him. A guy was coming open, we stepped up and got off him, but it was no one thing. It was just a combination of things. There were opportunities there for all of us, not just Joe [Flacco], but for receivers to make plays. We have to continue to evaluate our personnel so we can get guys free. Obviously, we did that pretty good in Week 1. Protection is continually going to be something we are evolving with. We are combining the two. Again, if we keep practicing the way we are practicing, because we were lights out last week in practice… We had a great practice yesterday. That's the key for us on offense and to get to where we can translate it into the game, because we are doing the things we need to get done in practice, especially with all of our young guys."

On why they didn't go to a two-minute offense vs. Tennessee:"You know what? Here is exactly what happened, and I don't know whether it is worth questioning or not because we have gone 'two minutes' as early as the middle of the third quarter in Minnesota three years ago. It was a two-score game. It was almost 13 minutes, and my thinking was, and I pulled the whole offense up and I said, 'We are going to run our two-minute package, per se, but we're going to huddle.' I think the most important thing, when you have that much time, is you have to get the first touchdown. You need to score and make sure everybody is on the same page. Until this group has been together a little bit longer, you want to make sure you are on the same page, first and foremost, so you can get that first touchdown. We had the opportunity to, and a couple of things we didn't get executed. The clock got away from us right at the buzzer one time that set us back. I'm sure you could make that argument, but the bottom line is that we do what we are capable that we score there. Now, you have plenty of time to stop them and go score again. It's only a two-score game. I would say, over 12 minutes, you can debate that here or there. We were running the package; we just felt like it was better to huddle, make sure our left guard, left tackle and everybody was on the same page so that we could move the ball. We did [move the ball], we just didn't finish the drive."

On the difference without having starting G Ben Grubbs:"Obviously, anytime you lose Ben Grubbs, you are losing a good football player. Our approach here, and it will never change, [is] next man up. The next guy has to play at a high level. In no way is that a factor. I think just the amount of time… If that's under 10 minutes, that's a two-minute deal for sure. It's kind of right in that gray area. I just want to make sure that we were all on the same page. We hadn't played that great prior to that, so you really just want to make sure, like I said, [that you're] getting everybody on the same page. I don't think it's a real function of that. I thought we were on the same page, except for one play where we weren't on the same page. It cost us. I think we have that corrected. Hopefully we can execute better early in the game and don't put ourselves in that position."

On what he's seen from QB Joe Flacco when facing blitz and whether he's performed better in those situations:"You'd have to look at the stats, but he's pretty good at blitz and zone. And people – it's interesting – it's fun to watch how people attack him. Some teams just say, 'Hey, we're going to put the safety in the middle and play press man-to-man and then double Ray [Rice], double Ed [Dickson], and see if we can hang on outside.' Then this team decided to go to Cover 2, double receivers outside, play man underneath inside, which we see quite a bit of that, too. So, it varies from week to week, and then most teams, I think, over the course of the year are just going to mix it throughout the course of the game, try to disguise, and try to… This team tends to blitz in certain situations. Will they change that? We'll see. But, I feel pretty good about Joe against every coverage."

On the differences in facing a 3-4 defense versus a 4-3 defense:"Just identification, and more linebacker types, obviously, in a 3-4. It depends on how they use it. Our team uses kind of a hybrid 3-4, then there's the straight 3-4, and then there's four down linemen and three linebackers, which this team is in base. When sub [package] comes in the game, you're going to see a little bit of a hybrid where they take a… A guy that normally has his hand on the ground, [they] stand him up and play him in a little bit of a 3-4 look. So, those are all the things… Again, we see them every day in practice. So, we'll be prepared for it."

On whether WR Torrey Smith has tried to elevate his knowledge and field work with WR Lee Evans out with an injury:"I wouldn't necessarily word it that way, because I don't think it's because… He's really a great practice player, his preparation is good, he's growing. I don't think he's elevated anything this week. I think we've got to – all of us – have to elevate what we're doing, regardless of anybody's status right now."

Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano

On whether the defense was less aggressive in the game against Tennessee than it was against the Steelers: "Well, you know what? [They were] two different offenses. We said it going in that Matt Hasselbeck came from a West Coast [system], rhythm quarterback, five-step drop, get the ball out. We knew they weren't going to give us a chance to get there. So, it didn't matter if we were rushing four, rushing five, rushing six, rushing seven, we could have brought every one of them and the ball was going to come out. So, consequently, games like that you have to do… I have to do a better job of mixing things up. When we dropped everybody and rushed three, he held the ball. So, there's got to be a little bit of that in there. But, two different offenses from Week 1 to Week 2 – and he did a great job of getting the ball out and finding the guys he needed to find. They didn't drop a pass; he put the ball exactly where it was supposed to be. We had guys in great position, and they made plays. That's the NFL, and some weeks that's going to happen."

On whether the uncertainty of whether RB Steven Jackson will play affects his preparation:"It doesn't. Whoever shows up, we'll be ready for it. It's the same run game. But, I fully expect him to play."

On whether the way to stop a quarterback with the same style as Hasselbeck is to increase coverage:"You know, everybody will tell you, and they'll be the first ones to tell you, that we've got to do our job – whether we put them in man coverage or zone coverage. Yeah, we have to do a better job. We have to execute and execute the defense. They'll be the first to tell you that."

On what he expects from Rams' QB Sam Bradford and the offense:"They'll look at the tape, and he's going to see where his best matchups are, and he's going to see where they can try and exploit us. Typically, what we've seen is, he's a dropback, pure-pocket passer and he'll hold the ball some. We feel like we have some chances. But, I think our biggest issues are going to come with handling the tempo of the game and that no-huddle stuff. We're spending a great deal of time on that. Our communication is going to have to be on point, so that's one of our biggest concerns right now. You watch that [New York] Giants game and half the time, in those first couple drives, they weren't even lined up. So, we're working like heck on that right now."

On Bradford's ability to stay poised even though he is a young quarterback:"Obviously, like everybody knows, he's a football junkie. He's a gym rat. He's got to be a bright guy. Everyone has talked about [how this is his] third offense in three years. He ran the spread offense in college. He learned the West Coast [offense] from [former Rams offensive coordinator Pat] Shurmur a year ago. And now, he's in the New England system with [Rams offensive coordinator Josh] McDaniels. So, we know he's a bright guy. We know he's a big, physical, talented guy. We know he can throw it; he can make all the throws. He's got a big arm and he's athletic. So, if we do come after him, we have to be smart and play with our lane integrity and our blitz patterns, because once he gets out of the pocket he can run."

On his reaction to DT Haloti Ngata signing a five-year deal:"John [Harbaugh] walked in the room – he wasn't with him – he just walked in the room kind of somber. We're in the middle of game-planning, so it's kind of like the last… Nobody's mind was even on that at that time. Obviously, it's been on our mind, but not at that time. He walked in and said, 'We signed a new D-tackle.' And we're all looking around like, 'I wonder who we cut and who we…' And then big Haloti walked in. Obviously, we all went crazy. He deserves everything that he got. Obviously, having him around might keep us all around for another five years."

On what he thinks about the Giants' defense faking injuries to slow down the game:"Obviously, it wasn't choreographed very well if you watch the tape. *(laughter) *I've heard of guys doing things like that. We would never do anything like that here. It's just… You know, you watch it, and it's right there and you see it, and it is what it is. Obviously, reading the letter that we got from the Commissioner and their stance on it, how they're going to penalize teams if they catch them doing it, it's just not something that we would do or ask our guys to do. You've got to play. If they go no-huddle, we have to respond. *(Reporter: "It's not the manliest way to play defense.") *Right. Obviously, they were low on gas, so they were looking for a way to get that thing stopped."

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