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Transcripts: Monday Press Conference (12/11)

Opening statement: "Great seeing everybody. [We had our] after-action reporting and looking at the game and taking everything we can from it in terms of opportunities to continue to improve going forward. I'm really happy with the performance. I love the way the guys played. I love the way they fought. The plays that were made down the stretch and throughout the game – really that made the difference in the game. Those were all the things that are exciting to watch and difference makers, December football – all that. That's been great, but now we turn our attention toward [the] Jacksonville [Jaguars]. We have a really big, important conference game down there on Sunday Night Football, and our guys will be focused on that after today. What questions do you have?"

Are there any injury updates from yesterday's game, particularly with S Kyle Hamilton?*_(Jamison Hensley)_* "Kyle [Hamilton] looks like he'll be day to day, so we'll see as we go through the week. He'll have a chance to play in this game [against the Jacksonville Jaguars]. Devin [Duvernay] might be a little more extended. We'll learn more as the week goes on, but it could be more than a week, so we'll just have to see."

What can you say about reports that say S Kyle Hamilton has an MCL sprain?*_(Brian Wacker)_* "I'm not really getting into the diagnosis of exactly what it was, but [Kyle Hamilton's] day to day."

What went into rotating both offensive tackle positions? Do you anticipate doing this moving forward?*_(Luke Jones)_* "That was the plan going forward. I don't know. [Ronnie Stanley and Morgan Moses] both played pretty well. Of course, Pat [Mekari] played like he always does, and then Daniel [Faalele], to get those reps in there – I think he had one probably that he'd want back. Other than that, I thought he played the rest of the reps really solid in there and did a good job just with the two situations with the guys physically – Ronnie and Morgan – that helped us, and they were all on board for. The idea was to split the workload up and also help Ronnie and Morgan be the strongest they could be in the fourth quarter. That was our thinking, and it sure turned out to be a wise move. It was Joe [D'Alessandris]'s idea, and I thought it was a really good idea. It worked out great."

You had expressed optimism that the two weeks off for T Ronnie Stanley would be really good for him. Was that your impression?*_(Childs Walker)_* "Yes, that was my impression. I thought [Ronnie Stanley] had a good game, and I think he's going to build off that. He looked really good. We had a tough job with those guys [on the Los Angeles Rams' defense]. We did a pretty good job of neutralizing No. 99 [Aaron Donald]. He had his plays. He made some plays, but we got him blocked a number of times, too, so I was proud of that for the guys. When you do that, and you send so much attention to the one player, then you have other guys in one-on-one battles, and they have to win. They did a pretty good job of that throughout the course of the game, too, overall. It was definitely a winning job."

Were you OK with that balance of 43 pass attempts and 26 rush attempts, or was that based on the looks the defense was giving the offense?*_(Todd Karpovich)_* "I think we had 25 plays in two-minute [situations], so that probably accounts for a lot of that. When you're in two-minute that often, those are going to be almost all passes. It's probably generally skewed towards pass if you just look at it [from] just those numbers, but 25 two-minute plays probably had a lot to do with that."

What did you think of WR Odell Beckham Jr. saying after the game that he ran the wrong route on his touchdown catch? Also, what did you see on the play where WR Rashod Bateman appeared to slow down on the deep-ball attempt from QB Lamar Jackson?*_(Jerry Coleman)_* "I think just generally that's all a part of it. When you look at the National Football League, I can tell you that a lot of things aren't perfect out there. A lot of things are adjustments that are made, whether it's somebody hears something a certain way or runs the route differently or takes off or scramble drills or whatever they do. I think that kind of variance [and] that kind of adjustment is all part of it. Sometimes, you do hear the thing the wrong way where you don't do it quite right, or the deep routes should be run full speed all the way through all the time. Nine out of 10 times, you're probably not going to get the ball, so you don't want the one time to be maybe that you didn't think you were going to get the ball [and] be the one that slows down a little bit. I can tell you that 'Bate' [Rashod Bateman] has been running those routes all year fast. He's been fast all year. He's been taking the top off [pass] coverage [and] doing a great job of that. He plays really hard. It's just keep working on all those details [and] try to get better every single day at all the little things in the passing game."

What do you think of WR Zay Flowers having three touchdowns in the last two games and just the way his game has matured to this point in his rookie season? (Cordell Woodland) "Well, yes you just work really hard for the opportunity that when it does come up, you're prepared to make the play, and you make the play. [It was] 3rd-and-17 after that crazy operation. What was it going to be? Was he down? Was he up? What's the down and distance? How much time is there going to be? Nobody really knew. All of a sudden, the time goes off the clock, and we're in third-and-17, [and] it becomes a hugely critical play in the game because it's probably going to be our only chance to win the game. Then Lamar [Jackson] and Zay [Flowers] come up with that play, and I think that's just the outcome of a bunch of hard work throughout the course of the season on that particular route, but [they] also scramble, Lamar's moving, he finds him, [and] Zay makes the play on the run [and] makes the catch. The punt return is a lot like that, too. We were talking to our guys, and you guys have asked me questions, 'What's wrong with the punt return? What's wrong with this or that?' It's like we just keep working on it. You keep working every single practice, as you guys see, on all the little details of everything you do, because no two plays are ever the same with the hope and the intention that when a player gets in a situation, he's going to be able to make a right choice and good play. Then all of a sudden, that Advent moment happens. So that's part of it with Zay, and that's part of it with all the guys."

Speaking of the touchdown to WR Zay Flowers, QB Lamar Jackson spoke about how WR Nelson Agholor said he was going to clear the safety out on that route to open it up for Zay Flowers. For Nelson Agholor to take on that selfless role to open it up for a teammate, what does it say about him and the kind of teammate he's been this season?*_(Ryan Mink)_* "I tell you about 'Nelly' [Nelson Agholor] … I don't know why he decides, 'I'm going to open it up,' [because] that's the route. He could have easily gotten the ball if the coverage had played a certain way. But it played that way, and I think it's designed that way. If it goes that way, then you have two routes coming in behind an out-route. But 'Nelly' has played that way all season, [and] he played that way the whole game. He flies around, [and] he plays so hard. Every route, he plays just as perfect as he can. Every block, you see him running down the field chasing after blocks. He's one of those leaders that leads by example. He also has a good way of saying things, too, but he's selfless, yes, because he does everything as hard as he can every single time. Also, when he gets the ball, he's pretty darn good, too. He's made some great catches for us, too, and some big plays, and he did in this game. His two-minute [situational] catches in this game were the difference probably in the game."

After watching the game-winning punt return touchdown since we last talked to you, is there anything that caught your eye about that play that maybe you didn't see last night?*_(Shawn Stepner)_* "Yes. The thing about the punt return is kind of the example of all the little things that go into it and all the individual battles that are taking place and the choices that have to be made. I thought the gunner ... We blocked the gunners really well the whole game – single and vice. Jalyn Armour-Davis's block on the first guy down the field was phenomenally good technique. We call it a 'C patch block,' [and] he did exceptionally well. The vice was really good. We also had a finish in the vice, we had a peel and a climb, so we picked up an extra block there. I thought guys made great decisions on the vertical trail blocks. Sometimes you have to go put your hand across and make it. We had that happen twice. One time, we had the hand all the way across, and Trenton Simpson cut the guy off. The next block down the field was Charlie [Kolar], who went to go for the 'C' patch, the front jersey, and ended up getting his hands in the front to just kind of seal them just enough and kept them off the deal without putting his hands on his back. That's hard to do. He did a great job with that. Then downfield, Josh Ross had a great climb block where he saw the returner coming, he saw the angle on his guy, he let one guy go, climbed to the next guy and cut him off. Then the last thing was Justice [Hill]. Justice was the last peel guy, to have the wherewithal to run back up into the pile, but to put a foot in the ground and get the next guy up the field, I thought was tremendous. Those are all coaching points that we were work on all the time, but to see it happen in real life … And then of course, everybody saw Tylan [Wallace]'s run. That's what made it happen. It was just a great run." 

With WR Devin Duvernay taking punt returns, it looked similar to what WR Tylan Wallace did in terms of the kind of alley that you guys built for the returner. Is that how it unfolds, or is it an actual play call for a punt return and just the execution makes it look as critical as it did?*_(Jonas Shaffer) _*"That's a great question. It's an actual play call, but it's always a little bit different every time, but we're always trying to create an alley somewhere. So, you can't always predict if the alley will be all the way outside the coverage, or if it's one of those gaps we might call or lanes inside right down the middle of the field. So, you never know, and the guys always make adjustments based on how they … We say, 'Block them how you find them.' So, you ended the block the way you find the block a lot of times based on how they're covering it. That's kind of what I'm saying, the guys just did a good job on that [return] of adjusting and creating that seam. But then we had a guy come through there that we couldn't get to, and Tylan [Wallace] swung him off. You talk about being strong and the balance it took to do that, that's pretty remarkable, but the guys have to make plays, and he did it."

There was some talk after the game that some of the "Twitter officials" felt like it was a block in the back by TE Charlie Kolar. Do you think that was an absolute legal block on that play?*_(Jeff Zrebiec)_* "I know that was absolutely legal, because I watched it on tape. It was absolutely legal. [Charlie Kolar's] hands were in front. For it to be a block in the back, you actually have to block the guy in the back, which he did not do. It doesn't matter how he falls; it's where you contact him."

Were you watching that block in real time? Was there a moment where you were nervous about the potential block in the back, or did it just go so fast you didn't really see it?*_ (Childs Walker)_* "No. It was more of a big-picture thing."

In terms of ball security yesterday on a rainy day, there were no fumbles.*_ (Noah Trister) _*"Yes. That was good. That was good. Our guys took it to heart. [There were] a couple plays in there [that] we'd like to have back, for different reasons, but I thought the guys did a great job with that, because [the Rams] were punching the ball out and tackling the ball. We had a lot of exchanges that Lamar [Jackson] did a great job and the backs did a great job with."

What were you telling the players about how you wanted them to manage the clock on that last drive of regulation? Were you wanting them to get out of bounds earlier in the drive to preserve as much time as possible and then wanting them to let it run a little more later? What were you telling them?*_(Childs Walker)_* "We wanted to drain the time. It depends how it plays out. We got down there with a little bit of time, and we wanted to try to drain as much time as we could at that point and still get as many points as we could. But you also … You don't know … Then you're basically deciding you want to get a touchdown, so you have to see how it goes. If it's early enough, and you have to kick the field goal ... You're talking about the end of the game?" (Reporter: "Yes.") "Yes. If you have to kick the field goal, you do. Then you want to have the time back. That's why the crazy play on Lamar [Jackson] being down or not was such a … And you didn't know at that point in time who was going to benefit from time being left on the clock. [There's] just no way to know how to play it. So, on the final drive, it was just kind of a matter of, 'Let's see how it plays out.' Once we got down there, and the clock was down a little bit, I was playing for the last drive. To me, it was going to be, 'We're down there; we have Lamar Jackson and our playmakers; we're going to try to score a touchdown here, almost no matter what.' Then, as we were talking during the game, it was like, 'Well how far back – fourth-and-what – would you kick it?' And I'm like, 'Fourth-and-a-whole-lot. We're probably going to go for almost anything right here.' Then it ended up being 17 [yards], which was surprising, but we scored, and then I was happy that the time had run down. It gave them less time, and then they had to burn a timeout. [They] ended up having to throw in the end zone on third-and-6, so it all worked out well for us – the way it turned out."

DB Damarion Williams' window, I think, ends tomorrow. Is the plan to bring him on the roster, or has the decision not been made yet?*_(Jeff Zrebiec)_* "The plan is to bring [Damarion Williams] on the roster. Yes. I haven't talked to [executive vice president and general manager] Eric [DeCosta] yet about the details of it, but that would be my anticipation."

If WR/RS Devin Duvernay is to miss more time, are you OK naming WR Tylan Wallace as your starter for returns?*_(Kyle Phoenix)_* "I think [Tylan Wallace] has earned it. I think he's earned it." (laughter) "Don't discount how hard those catches were, right? Those were some tough catches out there."

QB Lamar Jackson took some deep shots over the course of the game and had three touchdowns to WR Odell Beckham Jr. and other receivers. Was getting the ball down field a point of emphasis for this game, or was that just how the game played out?*_(Garrett Downing)_* "Getting the ball down the field is a point of emphasis [in] really every week, but there are different ways to do it. The double moves were a point of emphasis against the defense [because they] were kind of aggressive in certain situations. We had a couple [of] play action shots also. Then, the way it worked out, you don't necessarily expect a rail route to come wide-open like that, but it did. For Lamar [Jackson] to see those two guys downfield was pretty awesome. We'll keep working on that. That's a big part of it. The better we can get [at] throwing the ball down the field, we're going to be a lot tougher to deal with." 

It looked like CB Marlon Humphrey was struggling a little on that last drive. Was that rust because he's still kind of full getting healthy after the calf injury? How would you explain that?*_(Jeff Zrebiec)_* "Yes. If you watch the whole game, which I did, [Marlon Humphrey] had numerous really good plays where he was in great coverage and was just pretty dominant. Then, there were some tougher plays out there, but he hasn't played in a few weeks. He's been kind of on and off with the nagging kind of injury, so to me, I'd kind of attribute it to that. The more he plays, the more he practices [and] gets his technique right … Marlon Humphrey is the least of my concerns. He's a great football player, and he's very conscientious. I know he's going to play great football for us."

What is it about the type of scheme that the Rams and teams like the Dolphins and 49ers run? They do the same type of schematic concepts in the passing game. What is it about what they do in the passing game that makes it kind of difficult to defend?*_(Cordell Woodland) _*"I think the best thing that [the Rams] did was they made plays. [Matthew] Stafford, he hangs in there and makes throws. It's built around … All those offenses – you talk about them being structurally in the same family, which they kind of are – they're all built around the way the quarterback plays, and every offense is. Every offense is going to reflect the quarterback. You watch the game last night; [the Cowboys' and Eagles'] offenses reflect the way the quarterback plays. So, the way Stafford plays is he likes to operate at the line of scrimmage, he likes to run the clock down, he likes to try to find the best play, so they're built that way – he was the same way in Detroit. And then he'll hang in there and make certain throws, and he throws to spots on the field where he expects guys to show up, and then he's got a couple guys that do it. No. 10 and No. 17 – [Cooper] Kupp and [Puka] Nacua – they're kind of built for that, and they showed up under some balls [where], you're like, 'Where is he throwing?' sometimes, and all of a sudden, they're making a diving catch to make the play, and you've got to hand it to them. That's NFL football. And they do it at a high level, and they made their plays, and we made our plays."

You have a stretch coming up now against division leaders for the next several weeks. How much do you think that will help prepare this team going into that next season?*_(Jamison Hensley) _*"Well, yes, it will prepare us – we talked about that last night – and that's really what it's all about. But really, what we're going to be focusing on is doing the best we can to win that game in what we're going to consider a playoff type of an environment and a playoff type of a game – that kind of stakes. So, that's how our guys will look at it."

I don't know if you considered WR Tylan Wallace a bubble guy or not, but what about him allowed him to make this team in your mind? Obviously, he had been here and made some plays over the past few years. But what about him put him on the team, I guess?*_(Brian Wacker) _*"Well, I mean, I don't know that [Tylan Wallace] was … I know he felt that way, because I saw what he said. I don't think he was really in as much jeopardy as he thinks he was, because he's always been so talented. He's not a guy we've ever doubted – his ability and his talent. He's had some nagging injuries and had some slow starts to certain seasons, [and] if you look back, he had some training camp issues like two years in a row, but for him to overcome that is what I look at – and to kind of keep bouncing back. Then we bring in the receiving group, [and] him and Devin [Duvernay] had to deal with all the receivers that are in here now, so they weren't going to get as much of a chance; it was a fact; it was reality. But they've both handled it with just great class. And Tylan was nothing but hard work and positive attitude all the way through, just always praying for his opportunity and hoping for his opportunity, and then he gets it, and you see what he did with it. That's just … That's a great story to me. That's a pretty wonderful thing."

We saw QB Lamar Jackson be really dynamic as a scrambler in yesterday's game, which, obviously, we know he can do, but we also saw him – especially on that two-point conversion – be just very, very smart about his pocket movement. What kind of stuck out to you about how he moved in the pocket and also breaking structure and getting down the field on Sunday?*_(Jonas Shaffer) _*"To me, it's a very good observation, because, like we say, your offense reflects the quarterback, and you build it around that. So, Lamar [Jackson] … And there are going to be times, [as] we've seen in the past, where he'll try to do that, and they might get him – sometimes they do – and everybody is like, 'Oh, that's a bad play,' and it happens; it's the NFL. But his pocket awareness, his ability to move in the pocket … I thought the offensive line was phenomenal about mirroring their block and not holding in those situations – they did a great job of that – and he was able to break lose and make some throws or some runs. The run on the third down that came up two yards short on [the Rams] sideline over there to get [Justin] Tucker even closer into field goal range, that was a big deal. I told him that coming off; I said, 'You did your kicker a big favor right there – to help him make that kick.' So, it [was] probably one of his best days. I just feel like … I think Lamar played one of the best quarterback games yesterday that you can play, all in all, and he did it kind of in the way he plays. But he also did it very within the structure initially and throughout, but also with his flair outside of the structure, and [he] did it in a safe way. He kept the ball protected, and on a day like that, like you said, that was a really big deal."

You talked about submitting plays to the league for explanation. Do you plan on doing that with any plays from Sunday's game, namely the defensive pass interference call on CB Marlon Humphrey and the play where P Jordan Stout appeared to be contacted during the punt?*_(Kyle Phoenix) _*"Right. We will [submit them to the league]. That's what you do [to] try to learn what the thoughts were on it, so we'll do that – sure."

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