Fisher, Schottenheimer, Walton Post Practice Press Conference Transcripts


Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher – Post-Practice – October 17, 2013

(On Panthers QB Cam Newton’s running ability)
“Well, he’s hard to get down one-on-one. That’s the problem with him. He’s a big, explosive runner. He’s got great speed and he’ll run away from you. So, when he extends the play in passing situations, you’re in coverage downfield, so he picks up chunks of yards, and then they have deliberate runs that they call for him where the huddle call makes him a runner so he picks up an extra blocker. You have an extra player on offense.”

(On if the deep ball is Newton’s main threat)
“No, he’s got all the touch. He makes all the throws. He’s really good in the short passing game, screen game, very accurate, too and he can throw it a mile.”

(On if it is possible to pay too much attention to just Newton)
“It starts with the quarterback, but they do a lot of unique things offensively. It’s a very, I don’t want to say unconventional offense, but it’s different from the standpoint they’ll line up and run lead and power and things at you and then next thing you know, they’ve got everybody spread out and they’re running the read option. And he’s either running it or handing it off or throwing it down the field, and he handles that aspect of the offense very well.”

(On Panthers FB Mike Tolbert)
“He’s a very good pass protector, so from a protection standpoint, he gives Cam a lot of extra time. He provides that for him either by chipping your ends or picking up rushers. Then, of course, when they hand it to him, he’s heavy. He’s a load so he’s difficult to get down.”

(On Panthers LB Luke Kuechly)
“He was defensive rookie of the year for a reason last year. He’s an outstanding player. He’s very good in coverage, he was productive around the ball. He had picks, some sacks and he’s a very good run defender.”

(On Panthers DEs Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy)
“They’re very good football players as well. This is a good football team. We don’t know much about them up here, but this is a very good football team.”

(On if the Carolina defense is a different animal than what they faced in Houston last week)
“Yes, it’s very talented. The Texans’ defense was talented, but this is a different design, different scheme. A lot more pressure I think, pass rush pressure early downs. They’re very good at collapsing the pocket.”

(On what it would mean to the team to be over .500)
“It would mean that we won the next game on our schedule, which we’re trying to do. That’s the object – one more point.”

(On if the guys have an extra bounce in their step this week after two wins)
“It’s the same as it was last week. It’s work, business as usual, but at the same time they’re allowed to have a little fun. They’re working well.”

(On what the Rams relationship with the USO means to him)
“The NFL has a great relationship with the armed services in all aspects of them. They’re doing all kinds of different things. It’s neat that they’ve really picked things up over the last couple years and our organization’s been involved with them and it’s just a great relationship.”

Rams Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer – Post-Practice – October 17, 2013

(On RB Zac Stacy’s progression and production in the run game)
“Well, I think, obviously, we had strong feelings about Zac in the draft coming out. His work ethic from Day 1 has been great. Again, he was a young player, but, obviously, the running game’s about everybody, not just Zac. Zac’s playing well, running hard, but again a lot of it’s just the fact we’re opening some big holes up front for him. The line, the tight ends – you talk about guys like (TE) Cory Harkey – everybody’s involved in that.”

(On how establishing the run helps the team in the red zone)
“I think you saw the touchdown last week to (TE) Lance (Kendricks). It was a little run-action pass. They were trying to play the run. We had shown the, we call it a power scheme to the right side and they kind of overplayed that. We snuck Lance out the backside, so just the ability in those third-and-2, 3, 4 (yards) areas, the threat of the run can help boost some of your play-action passes. Again, it’s just when you can get ahead of the sticks, when you can have balance, that’s when you’re going to be at your best.”

(On it being a whole new world when they can run the ball)
“It is a whole new world. It’s been great. Again, it comes down to execution and our guys are executing well.”

(On how he goes about weighing the pros and cons of giving T Rodger Saffold his starting job back versus eliminating chemistry that was established)
“Well, No. 1 it’s just great to have him back out there. Yesterday he got some work. Today, actually first day in pads, so he’s doing a good job. You just see how the week goes. You see how the practice week goes. He did a nice job today. We’re fired up that he’s back and we’ll see how that plays out. But, again, whoever we put out there, they’re going to know the plan and they’re going to play well.”

(On how T Joe Barksdale has been playing)
“I think he’s done very well. I think he’s been a big part of our success the last couple weeks, again, running the football. There’s certainly something to chemistry, but when you’re dealing with veterans and guys like that, which most of that group is a bunch of veterans, they plug in and whoever gets called, whether it’s (G) Chris Williams moving to tackle at some point – different things that come up during the course of the year, they’re always ready to go.”

(On what makes Carolina’s defense effective)
“Well, I think, obviously, it starts with the turnovers. They’ve created a lot of turnovers. A lot of those have been because of the pass rush. Probably two of the best defensive ends or best defensive end tandems in the league with (Charles) Johnson and (Greg) Hardy. (DT Star) Lotulelei’s a good player, the guy they got this year in the draft. Again, you always seem like you’re going against dominant defensive linemen in this league and that’s pretty much the case. The mike linebacker (Luke) Kuechly’s a really good player, very instinctive. So, the front seven has been excellent and then the secondary has capitalized on the pressure that they’ve created. You watch the games that they’ve blown people out like the Vikings and the Giants – they’ve done a great job on first down getting the offense into negative plays, whether it’s sacks, tackles for loss, and making them kind of play from behind in that regard and that’s where they’re going to be at their best. So, again, maybe some names that people don’t know but they certainly have our respect.”

(On if he sees elements of the late Jim Johnson in the Carolina defense)
“Yeah, I think so. Obviously, (Defensive Coordinator) Sean’s (McDermott) been around a long time, does a great job. You see the basic philosophy of that and they have their blitzes, but it’s just a very sound group. They have some multiple things that cause you problems when you’re preparing for them, and, again, they’re just playing really, really well. And then certainly playing there, you always have to play with the noise and that makes it even more difficult.”

(On Lotulelei’s ability to eat up space in the middle of the line)
“Absolutely. They’ve got a lot of depth inside. They roll a lot of guys through so they stay fresh, and they let those linebackers run. And, again, to think (Lcool smiley Thomas Davis is playing really, really well for them as well. They just – good defense, very fundamentally sound and they’re making a lot of plays right now.”

(On QB Sam Bradford’s ability to distribute the ball to multiple receivers)
“I think No. 1 we have a lot of weapons. We use a lot of different personnel groupings. We mix and match the pieces pretty well, and, again, I think he just shows his ability to go through progressions and it’s nothing that we’re trying to do where it’s, ‘Hey, let’s get him a ball. Let’s get him a ball.’ He’s willing to take what the defense gives him. He reads his progression. If one’s covered, he goes to two and if two’s covered he moves to three and I think that just comes from playing multiple people, which again, we try to make it difficult on the defense by moving different people in and out and then running some plays to get guys involved.”

(On WR Tavon Austin seeing limited action last week against Houston is telling for the future)
“No, absolutely not. I think ‘Tav’s’ still a big part of what we’re trying to do. I think it’s just when you get up in a game like we did, which we certainly enjoy more than being down by 21 like we were in the first couple games and stuff, you’re going to get in some of your big personnel stuff and that just limits the amount of snaps. But, no, he’s had a great week of practice and everybody’s going to have their time, you just never know when it’s going to be and just stay ready on the practice field.”

Rams Defensive Coordinator Tim Walton – Post-Practice – October 17, 2013

(On the challenges Carolina QB Cam Newton presents)
“He is a very athletic quarterback, has a strong arm. Obviously, can make plays with his feet in scrambles and in just designed quarterback runs. So, we have a big challenge ahead of us.”

(On how facing a running quarterback complicates things compared to a pocket passer)
“Because at times you need an extra defender. They’ll spread you out and then now before you just had to account for the running back, now you have to account for the quarterback in the run game out of a displaced looked, out of one-back sets because he’s a guy that can run the ball and now you have an extra lead blocker they use the back with at times.”

(On if they run read-option)
“Yeah. They do the read-option stuff. They’re one of the teams that have been doing it for a while. They’ve been several years and running that since he’s been in the league. That’s a part of their offense that they do that we have to account for. They do it quite a bit.”

(On if Carolina runs several run schemes)
“Yeah they do a lot of stuff, and like I said they’re going to give us a lot of looks, different formations and all types of different runs and that’s runs that aren’t including the quarterback runs. Then, you add that package on top of it. It makes it a good group running the football.”

(On RB Mike Tolbert possessing the features of a running back and a fullback)
“It makes it tough because he’s a good blocker and he’s a load. They’ll put him at tailback and he’s a guy that goes downhill. They use him in short yardage situations and in their ‘21’, ‘22’ personnel groups. He’s a downhill runner. That gives them another threat when you have (Rcool smiley DeAngelo (Williams) who’s a guy that can get on the edges and get on the perimeter and that gives you different run games you have to worry about, and then throw in the quarterback mix in there too. You have to be really disciplined in all the stuff that you do to account for all the various type of runs that you’ll get.”

(On if the deep ball is what Newton does best as a thrower)
“Yeah. He can throw the ball. He has a strong arm, like I said, and he has some guys that can take the top off of it with (WRs) Ted Ginn and Steve Smith can still run. He has the strength to push the ball down the field and they have some weapons to get it to…(TE) Greg Olsen. So, they’re a talented offense.”

(On the run defense against the Texans last week)
“We still have to improve in that, but it comes back to about three plays. You go look at it and you can pull three plays out of it and that will account for 80-90 of their yards. We have to just get to the point that we play 70 plays and not let those three or four plays sneak it that eclipse for more than half of their yardage throughout the game.”

(On not wanting a safety following a quarterback on a read-option play)
“No. We just have to make sure everybody’s sound in their stuff. Like you said, in unblocked situations we’ve got to be able to make the plays and those deals. We have to keep growing in those arenas because those three or four plays change the dynamics of the game and you can’t go take them back. That’s the thing. It’s easy to say you fix those three or four plays, but you can’t take those plays back. Those are part of the game. So, we have to do a better of job of just…if we can just stay focused throughout the entire game on all of those runs and we take those off, I think that the defensive deal will be much better.”

(On LB James Laurinaitis’ leadership role among a group of young players)
“It’s been outstanding. He’s the captain. He’s our bell cow there to make sure everything goes. His leadership skills have been instrumental in the development of some of those young guys. It takes time. Those guys are coming, but those guys work hard and he’s the guy that’s helping those guys grow.”

(On how S Darian Stewart and S Matt Giordano are playing)
“They’re doing good. They come to work every day and they’re learning and they’re growing, like you said. That’s the thing we have to do. We keep pushing fundamentals, keep pushing technique and it’ll come. It’ll all come together. We’ve got to keep winning, got to keep taking it one game at a time.”

(On DE William Hayes returning from injury)
“It’s been outstanding getting him back. He’s another guy that brings a toughness, energy. That part is big for us because he plays with great effort and he’s an inspirational guy. He’s a guy that guys follow. He leads those guys along with (DEs) Chris Long and Robert Quinn in there on being able to give us a guy that can play inside and outside. He plays very physical and with great effort.”

(On if LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar is settling in since his return)
“No. He’s back into form. He’s doing well. He’s the same way – flies around, brings the toughness, brings that attitude – and you need that. He played a good game last week and we look forward to him to continue again this week with it.”

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