Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher Press Conference Transcript: Aug. 24

Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher – Press Conference – August 24, 2014

(Opening Statement)
“I was asked last night after the game, had I seen anything like or experienced anything like I experienced in the first half. My answer was no. It’s every head coach’s and general manager’s and player and assistant coach’s nightmare. In the first half, we had five starters come out of the game and then not return. Very, very difficult experience to go through in the preseason.

“I can report on three of whom we got good results back. (DT) Michael Brockers, (DT) Kendall Langford and (OL) Rodger Saffold can potentially play this Thursday night in the fourth preseason game in Miami. We got good news considering the mechanism and what happened to (Ccool smiley Trumaine Johnson. We’ll miss Trumaine anywhere from four to six weeks with an MCL sprain. Then of course, unfortunately, I can confirm that we have lost (Qcool smiley Sam (Bradford) for the year. Sam suffered an injury to the reconstructed knee that he had done less than a year ago. Very, very disappointed for Sam.

“We’ve got two issues here I think. We lost our starting quarterback, but for Sam personally, it’s devastating. The news was devastating to him as you can appreciate. Anyone that’s gone through that procedure and the rehab understands, and to have it happen again within the calendar year is very, very difficult. So, we’re thinking of Sam. I met with him this morning. He’s left the building. He’s spending time with his parents. I really can’t give you any time table as to when he’s going to have this procedure done. A lot of people worked very hard with him: (Head Athletic Trainer) Reggie (Scott), his training staff, (Head Strength & Conditioning Coach) Rock (Gullickson) and his strength staff, the doctors. If you saw (Bradford) at practice or you saw him the last two preseason games, I think you would agree with me that he was 100 percent back and on his way.

“We move forward as a football team. (Qcool smiley Shaun (Hill) is our guy. We brought him here. He’s got experience. We’ve got all the confidence in the world in him. We have, around our quarterback position right now, probably as good of talent as we’ve had since we came here. Shaun is excited about that and I know he’ll benefit from that.”

(On what he saw on the play where Bradford was injured)
“It’s just a highly unusual…you know, I don’t know if there is a one in 100 chance that that would happen. It wasn’t a high impact. ACL injuries, they’re all different. This was just kind of a hyperextension and you just had impact come from the outside. The knee was locked and something has to give, and unfortunately the ACL gave.”

(On if the Rams have to change their offense with Hill taking over)
“No, Shaun is in here. He has a great feel for the offense right now and we’re going to move forward with it. We’re not going to change anything. He knows the system. Again, everybody knows we’re going to run the football first. We’re going to do that and we’ve got to do that well and we’ve got to do that to start the season. Everything else will come off of that.”

(On if he spoke with Hill today)
“Yeah, I spoke with him briefly. He’s ready for it. He’s ready for the challenge, ready for the opportunity.”

(On what he liked about Hill when the team signed him)
“He’s got a wealth of experience. He’s played in games. He’s been in different systems. The last few years, he’s really only played in the preseason behind (Detroit Qcool smiley Matthew (Stafford), but when he played, he played really well. He just makes good decisions, he’s mobile. He understands defenses and he’s very reliable.”

(On Bradford’s mood Sunday)
“Like I said, he’s devastated. Put yourself in his position. How hard he worked to get back and how excited he was to be back and to lead this football team into the season. So yeah, it’s a very, very difficutl time.”

(On Bradford’s mood today)
“Like I said, its devastating for him. Put yourself in his position. How hard he worked to get back and how excited he was to be back and to lead this football team into the season. So yeah, it’s a very, very difficult time.”

(On QB Austin Davis)
“Austin understands the system and ‘Schotty’ (Offensive Coordination Brian Schottenheimer) can freely call anything. He gets it and he ran around and made plays, he extended plays. He’d like to have a couple throws back but he moved the ball around really well. He’s had a good camp so far, so obviously Austin would step up to the two spot right now if it were the start of the regular season.”

(On looking outside the organization for talent elsewhere to enhance depth at the Quarterback position)
“I’ve heard that there’s speculation that we’ve been on the phone and that’s not true. Doesn’t mean to say that we won’t but we haven’t done it at this point. We’ll get together as an organization and see, but right now keep in mind these guys understand our system. Shaun’s ready to play. Austin can come off the bench and play if need be and Garrett (Gilbert) for that matter has had a good camp. Probably a better camp on the practice field than he has in games but we’ll get a chance to play him quite a bit this week.”

(On speculation of possible trades)
“It makes no sense to jump and react right now and try to fill the hole at whatever cost. We’re going to take our time and evaluate this. There’s going to be some quarterbacks that are released and there may or may not be some quarterbacks out there that have trade value, we just don’t know. It’s way too soon.”

(On comparing the situation the team is in now to last year after the Carolina game and if it’s better or worse)
“I don’t think you compare them. What we were we 3-4 or something when he went down, we haven’t started the season yet. Fortunately for Shaun he’s got a chance now. He’s got a chance to step up and practice, at least through this preseason game and through the time that we have before the opener, so time’s on our side as compared to when ‘Kel’ (QB Kellen Clemens) came in last year.”

(On if Shaun Hill is excited about the opportunity)
“Yes, of course he is. He’s gotten very close to Sam since his arrival, so he’s very disappointed personally for Sam. That is the kind of teammate that Shaun is. But we have to move on and Shaun’s the guy, so I’d say personally he’s very excited about his opportunity.”

(On if this injury makes it double tough for him because the offense was playing so well)
“Yeah, we’re improving and the young guys are getting more and more experience. But Shaun’s capable of getting the ball to them, there’s not a throw that he can’t make. He sees well, he’s got great anticipation and we’re going to cut him loose.”

(On how the corners have come along)
“Yeah they’ve come. I mean, E.J. (Gaines) come on and Brandon McGee from last year. Brandon missed this game with an ankle he should be back. We’ve got a good group. We’ll be okay there until ‘Tru’ (Trumaine Johnson) comes back. Lamarcus (Joyner) is making plays, he played their last night and inside so we’ve got a good solid group there.”

(On whether or not Shaun will get much playing time Thursday)
“We’re going to discuss play time. Typically we play and we will play into the second quarter and into half time with a lot of our starters in Week 4. I’ll be honest with you, I might be a little shell shocked right now after last night that you can appreciate that but we’ll discuss play time. We’ve got players that need to play, so we’ll discuss that as a staff.”

(On yesterday’s game in general and if it was an overall step forward)
“Well, we did everything that we wanted to do defensively. We played with tremendous effort, tackled well, didn’t give up many explosive plays, got off the field on third down. And offensively time of position was almost 38 minutes and so we ran the football, we got to look at all the backs, you got to see some good things out of Tre (Mason), both Tre(y)’s (Trey Watts) for that matter. I thought up front we did a nice job protecting, we ran the football, it’s good to get Rodger (Saffold) and Jake (Long) back and so overall we accomplished what we set out to accomplish there. There’s some issues like there are in every preseason game, with penalties here and mistakes on behalf of the younger players but all in all I thought it was a pretty good effort.”

(On comparing this year’s quarterback situation to that of the Rams’ 1999 Super Bowl-winning season)
“This team’s going to rally around Shaun and we’re going to go play, they really are. That guy that came in ended up being pretty good. Again, we’ve got all the confidence in the world in Shaun.”

(On if he believes if the 1999 Super Bowl-winning season scenario can happen again)
“Yeah, that was a good ending to that season, so, if were in this building (laughs). The players are unique nowadays. They feel Sam’s right pain now and his loss, but you got to go on. That’s part of our business, you go on, and so, everybody needs to pick it up a little bit more. That’s kind of a cliché when these things happen and this young group of guys will.”

(On if the defense needs to elevate their play)
“You win games as a team and you have to use all three phases from a week to week standpoint.”

(On if he has thought about the long-term implications at the QB position)
“No, it’s way too early for that. We just need to get his heart and his mind right and get him focused, allow him some time to get away. We’ll address that whenever we need to.”

(On not starting OL Greg Robinson last night)
“I wanted to get Rodger sometime early. We knew that Greg was going to play both positions, so we got Rodger in there early and (OG) Davin’s (Joseph) playing well. Greg played pretty well. Again, he got plenty of snaps. He’s improving. He’s going to be a really good player for us.”

(On if RB Trey Watts made a statement with his performance against the Browns)
“He’s very talented with the ball in his hands. I thought he was OK without the ball in his hands last night. So, we’ll see how things go. In college he was a versatile back, worked out of the backfield, lined up in the slot, and did all those kinds of things. Good run skills and vision. So, it was good to see him make some plays.”

(On the decision to start RB Benny Cunningham)
“We just wanted to give Benny an opportunity to run behind the first line.”

(On Cunningham’s performance during the preseason and training camp)
“He’s had a really good camp. Things that are overshadowed, is his special teams production. He’s playing really well on special teams. That happens every once in a while you get a running back that can really play teams and all of them are contributing. Benny ran the ball very well, so it was good. We have depth there.”

(On DE Michael Sam)
“Michael’s making plays, yeah. We’ve moved people around because of the flow of the game, we played guys a little bit longer, so didn’t give him as many reps as we’d like, but probably going to get plenty of time to play this week.”

(On if he had drafted a quarterback early in the draft if that quarterback would be starting instead of Hill)
“It’s going take quarterbacks a while. You’re going to take your lumps with them early and every quarterback’s different, offensive systems are different, the people around the quarterback are different, so it’s hard to categorize them. But I would say, again I don’t deal with hypotheticals, but had we have drafted a quarterback, I would say that Shaun would probably still be the starter for Week 1 considering the circumstances.”

(On if LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar has a chance to play this week)
“He’s got a chance this week. Moving from Sam, the good news is the three big guys are going to be OK and can probably play. So we’re healing up.

(On if DL William Hayes has a chance to play this week)
“He’s getting closer. He’s going to have a chance this week.”

(On which player will step in for Johnson)
“Yeah, ( Brandon (McGee), or (EJ (Gaines), or (Lamarcus (Joyner) good group to pull from.”

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