Bernie transcribed Linhan's comments

(Opening Remarks)

“We made our initial cutback to 75 yesterday.

“On the injury front – Dave Pearson had a bruised knee. The MRI didn’t show anything significant, except for some swelling. We will be evaluating that. Claude Wroten had a slight ankle sprain. He will be day-to-day this week. Rich Alexis sprained his left foot and had quite a bit of swelling in it, as well. Brian Leonard bruised both of his hands on the last play he was in, when he got hit down near the goal line.

“Some of the players that have been missing time that will hopefully be back and that we have plans of playing them a significant amount of plays are Tim McGarigle and Dominique Thompson. We’ll see how they respond today in practice and the upcoming days prior to Thursday’s game, as to where they’ll be. Richie Incognito still has quite a bit of soreness in his ankle. He would not have been able to play. In the regular season, I think he would have been questionable for the game, so we kept him out of the game. He will be closer to play this week if we needed him to, but we’re hoping he can recover from that and be close to 100 percent or 100 percent by the opener.

“General comments on the game – we weren’t satisfied with the result, but as you evaluate where we’re trying to get through preseason, there are a lot of things that are becoming clearer as far as our roster. When you look in general terms of offensively, defensively and special teams we know there are areas that we have to improve a whole bunch by Thursday and by the opener. We are going to work very hard at doing that.”

(On if G Mark Setterstrom played center against Oakland)

“No. We decided not to because both Brett (Romberg) and Andy (McCollum) were going to play with the first and second quarterback like we did last time. We ended up just leaving him because he played 33 snaps the first half at left guard, so we decided not to do that.”

(On if he will try to play Setterstrom at center against Kansas City)

“Probably not.”

(On if a decision has been made on the starting center)

“Not yet – we’re closer. I have not met with the offense or any of the offensive personnel yet. Until we do that we haven’t officially made any determination. I think we’ll make that call in the next couple of days.”

(On if the decision for the starting center will be made before the Kansas City game)


(On RB Brian Leonard playing more at fullback against Oakland)

“Just a couple of plays. He ended up playing more at the tailback. We ended up not using the personnel grouping we were going to use as much. That’s not that unusual, but as far as playing the fullback position, I don’t know how many plays we play when we go in a regular. Madison (Hedgecock) actually took those snaps. Brian was getting a good load at the tailback position. We’ve been working a lot in practice. I feel very good with where he’s at there. It’s a fairly easy transition for him if he was to play in a game some at fullback, but it would be for packages only, not necessarily be the starting fullback by any means.”

(On how the offensive line pass protected against Oakland)

“They were better than the first two games. We were a little bit loose in protection this game. We didn’t give up any sacks, but there were some pressures and hits on the quarterback that we don’t like to see.”

(On if CB Fakhir Brown counts against the 53-man roster)

“Yes, he would be one of the 53 going into the opener.”

(On if the team is waiting to release an additional player to get the roster down to 75)

“We do have one more. We haven’t made that cut yet. We have until Tuesday to do that. We did 10 and then we have one left. We’ll probably wait until Tuesday to do the last one.”

(On if the team not scoring many points during the preseason is a result of running basic offense)

“The reason we haven’t is more basic. We have to execute better. We haven’t taken things back or changed anything. We just haven’t played as well as we’d like to play at this point. There are still a lot of good things there. We’re looking at a lot of different personnel. When we start the regular season we’ll be in pretty good shape. As far as people questioning, that’s the nature of the game. I’m used to that. That’s a daily thing in this profession. Right now that will be the topic and I’d rather have it be the topic now then three weeks into the regular season.”

(On how difficult it is to determine a player’s roster spot with players like LB Tim McGarigle and WR Dominique Thompson missing the preseason due to injury)

“It’s harder. It’s the unfortunate part of the game when it comes to those kinds of decisions we have to make because those are guys that are fighting to make the team. It’s unfortunate for both because they’re very quality players, but for them, if we can give them a good look at a number of snaps in this game, it will give them a better chance to make the team if they can take advantage of Thursday’s game.”

(On the competition between DE’s Eric Moore and Trevor Johnson)

“They’ve had very good camps. Each of them brings a different element to our defense. Trevor’s a guy that can show that he’s played some in this league on every down and is a pretty good run defender as well and has the ability to do what you try to get out of a starting defensive end. Eric has that pass rush ability. He gets in those passing downs and situations…he made some great plays on four-man rush the other night where you have to have the ability to rush the passer and have the talent to do that when you’re doing it just one-on-one against people, not just by blitzing. Both of them bring kind of a different element, which makes it an even tougher decision for us.”

(On if only seven defensive linemen could be on the final 53-man roster)

“I think we’ll keep eight. Seven will be active on gameday, so how we’ll normally do it is we’ll wave seven defensive linemen during the course of the game and have an eighth ready depending on the game plan or an injury or something like that.”

(On the pass interference penalties called against the Rams at Oakland)

“They were all close plays. You can sit here and argue all day that it’s incidental bumping or maybe both guys are in contact. To me, if you’re playing tight coverage and playing man coverage, you really have to be right with your technique. We have to continue to work on playing the defender and the ball at the same time without getting in position where you give them a chance to call it because if there’s any kind of bumping there’s really not an argument. It’s like charging in basketball – did he get position before he charged or was he not moving? You can argue it either way. We just have to be cleaner in those situations where we’re not using our hands or playing the defender versus the ball. You have to live with one or two of them. You can’t have five of them because they affect the game so much and the field position is so critical. Five pass interference penalties affect which side of the field you’re playing on.”

(On if he thought the pass interference penalties were correct calls)

“I think a couple of them would be called and you wouldn’t even turn them in, but a couple of them I think could have gone either way. What we try to do with those now is just have them so we can know how we can better teach our players and find out exactly what they saw. I got the explanation on all of them during the game and the explanation when we send them in will be exactly the same. We just have to do a better job in those tight coverage situations technique wise and avoiding those.”

(On the Rams’ cornerback play thus far in the preseason)

“Other than the other night, I feel we’ve been improving. We’re asking a lot of them at times because we certainly want to bolster our ability to stop the run and to do that at times you’re going to put your corners in position where they’re going to have to play one-on-one coverage. When that happens, you’d like to see a cleaner…not like we had the other night with the penalties, which were crucial plays – just as crucial as letting a guy catch a ball. We have a ways to go yet. I don’t think they ijs any reason for us not to believe that they’re going to be able to do what we’re asking them to do, we just have to do it much better than we did against Oakland.”

(On if there’s a common denominator amongst the long returns the Rams have given up in the preseason)

“They’re different. There’s no way you can pinpoint one. The week before we had one and we had guys in fairly decent coverage lanes, we just didn’t break down and make a play on the defender. The other night I think they blocked us better. We didn’t get off blocks. They eliminated our fliers with a double press and when that happens the guys that are releasing from the inside on the punt, for example, stay blocked and that’s an absolute no-no. As we evaluate how we’re getting down the field and who’s getting down the field, I think it’s a combination of the two. We ran behind blocks, which we hadn’t done, on the kickoff return. If one guy runs out of his lane against a guy like that – that is one of the guys that was pretty dangerous a year ago – you do that against a dangerous returner in this league and it’s going to cost you. Where we are special teams wise is that we’re much improved in our return games. I think our specialists are going to be excellent, I just think that the thing where we have the most work to do is making sure we go down and eliminate big plays against it when they’re returning it. We have our work cut out for us and we’re going to work real hard at it.”

(On if the production of the second team offense thus far in the preseason tells him they have good depth and what he can read into that)

“Yeah, I think so. I feel much better about that. I know it’s frustrating to not be averaging about 50 points per game right now and be moving it the ball up and down the field. We feel we’re going to be real good on offense. I can tell you this: I’m 100 percent more comfortable with where we are on offense, believe it or not, than where we were a year ago for the reasons you just brought up. I think our depths better. If you were to go fast-forward and say this is going to be our roster, these are the guys that are going to step in if something happened to the starters, I’d feel much more comfortable with who we’d be able to put in there and how effective they’d be. Some of the highlights for me are a guy like Brian Leonard who can come in and really do what we’ve asked him to do as a rookie very efficiently. I think that’s a real positive. I really like the new additions. I think Drew (Bennett) is going to give a different type of weapon than will Randy (McMichael) because of what I’ve seen in practice. I really like the fact that Dante (Hall) was able to play a significant amount of snaps on offense and play well on offense the other night, so I feel very comfortable about that. We didn’t play Gus (Frerotte) as much last year as we have this year, mainly because he’d come off a year where he’d played quite a bit and we wanted to see a little bit more out of Ryan (Fitzpatrick) and the other kids a year ago. This year, being that he really only had three plays last year, it’s been good for him to get back in there and show why he’s here and I think he’s played very well, as well.”

(On whether or not he worries about the offense not scoring many touchdowns in the preseason)

“We worry about it now. It bothers the heck out of me and everyone else, but if you just keep plugging away and say here are three plays that we missed, if we hit those, we’d all be sitting here talking about the efficient level of what we’ve been doing, but that didn’t happen. I’m not concerned about it. I’d be more concerned if we couldn’t move the football – if we couldn’t get a first down or we couldn’t drive the ball against the three defenses we’ve played. We’ve played three of the best defenses in the National Football League in the preseason, so that’s a good test. What happened was those defenses kept us from getting in the end zone, so that’s disappointing. If they kept us from getting a first down every time we went out there, I’d be a little bit concerned. I’m more concerned with our ability to finish and I think we really, really, really have to work our butts off to get to that point because you can’t just turn it on in the regular season. We don’t have the light switch off and we’re going to turn it on against Carolina. We have things we have to correct so we’re able to play better when we play against these kinds of teams because really everybody in the league has really good personnel on defense, to be honest with you.”

(On if he would have liked to see TE Randy McMichael catch a couple passes)

“We missed a touchdown the other night – we missed a couple. I’d like to have more than a few plays back that we missed, but we missed them. We’ve been progressing. I think we’ve been practicing well. I don’t look at it like who’s catching what and who’s doing what. Once we settle in and we’re basically working our team and our first unit full time and you’ve got everyone in there, things will come together, but you have to have some faith and trust that that’s going to happen because we do have a veteran team.”

(On WR Torry Holt)

“Torry’s not hurt, he’s just not 100 percent. He could have played the other night. Instead of 85 percent for the first game, I’m trying to get him closer to 100 percent. He’s practiced the last two weeks very hard and comes in and has general soreness, so you have to make a decision. One of the reasons behind the decision not to play him the other night is that I wanted Drew (Bennett) to play more with Marc (Bulger) and play more with the first unit, which is hard to do when you have Torry and Isaac (Bruce). You kind of fit him in in the nickel, but what are you going to do? I feel like Isaac’s had an outstanding training camp. From start to finish, he’s played exceptionally well. I thought he really showed me something the other night to be able to go in there and look like the guy he’s always been. That makes me feel much better and much more comfortable knowing that. I know much more about Isaac this year than I did a year ago. I think it’s been good. There’s guys that are playing with our first unit that we haven’t had play with them like Dante (Hall) and Randy (McMichael). It does still take a while, even though you bring veterans that have played somewhere else, it does take a while to kind of figure out your plays and it doesn’t happen overnight.”