Friday, September 15, 2006

Head Coach Scott Linehan
Friday, September 15

(Opening statement) “This is really our first normal week schedule. We worked outside because we’re playing on the road, on grass, and there’s nice weather here today. It was good. We’ve got a travel schedule for the west coast that we’re going to use. We’ll do most of our meetings in San Francisco. We’ll just get on the bus, get on the plane, and go tomorrow. We’ll get most of our stuff done there so it doesn’t make it quite as long a day on Saturday.”

(On officially deciding on a starting center) “Richie [Incognito]…we didn’t decide that, he worked it. We didn’t decide that until last night. Richie will be our starter. Larry [Turner] will be ready. We haven’t decided whether we’ll keep [Brett] Romberg up one weekend, but he was ahead of schedule. That’s how we’re going to go about it.”

(On who will be brought up with T Todd Steussie at guard) “We’ll decide, but I think probably right now logic tells me it will be Adam [Goldberg] because Adam’s played both tackle and guard.”

(On LB Pisa Tinoisamoa looking healthy for Sunday) “It [his foot] was good. It was a little sore yesterday, he was limited. Did a lot more today. I asked him how he felt and he said he felt a lot better.”

(On the importance of defense against the *****) “It’s always important. I think what San Fran’s done is they’ve gone to a system that makes you have to stop both the run and the pass. They’ve got some really good young talent. We talked about Alex [Smith] yesterday. He looks so much more comfortable this year. They’ve got some weapons around him. If you’re not careful, the rookie tight end’s going to come out on a drag off of a play action. The guy showed why he was a top pick. They’ve got a pretty thing going. Frank Gore’s running the ball really well. If he didn’t have that knee injury in college, we would have been talking about him being a first-round back, back when he came out. They’ve got some weapons. They’re doing a nice job putting that team together.”

(On what a first-year QB sees differently from his rookie year) “They go through the school of hard knocks during that first year, whether it’s Alex Smith…I bet you could have asked John Elway about his first year. It’s just not easy. I think the biggest thing for them is that they were rebuilding last year and he basically took the responsibility of starting and living with the growing pains. He’s so mature, I’m sure he understood it and never once even blinked. You see the second year with most guys, a lot of improvement in his case, more than most. He actually played most of the year last year and played through a lot of hard times and got better as the year went on. Played good against us a couple of times late in the year and you could see the improvement already then, and now you really see it. He’s far advanced because he’s been through an entire NFL season already.”

(On putting a lot of pressure on QB Alex Smith because he is so young) “You hope to. That sounds good on paper but you’ve got to go out and execute. You’ve got to put pressure on their offense by trying to take away, not giving them the ability to be two-dimensional. I think any quarterback doesn’t feel very good when he’s claustrophobic in the pocket because you’re getting after him, whether you’re blitzing or you’re pressuring him with the four-man rush. That’s what you hope to do but it’s easier said than done.”

(On how much the ***** blitzed last weekend) “I’d say they blitzed a normal amount. I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t do something based on us playing a new center. It wouldn’t surprise me. We’re planning for it anyway. That’s what I’d do if I was them. It’s hard to say. Early in the year, you get a lot of things you really don’t…you prepare for them because you usually, like in our case, we see darn near everything in practice, but you try to kind of try to be a little bit careful of creating problems that don’t exist until you have to. I think they will give us some things that we haven’t seen for a while, and we’re going to have to do a good job adjusting.”

(On reacting to the ***** blitzing) “One of my biggest focuses is, without belaboring the fact, you can identify a problem. I said to the team the other day, ‘We’ve got to put all our time and energy into the solution’. Whether they blitz, or play zone, or drop everybody or bring them all, we’ve just got to go out and execute every play. They’re sometimes throwing the ball away or getting 0 yards instead of losing 2. Those are all part of execution, and I just think we’ve got to keep grinding that philosophy in their heads.”

(On TE Vernon Davis being a major weapon) “I think they’re smart coaches. They’re using him in the right way. They give him certain things that I think he’s comfortable with. You can see that on tape. Still using him as a weapon, and not exposing him to things maybe he hasn’t had a lot of exposure to. They’re not easing him into it, but I think they’re using him pretty darn effectively early in his career.”

(On the difficulties of Richie Incognito’s transition from guard to center) “I think he’s up to the challenge. When you play offensive line, I think you understand all the parts. Richie’s got some experience there. I think it helps to have Todd [Steussie] in there with him because when you get into the heat of the battle, sometimes it’s nice to have somebody who can help with a line call or whatever. Richie’s a competitor. He’s a smart kid. He understands the position. My biggest concern was if he was comfortable snapping and he did a great job with that. It’ll take a while to get fully comfortable, but I’m comfortable going into the game with him after with how this week at practice went.”

(On the keys to winning on the road) “You try to keep things…you try not to make it a tedious schedule. We’re giving them a little more time off between now and the time we meet again tomorrow and get on the plane so they get some time away, so tomorrow isn’t Groundhog Day. You’ve got to get your work done. We’ve got to do a little more meeting when we get there, even though we’re going to give them a little time to go eat dinner and get away. Our meetings will be a little bit more extensive, not to the point of being painful, but we try to do that. We kind of put it together at Miami last year. We took two trips last year because we played the AFC West. It’s a little more extensive, about a six-hour flight going from Miami to the West Coast, where we’re going on three and a half to four. We have five of them this year, so if we need to tweak it we will, but this is how we’re going to do it and we’ve planned this from day one. This is how we’re going to travel on our West Coast trips.”

(On the walk-through) “We’ll actually walk through it at the stadium, at Monster Park, for not long. Right when we get there we’ll take buses there and then we’ll come back and have time off for dinner and then we’ll meet at the hotel.”

(On planning to do that all year) “For the West Coast, yeah. Probably won’t do it same time zone. We’ll probably do everything here when we don’t have a long flight.”

WR Isaac Bruce

(On the absence of touchdowns last week) “We’re used to scoring touchdowns. We have guys here who’ve done it tons of times, me included. No pressure at all. We just have to do it.”

(On this game possibly being special because of the Rams-***** rivalry) “Every week is special. There’s no bigger emphasis on this week. Every week is special. It’s the *****, so we have to be ready to play. They’re going to be ready to play.”

(On seeing old Los Angeles Rams gear being worn by fans whenever they play the ***** in San Francisco) “A lot of people from L.A. drive up to the game; it’s a good weekend for them, especially if we win the game. It’s always fun. It’s always fun playing in that stadium. I always enjoy playing in that stadium.”

(On how a change at center affects wide receivers) “As far as the center and receivers going together, it’s no difference. We just have to move when the ball is snapped and make sure we’re focused in on picking up his movements. It can be loud out there, so we’re going to have to do what we do.”

(On the offense executing this week) “It was great. I told some the coaches that it kind of reminded me of the old Saints defense when we went down to the Superdome and played. How the guys would get out and it looked like they had 13 or 14 guys out on the field at one time. It was great seeing them get after the quarterback, taking the ball away and giving us more opportunities to get out on the field.”

(On the Rams’ special teams unit) “It’s something that’s been focused on now. We see it week in and week out, sometimes from other teams, but it just so happens that it happened to us. It’s just strange that we’re commenting that they’re tackling. That’s kind of strange. That’s what they do. That’s what they’re supposed to do. It’s kind of strange, highlighting that aspect of the game. It should be (there every week).”

(On the offense seeming to be a little more conservative this year) “Actually, we’re just doing what we’re asked to do. In the past we did what we were supposed to do as far as getting open. If we had a double coverage situation we had to beat that double coverage and make sure we caught the ball. (It’s the) Same scenario here. We’re doing exactly what we’re being asked to do and it’s working well, so you can’t argue with it. We’re 1-0 right now.”

WR Torry Holt

(On people adjusting to the new style of Rams offense) “It’s probably going to take some time for people that have watched us over the past seven years to get used to, but probably not for true football fans that understand the game. They know that you have to pick your spots, you want careful with the football; you don’t want to throw into double teams. Especially with the way our defense is playing, you want to control the game. You hear that a lot now - quarterbacks controlling the game and I think he (QB Marc Bulger) did a fine job of doing that last week.”

(On the defense performing so well last week) “It’s good. It’s actually a breath of fresh air. It’s something that we’ve being longing for around here for a long time. So to see those guys come out and compete the way they competed is good to see. A lot of them are the same guys, with a mixture of new guys that are challenging and pushing the guys that have been around here. When you talk about winning championships, and when you talk about winning the division and putting yourself in a position to be in the playoffs, you have to be able to do that throughout the season and on a consistent basis. We started out well in Week 1 and hopefully we can continue doing that.”

(On the offense getting on track) “We’re getting better. I think this week will give us another opportunity to get that much closer to our goal as an offense. We were still able to reach some of our goals offensively, that we have set for ourselves, but we weren’t able to punch the ball in, obviously. We’ll get better. I think this week will be another challenge for us. Hopefully, we’ll make some improvements and make a step closer toward that goal and just continue to get better and better. It will just go from there.”

(On San Francisco’s defense) “I think they look the same. I’ve always had high remarks for San Francisco’s defense. They’ve always played very hard. That’s one thing I know going in against this bunch is that they are going to play hard for four quarters. Their linebackers are exceptional; Bryant Young on the front line is their anchor guy, Tony Parrish, back in the secondary, is a guy that’s been around there for a while, so we know he’s going to come to play. Walt Harris is an 11-year guy that they’ve added that I think was a tremendous pickup for their football team. He’s added some veteran leadership. They have him on the outside and they also have him in the slot. He has some wisdom there, so he’s a great pickup. We know that we’re going to have to come out there with our A-game, we know we’re going to have to play; run the football, pass the football, and take advantage of some opportunities that they may present to us.”

C Richie Incognito

(On having veterans at the left and right guard positions) “I’m comfortable with that. I know they’re there if I misidentify something or I get a little confused out there I have two of the smartest guys I know in this system out there helping me, so I’m not very worried about that.”

(On the center to quarterback exchange) “Actually, we had no problems. It was all shotgun stuff. I had done shotgun in college and it was just my technique that we fixed real quick and had a very good day yesterday and today with that.”

(On the positions he played during his college career at Nebraska) “I worked there my entire true freshman year and then went to tackle my redshirt freshman year. After my redshirt freshman year I went back to center for spring ball, then I went back out to tackle. I played a little center when our center got hurt my redshirt freshman year and then I played tackle my sophomore year.”

(On his experience playing center with the Rams) “I started off the first minicamp playing center and right guard and in the rookie minicamp I played center. Right after that rookie minicamp is when I started filling in at left guard. I actually got a lot of work in this system, so it’s fresh.”