Wednesday, July 28 2010 @ 05:55 PM CDT

Contributed by: Shaky

(On Progress the defense has made)

“I like the way we’re working and I like the progress we’ve made. Now, we’ll never know exactly how you gauge that until you go out and play in an actual game, but I notice we play faster, we have a better understanding of the scheme and I think we’re just further along than we were a year ago, so I’m optimistic.”

(On the players following the Jets model of a strong running game to help Bradford)

“It’s probably the philosophy our head coach embraces and I know we do that as well. As long as you have a chance to run the football ball and stop the run on defense it always give you a chance to win ballgames. So, there’s a lot of work in front of us and we all know that, but were willing and were ready and we’ll get her started here in the next day.”

(On being ahead from last year and better equipped personnel wise)

“I think we’ve made strides, I think (General Manager) Billy (Devaney) and (Head Coach) Steve (Spagnuolo) have done a good job of upgrading our roster. As you know, in this league it’s always an ongoing process, but I think with more than anything, I look at the guys that we had with us a year ago and I just look at how they operated the defense, the scheme, and OTA’s and I just really believe that they have a firmer grasp. They play with more confidence and part of it is they’ve had another year under their belt. I just notice that out at practice. I just think we operate faster. I see guys moving and carrying on assignments faster than we did last year, so to me there has been a natural progression from a learning stand point and I can see it in the way that they play.”

(On seeing the rookies put pads on)

“That’s always the fun part about it because we’ve gone through all these OTA’s - we call them practices in underwear - and we all know that the game is played with pads. It’s a physical game and that’s the type of defense we’d like to become. We’re working that way and the rookies know that their true test comes when we get the chance to put the pads on and get the chance to put them in the preseason games and see how they operate when the lights come on.”

(On being more comfortable as a coordinator)

“I think it’s helped. Steve gave a lot of help last year. Our defensive staff gave me a lot of help. I think just knowing what to expect from the head coach, knowing our players better, you know, after you’ve had a year to see what they can do, it certainly helps me. It’s always learn on the run. I always feel like I’m never where I want to be, and I’ll keep working at it and they’ll keep working at it and hopefully it will be good things from us.”

(On LB James Laurinaitis)

“We’re counting on him. He’s been a great addition. My hats off to Billy and Spags on drafting him and actually getting him where we got him because he’s a first round guy as far as we’re concerned. We put a lot of management skills on him. We expect a lot from him. He knows it and the thing I just love about the guy is that he works at it. He’ll be better this year than he was a year ago. We need him to be. He’ll work at it and that’s all we can ask for. He is a pro when it comes to his preparation and attention to detail. He is truly what I would call a professional in this game and I’m happy for him. Hopefully he’ll have a long and industrious career here.”

(On S Oshiomogho Atogwe)

“It gives us another veteran leader that gives us productivity for us. Having O.J. back and for us to be able to get him back, it creates some competition for us at safety. Craig Dahl played his position during the OTA’s in the spring, and in my mind I consider Craig a starter as well as James Butler. So it gives us a lot of competition there and we’ll just go through the course of the preseason and let it shake itself out. But we’re very happy to have O.J. back. He’s a great leader. He’s been productive for us and, again, he’s another true professional and he knows how to prepare and how to practice.”

(On pressuring the quarterback)

“Well, every opponent is different. You coach every opponent differently, but our philosophy is to be a high pressure defense. As you know, we press a lot with our corners and we try to challenge guys at the line of scrimmage. We would like to continue that and maybe take it to the next level, but we’ll see how it goes. That’s what we’ll do and we’ll keep firing the spit balls at them, see how it goes.”

(On DE Chris Long)

“A lot of expectations that have come with Chris, and I know Chris and (Defensive Line) Coach (Brendan) Daly and Coach Spags and myself have all talked to him. I think he has shown great improvement from last year to now and I do expect him to be a very productive defensive end. The thing that I’ve been very pleased with from Chris, is you know, a lot of times, being defensive ends, into this league and they fancy themselves as pass rushers and then you have to convince them that they still have to be able to play the run. He has embraced that he has been a very good run play for us. He’s improved and we know he’s got the physical skills to be a great pass rusher so I expect Chris to be more of an all around player and I expect him to be more noticeable.”

(On DE Leonard Little)

“Well that’s always an ongoing discussion. We’ve drafted a couple of young defensive ends. Right now certainly having Leonard, there’s never anything wrong with having a seasoned veteran like him. He brought a lot to our football team last year but that’s something I’m going to let the management handle. That’s their decision and not mine.”

(On his biggest concern for the season)

“We have a couple of depth issues at certain positions. We think we’ve got some very viable candidates. We’ve just kind of got to let preseason and the OTA’s shake themselves out to see if those people can emerge at the positions where we need to have depth. As we all know, there are second team guys that are going to play at some point in time during the course of the season because of injuries and what have you, and just being able to upgrade depth and be able to count on those guys if somebody goes down will be the important thing.”

(On what they have to do to be successful)

“I think that number one is get the ball back for the offense. That’s the number one goal of your defense is to try to get the ball back and in good field position for your offense. But I think the biggest thing for us is that we just want to continue to improve. We spend a lot of time on statistics, and those types of things are all lost in the fact that we want to be a contributor in winning football games. We want to be able to make a difference on our side of the ball.”

(On stopping the running and while defending the pass)

“Yes, I think in this league you have to…you’re in the right to rush the passer on third down and that means on first and second down you better be able to stop your run. I’ll always believe that, and I think that brings in the tough minded, edgy, physical attitude that you like to have on defense. Hopefully we can get them in the third down and we can turn a pass rush loose and make some progress that way.”

(On who he’d call the ‘X factor’ in the defense)

“There’s a lot of guys that I could put that monogram on right now as far as if they step up to play, but again, it’s a team approach. We have everybody that needs to upgrade their level: coaches, myself, to the players. We all need to coach better, play better, and I think (now that) we’ve had a year under our belt, I think we will and I’m excited to go out there and get started and start working.”

Special Teams Coordinator Tom McMahon – Pre Training Camp Press Conference

July 28, 2010

(On adding WR Mardy Gilyard as a returner this season)

“I think there’s a lot of new pieces. There’s a lot of new pieces in other positions. Naturally with drafting a returner, that’s going to add a battle there at that position. You know there’s two or three other guys involved, with (CB) Quincy Butler, and (DB Antoine Thompson) and (CB) Jerome Murphy, so it’ll be interesting to let those guys kind of battle it out. But it’s nice to have that problem, when you’ve got two very quality returners.”

(On whether there is room for both WR Danny Amendola and Gilyard as returners)

“Yeah. I think from a returner standpoint, I’d say yes. And I think that at the same time, you know, as people know, a lot of that comes through their position group, too. In my opinion is there room for both those guys? Yes. Very, very talented. I think everybody would like to have two if not three returners in their building. That makes you a very good football team. You need that.”

(On the effect special teams has on position battles)

“Oh yeah, all the position groups. There’s battles within every position. You can go to the defensive ends or the defensive backs, the running backs, the wide receivers, tight ends. It doesn’t matter. All those groups are going to have great battles that affect special teams. It’s not just the returner position. There might be a guy that’s not the “top” at his position, but he may be the best special teams player. And that plays a big role at the end of the day with the roster, and the players understand that and they know that.”

(On judging a player’s value as solely a special teams player)

“To be honest with you, at the end of the day, it balances itself if the player makes enough plays. If the player makes enough plays, he makes this roster just as a special teams player because of his value. It comes down to that player has got to be productive enough to put him in a situation where he may not be as good at his offensive position or his defensive position but if he’s that special on special teams and makes that many plays, a lot of times it turns the tide between he and another player.”

(On any special teams changes that were made for this season)

“I don’t think there’s a lot of tweaks or, you know, different things. It comes down to each game. I mean, you’ve got to go into each game and decide what’s there and what’s not there and what’s going to be given. That’s when you start tweaking things. So from a standpoint of a general scheme, there’s not a lot of changes. There’s just not.”

(On the value of having Pro Bowl-quality players at kicker and punter in Josh Brown and Donnie Jones)

“Oh, it’s definitely a luxury. No question about it. You know, two vets that are pros that produce on Sundays. At the end of the day, that’s what every single coordinator in this league wants. You’ve got two guys that the rest of the guys can count on, it makes everyone around you better.”

(On whether having those two kickers makes his job easier)

“It makes it much easier.”

(On what he’s seen from Gilyard as a returner)

“You know, I’ll be honest with you. Mardy finished late with his school. He came in for the last eight OTAs (Organized Team Activities) and I think it’s one of those deals where in OTAs you can’t see that. Off of his college film there’s no question that the reason why we drafted him is because we do think he’s a playmaker, and I look forward to seeing what he can do at this level. But until he does that, and Mardy understands this, until he does that, we don’t know. We just really don’t know. You try and transfer it from college to the NFL. The preseason will tell a lot about Mardy. We’re all excited to see (what Gilyard) and what our other returners can do also.”

(On how much collaboration there is between the position coaches on selecting players)

“There’s quite a bit of collaboration, but at the end of the day, I think the players take care of that themselves, you know, with their production in training camp and in the preseason games. Whatever that production, wherever they fit in offensively and on special teams, usually it’s a pretty clear-cut line. There’s not a lot of those that are the gray areas where there’s two players like a lot of people think that are on the fence, like ‘Which one do you choose?’ The players usually take care of that themselves with their production.”

Rams Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur – Pre-Training Camp

July 28, 2010

(On where rookie OT Rodger Saffold will play)

“He’s going to play tackle for us, so at this point we’ll see how it plays out. We’ll put the five best guys out there. I’ll anticipate him lining up and playing tackle.”

(On the youth of the offensive line)

“I think they’re young and talented, so we’re excited about what these guys can do. They’ve got fresh legs and they’re really good players, so we anticipate they’re going to be very productive for a long time.”

(On the depth of the offensive line)

“I don’t know about depth. I think it’s important that we stay healthy. It’s important that those five guys play together for many, many games. What I think we’re trying to do in training camp is, they’ve got to get their work in. They’ve got to battle. They’ve got to toughen up as a unit, playing together, because it’s important that they win their individual battles, but offensive line play is really about playing as a group, and I think that we’ll get some of that done.”

(On who will play in the guard spots)

“Well, in the guard spot, you’ve got Jacob (Bell) who’s in there as well as Adam Goldberg with the addition of Hank Fraley in the mix and (John) Greco…Roger Allen…so we’ve got a bunch of guys who will get reps and we’ll see how it all plays out.”

(On whether Bell will stay on the left side)

“Everything’s kind of a mix-and-match, but that would be a good starting point.”

(On what he wants rookie QB Sam Bradford to accomplish in camp)

“He did such a good job in the preseason, in the spring I’d like to see him build on that. His challenge is to be ready to play Day 1, and if that works out, great. If it takes a little bit longer, so be it. I’m anticipating he’s going to build on what he did in the spring.”

(On what he needs to see from Bradford to deem him ready)

“I think you have to do it in practice prior to doing it in a game. We’ll evaluate everything from calling the plays to managing the huddle to executing at the line of scrimmage, the audibles, the alerts, the overs, and just basic general efficiency. I think that’s what we’re going to be looking for.”

(On the competition at wide receiver)

“We’ve got a lot of young, talented guys there. Again, that’s another position where we all kind of think we know how it’s going to look, but we’ll see what happens. There’s a lot of water that’s got to run under the bridge during the camps and the preseason here, so we’ll see how it plays out.”

(On how many wide receivers they plan on carrying on the roster)

“I think we want to put on our roster the guys that are playmakers, so depending on how it plays out, in terms of how they compete…health…basically who makes the team, that could adjust.”

(On the competition at tight end)

“Mike (Hoomanawanui) and Fendi (Onobun) did a nice job in the spring. They got a bunch of reps and I think they benefitted from the fact that the group was smaller. And then Darcy (Johnson) did a nice job and Billy (Bajema) is a real steady guy, so again you can say that about all of our positions on offense, but there’s a lot to be determined. I think Danny (Fells) coming back and being healthy and performing well in training camp is going to be important for him.”

(On what he has seen from the wide receivers at this point)

“I think each one of those guys is a different story. I think Donnie Avery had a good spring, his second spring in our new system. Laurent Robinson is coming back from injury, so I think playing through the spring really was like part of his rehab. He looked smoother and better as time went on. Having Danny Amendola for a full calendar year I think is going to be important because he really did some nice things. Those are the first three guys that come to mind, but then you’ve got all the young players that we brought in this year along with (WR) Brandon Gibson and (WR) Brooks Foster, who really was injured and didn’t get to do much. So we’ve really got some serious competition there.”

(On if Bradford was given homework)

“I think you constantly have homework if it’s just conversation, but basically he had access to, and was given, everything we did in spring to review in detail. Tapes, playbook stuff, the notes that he took. Our players take quite a bit of notes, so a lot of what we do in installations they kind of write in their own right and then they match it up with the tape. “

(On what is important for Bradford to learn in camp)

“I think in terms of handling the verbage, it really is important. The first and most important thing is to be able to call the play and stand in the huddle and do it with confidence. I think he handled that extremely well, especially for a rookie, so that was pleasing. He’s a very intelligent guy, I think he has a good view of the big picture, but yet he can focus on details. Those are the things that showed up in his play.”

(On how the offensive line is equipped to handle injuries)

“I think it’s important we stay healthy. You never know if…eventually, you’re going to have some injuries, and how we overcome those injuries will be based on who gets hurt, if they do. The challenge of training camp is to get you working, get yourself prepared for training camp so that we can avoid it. You obviously want to play with your best five guys and that means they stayed healthy.”

(On the offensive line’s chemistry to begin camp)

“I think it takes time to work together. I mentioned it twice already, but the importance of training camp is that the guys we intend on playing get the chance to play together. I think they’re going to get a pretty good work load, so we can see that.”

(On creating an explosive offense with a rookie quarterback)

“The challenge on offense is to be, number one, efficient. You want to try to maintain some form of balance, and within that you try to create some explosive plays. I think the starting point first is efficiency. Everybody has got to execute the plays well. From a quarterback’s standpoint, it requires obviously calling the play and going through your progressions and getting the ball out on time so that you’re first and foremost getting completions and being accurate with your throws. Beyond that, I think some of the explosive plays will show up.”

(On making the system his own last season)

“I think we all learned things in the first year. One good thing about this profession is that you play a season and then you sit back for the next half of the year and try to improve upon what you did, no matter where you were. Whether you won a Super Bowl or you’re trying to build something like we are here. We took a good, hard look at the whole operation and we feel like we made some changes that are going to make us much better, so we’re excited to put that into play.”

(On the youth at wide receiver)

“I think that crew is young and is talented, and I’m looking forward to seeing them compete. I think this training camp will be important for them. We’ve got a crew of guys in there that, some have some experience, some guys are coming back from injuries, some guys are very new, and so they each have a different story. It’s going to be important to see them compete here in the fall.”